So, I’ve been a good author and a bad creative entrepreneur. Because my book exists! Wine Dark, Sea Blue has it’s very own special site, and we’ve been busy making it look all pretty, so you lovely people will buy it. Check out the new website here. It’s lovely.
If you modern types would like to download a copy to your kindle, you want to go to Amazon. Please remember that authors want reviews. Pretty much more than anything. Well, preferably good reviews. But interaction is the key here.
Stay tuned for my upcoming blogs on How to Deal with the Post-Launch Slump, What to do When you Start to Hate Your Work, and Essential Social Media Tips for Writers.
So, it’s been a while since the book launch for Wine Dark, Sea Blue, and life is still getting back into it’s own little rhythm.
I have been assured by everyone it was a wonderful night. (Am I reminding anyone of Mrs Elton in Austen’s Emma? Where she flatters herself by saying how much other people enjoy her company?) To be honest, I was buzzing around like a bumblebee on crack, so I’m kind of depending on everyone else’s opinions here.
So the UEA INTO Launch started earlier in the day, with a wonderful speech from Professor Sarah Churchwell (Who you can find out more about here). It was so great to hear a writer and lecturer who didn’t know me at all really get what I was trying to achieve with this novel. To have someone who knows good writing understand my themes and narratives, and the point of my writing just made the day for me.
Then we went down to Dirty Dicks Pub, where festivities were about to begin! Opening the show was Northern Irish writer Louise Davidson, who has also helped me with work on The DumbSaint Project. It was then followed by a ‘thrown voice’ poetry show by Joe McBride and Joe Shefer, exploring the voiceless poet. We had a spoken word/sound art collaboration with Victoria Karlsson (using Joe McBride’s work- you can listen here). Poetry from Stairwell Books’ Rose Drew. Songs from the excellent Emma Weston, accompanied by Sam Weston. And then onto partying with The Elisa Jeffery Collective!
So, my advice for a launch?
Pre-sign ALL THE BOOKS. Sure, it’s nice to write specific messages, but it’ll take time and make your life difficult.
Get someone else to deal with ALL the OTHER SHIT. You will not have the time to greet people, sign books, sell, check the state of the nibbles and make sure the band have leads etc. Get HELP
Themed cupcakes are always a winner
Provide entertainment but maybe not too much entertainment
Maybe trust that when you invite your friends, and they invite their friends, you probably will have enough people!
So, over this last year or so, the goal has been to get published. Yay, level up! The next goal is to sell those books.
Wine Dark, Sea Blue is a coming of age story. It’s about London, the recession, finding comfort in strangers, escapism, loyalty, and never really knowing how to say the things you want to say. It’s about secret keeping, family connections, unsaid truths and making art.
You can buy Wine Dark, Sea Blue from my publisher Stairwell Books. It will soon be available on Amazon and kindle, but please bear in mind, if you want to support the author and publisher, don’t buy hard copy books from Amazon, buy them straight from the source.
I’ll be blogging about the launch party and how it went (fantastically!) but for now, get hold of your copy, and show how much you’ve enjoyed it by posting a pic of yourself with the book, and hashtagging #almichael #winedarkseablue like all these lovely people have done! Get involved!
So, the day of The Book Launch is almost upon me. The books are at the printers, the merchandise has arrived, the venue is confirmed. And yet, I’m still panicking. Why? Well, firstly, whilst it’s a moment of accomplishment and joy, it’s also bloody stressful. And really, so far, things have gone smoothly. So why the stress? Is it the idea of talking in front of a crowd? No, there’ll be wine to deal with that problem. Is it the judgement, the idea that people will be reading your work and forming opinions and not all of them will be good? Maybe, but as writers we become accustomed to that. Is it, perhaps, that all of this is going swimmingly, and yet I still feel like a bit of a fraud? Bazinga.
Writing is about bullshit. Writing itself is a world of lies. Talking about writing is giving opinions on something that may mean something different to someone else. Talking about your own writing is pointless, because it should speak for itself. When we teach writing, it’s a different kind of bullshit again. We are determined to make ourselves sound good, because no-one else will do it for us.
I am destined to say ‘I’m a professional writer and teach workshops’ for a very long time, and will almost always be confronted with questions of what my ‘real’ job is, and sniggers of derision. That’s fine, they don’t really get what I do. My job will always be a patchwork of various opportunities coming together at various points in time. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it’s a colossal mistake. But that’s what my job is. Bullshit about how much I’ve achieved, bullshit other people’s CVs, bullshit my way through interviews, editing, talking about my students’ progress. This is not to say I’m lying, that I don’t do the editing, that I don’t have experience, or my students aren’t improving. But with everything we do, as creative entrepreneurs, it feels like we’re just winging it.
So, the book launch will no doubt be a lovely event where I’m surrounded by people who love and support me, even if they’re not sure about my writing. But here’s some things to think about when considering launching your book:
Appropriate excerpts. I don’t know about you, but I write a lot about sex and drugs, with a lot of swearing. Finding a family friendly excerpt is proving pretty difficult. Similarly, finding something where family won’t assume I AM my narrator, or people present won’t be looking for themselves in my fiction is pretty damn hard.
Swag! Man, who doesn’t love merchandise? I do! Big time. So I’ve had some tote bags and bookmarks made up that the first hundred people can claim with their buy. Added value, and extra publicity for me.
Press release. Despite having written these on my MA, it’s pretty hard going. Again, it’s a form of bullshittery. What sounds good, what fits the theme? What do people want to hear? Some may fight back against pigeonholing but it’s the easiest way to draw in your target market.
What do you want from your evening? I went for laid back, dingy pub, making use of my excellentcreativefriends by having them perform or get involved. Themes are also useful. I’m all about collaboration and creative community, so anyone who wanted to be involved was.
Okay, so there’s my guide to bullshitting your launch party. Act confident, be proud, and enjoy it. I’m sure I’ll be talking about my event once it’s happened. Which, if you’re about in London on 10th May 2013, can be found here.
I’m sure I’ve waxed lyrical about my own doubts about this online publishing stuff. Sometimes, it scares me. Because it’s so new and shiny and non-traditional. And I don’t really get the point of Kindle. (Give it a few years, it always takes me longer to jump on board with technology that everyone else gets straight away).
So I’ve joined Harper Collins Authonomy site, a place where writers and readers get to share their loves. You can read new books, save your favourites to your bookshelf, and leave constructive criticism.
I’ve just added my novel, Wine Dark, Sea Blue, so you can read it here. If you like it, please leave a comment and a star rating. If you really like it (or you’re just a really good friend!) please add it to your BookShelf. You have to sign up, but it costs nothing and takes about a minute.
Even if you’re not exactly sure what I write is your type of thing, just stopping by to show support would mean the world. It’s tough out there, and letting people see your work is terrifying. So at least this way I can hide behind the internet!
Just a little update, because ladies and gents, drum roll please…I’ve finished my novel.
Clocking in at just under a year, it’s about 60,000 words and it’s called Wine Dark, Sea Blue. So I would give you a little teaser, but you know what, I’m sick of the sight of it at the moment. It’s done, it’s fine and that’s what matters.
No, actually, what matters is that I FINISHED something. I completed my first big project as a writer, and now comes the difficult part- marketing it, publicising it and getting it out there.
So, I’ll be entering this Mslexia Novel Competition, which I urge everyone who has a novel sitting about to do. Oh, you have to be a woman. So if your reproductive organs are on the outside, afraid you’ll have to pass on this opportunity. Mslexia are an excellent magazine for female writers and I’d really recommend checking them out. I intend to subscribe as soon as I’ve got some spare change.
Whilst we’re talking about magazines, I’m finding Writers’ Forum a really good resource. I usually feel quite isolated when choosing a magazine. Occasionally, a copy of Vogue or Glamour will hit the spot, but there doesn’t seem to be anything aimed at creatives trying to survive, or sharing their work. Writers’ Forum focuses on both the professional and amateur writer, but try not to let that dissuade you, there’s a wealth of information concerning getting paid for your work, where and how to market it, plus competitions and festival info. Also, I don’t know about you, but just reading something to do with writing makes me feel more in touch with what I’m meant to be doing.
So, I’ll be hopping off on my travels for a while, to recharge my batteries and start throwing around ideas for my new projects (including kids books, teenage and YA fiction) and preparing my DumbSaint Creative Writing Workshops for when I get back.
Until then, you can find my random wonderings about various topics over here with the lovely folks at Pop Culture Play Pen. And of course, I’ll be keeping up the anonymous fun over at Cafe Disaster, the home of the enraged barista who judges mean customers and ridicules them for your reading pleasure.
Keep an eye out for some guest writers whilst I’m off gallivanting, and some special ‘straight off the road’ coffee updates from Oz and the USA. Will Aussies order things like triple shot extra hot decaf soya cappuccinos? Or will they likely tell me to calm down and have a beer? I hope so. Also, I’ll be hanging around in LA Airport for six hours…I feel like this will be a prime opportunity to see an American Starbucks in action. I have a certain feeling about LA-ers. Let’s see if it’s correct.
And I’ll be back as soon as there’s some writing-related excitement to relate! Ciaou!