It’s A Big World Out There

Being a new author can feel rather like being a single star in a vast expanse of sky. Everyone seems to be doing it, but only the well known ones stand out. On the other hand, to quote from the 2004 film ‘Pride’ – On our own we sparkle, but together we shine.’

That’s indeed been the case for me this month. Thanks to social media, I’ve managed to connect with some really great people who want to help authors to shine.

Crowd the hour
Visit Crowd The Hour

 

Crowd the Hour is a new website looking to feature new authors, artists and entrepreneurs each week.  I was lucky to find out about it early enough to be featured for free as part of its launch.

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Raspberry reads
Visit Raspberry Sassafras

 

Raspberry Sassafras is a series of children’s books by Allison Holland.  Allison has a fabulous website where she not only showcases her own stories, but helps to shine the spotlight on others. It’s a fabulous way for authors to help support other authors.

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Welly Weekly Feb 18
Visit Authors In The News

 

One of the most exciting Facebook groups I discovered recently was ‘Authors In The News’ which is run by Kristin Spiers. Kristin uses her expertise to help others use the media to their advantage.  With the help of her free template, I was able to create the above press release for our local newspaper and to do so to the right standard for them to paste it straight in without changing anything. Her advice to be newsworthy rather than trying to sell books through the newspapers could well help to sell books anyway.

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It’s been a busy month and I have a feeling it’s not over yet. Here’s hoping that by supporting one another, we can all shine a little brighter with time.

 

From Little Acorns…

I was quite excited to have been included in the December edition of the Wellington Edge.  This is a glossy, 80-page magazine that is delivered to every home in the town. I was also delighted that it only cost me a signed copy of Akea.

It is marvellous to receive such a glowing review and to feel that there are those who appreciate how much harder life can be for people with Aspergers (an autistic spectrum disorder).

I am fortunate to have a supportive family and particularly a mother with an eye for opportunities.  After all, if we can get such a glowing review in a town magazine, why not contact the magazine for neighbouring Taunton as my book is on sale in their independent bookshop.

But why stop there?  Why not contact the county magazine for parents and grandparents and see if they would be interested in my story or my book.  It pays to plant as many seeds of thought as possible; as the saying goes – “From little acorns, great oaks grow.”

Wellington Edge

The things we do for love

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My bedroom is my favourite place to write, and more often than not, my lovely Shi Tzu, Kizzy is there with me. She likes to be involved with whatever I’m doing, and she loves to go out with me as much as possible too. She does wonders to help with my anxiety; although what the shopkeeper thought of me sitting on their floor with a dog draped over my knees, I will never know.

She’s a clever little thing.  I was even able to teach her to do ‘away’ and ‘come-by’ both to verbal commands and to a sheepdog whistle.  I admit this was only round a set of cones in the garden, but it looked impressive enough for me to film it and upload it to my YouTube Channel  (Ladykizzy123) as ‘The Littlest Sheepdog’. The funny thing is, that once she had taught this trick to our new flat-coat border collie, she didn’t want to play that game anymore.

For the last two days, she hasn’t been her usual bouncy self and she has insisted on going out into the garden three times during each night too. The vet gave her some antibiotics, and a probiotic paste to settle her tummy. She was apparently feeling sorry for herself as she refused to come upstairs with me to bed last night. In the end, we made the sofa into a bed for me and she happily joined me there. I have no idea if we will end up there again tonight, but us humans will do pretty much anything for those we love.

 

Think local, think social!

Marketing your book can seem like an uphill struggle; like wondering on the Yorkshire Moors in a dense fog. I have been told that 10-20 years ago it was a different story (pardon the pun), that even well-known bookstores would give the lowly newbie a chance.

Today, in the UK at least, the big stores only want the big names, and the independent bookstore is a rarity; but even if you are lucky enough to have one, it can still be a challenge to get people to buy your book.  My recent flurry of book posters at local venues has produced at least one purchase from my local independent store, but only time will tell if this particular idea will prove fruitful.

Today, Social Media is presented as a useful tool, but so many fall into the trap of treating it purely as just another place to advertise. Spending time getting to know others in the same line of work can be a helpful if time-consuming tool.  In the end, it’s all about balance.

A lot of Facebook Groups fit into the mass advertising category – a sin I have been guilty of. Others have proven to be useful sources of information, including one recently which shared information about an opportunity for greater exposure for authors of children’s books, like myself.

Being a new author today is not an easy task, but supporting local businesses and taking time to encourage one another is something that can be of benefit both in and out of the writing circle.

 

 

Flushed with Success

Having sold 8 books in 2 weeks at craft fairs and another 8 in 2 weeks of handing out flyers to parents collecting their children from school, we contacted a local pub about putting up posters for us.

They were keen to help, but said the best location would be on the inside of the toilet cubicle doors. Does this make me a ‘bog standard’ author?

They also asked for special posters removing Amazon as a sales point and replacing with a local book store who have some of our signed copies. I must remember to plug this avenue further.

Great Opportunities

My local town of Wellington produces a community and marketing booklet on a bi-monthly basis which is hand delivered to roughly 1600 homes. Tonight, I was thrilled to receive the latest copy in which Akea is reviewed in a new feature entitled A Good Read.

As well as reviewing the book, the editor included an interesting piece on Aspergers and the challenges it can present.  His comments were encouraging and hopefully will provide a perfect compliment to all the flyers that have recently been distributed locally in the last week or so.

Speaking of flyers – Not being the sort to miss an opportunity, my mother stopped off part way to Secret World Wildlife Rescue with a poorly hedgehog (she’s a response driver) to stand outside a primary school for 10 minutes and hand out more flyers to parents arriving to collect their children.  Don’t worry about the hedgehog; she was happily snoozing in a box in the car with a warm towel and a hot water bottle.

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Aspergers and Me

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Social anxiety is ONE of my most crippling issues. It makes personal marketing impossible. Thankfully, on learning about my Aspergers, many people are keen to help by putting my flyers on display at Children’s Centres or in goodie bags at children’s events etc.

The display above is a marvelous example of this. My mother, who is dealing with the marketing of Akea on my behalf, contacted an event organiser for permission to distribute flyers at the event.  On learning about my Aspergers, she promptly offered my mother a table for the day, completely free of charge.

Thanks to Dawn Stephenson at redhotmediamarketing.co.uk, four books were sold and lots of flyers were handed out.