Beginner’s Tips on Promoting Your Book.

Recently, my writers group at the Central West Writers’ Centre was visited by Vanessa Talbot, author of Extraordinary You.  Vanessa is also a life coach, helping other writers and she discussed various ways on how to promote yourself when you become an author.  Here’s what Vanessa had to say:-

  • Writers just want to write – they’re usually insular people.
  • Most self-published authors sell about 100 books.
  • Authors need to be pro-active in marketing their books.
  • The fastest way to sell a book is by word of mouth.
  • Learn to build a rapour with the media.
  • When marketing your book, start with local media – print and radio, then move on to magazines.
  • When being interviewed, match your tone with the subject of your book.
  • Match your energy level with the radio/television host.
  • Eye contact is not necessarily a rapour builder – soften eye contact.
  • Match the tone and pace of your voice with the interviewer, so you’re on the same scale.
  • You need to match the language used with the show – listen to/watch shows to help you.
  • People are drawn to mirror images of themselves.
  • Find common interests with your interviewer.
  • Be careful of your rapour within author photos – body language can be a good giveaway!
  • Get the media on your side and be a gracious guest.  Send email, etc to show your appreciation – they’re sure to remember you that way as well.
  • Finally, create a blog and join social networks such as Facebook and Twitter – get yourself out there!

Many thanks to Vanessa Talbot and the Central West Writers’ Centre – we’ll certainly take more notice of people’s body language from now on!

Have you ever been interviewed?  What was the experience like for you?

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Writing the Short Story.

I recently attended a Short Story Writing Workshop run by the Central West Writers’ Centre.  Award winning author, Chris Womersley was our teacher for the day.  His first novel The Low Road won the Ned Kelly Award for crime fiction.  His second novel Bereft was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, the Australian Society of Literature Gold Medal and won the Indie Award for Best Fiction.  In 2007 one of his short stories won the Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize, so we were in capable hands.

Here are some of Chris’s advice on how to write the short story:-

  • Be a bit of a magpie when it comes to getting ideas.  Stories are great ‘what ifs’.  Let the reader bring their own ideas to the story.
  • You need to make sure your story is for a short story and not a novel.
  • Don’t adhere too much to real life – experiment.
  • Story is conflict.  Expectations are thwarted, change the status quo.  Start story at the time of change – action, background, character.
  • Who is the best person to tell your story?  First person can be more compelling, third person has more scope.  Generally stick to one character.
  • Be ruthless to characters; kill your darlings.
  • Never use language that your character wouldn’t use.  If it’s out of character, lead up to it – set some groundwork or you could lose your reader.
  • Tense and point of view needs to be consistent.
  • Choice of words shouldn’t be random.
  • Sometimes you need to tell the reader certain things, rather than show. It depends upon the story.
  • Consider listening to music that co-incides with the writing you are trying to produce to help set the tone for your story.
  • Have you conveyed your message clearly?
  • Surprise yourself.  If it’s unexpected for you, it will be the same for the reader.
  • Resolution of plot is not the main attraction.

Have you written a short story?  Got any great tips for writing the short story?

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Writing and the Influence of Film.

When I was about twelve years old I began reading in earnest, and read just about anything I could possibly get my hands on.  Stories that scared me always held my interest, or stories that kept me guessing with what might happen next.  Surprisingly, my love of stories out of the ordinary came from film.  It was film that made me a reader.

My family and I spent a lot of time going out to the movies and the drive-in (remember them?)  There was a time, during one of these family outings to the movies that changed my life. When I was about eight years old, we saw Picnic at Hanging Rock, and because it remained a mystery, it began to haunt me. People don’t just disappear; there had to be an answer.Psycho house

We also watched a lot of television. Perhaps it was because my parents were of an older generation that they watched the old black and white movies, introducing me to them as well.  It was the movies of Alfred Hitchcock that really grabbed my attention over all.  Watching Psycho, Rebecca and The Birds; that ‘edge of your seat excitement’, where I was always eager to find out what was going to happen next.  Unexpected plot twists or unhappy endings did not faze me at all; that was all part of the suspense.

The combination of both film and books has inspired me to write mysteries and horror with supernatural elements. When I completed my first short story, I gave it to my husband to read, who called it ‘macabre’.  It was only a couple of years ago, that as a member of the Central West Writers’ Centre, I applied for a consultation with Peter Bishop, Director of Varuna – The Writers House.  After having read the first three chapters of one of my novels, a vampire story, he said he was reminded of Alfred Hitchcock.  Having the film director influence my childhood, naturally I considered this high praise.  I knew I was onto something.

Movies today don’t hold the same appeal to me.  Apart from a few exceptions, I’ve seen a lot of them that are heavy on special effects and little on story.  I like a good story – that’s why I became a writer in the first place.

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