Thursday, 22 September 2011

Writers and Publishers...

Last night (Wednesday) I was at a manuscript meeting at the writers' club I attend. I took the first chapter of my novella along, but we didn't have enough time for everyone who wanted to read a piece of their work and get constructive feedback, so next month we get to go first.

But what has inspired today's post was something mentioned by one of the club's published writers- social networking and how essential it is for writers who want to get books published.

Some of the audience were dismayed, they felt that if a story was good enough to be published then why should they have to do Facebook, Twitter, forums and blogs?

So a few of us explained how vital it is for making yourself and your work sellable to publishers. Your book may be great but if the accountants don't think they can make money, that book won't go any further. Promotion is essential whether you are with a big publisher, a small press or self publishing.

I understood early on in my writing that you need to understand how publishing works. If you don't have any idea then find out, it makes your writing life a little less frustrating and easier to keep up with the rapid changes publishing is currently going through.

A hundred years ago, well before the digital age, writers didn't have the same demands placed on them as now. The writer sent the book to their chosen publisher, if it was accepted it went through the system and appeared in the bookshop.

But there were writers even in the 19th century who understood the value of getting out to their readers- Charles Dickens is a perfect example. He went around the country giving readings of his stories very successfully; he attended dinners- early after dinner speaking...

Perhaps some of that explains why his name is still known when many of his contemporaries have been forgotten.

(The original building of the Nottingham Mechanics hosted one of Dickens' events- our writers' club meets in the third generation building.)

I reckon Dickens would have embraced Facebook and Twitter with enthusiasm if they'd been available to him...

So please share with us your opinions on promotion.


Rosemary Gemmell said...

Excellent post, Carol! Even though we might not want to do it all the time, promotion is essential these days, especially if going into e-books too.

As an example of how quickly word gets around - I posted about a free online writing conference on my blog today. Then I tweeted it to almost 500 people who follow me - then The New Writer Magazine (who follows me) retweeted my tweet to their 1000 followers! The power of the Internet (even if only a fraction of those people see the tweeted message).

Carolb said...

Thanks Rosemary. You have certainly confirmed the value of tweeting. Also how essential promotion is for a writer.

Jennifer Lee Thomson, Jenny Thomson said...

You make some good points Carol. I think the promotional opportunities the Internet offers are wonderful. You can reach so many people in such a short space of time. You need to strike a balance though between promotion and show people you are interested in them and not just in selling yourself.

Carolb said...

Thanks for commenting Jennifer.
You're right about finding a balance with promotion, and finding that important point is something we have to find out by trial and error when we start down this route.