Wednesday, 29 May 2019

What's a sparge bag?

When Mr Thorley retired, I started to keep a diary of how we progressed as the 'new normal' took hold. At first I did this without telling him; it was just for my own amusement. Somehow, though, it became a full-on book project. The plan is to publish in September.

Because I'm going to be out and about a bit over the coming months, I've had some business cards printed to promote the book. I went to local firm PrintNGo, and they did a great job: courteous and efficient.

I haven't had such good service from the dealership that has just provided me with a new car. I won't name and shame, but they could learn a lot from PrintNGo.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

A local post, for local people

I realise that if you live miles from Northamptonshire, this isn't going to mean anything to you, but here goes anyway.

As part of Thrapston Arts Festival, I'm holding a creative writing workshop in the town's library on Friday 7 June, 2.30-3.30pm. It's for anyone who's ever fancied creating a character for a novel or short story or just for fun. No experience necessary, just an open mind and a willingness to have a go. Please tell anyone you think might like to come along.

And while we're here, let's give a round of applause to the volunteers everywhere who are keeping our libraries open.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

How to handle a book launch

I've been lucky enough to attend lots of book launches, some in honour of established and, occasionally, famous authors, others by first-timers and the self-published. I've done a couple myself, too. Of course, years ago, publishers would splash the cash and hire posh venues and lay on champagne and nibbles; these days, you're lucky if they issue a press release for you. As has been said many times, anyone can write a book, but the trick is to sell the damn thing, and a proper launch can be a good way to get the ball rolling.

If you're planning a launch:
  • Invite everyone. Most people won't come. You're unlikely to run out of books.
  • Pick a venue that's appropriate, accessible and has decent parking. Make it easy for your guests to say yes to the invitation.
  • Unless you're launching a recipe book, don't go overboard with the nibbles. People only have two hands (maximum) and you want them to have one free with which to pick up your book. Don't serve anything greasy.
  • Say 'Thank you for coming,' to everyone.
  • Don't turn the launch into a seminar. By all means, do a little speech about the book, but remember that most folk want to pop in, have a drink, say hello, buy a book (all being well) and then bugger off again.
  • Take a pen so you can sign copies. Take some change. 
  • It's fine to encourage your guests to buy the book, but don't bully them into it. Don't lurk by the exit with your Sharpie, saying, 'Shall I sign your copy?' That's needy and embarrassing for everyone, especially those who were trying to leave without a purchase. 
  • If you don't want a real launch, fake one. Have a cake made with the image of your book cover on top, take picture of it - better still, have some friends or family gather round it with a glass of something raised in a toast - and get it out there.
If you're invited to a launch:
  • Spread the word, whether you intend to go or not. All authors need publicity.
  • Obviously, it's better if you can buy the book, but don't feel obliged. The more people there are in the room, the better the atmosphere and the more likely others are to get out their money. Your presence and support will be appreciated either way.
  • That said, limit your intake of the freebies if you're not planning to buy a copy. Consider the principal of reciprocity. 
  • Afterwards, say something nice on social media.


Thursday, 9 May 2019

Festival season

This week's mail has brought the brochures and leaflets for Buckingham Literary Festival. This event runs from 13th to 16th June and promises a brilliant selection of authors and book-related goings on. Do have a look at the website here.

New for this year is the Local Authors Hub, and I'm pleased to have been asked to take part. I shall be talking about and (I hope) selling my books, and doing a short talk on pitching non-fiction.

If you happen to be in the area, do come along and say hello. (That's me in the second row, second from the right.)