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
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
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.
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?