As you may know, the Kidwell-e Festival was a disaster, and a big disappointment for me. I imagine that established authors are happy to earn a fee for participating, but newbies like me, prepared to speak for nothing, depend on the opportunity to publicise ourselves.
I spent many hours preparing my talk, especially because the organisers asked me to talk about Kidwelly, which is mentioned once in the book, so I had to do a lot of research. My book, Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth, is about Gower, a few miles down the coast, so they wanted my talk to link to something more local (I should have refused, I know). I worried over how many books to take and prepared publicity materials. And, of course, I got very nervous. All for nothing.
There has been a lot of traffic on my other blog, where I wrote about it here and here, and I even got interviewed by BBC Wales News. But the fuss is all about the non-festival, not about my book. Ah well, back to the drawing board.
Well, today was the day we’ve all been waiting for – the Council, the re-enactors, the stallholders, the musicians, the Friends of Oystermouth Castle, and me. It was all arranged. And it rained. It poured. All week.
Today started with a few light showers and dry in between. Until the event got going. Then it poured again.
Having said that, the Friends at the castle entrance reported over 500 visitors, and everyone made sure the visitors that did come had a good time. Typical British people, we were all sheltering in the food tent when a band came on, so we all came out and stood in the rain, and joined in the songs!
I was there to promote my book, Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth, which is about the woman who built the chapel on Oystermouth Castle. I handed out my postcards advertising the book to everyone I could intercept for about 2 hours. Everyone was happy to take the postcards and several expressed an interest.
I left before the end, so I don’t know how many books were sold. To hedge my bets, the postcard lists all the outlets where the book is available. So hopefully there might be increased sales in other places. I’ll ring the Friends tomorrow to find out. But, although it would have been so much better if it was sunny and crowded, I feel good about today.
I have now met with the chairman of The Friends of Oystermouth Castle and made arrangements for Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth to be sold at Oystermouth Castle.
I am dropping off my entire stock (currently 85 books) with the treasurer the night before the grand re-opening, so it can be taken to the castle in the morning and laid out with all their other stock on a table in the castle gateway. I am going to be there within an hour of the opening, and walk round the grounds wearing my Alina t-shirt and handing out postcards advertising the book.
I can’t sell the book myself, as I don’t have permission from the council, who are running the day. But I can point people to the table where the Friends are selling it. My daughter Aggi and her boyfriend Al are taking me down, and she has offered to help too.
I’m actually concerned that I might not have enough books! Wouldn’t that be great! And then it will be sold by the Friends every day until the castle closes at the end of September. And then again next year, I hope. Who knows, by then, there might be a second book!
As the Council’s event announcement says, on 16th June:
Celebrate the castle’s official re-opening with our spectacular medieval tournament and re-enactments. Let the children explore the castle and its grounds, complete with medieval sports, live music, fire juggling, storytelling and arts and crafts. Guided tours of the castle available.
The castle has had a £3.1 million conservation project, which has seen the Visitor’s Centre put inside the chapel, and a glass bridge constructed so that visitors can access the chapel top floor, but still have a clear view from below. Much restoration and conservation work has been done, including improvements to the grounds, and better access.
The chapel has been named ‘Alina’s chapel’, but until now there was no detailed information about who Alina was. My book, Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth fills that need, and will be sold inside the castle. I have produced a poster linking the book to the re-opening, which will be distributed in the next week to all local outlets selling the book.
I am shocked to find that I haven’t posted here for a month – my apologies if you’re following. It doesn’t mean nothing has been happening, but I have taken the opportunity to return to my sci-fi writing, before the next push.
The great news is that my initial print run of 200 has sold out! There are still books out in the shops, but I have only a couple of copies at home, so I have to work out how many to print on the second run. The major factor in this is the re-opening of Oystermouth Castle.
As reported on the council web site, Oystermouth Castle has had a major refurbishment, and will have a grand re-opening on 16th June, with a medieval tournament and re-enactment. I plan to be there and advertise the book to the public, and either sell copies, or point customers to the stall where they can buy it. Final details will be worked out in a meeting with the chairman of the Friends of Oystermouth Castle, Roger Parmiter, on 1st June.
I’m producing a poster to tie my book in with the re-opening, which I’ll distribute to the shops in the next week or two. I’ve also ordered postcards to hand out.
As for reviews: there aren’t any. I haven’t sold many ebooks, where people are likely to be prompted to review it, and the people who buy print books, aren’t necessarily ones who are web-savvy. So a plea to all my friends and followers – please review the book. I’m not asking for falsely good reviews – please be honest – but I hope you genuinely liked it, and it would be great to tell the world.
You can review the ebook on Smashwords.
You can review the ebook and the print book on Amazon.
Well, after all the excitement, capped by the book launch, I’m finally coming down to earth. I’m actually finding it hard to get my head together.
Since the book launch I have had so many people ask how it went and other people tell them how great it was. There was a piece in the Evening Post with a photo, and I have been contacted by Swansea Life Magazine for them to do a piece. And the Gower News online magazine is devoting a whole page to me next month.
This is so unreal! But I have worked so hard for it, and there is more to come. Oystermouth Castle re-opens with a medieval fair on 16th June, and Alina built the chapel there, so it’s a big opportunity. Kidwell-e Festival is a new ebook festival at the end of July, and I am speaking there, which is another new experience. Wow! Maybe I’m not coming down yet!