Let’s face it, we writers want nothing more than to huddle down in our lonely corners and be creative. However, a supportive publisher can make such a difference to our lives.
We know we have to move out of our comfort zone and shout amongst the clamour so that our little voices can be heard by the precious few who may turn into faithful readers. We also know that we are among the general run of authors who will seldom produce a block-buster; all we dare hope for is a steady stream of readers to appreciate our efforts.
I wonder how many publishers have actually invested in their writers? I’m not talking only about money. Advances and royalties go with the business, and editors are a necessity. Communities of authors can get together to share experiences, trade tips and support each other, and the internet is an easy medium. We at Crooked Cat are fortunate to have a friendly knowledgeable group and I always get a quick answer from somebody when I have a tricky question.
But things have been moving on. Behind the scenes, publishers do basic marketing across the internet. But it is fun and rewarding when we attend their get-togethers and meet each other in the flesh. From this, we can arrange joint events among ourselves, and profile pictures become real people.
More developments have happened as technology advances. Never did I think I’d ever take part in a webinar. Five years ago I hadn’t even heard the word. But now I look forward to a series which includes developing an author brand, making a marketing plan, social media, etc.etc. As we get used to the quirks of technology, the sessions increase in value, and it is fun hearing the different voices and matching them – sometimes with surprise – to the profile pictures. We encourage each other afterwards in online chat as we put the suggestions into practice. And it’s all free. We don’t have to waste time and expense in travel. It’s a win-win situation.
And now something special has happened. I have had the first of regular one-to-one meetings with my publisher. At last I have his undivided attention for a whole hour. I can even see him face to face as I talk, if I wish. (Yes, I know that first meeting didn’t go precisely as planned, and he had to have recourse to the telephone, but it wasn’t his fault that in my excitement I failed to unmute the sound on my computer. I’ll know better next time.) We were able to discuss covers and strategies and I offered to tweak the blurb on one of my books. I discovered why my author photo on their website was blurred.
“It’s too small, Jane,” he said.
My heart fell. I knew that in one of my bouts of clearing up the debris in my computer I had deleted the high-res picture, and I really didn’t want to spend hours delving among the back-ups or groping in ancient boxes for the original photograph taken ten years ago.
“I suppose I’ll have to find another photo.”
He said nothing. I sighed. Our hour was up.
Ten minutes later there was a knock on the door. Our private mechanic was returning our car after a service. He is also a friend and a keen photographer. I gasped.
“Have you got your camera with you?”
“No, but I can come by with it later on when I go for a walk. Why?”
I explained my problem.
It took me a bit longer to re-vamp the blurb for I LIFT UP MY EYES and send it off, and it will probably be a while before the new wording appears on line, but I’m already looking forward to the next webinar.