I feel I ought to be posting more creatively but seem to be marking time at present. The poetry anthology is with the printer, my new marketing leaflets are ready to be picked up tomorrow, I have entered two competitions and started another story. I don’t think it will be a novel, especially as it is rather controversial but I have wanted to set a tale in the local landmark, an old tower, for some time. It is in a private garden so I don’t have a photograph. I have been asked to do another reading in June and, hopefully my leaflets will bring in more invitations for talks. I didn’t get a new portrait done so the image is about six years old. I tried taking a selfie but it looked like a passport photo so I left the old one. Hubby was very sweet and said ” It’s still YOU”
I used a different image for the Sea scribes trifold which details all our books. That should be ready for our “Food for Thought” afternoon tea at the Ardington Hotel in Worthing on 27th March. I do wear spectacles but I usually take them off for a picture. I didn’t for that one and although it is old it looks more like me. I used to have it on my book marks but put cover images on more recently instead.
If I don’t get any good ideas soon I may even try to find old unfinished works. Not having a book on the go makes me depressed.
I have spent today trying to decide whether business cards, leaflets or bookmarks are the best way to advertise my novels ( apart from on line) I have a new poetry anthology to get out but before that I have meetings where people will not know who I am or what I have written. I have a lovely leaflet which asks if anyone would like a speaker for their group. It is quite out of date as I have written two books since it was printed so I am going to update that. I do like having pictures of the covers on my promotional material. I also have cover pictures on my business cards but I am thinking of stopping that. It seems a bit desperate. One of my readers has left a copy of ” Never Run Away” in New Zealand so I may have some more contacts soon. The more the merrier!
I have always enjoyed books by Elaine Hankin but this one gripped me more than most. It was fascinating to read how Rosanna interacted with the men in her life and how the whereabouts of the portrait was a constant mystery throughout. The descriptions of Italy were fascinating and the characterisations excellent. A thoroughly good read.
I did begin to wonder whether folk gave up on purchasing paperbacks when the book they required was on kindle. Knowing that my first book, Lane’s End is no longer available as a new book and was never an e book I checked on amazon to see if it was there. Happily there are second hand copies for sale, which is how I buy my paperbacks.
Since my kindle stopped working I have gone back to getting most books out of the library unless, like A Portrait of Rosanna, I want to keep them to read again.
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.
Yesterday I went to the Self Publishing Exchange run by new Generation Publishing in London. Two of us travelled up from Worthing, recognising that the journey would be longer than usual because there were no trains on the Brighton Line. What we hadn’t reckoned with was, on reaching Victoria, we found there were no underground trains on the circle and district lines which meant, instead of going direct to our destination, Charing Cross, we had to take in two more stops on two other lines which meant walking up and down stairs and slopes and arriving at the college exhausted and late.
Once the event restarted, after welcome coffee, we were treated to some interesting panels with a variety of speakers on editing and marketing but, by lunchtime it became obvious that we were only scratching the surface. There was so much more we could have learned given more time. In fact, the scope was so broad it could take a whole weekend. This was followed by group ‘pitches’ to experts in the field and we were happy to find out more about New Generation and hear advice about approaching agents but, of course, did not know what the other groups were discussing.
On the way home we were offered seats on the underground but as we were only going one stop we declined the offer which made me think about how we were perceived. It all started when I asked about libraries in the panel session and realised most people thought they were redundant. Then a speaker almost suggested printed books were also unnecessary and I began to feel old. When I arrived home I looked in the mirror and tried to imagine what I looked like to other, younger people and came to the conclusion I must look like an old woman whose ideas and attitudes belong in the past. It was nice to be offered a seat but I think maybe it means I shall from now on be dismissed as unworthy of attention – the ‘invisibility’ of the old has arrived!
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!
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.