Promoting my stuff

If you’re just an ordinary person, bragging about yourself is totally alien… If you’re an ordinary British person, it’s even more so. We’re not good at receiving compliments, modesty and self-deprecation are qualities ingrained, so now for me, when I want to reach an audience for my books, it’s tricky to balance overcome my natural unwillingness to blow my own trumpet. I guess that’s where agents come in, agents can promote work, and get it out there in an expert way. However, I don’t have an agent, and in a funny sort of way, now I have been self-publishing and self-promoting for five years, I sort of like it – every success is down to me! Oops, am I blowing my own trumpet?

Why do I want people to read my stories? Why do musicians want an audience? Why do artists want the world to see their work? Why do actors get up on a stage rather than prancing around in front of a mirror? For me, being a story-teller is natural, it’s what I am, in my every day life I’m for ever going on about something or another, something that happened to me, something I saw/did/heard/learnt/took part in. When I was a professional teacher, the kids would always say ‘oh no, not another story’, when I launched into something – I think (hope) they actually liked my ramblings… I did it almost without thought, my mind leaping from the subject in hand to something which happened to me or a friend or a cousin, or something I just randomly made up to entertain.

An example of the ‘made-up’ stories I told my students, apart from ‘the ghost of the fourth floor’ which became a college legend, was about my teaching assistant, Sally. I can’t even now remember how I got onto talking about what we had done in our lives apart from working in schools, when I went into a lengthy description of Sally’s past life growing up in a circus, being a trapeze artist with spangly tights and revealing costume, how in her free time she was exceedingly modest ad wore long dresses, and her future husband fell in love with her when she was looking after the coconut shy and he caught a glimpse of her ankle as she bent down to pick up a fallen coconut…

So back to my trumpet blowing… Yes, I want people to read my stories! yes I actually think they are not too bad – self-deprecation alert – they are quite good! So… if you haven’t read any yet – here is a really brief fanfare for each:

  • Radwinter – Thomas finds out more about himself and his own family than about his ancestors… who actually had quite a dramatic time, fleeing 1830’s war-torn Warsaw and jumping ship in Harwich
  • Magick (Radwinter 2) – the rather terrifying father of Thomas’s step-son comes in search of ‘his boy’
  • Raddy and Syl (Radwinter 3) – mysterious Moroccans preying on an old woman, a disappeared woman who may not have even existed, and shocking truths about his own family – Thomas has quite a difficult series of event to deal with
  • Beyond Hope (Radwinter 4) – Thomas meets a dangerous psychopath, and somehow gets involved in people smuggling
  • Earthquake -(Radwinter 5) – a haunted hotel, an eighty year old mystery which brings danger to the present… Thomas is really under pressure
  • Farholm – who  killed young girls on the island of Farholm? Is he still on the loose, or was a recently widowed woman’s dead husband responsible?
  • The Stalking of Rosa Czekov – who stalked Rosa to her death… and has s/he moved on to a new victim?
  • Loving Judah – can Aislin and her husband Peter ever get over the death of his son Judah?
  • night vision – a thirty year old murder is discovered
  • Flipside – is a war damaged veteran responsible for a series of dreadful murders… or is he a victim pf more than his war service?
  • The Double Act – Don’t think this novel is a romance, this may be a love story… but the other side of love is dark love
  • Lucky Portbraddon – perhaps the Portbraddons are not so lucky, murder, drugs, madness, modern slavery… but also unexpected love

Are you tempted? They are all available as e-readers, Radwinter is also available as a paperback


More about Moving Dragons

It was just over eight months ago that some writing friends and I got together to try and promote our work, and to share the work of others too. We knew people in writing groups who for various reasons did not have their own blog but wanted to put their writing out in public view. We called ourselves The Moving Dragon Writes, and we started a WordPress blog as a sort of writers’ community blog. It’s called Somerset Writers, because that’s where we are, but it is a notional rather than actual  name, there are no county borders in our group!

Earlier today, I published  a piece about using social media to share and promote and publicise.. This is what I wrote:

One of the driving desires of a writer, as with any artist,  is to get work before an audience, to share what we have produced, to have people read what we have written. I guess we are fortunate these days in living in a world where we can show strangers our stories and poems and other writing and get feedback and comment – and often appreciation!

Social media gives us a wonderful stage on which to parade our characters and scenes. Yes, there can be a dark side to it – but odd things can happen anywhere in real life too – when you sit next to a person on the bus, or get into conversation with someone you don’t know very well in a pub or café, or encounter strange and sometimes downright weird folk in other situations.  We usually can deal with that as part of life, and have strategies and know how to find help – so it is with social media. Yes, there are stories in the press about unfortunate things which have happened from on-line encounters, but there are far more wonderful stories of friendships made, opportunities explored – and for writers and musicians – audiences reached!

We Moving Dragons share our work, and those of friends here on our blog – (and if you have a short story, article, poem, or anything which fits our eclectic group, then please get in touch!) and we also promote it through our Facebook page:

and we tweet too –

… and here is a link to our WordPress:

More promotion

Because I self-publish my books on Kindle, and I have no connections or contacts with anyone else who could promote my work, I have to do that myself. One of the ways is to hand out postcards and other material with details of my latest work. It’s fairly straight forward, but even so, despite all my checking, double checking the wretched grammar gremlin and his friends the punctuation piskie, the lay-out leprechaun, the spelling sprite and the error-elf all rush in behind my back and change things!

I am working on a postcard and flyer for my latest novel The Double Act and have written out a different blurb:

Genet and Lance McCauley run a small hotel in Easthope, a quiet, old-fashioned seaside town.  Nothing ever seems to happen and although sometimes Genet feels trapped and bored, she loves Lance and in most ways is content. Their friends call them the great double act; Genet without Lance? Lance without Genet? Impossible!

The McCauleys have new tenants in a property they own, the enigmatic Dr Herrick and his disabled wife Pamela. As the Herricks settle into the McCauleys’ bungalow, there is an unusual spate of vandalism and graffiti in the town. At first the small, petty events seem to centre on Genet and her friends; however, before long they escalate to violence, arson and attempted murder.

Don’t think ‘The Double Act’ is a romance, this may be a love story… but the other side of love is dark love.

I have my fingers crossed that this time my publicity will be free from mistakes! … I’ll just check it again!

Here is a link to my book on Amazon:

Getting the message out…

I have been trying to publicise my new novel ‘Radwinter’ – as a self-publishing author it is all down to me and as I don’t have a physical product to promote because my book is an e-reader, I have tried to get its name known in other ways. I have had postcards printed which I give toe everyone I meet… quite often met with polite but blank looks as many people don’t have a Kindle or compatible device, and many don’t really grasp what a Kindle is!

I have also written to my local newspaper and they may publish a review… I’ll post a link to that if it happens! I have also been in touch with a newspaper near to the village of Radwinter after which my book is named, and which gave me the original inspiration. They phoned me up and I was very excited, and I sent them a photo… and I’ve heard nothing and no report has appeared in their editions of the past few weeks. I have also written to a local news magazine, and our village magazine… but no response so far! I have also written to our local BBC radio editor… and again, no response…

I have to say i am getting a little disheartened, but I shall press on. I am going to write to genealogical magazines next as my book is about the search and research for family history… but it is very hard when you are a writer not a publicist, agent, publisher or promoter… I can write, not sure how good i am at selling!