A day in the life of a first-time author – Jessica Tom

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By Jessica Tom

Did you think the life of a full-time novelist consists of… writing? Ha! At least for me, the months leading up to the publication of my first book, Food Whore: A Novel of Dining & Deceit, have been a combination of writing, strategizing, designing, and trying not to annoy my friends (too much) with book reminders. ♥

7:30 am: Consume coffee and breakfast over an online content free-for-all. Read email. News. Catch up on Instagram and blogs and comment on some of them. I also have a food blog, so I try to be an active participant in the community! If I read something interesting, I’d schedule some tweets with links – I might not have time to do that later in the day, so better to do it now. I make 1.5 liters of coffee and drink it over the entire morning.

9 am: Write emails. Could be to my editor, agent, or publicists. Or, perhaps to influencers who have received my book. Even though I could theoretically email people before 9am, I try not to do that because I’m personally freaked out my emails that are sent early in the morning (though, let’s be real — I still do it).

10:30 am: Work out. My local gym has a variety of classes during this time — Zumba, pilates, barre, yoga, spinning, HIIT — so I get a good variety. The first part of the morning is about the set-up: answering emails, educating myself. The workout is about reflection. The rest of the day? Action.

11:30 am: Go to the market and get ingredients for a new recipe for the blog.

12:30 pm: Eat lunch. I never, ever forget to eat.

1 pm: Work on the launch-related tasks of the day. Right now, I’m working on writing and pitching personal essays to get the word out about my book. I’m in constant conversation with my publicists — what’s the right outlet and timing, does this fit with my image and brand, how can we get this magazine reporter’s attention. I also thank the publishing gods that my publicists are superstars! At other times, I might be creating a book trailer, designing print assets, tweaking my website, or playing around with paid advertising. Before becoming a full-time writer, I was a creative director and marketer, which has definitely been useful. Now I’m a bit of a graphic designer, moviemaker, and web developer.

4 pm: Make my dish and then photograph it. The light in my apartment is best around 4 or 5pm, so I try to time all my cooking to the most flattering time of day. If it’s a fast recipe, I might post it that afternoon. That means editing the photo, writing the post, and proofing it. Once the post is up, I’ll also spread the word on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, as well as submit the pics to “food porn” sites like Tastespotting, Food Gawker, and Tasteologie. Why do I bother with the recipes? Well, first, I love to cook and I genuinely love sharing my creations with the world. And, two, my recipes may introduce other people to me and my writing (think Jennifer Weiner and her Bachelor live tweets).

7 pm: Leave to meet up with a friend for dinner. I always, always bring my Kindle with me. NYC commutes can be long and unpredictable. Fiction makes them infinitely better. During dinner, I gossip about lives more interesting than my own — hey, I need story inspiration.

10 pm: Get back home. Drink a glass of water so I don’t wake up hungover. (I never seem to drink enough water when I eat out.)

10:30 pm: No more emails coming in. The light isn’t good enough for Instagrams. I’m fed for the day. Time to — finally! — write some fiction.

Jessica Tom is a writer and food blogger living in Brooklyn. She has worked on initiatives with restaurants, hospitality startups, food trucks, and citywide culinary programs. She graduated from Yale University with a concentration in fiction writing and wrote the restaurant review for the Yale Daily News Magazine. Food Whore is her first novel and came out yesterday (October 27, 2015) from William Morrow. Connect with her at www.jessicatom.com or @jessica_tom.

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