This week I have again been blessed (or very lucky, if you prefer). I have started contacting places who might either publicise my book or sell it. The Evening Post (our local newspaper) told me that they do not promote new books or do book reviews, but if I had a book launch, they would cover it.
My immediate reaction was to wonder where on earth I could have a book launch and how would I go about arranging one?
Two hours later, the Oxfam charity second-hand bookshop (in Castle Street, Swansea – right by the castle) replied to my email, explaining that they could not sell my book as they only sell second-hand, but they could offer me a book launch. They had a ‘Create Night’ that evening and invited me down to chat about my book, and everyone agreed that I should give a talk at my book launch and tell some of the fascinating stories I had discovered.
So, I am going to have a book launch, probably sometime in April. How great is that?
I have just updated this site, so you can now subscribe to emails when I post, and see some of the online sites I used in my research.
Some of the sites I have discovered more recently, but some, like the de Braose website, Hugh le Despenser website, Lady Despenser’s Scribery, & Edward II blog were very useful to me indeed. Credit where credit’s due.
I am pleased to announce that I have finished formatting my ebook! I will be uploading to Smashwords, who give very detailed instructions for formatting, and will convert the file to virtually every ebook format and send it to Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble et al. They also offer books for sale on their site, and in PDF and Plain Text, so they can be read on any computer with no special software.
The same as for the print book, I am waiting for the cover art and the illustrations. More news about that on Monday. Meanwhile I am starting to plan my publicity. This has two major problems. I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m not used to bragging.
I have to write stuff that says this is an exciting book by a wonderful author. I am making lists of who to ask: to sell the book, advertise the book, let me give a talk, and anything else I can think of. And preparing the same sort of thing online. I have already moved my blogs from Blogger to WordPress (here) and tidied them up, and started a Twitter account, with lists of things to tweet about Alina and writing. There will also be a Facebook page, but I’m still gathering material for it.
I am astonished to see that my last post was in June. A lot has happened since, but maybe I haven’t blogged because there was nothing conclusive. Two men from the Historical Association Swansea Branch promised support and help, but then disappeared. A publisher offered help, and then wanted to charge me £3000. And I have two artists looking at producing illustrations, but they are frustratingly slow at getting back to me.
I had no idea publishing a book would be so complicated. But I think I’m getting on top of it. The great find has been an ebook that told me all about it, and more. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking publishing their own book, either in print or ebook. Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author by Zoe Winters is available on Kindle here. Zoe is American and talks about publishing in America, but there is very little difference.
I have now designed a cover and formatted the book ready for the printer. I have a rough quote for printing, but have to wait for the illustrations before the book is complete. Once I know the final number of pages, I can talk seriously to the printer. In the mean time, I will be posting news, the story of my attempts to turn Alina’s story into a historical novel, and more of the history that I found out during my research.
Yesterday there was a Local History Book Fair at Swansea Museum. I popped in with my friend, not expecting anything, but it proved really helpful. I bought two books, one of which I had found really useful from the library, so now I have my own copy. The other was about Edward I, and I am researching his pacification of the Welsh, for a chapter in the book.
The thing that was most useful, was a chat with one of the authors. To my shame, I can’t remember his name, but he has written three books on executions and prisons. He gave me some good advice about finding a publisher, getting permission for quotes and illustrations, and the importance of a bibliography.
I now have an introduction and three chapters written. The next chapter is on the pacification of the Welsh. I’m trying to give the setting and some history, but still keep Alina in the picture. I want to share what I’m writing, but not compromise the chance of having it published, so I have to think about that. I will share at least some extracts – watch this space.
I have started to pursue some of my research outside of the library and the internet. About 9 days ago I went to Oystermouth Castle, and stood the places Alina walked so many centuries ago. I was a weird feeling. I bought the booklet from the visitor’s centre and there was some good stuff in it, including drawings of what it would have looked like. I also got the phone number of someone from the Friends of Oystermouth Castle, who may be able to help me.
Today I went to Ty Hanes, the Mumbles Local History Centre. I found them just in time, as they have lost their funding and are closing on 29th August. Their displays were all much later than the period in which I am interested, but again I got a phone number of their historian. They were also selling their books, and I bought two which had some useful stuff in, and a great help to be able to keep them and not have to keep going back to the library.
[Notice how academic I am, with all this ‘stuff’, sorry guys.] Anyway, I have just bought a new computer with Microsoft Office 2007, which includes One Note, which I have just spent the evening reviewing. It is a facility for organising notes, files, extracts, lists etc., etc., and looks like just what I need to sort out my research. So watch this space!