On Saturday 21 March I’m running a day school in Canterbury from 10am – 4pm called The Business of Writing 2: Now you see me – how writers can stay visible. This may be of special interest to indie and self published writers.
With more opportunities than ever before for writers to get their work out to a public readership, how do you stay visible? Is an author also a brand? And what does this mean for a writer? How do you promote yourself?
On Saturday 21 March, Kent writers, especially self published and indie authors, can explore these topics, including author websites, book trailers, blogging and blog carnivals, social networking, book signings and launches, readings, interviews, visits, getting reviews, and ways to showcase your work. What is most effective? We will also look at creating a personal promotion plan.
The community and adult education programme at Canterbury Christ Church University are running some fabulous day schools and short courses in 2015 – covering a huge range of diverse topics that include philosophy, art, literature, creative writing, cinema, music, photography, mysticism, story-telling, local history and mindfulness.
New for 2015 is a 10 week course called Being a Writer in the 21st Century, which starts on Monday 12 January.
The internet, digital technology and social media have all had a dramatic impact on the publishing landscape, and at a rapidly changing pace.
Being a writer in the digital age offers a wealth of unprecedented opportunities – and challenges – for authors. But to benefit from this exciting entrepreneurial climate, a writer has to become a new creature – an authorpreneur. This course explores the realities and practicalities of writing in the 21 st century, arming writers with essential tools and knowledge to avoid the pitfalls. A comprehensive range of topics will be covered, including marketing, selling and promotion, earning income from writing, the role of agents, publishers, using social media, understanding contracts and payments, methods of working practice, managing your time and indie publishing.
Days and times: Monday 12 January 1-3pm, for 10 weeks Cost: £89.50 Venue: Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent
What previous students have said about The Business of Writing day schools at CCCU:
“Fabulously engaging tutor, enthusiastic about her subject, spoke with passion and authority.”
“Obvious sound knowledge base and good clear delivery.”
“Inspiring and informative. Lots of ideas to work with now!”
“Excellent content. Covered more than I expected.”
“Very good at answering questions, very clear targets and direction, well prepared.”
Join internationally acclaimed photographer, author and adventurer Steve Bloom as he takes you on an incredible visual journey across Africa. It is staggeringly comprehensive: dynamic wildlife and landscapes from desert to jungle; human cultures from remote village to teeming metropolis.
This will be followed by a Q&A and book signing.
A 365 fundraiser event, brought to you by Kent Creative Arts CIC
Tickets: Full £9 / Student £7.50
Saturday 5th April 2014
The Gulbenkian, Canterbury, CT2 7NB
The concept of stories, storytelling and narrative fascinates me and is a constant source of discovery. I’ve also explored the idea of writing as therapy for depression and grief. In the search to understand my personal grieving process I have explored fiction and non-fiction, and recently read How we Grieve: Relearning the world by Thomas Attig (OUP, 1996) which suggests a way of thinking that I had not previously considered and which makes perfect sense – especially if you are a writer. In discussing how we relearn our relationships with the loved ones we have lost, the author suggests:
“As we come to know and love others, we come to know and cherish the stories of the lives they live…..if we have known and loved well, the stories become interwoven with the fabric of the stories of our lives. As we relearn our relationship with the deceased, we continue the interweaving process. In all of our relationships we have unique and privileged access to parts of the full stories of others’ lives. Our knowledge and love of the stories remain after the loss of the presence of the deceased………as with any good stories, but especially with the intricate stories of human biography, if we read them but once we fail to captures the richness and fullness of the tales. As we review and retell stories repeatedly, they return ever new and unexpected rewards each time……we can return to the stories deliberately for specific purposes (to refresh our memory or understanding or to seek new understanding) or as events in our lives remind us of them and of their continuing importance to us.”
I found this deeply moving.
We are all stories. Living, breathing, works in progress. Whether tragically short or on a more epic scale, our lives are uniquely individual stories. They may encompass adventure, romance, horror, joy, loss, humour and fantasy. But however they differ, they all have in common one aspect: mystery. The unknown. We don’t know how the story will end. But would we want to?
We are drawn to images (excuse the pun!). People respond more readily to images than words. They have a more immediate impact on the emotions. They transcend language and literacy.
As writers, we are using words to create the images we want to evoke, the internal cinematic experience.
A bookshop (or Amazon page) provides a rich gallery of myriad images from which we can make a selection. If we are attracted to the book cover, we pick up (or click on) the book. Then we read some words – the book blurb – before making a decision on whether to sample more words.
The importance of the cover image cannot be overestimated. Somehow, it has to capture the flavour, the essence, of the story within a relatively small space frame. I wonder if designers realise the major factor they play in the initial success of a new book.
I love working with a designer and am thrilled with the images Medway-based Klaus Hartleben has produced for my book covers. Theinternet has also brought me into contact with some wonderful artists and illustrators I would never otherwise have met, and in 2013 I hope to commission some original illustrations as part of the design, which is really exciting.
The Book Designer invites entries for its monthly e-book cover design awards and I would urge any indie authors and designers to submit work for feedback. You get to see a range of diverse designs which is inspiring and stimulating.
Interesting how much I favour clean lines, bold powerful images, and neat uncluttered designs, yet in real life I’m messy and untidy. Or maybe that’s why I appreciate clarity in art! The psychology of what attracts us and the reasoning behind it is endlessly fascinating.
So many great stories are about literal or spiritual journeys, in which the protagonist is changed by the process, whether she has experienced incredible dramatic adventures or pursued more reflective contemplation. Journeys seem to be a recurrent theme in my writing. More than 20 years ago, the first novel I had published, Wild Horse Island, was about a horse taken from his familiar environment, his subsequent quest to make his way home, against the odds, and the people whose lives he changes in the process. Always in my Heart, which comes out next year, revisits this idea, but in a different setting and on a deeper level. I was dealing with a major bereavement at the time and, inevitably, this affected how I told the story.
After a life-changing few years, the theme of journeys is very much on my mind at present, and my recent book, Coming Home, explores familiar territory for me, although this time it’s about two Norwegian Forest cats who are accidentally separated from, and seek to be reunited with, their grieving owner, encountering a host of creatures on the way.
As a human being, we each undertake our own personal journeys, whether or not we decide to analyse the process. Where do I want to end up on mine? I don’t know the answer yet, although we all arrive at the same place ultimately. What matters more, the journey or the destination? For now, I find the act of motion, whether that is walking, running, or being transported in a machine, triggers off my imagination in a way that rarely happens if I am staring at my computer screen.
Travelling by train or car provides great creative space, if I am a driver or passenger, and ideas fire off unprompted as I eat up the miles. I recently re-read Rumblestrip by Woodrow Phoenix, a monochrome graphic book all about what happens when we get behind a steering wheel. The layout cleverly simulates a car journey and as you read, you feel like you are on a virtual car journey. I sometimes dream that I’m driving a car, and, strangely, when I drive at night, I sometimes wonder if I am dreaming. Woodrow Phoenix describes it perfectly:
“There is a dreamlike quality built into the experience of driving. A car windshield is a big window. And also a screen….locations unwind on the other side of this rectangular glass almost as they do on a movie screen….you sit cocooned in your cabin….everything outside your windows is contained, the rest of the world an arm’s length away…..you glide through location after location as if they were erected just for you to drive past. Every journey is a narrative with you at the centre.”
As writers, each time we imagine, create and produce a story, we are embarking on a journey of discovery, which our readers continue and reinterpret, each word illuminating the path and teaching us, deliberately or unconsciously, about the human condition.
Our new contributor Emily will be writing short diary type articles for Creatabot that discuss her recent experiences working for small independent publishing house “Limehouse Books“. Her aim is to give writers a little more insight into how things work behind the scenes and also provide ideas and suggestions as to how to progress in the publishing world. I spoke to Emily to find out more about her and how she got into working in publishing.
So Emily, whats your creative background?
I studied Graphic Communication at Bath Spa university, and graduated last summer (2011). At university I got involved with the student magazine and interned at local magazines – publishing was always a focus for me. But I’m originally from north London – it’s good to be home.
How did you get involved in Limehouse?
I was a design intern at Limehouse Books just after I graduated, and started my part-time job here in October. The company is very small so I work in lots of areas as well as design, like organising events and press.
What other career paths have you taken?
None so far – but as well as working at Limehouse, I also work part-time as a Junior Designer at a company called Informa. I work on some of their healthcare magazines.
Who inspires you both locally and universally?
People with drive and determination inspire me. Working at a small start-up and watching it struggle is hard but you have to keep motivated and keep going in order to succeed.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
I’d just like to keep doing what I love!
Can you recommend a creative website you love?
I like theIt’s Nice Thatwebsite, I think they do a lot for us creatives!
Thank you Emily for telling us more about yourself!