Friday, 24 July 2015

What can you say apart from please buy my book? Pt 2

Sometimes you need to branch out.

For a novelist, being published presents a whole new set of challenges. You suddenly have to do other sorts of writing, including writing about writing. There are online blurbs, interviews (I'll mention in passing that I'm still available...), and the subtle - or not so subtle - art of promoting your novel.

The first hurdle is deciding what to say after 'please buy my book'. On your marks...get set...write!

Let's start with a little deconstructing.

What makes your novel distinctive?

1 - Genre.

2 - Characters.

3 - Themes.

4 - Plot.

5 - Setting.

6 - The way you use language and / or the use of slang.

That's six topics right away without breaking a sweat and here are four examples.








The next place to cast your net is in the direction of your own writing practice. 

This may include:

7 - Where your ideas came from.

8 - First drafts.

9 - Editing.

10 - Submissions.

11 - Rejections.

12 - Tips you've picked up along the way.

Here's one of mine:


That's another six topics to stick in your quiver!


Further afield? 

Why certainly!

13 - Your journey as an author.

14 - Things people might not know about you.

15 - Your other novels (because you can never have too many).

16 - Other forms of writing (short fiction, non-fiction, copywriting, etc.).

17 - Feedback - the good, the bad and the ouch.

18 - Writers / artists / musicians / films that inspire you, and why. (Four for the price of one.)

Some of the above:







Those 18 topics ought to keep you busy for a while. Try and find as many different places to host the posts and remember to include a little information about yourself and your book/s. 


Speaking of which...

Standpoint

Line of Sight

Why not leave a comment to let people know how you blog about your book? (And where!)

Monday, 20 July 2015

What can you say apart from please buy my book? Pt 1

Time and tide...get your feet wet.
We're told that everyone has a book inside them* although many would-be writers are unable to commit themselves to the page. Who can blame them? It's hard work and when you finally reach 'the end' another adventure beckons. Then, when you've finally reached the final 'the end', it's the joy of submission. And then, finally, finally, your book is out there. (Please note: the whole process can take years, or lifetimes.)

Then rainbows follow you and royalty receipts are strewn at your feet by welcoming angels.

Well, not exactly. Now you have to switch off the artist side of your brain and think about marketing. Whether you're self-published or traditionally published, you will need to play your part. Most writers I've spoken to on the subject are not natural marketeers. 

When it comes to promotional activity, they go through the author's give stages of promotional grief. If you'd care to follow me...

DENIAL - I don't have to promote my book. That's what agents, publishers, angels and my social media contacts are for. I just write the books. It can still sell if I don't promote it.

ANGER - Why isn't my bloody book selling? It's not fair. I bet JK didn't have to deal with this.

BARGAINING - If I just do a little, surely that will be enough? If I ask all my friends, and everyone in my writing group, and anyone I've ever met online, won't that do? 

DEPRESSION - This book is never going to sell. I can't do it. It's too hard. (And even the classic: I'm not a good enough writer and people will see that.)

ACCEPTANCE - This is the book I've written. I want to reach readers. My literary child may not be the prettiest or the smartest or the most erudite but goddarn it I'm gonna love it all the same. I wrote it and now it's depending on me. Where's my pen?

The solution is writing about your book without simply creating a page with a sales URL. Do make sure you include one of those with every promotional post though. Art for art's sake; money for food.

On Friday I'll give you some suggestions. See you then.

* Not like Manny in Black Books.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Not a poet and I know it


I recently attended a couple of events at this year's Penzance Literary Festival. The first was a writing and mythology workshop, facilitated by poet and prose writer Angela Stoner. I mucked in as a steward for one event the following day and that turned out to be Angela's as well. I hope to interview her soon either on this blog or the sister blog www.strictlywriting.blogspot.co.uk

Like many writers I found expression through poetry in my teens, although no one dug my doggerel at the time. Maybe I was channelling my inner William McGonagall

The session Angela gave on myth took me in an unusual direction when I got home. I started to think about those elements of my storywriting that come from other people, often without their knowledge. Those precious slivers of overheard conversations that I skewered on my notebook pages, the borrowed memories, and the brutal cannibalisation of other people's experiences.

Graham Greene is said to have said: "There is a splinter of ice in the heart of a writer." Some say it's jagged glass, but I prefer the idea of ice as it suggests the possibiity of a thaw.

Anyway, taking all of the above as inspiration, here's a poem.

I Confess - More or Less

I stole your pet's name
And I took your cousin's too.
I ripped your life into ribboned strips
And sewed them up anew.

I altered crucial details
To hide my heinous crimes.
I changed the date you met your fate
I lied about those times.

I painted myself in the picture
When I wasn't even there.
I made a heroine out of you
And pretended that she cared.

I moved you to a country
Where I know you've never been.
I gave our lines to others
And reordered all the scenes.

I wrote you out of context
With a wild and wicked pen.
I plunged an ice shard in my heart
To serve the story's ends.

I'll never share the secrets
Of a thousand personal worlds.
But I'll scatter fragments liberally
To turn them into pearls.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Romance of Radio

Do you remember Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles? There's wisdom in them there lyrics. Technology's fab and groovy, but sometimes it lacks romance. When I was a lad we would sometimes go to a caravan park in Essex (a trailer park for the weekend, for our transatlantic cousins). 

I used to lie awake in the dark, a transistor radio wedged against my face, listening to faraway lands. Sometimes I'd catch French programmes or lose myself in the magic of big band music. I didn't know Glenn Miller by name but I recognised his music the first time I was formally introduced to it. The signal would ebb and flow like the tide on the nearby River Blackwater. It's also where I first heard the haunting and poetically beautiful Shipping Forecast. (Made more beautiful now that I know Dogger hides a hidden land.)

I've had minor flirtations with radio over the years. I wrote some gags for the late, lamented (by me because the money was okay!) Channel 4 Radio, plus a couple of gags that made it on to BBC Radio.

My most enduring association with a radio station was as a foreign correspondent for KBRW, Alaska. My buddy, Earl Finkler, would ring me from Barrow in Alaska every month or so and we'd chat on air about European news, plus anything topical in the US. The show reached part of the USA, Canada and Russia. 

In the UK I was interviewed on The Source FM about writing fiction and shared a microphone on BBC Radio Cornwall, a few years back, to talk about comedy writing.  

Yesterday I renewed my romance with local radio by joining Tiffany Truscott on BBC Radio Cornwall, talking about the joy ebooks, blogging and my thrillers, Standpoint and Line of Sight. We also touched upon writing groups and the fine art of receiving difficult feedback.

If you fancy listening to the 10 minute segment, you'll need to be quick, as I believe it's only available for 28 days. The show is two hours long and my bit is at around 1hr 30 mins. Let me know what you think!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02tcb26

Maybe, like the great humorist Fred Allen, I do have a face for radio.


Standpoint - amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/1JlndoY

Standpoint - amazon.com http://amzn.to/1H0zhKx

Line of Sight - amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/1BKyWFF

Line of Sight amazon.com http://amzn.to/1EWvFmE