What a great start to the week. I gave two talks on ” My Life and Works” and sold five books at each. The audience at these social gatherings are always so kind and friendly that they are a joy to do, even if I do have a half hour walk to a train station pulling my trolley. My fault for refusing to take the car!
It is always interesting to discover which part of the talk interests them most and it is usually the fact that I used to tutor dyslexics. It is amazing how many people tell me of someone in their family with the same problem and the stories about help or lack of it depending on where they live.
Tonight I am taking some poems to a folk club as they sometimes allow me to recite.Hopefully by Saturday my printer will be operating and I can start advertising our next Charity Gig. Pity I’ll miss Crawley Book Fair but I do like my annual weekend in a hotel and this time it’s Cardiff.
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!
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!
I have had an interesting week as, after the book launch, a local magazine printed an article about me which I have reproduced on my pages. Then the local newspaper decided to print my thank you letter to the Pavilion Cafe/bar together with a photo I sent them just on the off chance they might use it one day and it took up a quarter of a page!
I had my first comment from someone who enjoyed ‘A Bend in the Lane’ and said they had read it straight through. It’s easy to do that with my novels as they are only about 200 pages long.
The UK Southern Book Show is on again in October so we have another event to look forward to, as well as the Broadwater Carnival on Saturday. I’ll be there all day and hope to make some more sales which result in reviews as Goodreads list books by popularity and I need to get the new book on the first page of my dashboard.
So far I am resisting a free giveaway but if someone who has read my previous books asks for a copy I’ll send one in return for a review, even if they are abroad.
Well, it happened! The launch for “A Bend in the Lane” at Worthing Pavilion Cafe/Bar on Tuesday was attended by a good number of dedicated readers who made the whole event worthwhile. It was gratifying to be told that one friend was happy to buy four copies as Christmas presents, and encouraging to know that people are still interested in the family I began writing about in 2007. I try not to say it is a series as I know folk might be put off. Each book does stand alone but the characters continue to fascinate me and as long as that continues there will be more stories I can tell about them.
What I cannot understand is that wherever the launch is held it does not attract anyone from the public. Why are people so afraid to look at books? I’ll put them in the library before Christmas and find more readers that way but I did plenty of advertising and still had to rely on people I had invited personally. Thankfully they were very supportive.
I have been discussing sales techniques with various people in advance of the book launch for ” A Bend in the Lane” on Tuesday 3rd July. Having to rely on Amazon makes it difficult but, as a self publisher, that is the most obvious choice. I also have a wholesaler but they only sell books after they have been ordered.They don’t stock them, so it turns into a case of Sell-on-demand!
Therefore I am reliant on personal sales, something that I actually enjoy. I carry one copy around with me wherever I go and ask local shops to advertise the launch. If anyone shows an interest I produce a copy. I have a number of readers who devour everything I write and I know I can rely on them to purchase copies for themselves and as presents for friends.
People in the most unlikely places take a copy, the chiropodist, the hairdresser, the musician and fellow writers. My next task will be to take them to talks and on holiday.
Of course I advertise on line but selling in person is still the most fun and I know if I sell one book it will have more than one reader as they get passed around. The first twenty have already found new homes and I have orders for five more. OK, so, it’s not JK Rowling but I only print 100 at a time!