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.

download

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.

image_1

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.

image_3

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.

download (10)

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…

images (9)

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!

download (11)

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…”

large

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.

images (5)

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.

ArmchairBooks-wide-angle-photo

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

SO – I e-mailed them and waited for…

images (6)

The Wet Blanket Treatment

or

No Response

images (7)

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?

download (4)

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…

images (8)

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…

download (2)

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…

3569349-361506-flying-pounds

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.

images (3)

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.

bookseller

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?

images

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

images (1)

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.

images

(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.

images (7)

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.

download (9)

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?

download (10)

(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!)

 

 

 

Book launch at East Grinstead Bookshop?

Say book launch and what comes to my unorthodox mind?

31 Aug 1939, Newport News, Virginia, USA --- First Lady at Ship Launching --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

God bless this book and all who…erm…quail in her! (Some bits of Of Night and Light are just a little worrying!)

Well, that’s one way of doing a book launch. Not a bad idea except, 1) Rather a waste of jolly good champagne 2) The book would get ridiculously soggy 3) The pages would most likely stick together and, ultimately, 4) The whole sorry mess would dissolve.

Another way…

Go to visit your local independent bookshop.

When I say ‘local’ – that might mean a few miles away. Sad to say, long gone are the times when every town had its own bookshop. I’m fortunate. East Grinstead is a mere 11-ish miles from Buxted. That’s local. Added to which, I have a business meeting in the town every Friday morning.

East Grinstead Bookshop. A perfect place for a book launch. Just look at it!

download (5)

And inside, you’ll find – book-lovers’ heaven. Books in every nook and cranny. Interesting books. Not your Tesco shelves best sellers, pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap. Quirky books. Books old and new, large and small, for adults and for children.

There’s a café too. Chocolate brownies. Table cloths which match my hair…

And then there’s John Pye.

download (6)

He is great to talk to. Great to talk to whatever, but particularly great to talk to for me as an author used to writing but not used to SELLING. I mean to say, I’m an artist. I can’t get involved with COMMERCIAL stuff.

(Better get used to it, girl, if you want to go places beyond your own wish-list land.)

John Pye has most generously offered the use of his premises for a book launch – which will be a party, a celebration, nothing pompous or stuffy.

It won’t be yetawhile. It WILL be a happening, this book launch. When it happens. Which it will.

 

images (3)

 

P.S.  It doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to buy the book!

 

Of Night and Light available on Amazon!

It is, I tell you IT IS!

It’s like some sort of dream…

into_the_dark_dream_seas_by_azureparagon-d330qzj

Into The Dark Dream Seas by Azure Paragon

So here’s the thing – you can buy it now.  From Amazon. Go to my Buy Now page AT ONCE  – see, handy link provided – and do that One Click thing. That would make me smile.

You could also wait a little, and by-pass Amazon, if you’d like that more.  It will be available in independent bookshops and I’m passionate about supporting each and every one of those.

For postal customers, I’m going to be selling Of Night and Light myself – at least, that’s the plan.

With my sensible hat on, I have to work out costings. If you know me at all, you’ll know that this appears to me as complex as solving the Spaghettic Theory of Relativity…

spaghettic theory of relativity_web_900

http://indivisualplay.com/

But I’m sure I’ll get there, especially if I seek help from People Who Know These Things.

Amazon is jolly useful and efficient, but, by all accounts, does little to reimburse penniless writers. Or indeed, writers who have pennies.

Amazon is also…under scrutiny.

While I’m not, repeat NOT, a money-grabbing self-server, I’d rather any pennies to be earned went to a more worthy cause than a company who paid just £4.2m in UK tax last year, despite selling goods worth £4.3 billion.

Well, what a remarkable post! Me telling you the wonderful news that my book is available on Amazon and then enumerating the reasons why Amazon is not a Good Thing.

Thing is, I have to sleep at nights…

Caroline Coxon, the super saleswoman!

PLEASE drop me a line via the Contact Form – another handy link provided – to register an interest!

I should mention that I’m told Of Night and Light will soon be available from Waterstones online.

Of Night and Light will ALSO, soon, be available as an eBook, if you are one of those people who isn’t firmly stuck in the past, like me, clinging feverishly on to the idea that a book is made of paper and card and sits beautifully on a bookshelf and goes soggy if you drop it in the bath by accident. Or indeed, on purpose.

Oh well, I guess there’s nothing to stop you from  putting your Kindle on a bookshelf… (other eReaders available but I don’t know what they’re called).

images (1)

There you go…

 

 

Of Night and Light – Into the Light

Today – June 14th, 2014 – is a momentous day for me. Delivered – the sample copy of my novel Of Night and Light

I’d ordered Room by Emma Donoghue and I thought the package was that. Exciting enough in itself – but when I saw that it was MY BOOK, well…according to Tim, you could hear the screams from half a mile away and, several hours later, his ear drums are still vibrating.

happy-face-300x225

Screams of delight!

And here it is.

of-night-and-light-cover-design

Of Night and Light

I’ve recounted the long journey to publication on my Quirkyworks website.

How, in heaven’s name did I get to this point? Sometimes I wonder, myself. If I need reminding I could follow my own advice and… Read all about it in a series of blogs

And what of the book? The blurb…oh gosh, blurbs can be harder to write than novels, really they can.

“When Rosa is uprooted from civilised Notting Hill to her mum’s ramshackle family home in deepest Somerset, she hates everything about it.

 But soon, weird druidic rituals, an unexplained death, and airy-fairy sister Alice’s life in peril at the hands of a malevolent old hag are enough to draw Rosa in to rural life, however hard she fights against it.

 And then there’s the boy…”

Thrown Out Old Mirror

A tiny fragment from Chapter 1 – or I could say shard.

 “And now, when I look in the mirror, my face is cut in half, which I wouldn’t mind because I only like one half of my face anyway.”