Monday, 19 September 2016

I Am Waving – Honest! by Jan Edwards



I recently was asked by a fellow writer exactly why it is that I take part in various events in the area when I could spending that time far more constructively at my computer; writing. The argument went that ‘writing of any quality should stand up on its own and in this digital world does not require time-consuming public appearances’.

It is true that events sometimes struggle to cover expenses. But in an ever expanding market where so many titles vie for attention across all of the various media platforms it seems increasingly important to me that I am out there in person. If nothing else it gives me far more reason to ‘mention’ my books on line.

Pushing my own work has always been the hardest part of publishing for me. I have a dread of becoming one of those writers who splatter the same ad across twenty sites in the same afternoon until people are so heartily sick of it that they delete all ‘links’ purely in the interests of self-defence! Overkill is a very real phenomenon and an easy line to cross.  Yet, in this digital era, every author is expected to blog and tweet etc on a weekly basis.

Gone are the days when a publicist did all the leg work for authors with heritage publishing houses. The biggest literary names are expected to trot along to a certain number of literary events and signings in addition to blog and tweeting; especially when they have a new title to flaunt.  

Those of us who are Indies or published by smaller presses are no different in the need to promote not merely our fiction but also ourselves. To that end regular blogs about cats, cooking, coin collecting or whatever your penchant happens to be are very useful in connecting with world at large and dilutes those weekly book promos – that hook, lying in wait, to snag the passing bookworm – amidst wider interests!

We are all aware of the value in reading and/or writing blogs but I am willing to bet every one of us struggles to come up with a fresh blog week after week. Each event you take part in, however, can offer at least three opportunities.

1/ When you book the gig.
2/ A gentle reminder just prior to the event.
3/ The report. 

Three distinct bites at same event, for the same title, but from different angles  - and when dispersed between blogs on your cat, a recipe for chocolate cake and a riveting article on how you discovered a Saxon hoard with your metal-detector, it hardly seems like pushing at all.

And here we come back to the reasons why we should make those public appearances:

1/ Networking – you never know who you might meet who could be of genuine help in your writing career.
2/ Profile – a reader will be more likely to take an interest in a writer they have heard of. They may not remember from where but that tickle in the back of the brains that says ‘I’ve heard of them’ is always a useful thing to nurture.
3/ Making a few more direct sales as the added bonus.

I have already taken part in a handful of events this year and have several still to come Going there and being seen as ‘A Writer’ is designed to make me that name people will recognise as they scroll through a myriad of book titles on a web listing.

I am that tiny figure in the writing crowd waving frantically at the metaphoric camera - trying to attract the attention of the readers.

Of course it could very well be that I’m not waving – but drowning.  But hey, a girl has to try!

(And now for the shameless self-promotional section.) I shall be appearing at:

Fantasycon by the Sea: 23rd to 25th Sept - annual British Fantasy Soc. convention in Scarborough.
6X6 Reading Cafes 13th Sept and 6th Dec at City Central Library, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.
6Towns Radio slots in Sept and Oct
Live Age: 30th Sept Stoke on Trent. discussing how the arts are not just for the young and hip – we oldies also possess hips!
Fire Your Imagination : 8th Oct: Autumn reading event at the Gladstone Museum, Stoke

Jan Edwards can be found on:
Blog: https://janedwardsblog.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @jancoledwards

Titles in print – all available in print and dig formats
As author: Fables and FabricationsSussex TalesLeinster Gardens and Other Subtleties


For details on recent short fiction credits go to Jan Edwards blog

5 comments:

Chris Longmuir said...

As the previous inhabitant of this date, I'm waving back. Great post and all so true.

Tara Lyons said...

I'm waving too and loved this post. It is difficult to be writer, publicist, blogger et all and want to remain non-pushy. I think it's great you're attending events - go for it!

Debbie Bennett said...

Oh God. I'm booked to give 2 x 1 hr talks at a 6th form college next month. I get expenses paid. I am absolutely bloody terrified at the thought of a room full of confident, beautiful 17 and 18 year olds all busy tweeting "who is this ***" while I'm dying of embarrassment .... I won't sleep for days beforehand.

janedwards said...

It's tough out there!

AliB said...

Hi Jan

Well said - none of us wants to do it all the time - and the constant effort of 'big me up Scottie' is not only wearing but also seems to run against whatever part of us wants to hide away amongst our words. Still it has to be done. We're all waving back to you! Ali