Writing, editing and legal directories advice

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Networking at Byte the Book

I’m not a great networker. While I find it extremely easy to ‘sell’ myself in a one-to-one (or one-to-several) meeting, put me in a room full of strangers and I’m likely to fall to pieces. I’m never the cool, efficient person who comes out with a useful string of email addresses – I’m usually the one who gets so nervous I neck back three glasses of wine in short order and gibber away to the one guest who isn’t a good contact at all.

So while I was excited about the concept Byte the Book, the new digital literary soiree, I was also cynical: would it be anything other than yet another chance for me to fluff meeting people (albeit in the impressive surroundings of the Ivy rather than some ugly corporate hellhole).  But, having now attended three of their evenings, I must admit I’m rather taken with the whole experience.

Much of this is due to the tireless founder, Justine Solomons, who as well as being passionate about publishing, is one of those people who is extremely good at making connections, and enjoys introducing attendees to those she thinks will be useful – so, for instance, she introduced me to Zoe Cunningham, who interviewed me for her Zone One radio show, and who has now invited me to be a judge in the radio play competition that the station is running. I’ve also met some nice authors and publisher types – so who knows where that will lead? The talks themselves are usually very interesting, with high calibre guest speakers (I must admit there was a degree of pop star worship when one of last week’s speakers turned out to be Fergal Sharkey) and so far, at least, I haven’t embarrassed myself by tripping over the furniture. This means I’m getting better, right?

The next meeting is in October – if you’re in London and fancy coming along, check out the website.

Dark Dates round up

When it comes to digital networking, I am of course much better – though I admit I still get nervous when sending that initial query email. But I have managed to get a couple of guest posts on blogs this last week: talking about the blessings of a bad review over at Literary R&R and, on a more pop culture note, raving about the 80s classic movie The Lost Boys over at A Daydreamer’s Thoughts.


Ebook promotion – getting others invested in your success

One of the things I have learned through promoting my novel, Dark Dates, is just how reciprocal a process it is. I’m not talking about any dodgy ‘sock puppetry’ activities of the ‘you give a nice review to my book, I’ll do the same for yours’ kind (though, of course, I think it’s perfectly valid to ask people you know or who have worked with to give you a nice review if they liked the book). (You can read my thoughts on the sock puppetry scandal over at Strictly Writing). Of course much of dealing with bloggers is because they need content – writing reviews is time consuming, especially for bloggers who fit in their reviewing around other jobs – so if you’re willing to provide them with content in the form of guest posts or interviews, then you’re helping them create content (and hopefully traffic) for their blogs. Being willing to supply free copies for competitions also helps, as does a willingness to take part in themed events – for instance, since one of the characters in my book is a witch, I’m taking part in a Wiccan themed event over Halloween.

But one of the other things that is enormously helpful is to get other people properly invested in your success. I don’t mean in a cynical, manipulative way – and I assume that your friends and family want you to succeed anyway – I just mean, creating a win-win situation where they are in effect getting good publicity while promoting your work can be beneficial to everyone.

I’ve had a couple of great examples of this recently: one is with my cover designer, the multi-talented Caroline Goldsmith. Caroline has been invaluable in helping me with Dark Dates – I have ruthlessly picked her brain over digital publishing, she created the cover and online trailer for Dark Dates (and has already created an image and teaser material for Book 2), and has been a fantastic sounding board and enthusiastic supporter for my work. So it’s fantastic that now all of her input is helping her provide a showcase her own talents, as she and her fellow publishing alum Karen Ings have launched a new digital imprint, Red Button Publishing – but, of course, it also means that I get a very nice plug on their website.

The second is slightly more tangential, but a nice example of cross-selling. One of my friends runs a jewellery company called Stella My Star, and, as I own several of her pieces (they’re funky and inexpensive), I asked her to commission me a charm bracelet to celebrate Dark Dates. The result is lovely – a beautiful mix of supernatural and London charms that perfectly reflects the book – but of course she has showcased the piece on her own website and blog, which is a nice piece of additional coverage for me, while she gets both a sale (in fact, several, as the response has been so good several of my friends have asked for similar pieces) and the publicity of me blogging about her work.

So when it comes to promoting your book, why not think about how you can team up with other creators to cross-promote your talents?

Dark Dates charm bracelet by Stella My Star

Review and guest post round-up

So what else has been happening on the Dark Dates front?

I was delighted when Jo from review site Jaffa Reads Too contacted me to say that she loved the review copy I sent her and wanted to do an interview.

I also got a lovely review at Night Owl Reviews, and posted a guest piece that is fairly topical to this post – about how you need a team around you to succeed – at Bunny Reviews. Rounding out the coverage this week was an author interview at Daydrmzzz.

I also signed up to the ebook personalisation service Kindlegraph: I have no idea whether it’ll boost sales but I thought it sounded fun, and it was free to sign up.