Thursday, 30 May 2013

Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head...

“Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. … I have 10 or so, and that’s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.”
—Gore Vidal

So I have started reading Only The Innocent by Rachel Abbot which I must say is, so far, a good read. It got some great reviews so I am sure it will be page turning till the end. I also like that it is set in places I know. I think that people really resonate to places they know which are replicated in books. Never underestimate the importance of location in your novel.

I found this out with Goa Traffic- Goa being the most important character in the book and I am now realising that I should have made location more of a feature in The Bittersweet Vine. The book is set in Leicester so lets see how that works for me! (Marketing wise). Well I did live there and worked there so maybe I will make some sales based on the fact that I was from Leicester.

It’s a good job I have lived in so many places. Who knew this would be beneficial when I was packing boxes all those years ago!

Well I’ll cut to the chase on this blog post. Its all about the good news– Thames River Press are keeping my title The Bittersweet Vine (yay). And… wait for it… it has now been given a publication date of September 2013!(double yay).  Well, I for one am celebrating. Have a look at the link:

Unfortunately, there is no front cover yet. I am waiting to receive some proofs. I quite like the way I get to check everything before it goes out. I didn’t think I would have that control with a traditional publishing deal- but I do. So far, so good.

I am now waiting *patiently* to see a front cover! Once this is final I am thinking bookmarks and postcards from Vistaprint so that I can do a little marketing.
Who am I kidding?

I need  to do a huge amount of marketing. The Bittersweet Vine is a great novel. It has to be a success. The sad thing is I have run out of steam on marketing Goa Traffic. I know I need to keep marketing it still, but all I can think about now is The Bittersweet Vine.

So how do you market a new book?

On my list of things to do are:

1) Book launch- serious research into how one of these is done needs to happen. Although I am sure my publisher will give me a steer I assume I need to know everything. After all knowledge is everything! 

2) As mentioned above I need to get some materials printed- perhaps a first batch with a launch date?! Definitely I will be dropping these in cafĂ©’s and so forth

3)  Blog tour! Its time to get some interviews written and articles done to post on other peoples blogs as a blog tour! To do this before or after the book is released –MMM I’m not sure

4) A facebook and Twitter offensive. I need to do this!!!!! Keep plugging but remember 1 plug to every 10 normal tweets - That’s what Nicola Morgan said in her amazing book for authors ‘Tweet Right’

5) Pinterest boards – yes my favourite new hobby! I love Pinterest I need to get boards trending, whilst bullying and domestic violence probably wont appeal to the Light-hearted Pinterest audience I think It’s time to focus on plants!!! And of course I will be creating a Bittersweet Vine board, adding to my Marissa de Luna author board and my All about writing board.

6) Google Plus – Yes its time to bite the bullet and get that sorted. Presence is everything! And Google analytics. Time to kick H in to action and get that on my website!

7) Go on a punctuation course! Yes I still need to do this. However, I have started reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss… watch this space. Punctuation, I will conquer you one day!

Once the book is on the shelves:

1) A book giveaway on Goodreads. Now owned by Amazon I have learnt that Goodreads is a must for any author and so is a book giveaway. It will instantly make thousands of readers aware of you and your book.

2) Approach book clubs! Most definitely! I have some contacts on meet-up for my area so why not give it ago!

3) Contact local radio stations to do an interview. I already have experience of this and a contact so fingers crossed I can get another radio interview. An interview on local radio in Leicester will also be good.

4) Magazines- local magazines and the like. Again as I have friends in Leicester they can pick up free newspaper and magazines and I can get contacts hopefully which I can send press-releases to.

5) Sell books here, there and everywhere – with copies in my car, on my desk at work, on H’s desk at work etc! Time to be proactive. A sale is a sale. I need to have the right mindset!

6) Set a goal- So how many books do I want to sell in the first year? This is different to self publishing. With that I wanted to break even but I was aware that this was going to be a goal for a long time. I still haven’t broken even although I am close. With Bittersweet I need to set realistic targets but something that challenges me as well. I won't have the motivation of monthly or even quarterly sales reports. It has to be a big push so I get a fat result at the end of this. We all know this is not about making money but The Bittersweet Vine is adding credibility to my name as an author and making sales. It's giving another dimension to my brand. This is not a just a suspense novel set in a tropical destination (and lets face it the tropical destination is getting the books soldwith GT)- Bittersweet is different. It’s set in gritty Leicester – and it’s a psychological thriller. It opens with an abduction!!!!! I need to think about the marketing angle on this and what I can achieve from it.  I don’t think 1000 is unrealistic. This includes e-books and I think the selling price of the e-book is £2.56. Mmmm one to sleep on!

So with the above to keep me busy and knowing that I need to finish Poison in the Water (help!  Only 5000 words in) – I think it will no longer be writing Wednesday to sort all this lot out! I have a feeling I need a Marketing Monday or scrap the alliteration and have a Marketing Thursday (but then when would I do my house hold chores?)

Arghhhh it’s all getting too much! Now where is that de-stress aromatherapy rollerball?!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Your intuition knows what to write...

Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”
Ray Bradbury

Sorry for not having blogged in a while. Everything is manic at the moment. Whilst I struggle with Under The Coconut Tree (Albeit the first draft is now complete) I have been completing an Author Questionnaire requested by my publishers. At this point I would like to say what the questions are etc. But I am not sure exactly how much I can say. And really I don’t want to p*** anyone off. So I’ll give you the gist of it.

Its basically a questionnaire about you (I guess so they can write the about the author page) and information about your inspiration etc that they can use in marketing. All in all it was a good questionnaire. I would definitely fill it out for other books I have written. It really made me see what the main themes were in The Bittersweet Vine. You see I wanted to write a couple of press releases prior to release and I was struggling to come up with a good theme for an article. Since filling out the questionnaire I have three or four which I can pick from. The main ones are sibling rivalry, trust and domestic abuse and bullying. Not that Bittersweet is about Domestic abuse but when you do read it you will see what I am on about.

Another thing on my list of things to do is that I  need to sit and have a (mental) chat with my characters for Chupplejeep. I think if I do that I will get some really three dimensional characters.

I have also started writing Living the Dream – which is now called Poison in the Water. Basically I had to chop out 5000 of the 10,000 words written. I don’t know when I started writing it but what I had written was not good. I think its sometimes harder to work with a clunky bit of old writing than to just start from scratch. Anyway, the minute I finished UTCT (1st Draft- and after batting with spell check on word for mac) I started Poison in the Water. Disaster! I needed a break really. I started getting quite irritable and confused. So I am having a bit of a writing break at the moment. Which gives me the opportunity to sign up for my writing course! Well the grammar one. I know I keep putting it off but I guarantee I will have joined by the end of the month. The thing is I was hoping to do some of the exercises at work during lunch hour – but I’m so busy at work at the moment I tend to be working during lunch hour. My brain feels frazzled but I know how important it is so… I am going to bite the bullet.

I also set myself a lifetime writing goal of writing ten books. Because the other day I realised there is no urgency to write like a crazy person. I thought that if I write ten books before I die that will be enough. Of course I can write more, but ten is a real writer (in my eyes- although this is highly flawed look at Harper Lee). I am including Indian Diaries in this list. Where is Indian Diaries? Yes that kindle book of flash fiction which was supposed to be released in April… My dearest friend who is collaborating on the project with me still is going through the stories. I have told her to take her time especially as I wanted to finish UTCT so I am expecting to complete the first draft of Indian Diaries shortly. I have also found a decently priced editor for the book which is good.

Someone also mentioned to me that ‘Eats Shoots and Leaves’ is excellent for punctuation and so I have purchased it. It can be another lunch timepasstime (When I have the time) as I am edging towards the end of ‘A Brief History of Art.’ I think by book 5 my punctuation will be pretty good. Well I hope so.

I have also recently started reading Maria’s Room. A book set in Goa – but it isn’t really my cup of tea. I also bought the The Girl who Played with Fire (Steig Larson) and The Secret Keeper (Kate Morton) and Only The Innocent (Rachel Abbot). I feel bad that I bought them all from Amazon because although I love Amamzon I did say I would support our high street shops so that’s it from Amazon unless they are self-published or e-books.

I also realised that I no longer (or maybe I never did) look at publishing houses of authors when looking for a book to read (as opposed to research). This is an interesting fact which makes me think perhaps most readers don’t. I mean stop and think about the last five books you bought and the reasons behind why you did it. The publisher rarely comes into it. So really why are we so hung up on publishers? Just a thought. On that theme we had an interesting discussion about self publishing in our writing group. The main reason for using a publisher is that it is less hassle, they do most of the leg work and it is free. There was discussion on whether you would ever see your book in the glass windows at book shops and someone sent through this interesting article about book shops charging for book display in store. Stands to reason- don’t supermarkets do this based on sales?

Anyway it makes for interesting reading.

I also found an interesting article on how to make Google analytics work for you. (Although H has still not added the HTML or whatever it is to my site)

Anyway that’s enough from me. The next time I blog I am hoping to have the release date for The Bittersweet Vine (Fingers crossed they don’t change the name) and perhaps an update on Poison in the water!