Cute fluffy kitten caught reading Of Night and Light

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Yes, it’s a lie – as the observant amongst you will notice, that’s not even a copy of Of Night and Light, but cute fluffy kittens sell things, don’t they? Not themselves personally, as far as I know, but they are magnets for drawing attention to whatever it is being promoted, aren’t they?

I posted the same picture on the Of Night and Light Facebook page yesterday and was kindly (?) and unexpectedly informed by Mr. FB that this post was 95% more successful than all the others! (How busy Mr. FB must be, keeping an eye on all my posts and laboriously counting up the number of visitors, then taking the time to write a personal note, just for me).

The kitten will post her review on Good Breeds later, by the way.

It got me thinking about innovative ways to generate interest in books. Well, MY book. I’m doing all the usual ones…

Hmmm…

How about…?

There’s only One Direction to go…

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To a bookshop to order Of Night and Light!

(Does anyone know a good lawyer?)

OR…

Topically…

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The very first Ice Bucket Challenge? 1887, Philadelphia

Don’t be wet! Buy a copy of Of Night and Light!

I HAVE bought myself a pair of flashing rabbit’s ears (rabbit’s ear which flash, to be absolutely accurate) – which could pass for hare’s ears. I AM contemplating wearing them on a trip up to London tomorrow and handing out postcards…

HEADLINE: Mad woman wearing flashing rabbit’s ears arrested on Victoria Station concourse.

I did only say CONTEMPLATING.

I know that, in Britain, the independent publishers Quercus, who took on Stieg Larsson’s  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, were to be seen in the early days handing out free copies to strangers on park benches. 

I don’t think I can afford to do that…but it’s one of those loss leader decisions that may have to be made…

THE most important means of a book becoming known and therefore purchased – that’s if you aren’t J.K. Rowling, and even she had to start somewhere – is…

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WORD OF MOUTH

So – I’m counting on you.

Yes, YOU!

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(Note gratuitous use of fluffy kitten)

“I’ve always wanted to be a demographic!”

Yes, my new demographic! The Ellis Goodwin Demographic. A select little group.

It all goes to show what a wide and varied audience Of Night and Light has.

Not that I’m saying that Ellis Goodwin is wide, but he can be quite varied on occasions. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying.

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The thing is, Ellis Goodwin is:

a) male

b) not a teenager but a young(ish) adult when compared to older adults

c) a very talented writer

What’s so interesting about that?

Well – as an author, I’m fascinated to know who might be enjoying the book, bearing in mind it was written, nominally, for the 13+ market.

Well, there you go. Ellis Goodwin IS 13+ so perhaps he was a member of my target audience after all? Dear Ellis is a member of my creative writing class and said he only bought it to be supportive, but then…quite unexpectedly…

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Of course, I don’t know exactly who IS reading my book.  I will never know who exactly is reading my book, unless they tell me. (As long as SOMEBODY is, she hopes fervently).

I DO know amongst my friends and acquaintances though.

Demographic #1 – I know that lots of adult women from the UK have read it and made very complimentary noises – like ‘Ooooooh!’ and ‘Aaaaaaaah!’ and ‘My-oh-my!’

Demographic #2 – I know that some men of a certain older age have read it, including Peter my husband, who actually confessed at one point that he was ‘hooked.’ You have no idea how much this has pleased me because Peter’s not an avid reader and is also very reluctant to read anything I’ve written in case he hates it and can’t conceal his distaste.

AND…

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Demographic #3 - I have recently heard from two teenage girls. Actual target audience types. One said it was, and I quote, including the multiple exclamation marks,  ‘Amaaaaaaaaazzzzzing!!!!’ – the other, I’m informed, was reading it late into the night and picked it up again the second she returned to the house after a trip out, ‘Which says it all,’ said her grandmother.

So…with the inclusion of the Ellis Goodwin demographic, that covers quite a bit of the population. Or rather, demographic groups.

The one group whose approval I would in no way expect or count upon is teenage boys.

But maybe someone, somewhere, will prove me wrong?

So come on all you readers. Help me with my statistics so I can make a pie chart.

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Radio Gaga, Radio Goo Goo

No, not Queen, only me being a bit gaga on the radio. (But I might console you with Queen at the end so as not to leave you with unfulfilled expectations).

SO – I had a radio interview on Thursday morning  – all about Of Night and Light.

105 Uckfield FM.

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It’s my local radio station, serving a community of 25,000 although my guess is that not all of them were listening.  What were they thinking? It’s possible to listen on-line, as well. Next stop: the world.

Before my appearance, there was a feature about ways to prevent your drain from getting blocked up with cooking fat. Follow THAT, Caroline Coxon. Make a big effort to be more interesting…

It was quite a long interview, with the lovely Lyn Buckingham. She made it very easy. It was just like having a natter. Well, it WAS having a natter.

Here are the first few minutes:

Don’t want you to glaze over…

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©-Martina-Orlich

If you HAVE glazed over, here’s Radio Gaga to wake you up a bit.

“All we hear is Radio Gaga, Radio Goo Goo…”

Perhaps the Radio Goo Goo bit is about cooking fat in the drain?

Of Night and Light now available as an eBook!

eBook? After all I’ve said, after all I still think? It’s a case of bowing to the inevitable. If you like to read an eBook then here’s the link to the Kindle version… Yes, here it is, in living errrm, electronicness

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Soon to be available on Kobo, Nook and iBook too – but they take a little longer to get their act together than the juggernaut that is Amazon/Kindle. It’s an impressive machine, disparage it as much as I do. I do – only in so far as nobody else seems to stand a chance… 

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Wrong Amazon.

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I don’t wish to discredit any eBook in any way, shape or form – not if it means other people will read and enjoy Of Night and Light, that is. I’m just old-fashioned.

You’ll have to humour me and carry on with your new-fangled stuff, your electronic dream, regardless.

As far as an eBook goes, I’m more of the Penelope Lively school, however.

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LIVELY, Penelope Lively, I said.

“It seems to me that anyone whose library consists of a Kindle lying on a table is some sort of bloodless nerd.”

Or a sort of Maurice Sendak…

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“F**k them is what I say. I hate those eBooks. They can not be the future. They may well be. I will be dead. I won’t give a s**t.”

By way of balance, a longer piece from Charlie Brooker:

“Until recently, I was an eBook sceptic, see; one of those people who harrumphs about the “physical pleasure of turning actual pages” and how eBook will “never replace the real thing”. Then I was given a Kindle as a present. That shut me up. Stock complaints about the inherent pleasure of ye olde format are bandied about whenever some new upstart invention comes along. Each moan is nothing more than a little foetus of nostalgia jerking in your gut.”

Quite!

ONE DAY I might get a reader of some sort. Until then a cheery wave to eBook Land, where, currently,  I’d be a bit of a tourist.

Book Tour de Whistler

Does it count as a book tour to visit one bookshop and a library?

Hardly…

However, it did include a nine hour flight to Vancouver and then a two hour bus ride to Whistler, and then quite a long walk, and back, so…

book tour it is. That’s official!

First, the library – which doesn’t open until 11, rather disconcertingly when I arrived at 10, thinking they’d be half way through their day.

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Isn’t it the most glorious building?

I had a lovely chat with librarian Nadine, who told me how delighted she was that adults had broken through some sort of barrier and were regularly reading teen fiction. ‘Otherwise, she said,  ‘they’d miss such a lot of good writing.’  Let’s hope. She was very pleased to be presented with a copy of Of Night and Light for their shelves.

Next, Armchair Books.

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And it was with such childish delight that I went back two days later and saw a pile of books for sale on their shelves. My books, that is.

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Really, you can’t imagine the pleasure that gave me. Well, maybe you can?

There was that and handing out postcards to all and sundry. (Sundry was a bit surprised).

Voila! The book tour.

Next… radio interview on Uckfield FM.

Diversity is my watchword.

 

 

The swings and roundabouts of selling books

Selling books? It’s got to be done. No, actually, it HASN’T got to be done. It’s something I’m doing.

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Caroline pauses to examine her motives, but not for very long.

I DO really need to recoup my financial investment. I DO want people to love my writing and want more of it – which necessitates getting my book out there and selling it and people actually reading and enjoying it.  And I DO want to be taken up by an agent or traditional publisher. And, of course, it WOULD be Quite Nice (British understatement) to be fabulously wealthy and famous!

Selling books is a swings and roundabouts world, though.

Mostly swings…

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A selling books UP swing:

Last night, I looked on Amazon (to check if Of Night and Light is available on Kindle yet) and there was a notification next to the paperback…

Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).

WOW, I thought!

Immediately followed by the reality check that I don’t know how many they had in stock initially and it might only have been two copies.

A selling books DOWN swing:

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 132,902

A little lurch of disappointment. SERIOUSLY? My book is ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY TWO THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND TWO-TH in the best sellers’ list?

Immediately followed by hoots of laughter at the sheer ridiculousness of taking any of this in the slightest bit seriously!

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In the world of selling books, let me never cease to be amused.

It’s a huge game, isn’t it? Games are meant to be FUN.

Big in Whistler? Who knows?

Yay! Big in Whistler… When I was in the East Grinstead Bookshop, the owner, John Pye, and I were speculating about inventive strap-lines for me and Of Night and Light. One was…”The second-best author you’ve never heard of…”

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Image by Kate Pugsley

(Why second-best? Well, it has a certain quirky ring to it, doesn’t it? And is FAR more modest than saying, ‘the best’…) The other strap-line, emanating from my impending trip to see Laurie, Irene and Tilly, who live in Whistler – which, in case you don’t know, is a resort north of Vancouver – was, ‘Big in Whistler.’

It made me smile. Lots of things make me smile, these days.

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A little pipe-dream?

Well, nothing to lose but my face…

There happens to be a wonderful independent bookshop in Whistler where I’ve spent many happy hours browsing, choosing exactly the right baby books for Tilly.

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(No, Armchair Books is NOT all distorted and bendy, that’s just a natty photo).

SO – I e-mailed them and waited for…

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The Wet Blanket Treatment

or

No Response

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But, within the hour, I’d had a cheery reply from a guy called Dan…

“As for your new book, congratulations. I will take a look at it, and we could probably take it on consignment to see if it will sell. Sound ok?”

SOUND OKAY?

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You could’ve knocked me down with a feather!

Luggage allowance, Air Transat? 23 kilos. How many clothes should I not take?

Next mission…

Get into…

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The Whistler news magazine. Anyone?

SO – I could be a little bit Big in Whistler.

Or little in Whistler in a BIG way?

Stranger things have happened…

Caroline Coxon bookseller

Bookseller? Moi? I tell you what, it really goes against the grain for me. Honestly, I’d love nothing more than to give away free copies of Of Night and Light to my friends and family, people who aren’t my friends and aren’t relations either, people I meet on the train, random people. I want to be generous. I want to bring joy…

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I’ve just checked and I began Of Night and Light, in its first manifestation as a screenplay, in January 2009. That’s more than five years ago. Five years of my life!

Apart from the time spent on the writing (incalculable) – first the screenplay and then the novel – there have been expenses. Two reviews from literary consultants, for example. Then the cost of publishing. The marketing. Merchandise. Money has been flying out of my piggy bank…

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No money has been flying IN.

It’s one of those Catch 22 situations. A professional bookseller or bookshop won’t be interested in stocking it unless it’s guaranteed to sell and make money. It won’t sell unless it’s in bookshops.

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I do something about it myself.

So I am. I’m going for it.

Introducing Caroline Coxon, bookseller…

On Amazon and other on-line places, the RRP for the hardback is £13.99 and for the paperback it’s £7.99 – then there’s the postage on top.

From me, directly – the cost will be £10 for the hardback and £6 for the paperback (or equivalent in your own currency)plus whatever it will cost me to post it to you, wherever you are in the world, if required.

I have a PayPal account.

If you’re interested, please use the contact form.

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It’s not my ambition to be a bookseller. It’s my ambition to be a writer!

(And it would be lovely if people bought my books…)

 

 

First review – Of Night and Light!

It’s a tricky one, this, posting my first review of Of Night and Light…

See, I’m British. I’m self-deprecating. I have stiff upper-lipped reticence. The review is good. It means blowing my own trumpet a little bit, doesn’t it? The shame of it.

download (1)BUT – I HAVE to publicise my first review, any review (as long as it doesn’t completely demolish the credibility of my work…but even then..?)

I can only go so far along the road of advertising the fact that I have this book out. Yes, it looks very interesting, loads of people are saying, thanks to the wonderful cover art. And yes, if you’ve read my blogs, you’ll know I can string a sentence together and have a particular style.

BUT

To have an independent review from someone I’ve NOT EVEN MET (though his wife is a dear friend) – well, that’s something, isn’t it?

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Okay – so here goes.

The review is of the first 59 pages (The other 185 may be utter drivel) – as posted on Facebook.

Got to page 59 of Caroline Coxon’s Of Night and Light. Totally perplexing, gripping and VERY funny – have to tear myself away from it for now; but suspect it will be finished tomorrow.”

Thank you, John Wattis. I am so delighted. Not just because it’s a good review (so far!) but because of who John is. You’ll have guessed by now that he’s not a girl and you will probably worked out that he’s not 14 since, if he was, the fact that he was married to a dear friend of mine would be just…weird, and frankly, against the law.

In fact, I’m sure he won’t mind me mentioning that he’s a grandfather. Well, he might mind, but now it’s too late.

A man, a grandfather – that’s  important to me because my wish has always been that Of Night and Light would be enjoyed by everyone.

I didn’t even know that he and Libby had ordered a copy…

So, for doing that, and for my first review

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from the bottom of my heart.

 

 

Writing for 13+ readers

Yes, that’s me – writing for 13+ readers.

This means I want more than 13 people to read Of Night and Light.

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(That was a joke – sort of – in case you were wondering…)

This genre and age-group pigeon-holing thing. I don’t know. It’s hard to fathom.

I’m not that, well…market-oriented…if that’s the right phrase. If that phrase even exists. (It does now!)

See, I didn’t sit down and say ‘I am going to write a book for 13+ readers.’  I wrote Of Night and Light. From my heart, because that was what was inside me needing to come out. If you’re a writer too, you’ll understand that.

This approach may be one of my many Big Mistakes.

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Admitting that’s what I did may be an Even Bigger Mistake.

I had literary consultants review my manuscript. One of them said I should make my protagonist 16 years old because teenagers ‘like to read about someone older than themselves.’

This made no sense to me. Rosa, my narrator, is 14 years old, with all the confidence and insecurities of a 14-year-old but not the life experience of a 16-year-old. So anyone younger than 14 will be reading about someone older than themselves, surely?

I looked, and quickly found a book with a 14-year-old protagonist.

Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson.

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I bought it. I read it. I enjoyed it. I contacted Kate Thompson, explaining my dilemma. She was kind enough to reply, advising I stick to my guns.

And I like reading about 14-year-olds and indeed, 16-year-olds – and I’m a LOT older than that. At least in years, if not in mentality.

So, Of Night and Light is not exactly YA – which, if you didn’t know, is short for Young Adult.  “Authors and readers of young adult (YA) novels often define the genre as literature as traditionally written for ages ranging from sixteen years up.”

Hence – I’ve placed it, nominally, in the 13+ category. Which does exist, incidentally.

Having said that, I CAN say that people have read my book who are NOT 13 but in their thirties and, oooh, even older. And they tell me they loved it.

Age categories?

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(If Of Night and Light is a big disaster because it’s not possible to place it easily in a category, please refrain from reminding me I said that!)