Thwarted

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.

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Nearly There!

Publishing my book is soooo close now.

The last illustrations arrived overnight and I put them in the print book file straight away Monday morning. The files were delivered to the printer on Monday, and I was so excited that I forgot to take the disc with the cover files, and my husband had to go back with them. Then I had to wait until Thursday for the proof copy, but it was perfect.

Since then I have been round to many of the shops which agreed to sell the book, and showed them the proof copy and delivered a poster and flyers. The two museums in Swansea both wanted to see the book before deciding whether to take it. I saw them today, and they both came on board. In fact, the Waterfront Museum want ten copies on sale or return, and the Swansea Museum want five TO BUY. The only outlet willing to pay up front.

Meanwhile, I put the illustrations in the ebook and uploaded it to Smashwords to give it a try. The Smashwords guide warned that the conversion could take some time and throw up errors, and I had been warned that illustrations in ebooks were tricky. I decided to try them and take them out if they didn’t work. The book loaded in ten minutes with no errors, illustrations and all!

Right now it’s only available on Smashwords here, but in the next week they will be sending it out to all the ereader platforms, except Kindle. Smashwords don’t send books to Amazon for Kindle until they sell $1000 worth, and at $3.99 (£2.51) it is not likely to reach that, so I’m going to upload it to Amazon myself.

The print books will be ready by Thursday, and delivered to the shops on Good Friday. And we’ll be live!

Book Launch Planning

I now have a date for my book launch at the Oxfam Bookshop in Swansea – Wednesday 18th April at 7pm. The arrangements are coming along well. My daughters are going to make cookies, and maybe mini cupcakes. My illustrator’s mum is going to make non-alcoholic punch. And the shop will provide teas and coffees.

I’m going to talk about how I came to write the book and some of the fascinating stories I found, and my illustrator Carrie is going to talk about the illustrations. The shop have also offered a week-long exhibition of her drawings, which will be great for her and good publicity.

And I hope I will be signing lots of copies of the book bought on the night.

The King’s Anger

John de Mowbray started the barons rebellion in 1320. From the small incident of John seizing control of Swansea Castle, the barons’ growing impatience with Edward II grew into direct action.

They didn’t like the king’s favourite, Hugh le Despenser the Younger, having such control over the king and getting away with his land grabbing. And they didn’t like the king trying to assert his authority over the Welsh Marches, where the barons had had free reign ever since William the Conqueror. The king’s interference in Hugh’s dispute with John was the last straw.

At first, the barons were successful, and the king was forced to send Hugh and his father into exile. But the king wanted his favourite back and launched a fresh campaign, which ended with the king defeating the barons at Boroughbridge. Many of the rebels were executed, including the king’s own cousin, Thomas of Lancaster and John de Mowbray. Because he started it all, the king was so angry with John that he refused to allow John’s body to be taken down from the gibbet for 3 years! It hung in chains in York until local friars eventually persuaded the king to let them bury it.

For more details, see my book, Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth, coming out in print and ebook at Easter.

Formatting and Publicity

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.

Scary!

Cover

Late last year I went to a Local History Fair held in Swansea Museum. The Gower Society had a stall, and they were selling note cards with drawings on. The drawings of Gower were done by a husband and wife in the 1950s, and printed in the Gower Journal. When the artists died, their children gave permission for the Gower Society to use the drawings to raise funds.

One of the drawings was of Oystermouth Castle, and I immediately knew it would be great for my cover, so I asked if I could use it. The copyright for the drawing still rests with the children of the artist, so I asked them for permission. The result was even better than I hoped.

They are delighted with the idea of my book and happy for me to use the drawing, but to ensure the quality of the cover, they insist that it is designed by the son, who is a graphic designer. Not only do I have a drawing for the cover, but I have a graphic designer to design it for free!