Our friend, The Real Book Spy, has his debut thriller Fields of Fire coming out. Ryan juggles a lot between his various jobs. Read on to see what the day of a “book spy” is like!
What’s life like as an online influencer? Not nearly as glamorous as you might think. Well, at least for me . . .
My days typically start pretty early in the morning, and since I currently have three full-time jobs (author, critic/Book Spy, freelance editor), I don’t waste much time before I get to work. To be perfectly honest, I like to begin the day by going to Starbucks. That’s my time to be alone, wake up, and have a little quiet before things get crazy—and with a big work pile waiting for me each day, on top of having six kids, things do get crazy.
As The Real Book Spy, I get a ton of emails every day from publishers about their upcoming titles. I also get a lot of requests to do book announcements and to set up interviews with various authors, so I get that stuff scheduled and ready to move on. Once I get through my email inbox, which I try to have wrapped up by late morning, it’s time to start reading. Because I get so many books sent to me for review, usually three to six per day, I sort them as they arrive, arranging them by pub dates. I also keep a separate stash of titles I think will be a big hit with my audience, names like Brad Thor, Kyle Mills, Daniel Silva, and so forth.
After about three hours of reading, in which time I can typically knock out around three quarters of an average-length thriller, I check email again. I also take meetings with clients of mine—authors who hire me to edit their manuscripts—and then try to edit between 50 and 150 pages before dinner. Beyond my trip to Starbucks in the morning, the dinner table is the one place I don’t bring work to. That time is reserved for seeing my wife and kids, talking with them, and seeing how their days have been.
After dinner, I work on reviews or other Book Spy write-ups, and then it’s time to stream. That’s a fairly new addition to my schedule, and if you’re not familiar with streaming . . . basically, I play video games online for about two hours a night on a platform called Twitch. To the best of my knowledge, I’m the first thriller author to wade into the streaming waters and frankly only did so because it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry that the publishing world has ignored. No writer has really cracked that market, and when it came time to think outside of the box to promote Fields of Fire, my debut novel (available September 6), my agent helped me see the potential of growing a community on Twitch. Honestly, that’s now a highlight of my day and something I really look forward to. It’s not even gaming that makes it fun, but rather the interaction I get with readers and followers.
I’m usually off Twitch by 10 p.m., and then it’s time to write. I’m currently working on the third book in my series, and if I can get 1,500 to 2,000 words down a day, which is about a chapter, then I’m happy. After that, I hit the sack for a few hours, and then wake up and do it all over again.
Truth be told, it’s a grind. Sometimes my schedule feels a bit overwhelming, but what drives me is the very thing that made me want to launch The Real Book Spy in the first place: a deep love of thrillers. The best feeling in the world is when I discover a book that I know my followers will love, and I can’t wait to get on Twitter or Facebook and start telling them about it. That is the high that I’m always chasing, and with so many talented authors on the thriller scene today, thankfully there’s no shortage of fantastic books to discover.
Dear Rogue Readers: What recent reads have blown you away?
What an incredible schedule – and with SIX kids! Wow! You also must have taken a speed-reading course. Now I can’t wait to read FIELDS OF FIRE. Thanks so much for being our guest blogger here – you’re quite the inspiration for all of us thriller writers, that’s for sure.
What a schedule. Wow.
What a thrill to read your blog, Ryan, and know that FIELDS OF FIRE will soon be in my mailbox — I preordered, and everyone else should, too! My god, man, how do you keep up that schedule and still be brilliant? I want whatever you’re eating! Wheaties? Spinach? Gluten-free bread??? 😊 Best of luck with the book. I know it’s a harbinger of more great books to come!
But for us old people, I need you to explain what Twitch is.
As for what has blown me away recently, I’ve discovered Vera Kurian and (belatedly) Riley Sager.
Holy crow, you had me at 6 kids, before the reviews and Twitch and third in the series…Thank you for your role in the thriller world and all you do!
Great post, Ryan! My teenage son is on Twitch (I have an account now, too) and he loves watching gamers stream. I’ve watched some with him and it’s fascinating. I will now have to look for yours!
I also can’t wait to read your new book. Congrats on getting 30 hours worth of work done in a 24-hour day. I have no idea how you do it!