Last Saturday, was the first time my writing group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County attended an in-person event since the pandemic started. In conjunction with Recreation, Parks & Culture the event gave residents the opportunity to try sports and discover the multiple cultural organizations within the county.
As a writing group, we always encourage all ages to delve into the delights of the written word and explore their imaginations. We promoted our annual children’s writing contest, which has a deadline of 30th April, 2022. It is a great opportunity for young people to enter their stories and have it published in a ‘real’ book.
We had many visitors to our table and several took the contest details home with them to begin their story entries. I’m looking forward to reading all the entries and the expressions of imagination from the clues.
I also attended the AGM for the Arts and Culture Council last night. Meeting with other people passionate about the creative arts and exchanging ideas and views is always a treat.
The next big event on my calendar is a Spring writers conference (virtual) on 23rd April. Registration is required via the website: http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com Details so far are:
We all know the strange limbo-land between Christmas and New Year. A land of past and future. The Christmas celebrations are over, but memories remain. The glitz of the holiday décor is still shining, but with an absence of gifts and anticipation. Leftover meals are the norm – turkey this and that – accompanied with moans of ‘not again!’ echoing over the dining table. Half boxes of chocolates and sweet cookies scatter tables and shelves, tempting some to taste, while others resist. Gifts are put away, to use, or keep for another day. We think on our excesses – too much alcohol, too much food, too many treats partaken. Pine needles fall as the tree begins to whither, needles prickling under foot, falling into crevices, and appearing for months to come. The hustle and bustle, frantic preparations and worry, vanish leaving us with a feeling of anticlimax and tiredness. We slouch on the sofa, watch mindless shows feeling at a loss and lethargic after so much activity. Some may use this time to reorganize, restock, renew, while others feel undecided and aimless.
As we languish in this limbo-land feeling heavy and worn, gradually a spark begins to form. A new celebratory opportunity awaits. Party plans are made, and excitement builds again as family and friends look forward to a New Year. The stroke of midnight is filled with kisses, hugs and new promise. We once again find new purpose and are full of possibilities, goals, tasks and ideas. Expectations are high for a new year, a new start, a new you – everything is possible. We pack away the decorations letting the house breath again with a lightness and uncluttered space. We may be missing the glitter and sparkle but find satisfaction in a fresh home. It gives us the opportunity to begin with a clean slate as we go forward into uncharted country – a New Year.
Did you enjoy your Christmas & New Year celebrations in this half-life existence we are experiencing?
Do you make goals for the New Year?Care to share yours?
You will see me interviewed for my book launch of The Commodore’s Gift as well as reading from my writers group new writing prompt book. P.S. I left it with a teaser LOL
Now this event is behind me, I will be waiting on reviews for The Commodore’s Gift but also making plans for my new project. Yes it is never ending!
I have decided to take part in National Novel Writing Month again this November and will be tackling another new genre – detective/crime. An idea popped into my head for a three book series covering three female detectives in three different cities. Apart from the Rython novellas, this will be my first book series. I;m looking forward to the challenge.
If you have not heard of NaNoWriMo it is a frantic 30 days of writing to achieve 50,000 words! Yep in the month of November. This will be my tenth year. I only missed 2017 since 2009. It is
Once we transition from writer to published author, there are many things that change. No longer can we sit in isolation, hide from the world or pretend it’s a ‘hobby’. Words we created are available to the public and so begins the promotion bandwagon.
Our writing becomes a business – expenses and income need to be reported for tax purposes, we create a ‘store’ whether virtual or real, and we become a public entity. We are no longer completely anonymous.
Over the last nine years (since publishing my first book), I have gathered information, advice and ‘tricks’ on how to promote myself and my books. At first, it felt foreign to ‘be out there’. Now-a-days, I utilize all my social media and this blog to promote my books, events, interviews and my freelance writing business.
However, promotion does not come easy! It is a constant workhorse of creating posts, commenting, liking and linking. It is not enough to have two weeks of posts when your book first comes out. You need to continue promoting forever! Yep – that’s right – forever.
You can’t discard your previous creative efforts once a new novel comes out. It’s like ignoring your first born when another child arrives. They all need the same amount of love.
Look at each book – it’s concepts, genre, theme, topic and utilize any and all social media posts – far and wide – to mention that book. For example, I have a children’s picture book called Rumble’s First Scare. It is set at Halloween so I create posts before then to create awareness. And usually hold a colouring contest. I also use any ‘monster’ mentions as a link back to it.
You have to be creative and think how you can make a comment or post refer to your book(s). If it is set in a specific historical era – find similar posts, articles about that era etc. Join social groups on the many platforms that would be interested in your story’s genre.
Always assess what you can use for promotion. Yes, it is time consuming but so was writing your manuscript! Put the same amount of effort into the ‘business’ of selling your book. You wrote it to sell it didn’t you?
Create contests around your book – give prizes, such as a physical gift basket or a free/discount on your book.
Do you have any tips for other authors on promotion? Please share them, after all we are one big community.
At the last writing group’s sharing meeting, we were given these words to create a poem or short story in 10 minutes. bird, scrape, clock, envy, whistle, sunset
I am sharing my story with you.
Gerald scraped the ice from the car windshield, his breathe making clouds in the still cold air. The sunset made the glass a mirror of the orange and burgundy. With the screen clear, he whistled in relief and quickly got into the heated vehicle., relishing the warmth. The digital clock in the dashboard flickered it’s red LED lights at 9:02 pm. He looked back at the large impressive house, where his car was parked, unable to deter the feeling of envy. If only, I could be as clever as my cousin, Jake and get a job that paid that well. I would buy a mansion over looking the bay and hold great parties every weekend.
He put the car into gear and pulled away, unaware of the bird nestling in the engine bay, relishing the warmth. It wasn’t until Gerald drew up outside his apartment block on the other side of town, that he noticed the odd noise. As he got out he could hear fluttering and chirps from under the hood. Carefully, he opened the hood and fell backwards as a flurry of wings brushed past his face. He stood for several moments in shock but then relief that the bird had not been burnt alive. You’re lucky, he called as he watched the bird perch on a low branch lit by the street light.
These writing exercises help generate imagination and having a set time ensures we write without thinking in too much detail.
I have an event coming up on 22nd January, which is an interview with a local arts TV channel – Arts Talk. I have had the pleasure of being interviewed by the host before – twice in fact – for my books but this particular interview is to promote and inform the local community of my local writers group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. It is something I have done before as Secretary of the society but in a different setting. (photo)
As an author, I had to become ‘comfortable’ with public speaking for events, such as interviews and author readings. It was nerve racking when I first started but I have found the more I do the easier it gets. Like anything ‘practice makes perfect’ but it still doesn’t curb the nerves completely.
I plan to video a copy of readings this year so stay tuned. If you have a request for a particular segment of one of my books, please let me know.
Do you have any questions for me on my writing life? I would love to hear from you.