Have you noticed?
As the height on summer hits, everybody disappears from the blogosphere and the socials, and the once who stay (say, me!) is left catching the echo of their own voice.
And anyway, this summer has been so hot, I don’t even know how I survived July. That was just plain horrible, let me tell you.
So, the bottomline is that I didn’t do everything I planned during these summer months. Guess what.
The New Woman’s New Look Series
Ehm… haven’t started posting that.
I know, I know…
When I first devised this series I was thinking to something quite easy. I wanted to explore how cosmetics and the use of it changed in the Twenties. I have all that part of research done, I was actually ready to start writing when I realised something: the way women looked in the Twenties wasn’t just a matter of fashion. Fashion is always a result of society, their mores and behaviours, and if this is true for everyone, it was particularly true for women in the Twenties. The way their looks changed reflected a deeper change in American society, a change that was then exported in other parts of the world.
So I though this was more interesting than just looking at what innovation there was in cosmetics… but also more demanding.
I have a part of the research done for this too, because many of the books I read in the past addressed this aspect of social history, I’m just trying to go a bit deeper. So I hope you’ll be (still) more patient with me. I really hope I’ll be able to write at least the introduction to the series soon.
But in the meanwhile, I wasn’t idle. I got a banner for the series. Look!
Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s the work of DreamUp Graphic, who also designed my avatar. I think she really captured the feel of the series.
So, the first novel of the trilogy is… kind of finished (I mean, it is done, I’m just revising a little more), so I though I should do something about it. Writers who still want to publish with a publisher seems to be rarer and rarer (or is it just my impression?), but I’m still one of them.
I went a long way with my trilogy, I know this. The first novel has gone through seven revisions and after I got words back from my beta readers, I’ve started yet another one.
But now I’d like to go a step further.
I did consider hiring a freelance editor, but after doing some mathematics I realised I cannot afford this. This is why I’m seeking an editorial agent instead. It isn’t the only reason why I’m doing it, but it is one of the reasons why.
And let me tell you, this submission business is tough. There are lots of ways and possibilities out there to submit your novel to a professional, I tried quite a few. I only got rejections so far, though some were personalised, not just standard rejections and at least one was very nice.
Still, sometimes it’s very discouraging… but hey, I tell to myself I’m building the thickness of my skin. I think I’ll need it.
Before starting the new round of submission (I had a first round in spring), I went through my submission material and rewrote it completely. Took me two months only to do this. But it was a nice experience, because I think I’ve learned a lot from it.
Writers often think (I sure did) that writing all this material (synopsis, blurb, query) is a waste of time. As I research how to do it, I actually discover that most of this material will indeed be used, both in the submitting process and even in the book itself. So, when I write these material, I’m actually working for myself, not the agent I’m submitting to.
And it’s sure taught me how to be tighter and more to the point. I’m finding this very useful as I go through my novel once more.
Hey, would you like to have a look to my blurb? Here it goes
Chicago, 1926. When Michael sees his brother Blood sprint away through the streets of the Black Belt, he doesn’t question. He just follows him.
The two brothers find Sinéad cornered in a stockroom by an angry mob and help her escape.
One week later, they find her again on a night out at a black-and-tan speakeasy. Sinéad trusts Michael enough to show him something that has been frightening her: a one-hundred-year old coin a friend entrusted to her. Michael and Blood’s reaction to it tells her they also feel the presence: the soul of an Indian woman is trapped in the coin and seeking revenge, and Sinéad knows she has to find a way to sooth that soul, or someone will die. If this means digging her past and her bones up, then she’ll have to cope with it.
Michael is willing to help Sinéad handle the coin and the ghost, but as Blood realises the ghost is connected to the speakeasy and its people, he challenges Michael to do what he’s been avoiding for decades. In order to help Sinéad, Michael must accept to remember everything he’s been trying to forget: the rez, the loss, the wars, the dead.
Eh… let me tell you. I don’t even know how many times I’ve rewritten this blurb (this is a lot different from the first one I wrote) but I’m not displeased with it.
Discovering I actually like marketing
This summer I’ve also started a project with the publisher I work for… and it’s turned out to be so interesting for me. It’s the translation of a book we published last winter. We wanted to experiment with everything the internet offers: social media, tools like Thunderclap and Kickstarter, a new approach to marketing.
It’s a time-consuming job because the publisher is just starting using social medias, so he’s building his platform now (know when you’re advised to start building your platform before even writing the novel? Believe me, that’s the best advice ever!). Some tools, like Thunderclap and Kickstarter, I knew but never used myself, so I’m learning them now. But especially I’m enjoying using and experimenting marketing on an actual product. Sure, I’ve been marketing my blog too, but because I don’t have a book (yet) to market, it has been a very different experience.
I hear a lot of writers saying they hate marketing their books. I thought this would be my case too, but in fact I think I’ll enjoy it when the time comes. I don’t know how book marketing was done before the social media era, but today it’s mostly sharing the experience, and I don’t see why a writer wouldn’t enjoy doing that. It isn’t pushing, it’s sharing.
I’m also ever more aware to the fact that in today publishing world an author is better enjoy the marketing side of things, because he will market his book whether he wants it or not. No matter how much effort a publisher will put in the marketing process, readers don’t want to connect with the publisher, they want a connection with the author. That’s just how it is. So I’m sorry for those who think a publisher should take care of everything regarding promotion, because even when he does everything he can, the author still have to do his part.
I’m seeing it everyday working to this project. The author is a very bashful person for many reasons (not last, his personality) and this hinders the marketing process a lot. My boss and I are continuously coming up with new ideas to try, but time and again we come back to the same problem: readers only react if they feel involved, and the author is the only person that can create that kind of involvement, because it’s his story that is the core of the campaign.
Our efforts are in support, but if there isn’t an author’s action to support, promotion just doesn’t work.
So, this is what I’ve been up to this summer.
What about you?