Writerly Round-Up: August 2019

As we reach the final day of the hottest August Bank Holiday since records began (at least here in UK), I’m writing this while waiting for the sun to break through the early morning cloud cover. I have a book ready; a selection of snacks; and a shady lounger in the garden. So if I disappear mid-sentence, you’ll know the clouds have gone! But in the meantime, there’s lots of writerly news to bring you from the past month.

Writing In August

I feel that sub-heading should reading Publishing in August, since that’s where my focus has been. The final two parts of The Business of Writing are finished and out there and I’ve had some great feedback so far. In fact, I’m thinking of using Part 4 Independent Publishing as the basis for a Publishing Retreat early next year. More about that anon.

But I’ve also had some fun with fiction this month too. Nothing long or too serious, but a series of exercises with different writing groups have got the creative juices flowing again. I think I’ve ready to give longer fiction another go.

Sales and Marketing

Sales of the two new books have been most satisfying so far, especially the paperbacks. Now it’s time to ramp up the promotion for the ebooks. And that exciting birthday celebration I mentioned last month? My prize-winning debut novel Gorgito’s Ice Rink will be five years old on 8th October. Look out for a celebratory blog tour and some special offers coming up soon. I’ve temporarily removed it from Kindle Unlimited, so I can offer free copies, but will be reinstating its exclusivity once we get to November.

Research

No; still not doing much of this. Except…I attended a number of crime-writing workshops and courses recently, which I guess counts as research for the new series which I will be starting to write later this year.

Out And About In August

The six weeks of writerly events run by Literature Works at the Custom House on the Quay in Exeter ended with an Independent and Small Presses Marketplace Day, which I attended with other members of Exeter Writers. It was a nice idea, but footfall was much lower than we’d hoped for, and sales were correspondingly low. I’ve come to the conclusion book fairs are not a great way of selling books (this is by no means the only quiet day I’ve had behind a stall over the years) and I have now removed them from my list of active promotional activities.

On a much more positive note, my annual visit to the Writers’ Summer School at Swanwick in Derbyshire was a resounding success. I made a very satisfying number of sales in the book room, and also confirmed my suspicion that authors at conferences buy text books in preference to fiction. Note to self for future years: a new non-fiction release is very popular, especially if linked to a course or a workshop. And in addition to all that, the week was the usual wonderful mix of learning, listening and laughing with old friends and now ones. I published my usual daily blog, featuring this year interviews with some of the members of Virtual Swanwick (people who are unable to attend in person, but keep up to date with the school via social media.) Chances are I will be joining their numbers next year, so I thought it was a good time to get to know some of them a little better.

Next Saturday, I will be making another of my occasional appearances on local radio. I suspect I would be terrible on a TV broadcast – freezing and falling over my words – but in a radio studio, it’s easier to concentrate on the interviewer and forget about the audience on the other side of the microphone. This time, I am appearing on Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM. We will be chatting for two hours about books, writing and which three books I would take with me in the case of the Apocalypse. I must say I’m particularly looking forward to having my own place in The Library at the End of Days.

Tickets for the Exeter Literary Festival in November are now on sale and some of the events are selling really fast. Do check out the details and get booking now before it’s too late.

Writers Are Readers Too

My reading rate has slipped a tad this month, although according to my Goodreads Challenge for 2019, I’m still six ahead of target. I’ve read two quite long, detailed books in the past month, one fiction and one non-fiction. Both were for my book club and neither grabbed me sufficiently to make them a recommendation for this month. In fact, in both cases, I suspect I would not have finished them if it wasn’t for the fact I needed to be able to discuss them at our monthly meeting.

However, I have a load of fun books coming up in the next few weeks (although one person’s idea of fun…): there’s books three and four in AA Dhand’s series about Asian detective, Harry Virdee; the latest crime novel from Damien Boyd; a WWII novel from Kate Furnivall; a couple by Amor Towles, author of the brilliant A Gentleman in Moscow; lots of cosy mysteries from Cecelia Peartree; and a whole raft of books by writers I have met at Swanwick or here in Devon. It’s going to be a great reading fest. Talking of which: the sun has just appeared through the clouds, so I think it’s time to head for the lounger. Have a great month; until next time.

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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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