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.
After my debut performance at Woodies folk club I am now back to planning for our Charity Gig on November 23rd at Lancing Leisure Centre.
The Sea Scribes and the Friends of St Barnabas are combining to host a “Tunes and Tales” event with stories, music and the odd verse. We shall have a raffle for the charity and a prize for the lucky ticket and a number of folk musicians have offered to play and sing between the readings.
All I have to do is work out a programme. The writing group members will be timing their contributions next week and then I need to slot them between the other performers. Last time it ended too soon so I have a few limericks ready to fill in the spaces. We also have books for sale. St Barnabas is our local hospice and almost all of us know someone who has been involved with the charity or used their facilities. Not only will I be offering our novels but we also have anthologies for sale which will make ideal gifts.
I was reading this month’s magazine when I came upon a little piece about me and my books. It was such a long time since I sent it in I had forgotten all about it.
I should have added a web address but otherwise it was fine, although I always think other writers cannot possibly read books by all the authors who submit to Writing Magazine. Just occasionally a review or a story might make a reader search out more by that writer and one can hope that a publisher might be curious enough to find out whether one would be a good bet for promotion.
Having been told once that my work was’not commercial’ I gave up sending to agents. It is enough to constantly be asked for another book by the folk who do buy a copy. It will be interesting to find out if anyone shows an interest at the UK Southern Book Show on 28th October at Field Place, Worthing. It should be a great showcase.
A book I am reading at present uses the multiple first person. Each mini chapter is from a different point of view, but it is specified who at the start.
After writing five books in the third person I tried something similar and, knowing that a book written from a single viewpoint has to be really gripping or the reader starts to wonder about the other characters I also chose to use multiple viewpoints. This book was “A Lesson for the Teacher.”
This means one has to switch from person to person and make certain each individual has a clear and distinct ‘voice,’ attitude, set of opinions, including getting into the head of both male and female characters.
I think the most emotionally satisfying books are written from a single point of view – as long as the reader can identify with the protagonist but I have gone back to writing in the third person in “A Bend in the Lane” as there are too many folk in the story to use any other method.
Do you use your local library? I am lucky, as not only do we have a library in the town but we also have a mobile library that parks quite near the house. This is the one I use and get four books each time, which usually last me a fortnight.
The main library also serves as a computer centre and has talks and group meetings. This is where I took the four copies of my most recent book to add to the County’s collection. I donate four each time and enjoy picking up a copy if I see it and checking how often it has been taken out.
I also send a copy to any library in an area I have written about in a story, just to spread them around the country. They have gone to Wales, Oxfordshire and Kent as well as the West Midlands.
The mobile library is very efficient and if I order a book it usually arrives within a week, unless there are no copies in the country, which sometimes happens when the book is American. I do buy the odd book if I think it is one I will want to keep but they often end up in a charity shop or as a raffle prize as we have little room for books in our bungalow.I certainly couldn’t have a personal library as some folk have – I haven’t even got an office. I write on a laptop on the dining table. It stops me spending too much time on the computer as I have to pack up for meals!
I had two ideas this morning, one: to make some flyers to advertise my latest novel as I haven’t had any new bookmarks printed. I can take them to talks and they will be ready for the UK Southern Book Show in October. Two – I would like ” Lane’s End” my first novel to be available in large print as it was written for my late mother who only read large print books. I have seen ways to do it on print on demand but I am hesitant to go down that route. Also, I wanted a new cover but, so far, haven’t found one that is better than the original. At least it’s keeping me busy.
Broadwater had a Carnival Day yesterday , combined with the fire Station Open Day. There were stalls, a fancy dress competition, demonstrations by belly dancers, kung fu children and adults, music and lots of delicious food and drink on offer.
Th weather was hot and most stalls had gazebos but Elaine and I had a little table with our books displayed and an umbrella to act as a parasol in the sunshine. We had selected the books with a Worthing theme but we were on the less obvious part of the field, backing on to what would have been the dog show arena if it hadn’t been too hot to hold it.
We did take it in turns to walk round and see the charity stalls, have a go on the tombolas, admire the craft stalls and chat the to the scouts and cadets.
It was helpful to be next door to the ‘Inside Tarring’ stall where other writers congregated, especially as the editor had given me a superb write-up in July’s issue.However, folk who came up and said ‘ We saw you in the magazine’ did not seem eager to discover more about my books and Elaine had a customer before I did.
Did I put them off with my funny hat? I tried to fit in with the ‘Circus’ theme of the day but I took off the red coat as it was too hot. I can’t get my picture to come up so I’ve put on one of a country singer as the one disappointment was that the folk group booked to play couldn’t compete with the disco music and went home early.
By the end of the day we both felt it had been worthwhile but exhausting and I spent most of the evening asleep!