Monday, July 25, 2011

Feedback required

This photograph is of a lovely young lady called Hannah Rogers and me. And this is the press release that went out with it:

" Here We Are Again ‘‘ As Deputy Head Brings to school Her Childhood Play by Local Author

Whitstable author, Lesley Cookman, was guest of honour as Lorenden Preparatory School revived her play for their end-of-term production.

Hannah Rogers, Deputy Head of Lorenden, in Painter's Forstal, Faversham, fondly remembered the play " Here We Are Again,'' about wartime hop pickers in Kent, from her own school days as a pupil at Whitstable County Junior School.

Hannah said: "As the children have been studying World War II this term it sprang to mind, and so I got in contact with Lesley to ask if we could borrow the script."

Lesley said: " I was very honoured when Hannah, who had been in the original production as a child of 11 asked if I still had the script, and could she use it for a production at Lorenden. When I actually came to see it, I was overwhelmed. The beautiful ration book programme, the shining letters above the stage, the posters - all had me quite emotional before they started, and then - well! I had a lump in my throat all the way through, and I can honestly say I've never felt so proud. And the presentation of a completely unexpected bouquet was the icing on the cake."

It's the tradition at Lorenden to invite local friends from the community to watch the children perform the summer musical, though we don't usually have them writing the script as well! '' Said Hannah.

Now to something else on which I really do want feedback. Recently on the RNA members email group we've been discussing self promotion and social networking. These days, publishers, especially small publishers, have very little to spend on marketing and promotion unless the author is a bestseller. RNA president (and friend of mine!) Katie Fforde is one of these, as is another friend, Jill Mansell. Their books go straight into the supermarket and straight into the charts, something most of the rest of us can only dream about.

So we get our internet presence. I was lucky in that before the Libby books started, I already had a website, thanks to Brian, who was one of the very first Apple trainers (Apple Macintosh, as they were quaintly known then, not Cox's Orange Pippin) in this country over twenty years ago, so we, as a family, were ahead of the game as far as t'internet was concerned.

But it was at the suggestion of my publishers that I joined Facebook, and subsequently Twitter, and as far as I remember, started this blog. Just to prove how timewasting they all are, I just went back to the beginning to see when that was (October 2006) and ended up reading several old posts.

What we all want to know is: is all this social networking helping our sales? Do people get fed up with seeing our statuses (stati?) complaining about deadlines, shopping, cats etc? And do they mind if we say "Look! I've got a book out today!"? I have to say my online launch of the last Libby went really well and shoved my launch day sales at Amazon right up the lists, but I don't do it very often.

If I see constant promotion on Twitter and Facebook I unfriend or unfollow. What we all want to know is do readers also find that a turn off, and do readers enjoy seeing our silly little status posts? I shall post this on Facebook and Twitter, and I really, really want feedback. This will probably be shooting myself in the foot, but never mind.

Please post a comment wherever you read this - if you do, of course. Or if you have. If you haven't I'm not actually talking to you, am I? Oh, dear.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Will To Love

The second Rosina Lesley book is out and people I know are downloading it. This is Scary. It was actually quite exciting to attend the Romantic Novelists' Association conference last weekend as a bono fido romance author, and the buzz - and a lot of the sessions - were about epublishing, so I fitted right in. Met a lot of old friends and some new ones and should have come home fired up, but instead had chronic conference lag. However, I'm back to schedule now, and with a bit of luck and the traditional following wind I should get Murder at The Manor in on time.

I was extremely flattered over the weekend to be asked to become a reader for a literary advisory service. Now, there are a proliferating number of these, but this particular one is one of the originals and extremely well respected. I feel as if I've arrived! I've also been asked to write a piece for a magazine and a guest blog on a US Mystery blog. (No, the blog's not a mystery - it's about mysteries. Get a grip.)

In a future blog I will tell you all about another nice thing that happened - not earth shattering, but quite lovely.