During the past weeks I’ve gradually been learning exactly what this being published lark is really about. Yes, you have to write a book and it’s a fairly fancy trick; it’s the other stuff, sneaking in round the edges that you aren’t prepared for. Mainly, finding a way to promote yourself and your book on social media without turning into a diva.
Another trick I’m getting increasingly good at is, watching how other authors do it.
It’s been an eye-opener, studying how they promote themselves and how well they do it. Some of what I’m learning comes from watching those who have been published fairly recently and for the first time. I’ve been inspired by their lack of self-aggrandizing, which I do not call humility since it has a whiff of passivity and where’s the fun in that?
What I’m talking about is a balancing act between a level of justifiable pride in having written a book deemed good enough to be traditionally published and an understanding that there is a way to promote themselves without coming over all unnecessary (as my lovely ma would have said.) She was a great believer in having your head in the clouds while at the same time ensuring you kept your feet firmly on the ground. If my feet are are the ground, then in no small part it is because of these excellent examples.
One aspect of being published requires a writer to take part in a blog tour. As I have noted elsewhere, I didn’t know what a blog tour was and had to have it explained to me. Okay – I can do that! Lovely bloggers agreed to host me and I waited excitedly to see what they would ask via their Q & As and the topics they would choose for guest posts.
It’s scarier than you might imagine. Some questions are pretty straight forward. There is an expectation that certain questions will be repeated simply because readers of book blogs do want to know things like, the inspiration for the story or an author’s writing routine. I want to know this stuff about writers I admire! Third trick then is saying the same thing more than once and keeping it interesting. Clever bloggers (and all the ones on my tour are very clever) know how it works and find smart ways to ask these questions. The result is, the author ends up with a great deal to think and write about. Just because you are being asked the same question more than once doesn’t mean you can give the same answer.
(There are also the questions that take you utterly by surprise since they require you to dig deeper and explain yourself; your motives and rationale.)
It’s both intriguing and a challenge and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this part of the publishing process. Being presented with the opportunity to explore aspects of myself as a writer is fascinating and I’m genuinely indebted to the women who have asked me searching, intelligent, well worked out questions and to those who have suggested imaginative topics for guest posts.
I’ve written them all now: addressed the Qs and can only hope the As meet with approval. The final trick is being brave and sending everything off. Once it’s gone it’s gone and like editing the book, there’s always something else to tweak or change, add or delete.
Onward and sideways – another thing my mother used to say – and possibly the best trick anyone has ever ever taught me.