Thursday, December 29, 2011

Isn't a good book enough anymore?

As the new year approaches, I find myself torn. The year 2011 was a watershed year for me as a writer, having published a novel I wrote more than ten years ago. So far, readers love it, and I am ecstatic to be able to offer it in print. I also started a blog, designed my own website, opened a twitter account, and created a google alert on self publishing. The marketing phenomenon that is Three Women/Three Books was born, with fellow writers Nerys Parry and Jasmine Aziz. With a precious few holiday hours I put in some serious writing time on the new book, The Third Road, about a young girl in Malaysia in the 1950s who becomes a Communist geurrilla. It's all good, right? So why oh why, on the eve of the eve of the eve, am I torn? Because I need to make a decision if I am to finish the second book before I sign up for lessons on how to use a walker. Seriously. The commitment of time needed to finish a book, as any writer will tell you, is enormous. But as a self published author, I need to market myself. Those Google alerts are killing me....every day there are a good ten articles telling me what I should be doing to get my name out there. But a morning spent blogging, tweeting, posting, not to mention being a polite networker, which means reading a lot of other people and commenting and so on, is a morning spent, well, not writing the next book, the one you hope incorprates everything you learned from writing the first one. And what if that morning is all you have for that week, in between working full time, looking after elderly parents, spending some time with your immediate family, shopping, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, paying the bills...what if that morning is all you have? I think I need to spend it doing what fuels my passion for living....writing. If there is any spare time leftover, I will do some marketing. Otherwise, I will be promoting a hollow and inauthentic self, even if that self is well connected by social media standards. Thoughts? And while I am here, may I wish everyone a splendid 2012, filled with joy, good health, and creativity.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Marketing the self-published book...divided loyalties

I am awash with divided loyalties....every day I am made aware by the flood of information about how to market my book that I am not doing everything I could! of course, I could be doing it 24 hours a day! Blogging, tweeting, networking, giving away, posting, etc etc etc. As someone pointed out on Facebook the other day -- you guys are everywhere!!! Referring to the publicity phenomenon that is Three Women/Three Books. is a nice article from Ottawa This Week.... Together, as a threesome, Jasmine Aziz, Nerys Parry and I have managed to crack the CBC (Talking Taboos), get coverage throughout the city, and show up just about everywhere we could! We are a quirky threesome, and that gets attention. We are, however, having trouble getting a review in The Citizen, with the exception of Jasmine....who says sex doesn't sell? And while we were happy to be talking the unholy triumvirate of sex, politics and religion on All in a Day, we have all tried to get a feature profile on each of our books individually without success. Are we being taken seriously as authors? Female authors? Driving home last night I enjoyed the interview with Matthew Firth on his new book of short stories on....All In A Day. Alan Neal is a brilliant interviewer. But I have had two CBC producers try to sell an interview with me on my new book, without success, and I know Nerys' publisher and Jasmine have also tried. Why is this? The last book interview I heard on All in a Day was with Mark Frutkin. I love Mark's work, but can't help but notice....another guy. Prior to that it was Frances Itani, but she is in the big leagues -- you can't ignore her. But what about supporting writers who are starting out? Hmmm. The people at The Ottawa Citizen who look after reviews are....guys. This all disturbs me...looking at reviewers in the major papers here and in the US, top heavy with men, winners of the Canada Reads contest, and so on. There seems to be a double standard. Let's hope I am wrong.