Category Archives: book launch

Aspiring authors; make a pact.

I was visiting Ollin’s site, Courage to Create this morning, and remembered an important part of my journey towards publication. It happened a long time ago, took seconds, but I suspect it was a pivotal moment.

I’d joined a writing group. I think there were about ten of us; all keen and excited to be working on our manuscripts, looking for useful advice and hopefully some positive feedback and encouragement.

Slowly, the numbers dwindled.  Some left after a rejection from a publisher. Or because life can get hectic and writing can start to look like a self-indulgent hobby. For all kinds of reasons.

In the end, it was just me, and Stephen.  We were both passionate about writing, absolutely determined in our desire to improve our work and stubbornly fixed in our quest to find a publisher.  Over a glass of red wine one night we shook hands and made a pact.

To never quit. Not ever.

Not when the rejection letter came in. Not when we couldn’t see a way to write the ending or improve one of the sagging chapters in the middle.  Not when we read a brilliant book and feared we’d never be good enough to scrape the mud from this author’s boots.

We sent each other interesting articles on writing. {Thank you Ste for the McKee book} We commiserated when we got rejected. And celebrated the wins. We gave each other stern talkings-to if one of us wavered and wanted to quit.

And we did it.

The books we were originally working on when we met were put aside and we started new ones. We were working at different speeds, trying different approaches, contacting different publishers, writing different genres, but somehow, in a weird twist of fate, we somehow managed to have our novels come out in exactly the same month: June this year.

So, here’s my question, writing friends; who can you make a pact with? If no one comes to mind, then perhaps it’s time to reach out and find some like-minded literary types to connect with.

Then, once you have your buddy ready….

… just hold out your hand [virtually is fine too] and shake hands, and make the same pact Stephen and I did all those years ago.

To never quit. Not ever.

I wish you all success and joy along the way.

xxx

Lisa

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Filed under authors, book launch, books, champagne, editors, fiction, I should be editing right now, opportunity for writers, Reading, red wine, reviews, tips for writers, writers, Writing

Raise your hand if you enjoy self-promotion

I remember the moment when I decided to write a book. Newly pregnant, and feeling creative, I began jotting down ideas in an old page-a-day diary. When I finished the manuscript, I put it aside for a while, and realised after a re-read, that it was rubbish. Sigh.

When baby arrived, the greatest challenge while working on the second manuscript, was battling tiredness and trying to squeeze in time to write during naps, without feeling too  guilty that the housework wasn’t getting done. After the last word was written, I sadly had to admit that it was rubbish too, like the first. So I stored them together where they keep each other dusty company.

The challenge with the third manuscript was the ending; getting it right. There were times when I felt like my brain had evaporated into the sky and I was left sitting there, in front of the screen, an empty shell trying to think with my fingers. But miracle of miracles, I managed to get it finished.

So, the next challenge was finding a publisher. Scary, scary, scary. Sending it out, waiting for a reply – snore – getting knocked back after a year’s journey of “almost accepted”.  Trying again.

With a heck of a lot of luck, I was finally accepted.

I wasn’t naive enough to imagine that I could now sit back and relax.  But the thought of promoting myself was scarier than sending out the manuscript in the first place. Not that I’m shy; far from it. I’m happy to step onto a stage, I’ll easily chat with a group of strangers, but selling myself and the book in the process, well, that had my knees knocking.

The publisher does most of the hard work, but they took a risk on me and I want to help them.  My biggest fear was that they’d regret taking me on. Ah, the insecurities of a writer!

So, how do you feel about promoting yourself? Easy? Terrifying?Any tips?

I found a great little article (link below) thanks to John Kremer, who you can find here: http://twitter.com/johnkremer

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/author-social-media

May we all be courageous, despite knocking knees.

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I love libraries

Let us just consider, for a moment, the humble library. It is a place full of books.  That fact alone is enough to secure a place in my heart. But wait, it gets better; not only is this place full of books, but the kind people working in the library will let you take these books home free. As many as you can carry. And I can carry a lot!!  Yes, free.  Grab as many as you like and then take them home.

Or alternatively, flop onto one of their couches and read, read, read, until you escape your body. When you lift your head, you will be surprised to notice, through blurry eyes, that you are not in the middle of a desert, out in space, inside the head of a murderer, you are safe and sound in your local library, surrounded by other book lovers.

And gone are the days of the sour faced, nasty, finger-glued-to-lips librarians frowning at the three-year-old having fun discovering a pop up book, or the old guy laughing in the autobiography section, or the teenagers using the computer to look up something for their Art History project.

These days, they’re friendly, they’re warm, they’re even sexy. Who wouldn’t want to hang out in a library?

So, I’d like to officially offer my love and appreciation of libraries and librarians around the world for sharing the gift of books, and making me feel at home.

Hip hip hooray!!

Which library do you love?

My favourite is Yarra Junction.  I’ll be having a launch there of  Milk Fever on Saturday 10 July at 11am. All very welcome. I warn you though, the librarians here are so gorgeous and friendly you may not want to leave!

* Here is a terrific article. Thanks William. Click here to read.

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How can you know someone intimately and still get their name wrong? And other notable book launch moments.

The Milk Fever book launch was a day that came wrapped in a pretty box. The forecast was for rain and cold weather but the sun made an appearance, albeit briefly. A huge arrangement of “Secret Admirer” flowers arrived as I was making coffee; working out who sent them was relatively easy as only four people call me “petal”, and the other three fessed up quickly.

I remembered everything I needed to remember, which wasn’t much.

My family and friends took care of everything else, which included, but wasn’t limited to; organising the catering and drinks,  producing huge posters of the book cover and sticking them everywhere, straightening the seams on the back of my stockings, pouring champagne, fixing my nail polish, (because my hands were unsteady}, reminding me not to drink too much, bringing food, loading and unloading boxes of stuff, giving me a guest book for everyone to sign.

There were people doing the money side of book sales, saying kind words, taking photos (which I will post soon}, reminding me not to drink too much, making canapes that looked too good to eat, and yet eaten they were, sending me secret signals to smile, while I was squirming with embarrassment at all the kind words being spoken by the angelic, talented MC.

There was generous praise from a beautiful, warm-hearted, best selling author, an angel singing her latest single, which she subsequently titled “Julia’s Song” after the main character in Milk Fever, floral arrangements that took my breath away. Every copy of the book was sold and orders taken for more.  I was hugged to pieces and loved it.

A perfect day.  Until, a Leo (read; ‘honest’} friend, told me that I’d spelled someone’s surname name wrong in the acknowledgment’s page.  Impossible, I said.  So I marched over to ask my friend if this was true. Yep, he admitted, I got it wrong.

At which point, a Scorpio (read; witty} friend said something that I can’t actually print here, but it was along the lines of, “how can you know someone so intimately, and still get his name wrong?”

That is a good question. But in my defence, I… I…  Okay, there is no defence, I should have checked and double checked.  But if it’s any consolation, there is a copy of Milk Fever out there that has my name spelled wrong. It was a lapse in concentration, a slip of the pen. I wrote Lia, and had to squish in an “S” between the two last letter.  And yes, Lisa is my real name and I’ve been writing it correctly for years.  But we all make mistakes.

The good news is, I stuck to my “two glass limit”, woke up full of sunshine, and received giddy calls from people the next morning who read the book overnight and fell in love with it.

When I first got the good news that my book was going to be published, I couldn’t figure out if that meant I was lucky, or clever. Standing in the room on Saturday with so many generous, warm, smart, funny, loveable people, I realised that it was the former; I am very, very lucky.

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Should I be me or pretend to be someone better?

Milk Fever tiptoed into the book stores on Tuesday, and I thought long and hard about what image (or brand) I needed to project as a writer (many people have told me I need an image).

Right, an image.  I should probably try to look intellectual. [No more pink; my favourite colour].  Perhaps I should dye my blonde hair too?  My best friend claims to feel smarter now that she is a brunette.  Or do people just treat her differently? Not sure. I might experiment with that one.

My biggest fear is that I will say something ridiculous.  I am a blurter, you see.  I say whatever thought drops into my head in the moment, without censoring. I was born without the censoring chip.

Well, here is the list so far:

1. Dye blonde hair dark, people will assume I’m an intellectual.

2. Glasses?

3. Wear black more often, ditch the pink stuff.  Fortunately, I have a sleek looking black dress for the launch, although that leads me to number 4…

4. Observe a strict two glass limit on champagne in order to lessen blurting tendency. [I’m quite likely to blurt out things like, I love you, I don’t want to, Let’s go for it, That looks horrible etc. These are the mild ones.]

5. Do not engage in political conversations with anyone, ever, because this is an area where I can really show my ignorance. Stick to the weather.

6. Do not do a book reading when nervous, because nerves can make me dyslexic.

It’s not an inspiring list. I don’t feel like doing a happy dance when I read it. Although, it will probably keep me out of trouble. It’s what a lot of authors are, naturally, without trying.

Let’s see how I go.

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Is a book like a baby?

Books and babies can both be difficult to put down. They demand your attention when you have other things that need doing. They invoke a feeling of fierce loyalty when someone criticizes one you cherish.

An uncommon romance

And writing a book is a bit like being pregnant; morning sickness (nausea; when you discover that the words you wrote yesterday are not as brilliant as you suspected).  Fluid retention from sitting on your backside for hours and days at a time. Cravings for food, coffee, substances in an attempt to get the brain working.  And tiredness. Because using the brain and imagination can take up a lot of energy.

Then, the advance copy finally arrives in the mail; the moment you’ve been waiting for.

Holding the book in your hands after all the writing, stressing, rejections, stressing, re-writing, stressing, acceptance….stressing, editing, proofing, acknowledgments, stressing, photos, cover, is sheer heaven, and it’s quite likely that the baby won’t leave your hands for the rest of the day.

But tomorrow TODAY!! my baby is stepping out into the real world. Its first day of school. In the world of books. It will find its place on the shelves in the ‘R’ section. And I hope the other books will shuffle over a little to give it a place. I hope they are kind, because it’s still a bit wet behind the ears.

Hopefully, it will be read, and people will like it, although they might not, and that’s as it should be, because we all have such different tastes and I do respect diversity of opinion.

Yet, ultimately, we have to let our children go, out into the big wide world, no matter how scary that is, no matter how much we fear for them. And perhaps it’s scarier for mum than baby anyway. I do recall that I was the one who cried when my real child went to school for the first time; he, however, did not even look back. Sigh.

Not to worry, I think I’m pregnant again.

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How do authors celebrate in heaven? Three cheers for J G Farrell

Troubles, by J G Farrell was today announced as the winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize, forty years after it was published.  Due to a change in the rules that year – 1970 – it missed out on the award.

But better late, than never, hey?

I’d like to imagine Mr Farrell (who ascended in 1979), sitting back in his lounge chair with a fine Cuban cigar (I imagine him smoking for some reason) and an expensive cognac, feeling pretty darn good about himself. There will be angels singing, of course, and other dead writers patting him on the back (no nasty rivalry in heaven).  And he’ll be getting very excited about the plot for his latest novel. We won’t get to read it unfortunately .

Not yet, anyway.

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