Friday, 31 August 2012

Promo Prep

So I've been trying my hand at self-promotion. I have to say, I'm pretty rubbish at it. Still, needs must. Having my book published is only the beginning, so it seems. I now have to find a million and one ways to get it noticed. This takes up an alarming amount of my free time and ironically keeps me from writing my other projects  - which I'm told also helps get me noticed. (Imagine here, if you will, me sighing wearily.)

I wanted to do something that was a little different. Something that would reach my target audience, and that it would be - old fashioned as it may seem - not online. About a month ago I decided to contact my old high school librarian, John Clarkson. Thankfully, he remembered me, even after 14 years. This could be that he has an excellent memory, which I don't doubt. It could also be that I spent every free period, lunch and break time in his library, and I wasn't a quiet kid. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was a right royal pain in the...  but, I digress. Mr Clarkson (even after 14 years I have trouble calling him "John", that's what school does to you) was pleased to hear that my book had been published. He's invited me to give a talk at the school to some of the pupils. Score! A whole library filled with my target audience, what more could a self-promoting YA author want? The plan is for me to visit on September 13th, give a little talk about myself and then do a reading from my book. Now all I need to do is make sure it's not completely boring. Maybe I should do something totally random, like wear a tutu, high-vis vest and wellies, you know, to stand out. Maybe not.

Anyway, I met with Mr Clarkson to discuss promoting The Ferryman's Wife on Wednesday. Turns out that he's still involved with Teen Titles.  It's a great magazine, all about new books for teens and distributed to every City of Edinburgh secondary school. The reviews are written by teens too, which is great because there's nothing worse than some stuffy old fart telling you what's good to read. Even this stuffy old fart. Back when I was a pupil I was lucky enough to have a couple of reviews featured Teen Titles. I still have the copies, I keep them in my memory box. It's funny how things come around, isn't it? Because now, thanks to the legend that is John Clarkson, not only will The Ferryman's Wife be reviewed in the publication, they plan to run an interview with me too!

All that time spent in the school library really seems to have paid off in the long run. Back then I got to spend my free time surrounded by my favourite things (ahhhh, books. Lovely, dependable, beautiful books) doing my favourite things, writing and reading.  I was always made welcome by Mr Clarkson, even though my classmates thought me too weird and opinionated. Returning to the school library as an adult makes me think of the kids there who, like me, seek solace amongst the pages of a book. Those who write because they want to, not because the have to for school work. I hope that by returning to give this talk I can offer a little inspiration to those teens. I mean, I'm not expecting miracles or anything.  And I'm not under any illusion as to my powers of influence; I am decidedly uncool. However, if they see that a former pupil can achieve something by working hard, then maybe they might have confidence to follow their own dreams. I just hope that they get something positive from the experience.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

New Look!

I am thrilled with my blog's new look! Thanks to Slivia Paoletta and Francesca Poggi of Darkest Sins my page has never looked better. In fact, it's looking pretty damn fine, if I do say so myself.

I connected with Slivia and Franny online back in 2010. They've offered me great support since then; retweeting tweets and generally having a great attitude when it comes to online networking.  I have a lot to thank Silvia for in particular. Without her sage advice I would never have started up this blog, would never have written The Ferryman's Wife, and subsequently never had it published.

It makes me realise how lucky I am to have made these connections. These wonderful ladies are fabulous in their support of me and I've always done my best to return the favour. In my experience of the Arts world there are too many people who are purely out for their own gain. Since making online connections with fellow authors and book lovers I have been overwhelmed at the amount of people who want to offer assistance. And I want to do the same. The more people offer their support, the more I want to do to assist them. What can I say? It's a cliche, but it really does pay to be nice.

So, Silvia, I'll try to keep blogging more often. For you, anything!