Writing and selling The Tin Heart Gold Mine

Ruth HartleyBook Launch, Promotion, Southern Africa, The Tin Heart Gold Mine4 Comments

Writers need to sell books

Writers write – rather than talk about what they write – but the current publishing market forces us to become Independent Authors and acquire self-promotional skills entirely different from writing. The idea of a book launch for The Tin Heart Gold Mine gave me sleepless nights, but, nevertheless, we decided to hold the event at the Cafe du Centre in Gascony. It’s a great place for a meal and served our large party a delicious fish and chip supper afterwards.

Book launch and promotion

Ruth sits at a table of which are spread copies of her new novel The Tin Heart Gold Mine

Ruth at the launch of her new book. Photo by Geraldine de Haan

Claudia sitting at Ruth's right opens the discussion at the launch of Ruth's new book

Claudia introduces Ruth and her new book The Tin Heart Gold Mine. Photo by Geraldine de Haan

I did, however, enjoy the book launch. I was surrounded by friends and among them was a number of writers. Both together made the evening pleasant and interesting. My friend, Claudia, facilitated the evening raising the points that she thought would interest my readers.

She suggested that we discuss the autobiographical elements in my novel, something all readers are curious about and something I promise I will enlarge on in another post.

It’s relevant as my protagonist Lara, in The Tin Heart Gold Mine, is an artist like me. We also talked about southern Africa where I have spent most of my life. Africa, as I pointed out, is not one country, but a vast continent of many different countries and peoples.

Claudia also raised the question of Lara’s development to maturity and her relationships with Tim and Oscar, two very different characters.

Nick asked how I write about black and white characters without mentioning skin colour. It’s an important question and will get a separate blog post. It’s an idea I had started to explore in my post on Surviving Monsters.

Writers selling books and sharing ideas

A group of people sittting around a table chatting. In the background groups of people standing and talking

The book launch Photo by Geraldine de Haan

Among the writers present were Nick Inman who wrote A Guide to Mystical France, a book that we enjoyed and gave away as presents; Clara Villanueva whose I, Carmela looks so much fun that I’ve ordered it; Allyson Gofton whose smashing Recipes from my French Kitchen was sent to everyone in my family.

June Gadsby, who has written many novels and who has given me helpful advice was there, and Ellen Rugen who, like me, is self-published, together with Keith Ross who has written an educational book about science.

A group of people seated around a table decorated with an African cloth talk to Claudia who is standing up

The conversation at the book launch Photo by Geraldine de Haan

I thought it was amazing that we were all such different writers of different genres, all connected by France, probably managing tight budgets as we try to find space, time and justification for the writing habit.

I think we all shared the same problem – how to promote our work and find readers without going bankrupt. This problem of selling is the same for musicians and artists.

How writers make money

Was it a Poisson d’ Avril on April Fool’s Day? I was startled and shocked to see a favourite author of mine, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, advertising makeup. It wasn’t a joke! Writers work so hard teaching, lecturing, promoting books – perhaps she was only earning enough to do nothing but write?

4 Comments on “Writing and selling The Tin Heart Gold Mine”

  1. Christine Stacey

    I like many others are intrigued by the life you have led so far, and look forward to hearing more about it. I was however a little disappointed regarding your comment about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie advertising make-up. There could be many reasons, but firstly what is wrong with make-up and secondly Helen Mirran does it so why should Chimamanda be any different. I would have thought that the producers of the make-up would prefer it to be promoted by someone who would enhance it, so could be an indication of her beauty and popularity?
    Not all of us choose our way in life, to many of us life happens, then we look back on 60+ years and wonder how did it all happen? You have now chosen to write, congratulations.

    1. Ruth Hartley

      Gosh, Christine, I didn’t intend to suggest disapproval of make-up in this post. I’ve used and enjoyed using make-up. I’ve given up on it now as I can’t make it work for me. I thought that the No7 advert was positive in many lovely ways not least because a real writer is featured who is black and has a womanly shape.
      I meant only to be ironic about the way writers earn their keep. I imagine though that there will be many differing opinions about the advert and I’d be interested to know what other people think.

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