What’s new!

What’s new? Well, here’s an image of me, over the past few months – minus the high heels, because I never ever wear them. And minus the smart business suit – but that would leave me naked so forget that thought.

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Boy, it’s gritty down there with your head in the sand.

I’m not going to list the excuses I have lined up, masquerading as reasons for not being in action, except to say that…oh, wait a minute, I said I wasn’t going to…

Let’s just be creative, shall we?

Image by Decadent Dementia

Image by Decadent Dementia

So today is declared a new start.

Three things spurred me on to get going again with raising the profile of Of Night and Light

1. I’ve been waiting and waiting to be paid for my book sales in a well-known High Street retailer who shall remain nameless (except you might use the last name if you wanted to be anonymous when checking into a hotel). The issue was becoming ever more huge in my mind. Yesterday, I phoned them, to find that I was due WAAAAY more than I expected – so more books sold than I thought –  and they hadn’t sent the payment because they had no record of my bank details!

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2. I had a brilliant compliment about the book from the daughter of a highly-regarded (I don’t think this is me exaggerating) academic. She had loved it and wanted me to know it had started her reading again. What more could any author wish to hear?

THANK YOU

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3. I discovered a literary agent in New York who will consider work that’s already been self-published outside the US.

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So there you go. New impulsion to go for it.

We’re back!

Maybe I’m amazed

Maybe you’re amazed too? That it’s been such a long time since my last post on this site? Or amazed that I haven’t dropped off the edge of The World That Is Indubitably Flat? Because that’s what you thought must have happened.

I’ve amazed myself, really. After working so hard on the promotion of Of Night and Light around Christmas-time, after so much positive feedback, I think I must have worn myself out, no, I KNOW I wore myself out,  and I certainly…

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…lost heart.

And you know how it goes. The longer you leave something, the harder it is to get back to and the bigger the stories of disaster you create inside your head. Oh, you don’t do that sort of thing? You must give me a few handy hints about avoiding it, one day.

SO – huge effort of thrashing my squished little identity into submission. In March, I gave myself until June 1st to do this. Why I couldn’t have gone for it when I first decided it had to be done is another matter entirely. Another matter called cowardice. Another matter called premonition of doom.

Note the date. Yes, it’s May 31st. June 1st is TOMORROW.

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Anyway, I’ve now got into action. AT LAST!  Nothing like leaving it until the very last moment. (Well, it just allows even longer suffering time which is plainly something I love to do.)

I’ve dared to look at my sales figures. They were better than I could have imagined. I’ve dared to look at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com to see the reviews and…

This is about how I feel now:

Image by Bernard Ndichu Njuguna

Image by Bernard Ndichu Njuguna

Amazed. Happy. Inspired.

Partly, by the way, amazed at my own stupidity for leaving it so long to have a reality check. Mostly, amazed at the responses Of Night and Light has provoked. Yes, I know all that stuff about, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster. And treat those two impostors just the same...”

But tell me you wouldn’t be delighted if you read something like THIS about something you’d written? (From I don’t know who).

“This is a fantastic book! A great read — I mean like JK Rowling caliber. And that’s about the target audience, too — the Harry Potter crowd — although I’m a 63-year-old man and I enjoyed it immensely.”

Blimey!

So thank you, whoever you are.

The cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake.

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No maybe about it. I AM amazed!

Book signing bonanza!

Last Friday night, it was, my inaugural book signing at Sussex Stationers and W.H.Smith in Uckfield.

I have to admit that it was a scary thought – sitting at a table for three and a half hours with a pile of my books and trusting that people would be interested…

In my crazy head, I imagined a vast empty plain with tumble weeds rolling by…like this…

But it wasn’t like that AT ALL!

Everyone was LOVELY. I had the most wonderful conversations with some great people. Ryan, the store manager, and his team were very reassuring and couldn’t have been more helpful. My boy Tim was a great Purple-Prosecco-Pourer-Outer. I had a steady stream of visitors throughout the evening – lots of people I knew (thank you SO much for coming to my book signing, even when you’d already bought a copy!) and many people I didn’t know – but do know now.

It was memorable and magic.

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While facts and figures aren’t the be all and end all – creating relationships is the most important thing – I’m pleased to announce I sold 23 copies on the night and have sold 12 since.

For an unknown, self-published writer in a small town that is…

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And the shops want to stock Of Night and Light now – and an email has been sent out from W.H. Smith’s Head Office to all the other stores in the south east to see if anyone else would like to host a book signing.

All I can say is…

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Book signing excitement

Announcing The Book Signing, on Friday, December 5th, from 5.30-9 p.m. in British Bookshops Sussex Stationers, Uckfield.

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Yaaaaaay! Whoop, whoop and wowser and  similar expressions of delight.

It’s happening!

That’s during the Late Night Christmas Shopping Event, when everyone will be full of…mince pies and mulled wine?

Good old Uckfield – my home town for the last thirty-something years. The picture below hardly does it justice.

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Yes, not just any old book signing but the signing of Of Night And LightYou know – the book wot I wrote. The one I hardly ever mention.

Get there early to avoid the queues!

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It’s your chance to buy a Christmas present with a difference, which one day might be extremely valuable. Maybe.

Yes, book signing excitement.

I’ve realised that the symptoms of excitement are exactly the same as those of fear. Racing heart, nervous shakes, knocking knees, beads of sweat on brow, mind in turmoil, waking in the middle of the night…

I must be VERY EXCITED, that’s all I can say.

PLEASE DO COME ALONG to this book signing if you’re in the area…or even if you’re not.

Otherwise I’ll be awfully lonely!

And I may have to drink all the complimentary Prosecco…

Marketing the cheeky way

With a newly published book out there and a marketing department of one – ME – the only way is bold and cheeky.

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Well, that’s not strictly true. There’s the feeble and constrained marketing, beset by fear of failure. I do that too. I’ve written the handbook. I wear the T-shirt. I drink out of the mug.

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Let me allow you to work out for yourselves  how effective it is, as a marketing strategy.

Sometimes, I can wear my Big Girl’s Knickers and say:

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I did that the other day.

It worked.

I had just uploaded the eBook version of Of Night and Light to the very excellent indie-only eBook store Libiro

That, in itself, was marketing of a rather half-hearted, safe kind. But I couldn’t help noticing that some books were specially featured on the website and PROMINENT. So how does that happen? Do you have to offer special favours to the web-master?

Instead (!!!) I sent an email. A cheeky email. A simple email. “Now, being of a cheeky disposition, how do I get my book featured or an author interview?”

Reply. Immediate. “We like cheeky, I will ask Ben or Teague to contact you to interview you next week and it just so happens Teague is also working on the Halloween banners.  I’ll ask if he has any room to add your book to the banner or placed as a feature book.”

Immaculate timing, really. Of Night and Light has enough spooky elements, and certainly a chilling enough cover for it to be perfect for Halloween.

So here is the result of bold and cheeky marketing:

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Result!

Thank you, Libiro people.

Remind me about this when I’m being small and pathetic…

 

Listen, do you want to know a secret?

Listen? To a secret?

Listen to Of Night and Light recording

Sorry, no Beatles here – that was just a way of piquing your interest. I’m sneaky like that.

(Although, perhaps many of you won’t even know the song, released in, heaven help us, 1963, which is, gulp, fifty one years ago. Now I’m depressed).

Anyway – HUGE fanfares from trumpet-playing angels, deafening drum rolls from people not unlike Phil Collins…

I’m proud to announce that you can now listen to an extract from Of Night and Light, as read by the wonderful Jules, known as Julie Richmond for her voice-over work.

Jules could be a 14 year old girl, like Rosa, but she isn’t (quite).

She isn’t quite 14 but she is quite a girl.

So listen…

And, to complete my happiness, my lovely great-niece Darla, whose 13th birthday it was yesterday, is loving Of Night and Light…

And my friend Karen, whose 13th birthday WASN’T yesterday but quite a few yesterdays ago, has put Of Night and Light on her Christmas present list.

So, listen, do you want to know a secret? It’s NO secret at all…

I’m officially…

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Oh say can you see…an American review?

Well, nearly American. If you count an ex-pat British guy as American. I’m not sure.

He has been there in Tampa, Florida,  or thereabouts, for an AWFULLY long time, so I expect he understands all about screaming line drives, 1-2-3 double play, intentional walks and similar.

In fact, just to prove it, here he is…(on the left).

Belgium vs USA

So, I’M going to count my very first review on Amazon.com as American.

See, when you’ve finished reading this, my rant called Amazon-sized annoyance –  written on discovering that reviews on Amazon.co.uk DO NOT APPEAR on Amazon.com . Don’t get me started.

This means that all my American friends, indeed, the whole American nation, could search for Of Night and Light on Amazon.com, ready to make that one-click purchase, and find NO REVIEWS. That’s 317 million disappointed people, people!

Obvious conclusion…no, one possible conclusion – “This novel sucks. No-one can be bothered with it. Consign it to the bonfire.”

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BUT NOT ANYMORE!

May I proudly present my very first Almost-All-American 5 star review? (See at the bottom of the page).

Oh, and a new demographic…that small, but perfectly formed group of people who know all about the structure of aggrecan fragments in human synovial fluid.

Of Night and Light? Broad appeal?

 

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Errrrm…

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 The now-famous review is HERE

 

Asimov on reviews

Reviews… I’ve had a few…but then again, too few to mention. Or rather, Of Night and Light has.

I’m wondering which of Asimov’s groups I’ll fall into when it gets a bad review. Notice I say, WHEN. Not IF. It has to happen.

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Here’s what Asimov says: “From my close observation of writers… they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.”

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N.B. This is not an invitation to test me out.

I’ve been delighted with the reviews. Thank you so much to everyone who’s taken the time.

Here’s one posted on this site:

“Loved the book. I haven’t read a book in years but found this a very easy and compelling read. It has given me the drive to begin reading again. Great stuff.”

That makes my heart leap, honestly it does. Someone read my book and it inspired her to read more. As a writer, I couldn’t ask for any more.

And here’s one newly posted on Amazon:

“This is a great book. Teenagers will love it, as will adults. Really funny but sensitive too. The story is about a problem family which would make any reader, teenager or adult relate. I can remember feeling exactly like Rosa the protagonist in my teenage years. I think it would be a good book for any adult having trouble comprehending how their teenager thinks. Brilliant!”

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I wonder how Asimov might have categorised writers and their reactions to good reviews?

“1) those who bounce with delight copiously and visibly at any good review, and 2) those who bounce with delight copiously and secretly at any good review”?

PLEASE don’t tell me that good reviews should have no positive impact. They DO and I reckon any writer who says differently is a liar.

Just as much as I don’t believe that bad reviews won’t smart and hurt, even if only a little or for a short time (or possibly a lot, for ages…)

It’s the little things

Yes, the little things, and, not wanting to repeat myself…(as if!)

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…which keep me going.

Keep me going in the context of book promotion and belief in myself as a writer. Not keep me going as in…

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(Why aren’t advertisements for laxatives always like this? {Probably because no-one realises they’re advertisements for laxatives!})

Here is a truism for writers everywhere: It’s not that easy keeping up the momentum of getting your work out to an appreciative audience – well, to ANY audience.

For me, it’s a daily act of courage. That might sound a little bit over-dramatic, but I am, after all, a writer. Really, for me, every time I go out there I have to step over, clamber over, drag myself over a massive wall built of insecurity and self-doubt.

Oh, get over it, Caroline.

Get over it I have to.

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Only there are less handholds and footholds. And my legs aren’t that flexible. And my grip’s not that strong. And I haven’t got a safety rope and harness.

So it’s the little things…and they keep on happening, just enough, every day, to keep me going.

Yesterday, a friend at my creative writing class said, broad smile on her face, that she was half way through Of Night and Light and that she’d shown it to her 15-year-old grandson. Grandson, mark you. Like. A TEENAGE BOY. He had started reading it. His first comment: “It’s a bit…girlie.” His second comment, three chapters in: “It’s a real page turner.”

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(That wasn’t one of those little things, it was a huge massive great ENORMOUS thing for me).

Today, the the post office I bumped into a neighbour who’d been given a copy of Of Night and Light by Peter (not me – I was too cowardly!) That was ages ago and nothing had been said, so I’d thought…well, you can imagine all the stories I made up.

Even today, I couldn’t bring myself to mention it. SHE did. Her teenage daughter’s reading it at the moment (a reluctant reader) and finding it fun and fast-moving. And could I give her lots of my promotional postcards because there are two schools where she’s keen to hand them out?

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Thank you, everyone, whose encouragement and positivity keeps my sun shining and me moving onwards and upwards.

Couldn’t do it without you. Or, I could, but it would most likely be a wretched and lonely journey.

I said it was the little things.

I think that’s severely underestimating their power.

 

 

Mad Woman NOT arrested

…on Victoria Station (that’s in London) for wearing rabbit’s ears, (which resembled hare’s ears, honestly, to fit in with the storyline) and handing out postcards to promote Of Night and Light, like a…well, like a MAD WOMAN. Either that or an enthusiastic writer keen to promote her book. Also know as…a mad woman.

Mad Woman nearly chickened out…

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But she was wearing the wrong costume, so adopted a rabbit-caught-in-the-headlights pose instead.

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Mad Woman WOULD have chickened out, except that she was waiting for a friend to arrive while wearing the rabbit’s ears.

It’s very funny how you can be standing on Victoria Station concourse wearing rabbit’s ears and NOBODY gives you a second glance. In fact, nobody gives you a FIRST glance, so wrapped up are they in their own little world of hurrying to get from Point A to Point B, heads bowed, eyes directed to the fascinating beige tiles underfoot.

That is, until you approach them wielding a postcard. Then, mostly, they accelerate.

Then Mad Woman got lucky. A couple behind a couple who accelerated with expressions that said, ‘Do not approach, mad woman!’ said, ‘Awwwwwww, don’t worry! WE’LL take one of your postcards!”

Then Mad Woman got even luckier, encountering a group of similarly mad girls…

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…apparently NOT dressed as zombies, as assumed,  but something to do with a TV show, which could have been Supernatural, but don’t ask me, I’m a mad woman.

They ALL took a postcard and…

Ah, a photo opportunity to end all photo opportunities!

Then, it was time to head off to a meeting, wrapped up in my little world of hurrying to get from Point A to Point B, head bowed, eyes directed to the fascinating beige tiles underfoot.

Only, forgetting I was still wearing the rabbit’s ears.