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Monday, 5 January 2015

The year I (almost) forgot how to write..

The year I became an author was the year I forgot how to write. Well, almost.

I've been an avid writer since the day I could hold a pen and, after a career as a freelance journalist, had one more dream to fulfil: to become a published author. In 2014 that dream came true with the publication of Baggy Pants and Bootees, a time slip novel about one girl's  search for her GI father. And that's when the problem started.

So what exactly became  more important than writing? First of all there was the advance publicity. Not too difficult, you might think, for someone with my background.  But writing about what's going on in the world and writing about yourself are, well, very different things.

My mother always told me not to blow my own trumpet (fortunately I'm not musical) so self promotion is not on my list of inherent characteristics. Neither is emailing friends and family (and anyone else I can think of) to tell them about my latest career move.

And why did no-one explain to me that twitter, unlike its name,  was anything but frivolous and took longer to build an audience than a busker in a snowstorm. Social media  became social mediation in our house as my on-line presence almost  trebled overnight. 'I'm writing,' I would assure my other half when he caught me logging on at 3am. But then how could I ignore that lovely lady in California who just might want to hear about my forthcoming tome? Or the facebook friend who remembered me from A-level English? Maybe she was ready to rediscover her love of reading? Was it any wonder that I got my 'likes' mixed up with my 'follows' - a very dangerous thing to do, apparently.

What happened next? Well, the novel was published in e-book format and gradually started to climb the Amazon charts. This was when a 'card' ceased to be simply something I bought for a birthday and became an acronym for Checking the Amazon Ratings Daily. Believe me, it can be very time-consuming.

On top of that, I had nothing to show my friends and family; no physical book (yet) with its carefully designed cover, no bookshop window to gaze in, no 'personal' gifts to post to my friends...Instead I had to carry on 'marketing' which, according to my publisher was the best thing a 'novice' novelist could do.

So, I got myself invited to some lovely book clubs, gave  talks here and there, featured on a few blogs, (yes-even got myself on the radio) did some more marketing and caught up with my reading.

Finally it was time to launch the paperback. What a wonderful moment that was. I could tell you all about it but I've still got some more marketing to do...And I'm sure there's something else on my list of New Year's resolutions.

Oh yes - I must remember to write.



Elaineyross said...

What a well positioned piece of writing Marilyn. A very honest and touching account of your journey. Thanks for sharing the humourous element too. It's good to know that you can still smile about the ups and downs that you have encountered along the way. Still so proud of you!

Guernsey Girl said...

Thanks, Elaine, for your kind comments and for sharing the journey with is one I will never forget.

Heather Burnside said...

What a lovely post - I enjoyed the humour as well. I'm sure many independent authors will identify with your journey. :)

Guernsey Girl said...

I do hope so, Heather. Sometimes I think we hide how we feel as writers in order to project the right image. Thanks for your comment - it's really appreciated. :)