It is suggested on twitter that self publishers turn themselves into a brand. This, I suppose, means encouraging readers to discover more about the author and share in their ups and downs, find out about what made them want to write and what their writing life is like. Presumably it is supposed that the more the reader knows about the author the more inclined they will be to read their books.
I’m sure it works for some writers, especially if you are writing about a place or a lifestyle that the readers identify with, but what if your story is pure fantasy, or a crime novel set outside your own experience?
The idea of giving the readers a taste of your work is good, but I’m not sure they would want to know about the everyday family details that make up the lives of a lot of writers.
Would discussions on politics, recipes, illnesses, education and all the other things we think about help to make people want to read what we have written? Not, I suggest, if it is escapist fiction. I’m open to argument but I honestly believe the only way to find readers is to build up a following who know what to expect and look forward to your next offering. It will take years for most self publishers and, meanwhile, Julie C Round will continue to write and give talks on her writing to anyone who is ready to listen.
No more poems at present as I am researching Sussex Writers for my 2019 talks at Womens’ Institute meetings.
After talking for about two dozen times on my life and works I thought I should branch out and introduce people to other local writers, old and new but this involves reading about their lives as well as sampling their books so it is taking time. Thank goodness for the internet or it would be a much harder job.
My story for the competition has been posted and, as usual I thought of ways to improve it after it had gone. Never mind, it was a free one!
This weekend is all parties and Christmas lunches. It seems early. I haven’t done my Christmas shopping yet. The weather has been unpredictable so we are beginning to hibernate. I did buy a Christmas wreath for the front door but it isn’t up yet.
I had a challenge from the man in the mobile library when I was bemoaning the fact that rhyming poetry was unfashionable. ” No-one writes rhyming verse any more,” I said and then discovered at least two authors who are doing it successfully. He replied, ” Nobody has written a poem about a mobile library,” How could I resist?
You don’t need a flying carpet or a ship that sails the sea
For every kind of magic’s in the Mobile Library.
Let your imagination feed on tales from yesterday
Or solve a crime or find a love to wash your cares away.
You’d like a book with big, bold print? There’s plenty here to take
And picture books and paperbacks a thirst for knowledge slake.
Or in the Land of Might have Been, when you’ve a book to try
Give your imagination wings and, as a wordbird, fly.
Thinking about the book show I was wondering what other writers might like to discuss and realised that one of the fun things about being a self publisher is deciding on the cover for the book. Traditional publishers like to have a separate style for each of their writers so that readers can recognise the books by each author and I realised I had been doing that, too.
The Lane books had scenes on the front with a rather old fashioned font. The Never books looked more modern and spikey and the one odd book, the romance, had a cartoon rather than a photo. I wanted it to look chick-lit without being pink!
Have you ever got to that stage when you are starting a new project but you aren’t sure if it is good enough to continue?
I have a couple of unfinished novels packed away somewhere but this is a different feeling. I think it needs to stew in my imagination for a while until I have enough to start writing. When your work is character driven, as mine is, you need to be really certain about your characters before you put them into a situation. Then they usually behave consistently and the story makes sense. I need to flesh out the personalities and backgrounds of the people in my next book before I concentrate on the plot.
Meanwhile we have a Craft Fair on Sunday where I am taking a few of my most popular novels, “Never Run Away” and “Never Pretend,” as well as the latest two, just in case there are some local readers who would be willing to purchase them. I think there will be a number of second hand books for sale so I don’t hold out much hope.
The more I read the less confidence I have in my own work. For one thing, most books I enjoy are twice as long as the ones I write. What is it, I wonder, that makes it possible to keep a plot going that long? If it is, as I suspect, a deeper understanding of what the characters are thinking and feeling, then I have to introduce that. If it is a broadening of the plot to include more related events, I need to try that. It gives me something to aim at and I’ll let you know if any of it works!