When my first book was released, I assumed authors wrote a book then sat back while royalties flooded in from everyone who had bought it, and the publishers did everything else. Expecting to sell millions of copies under my pen name (because all proper authors use a pen name, don’t they?) it was quite an eye opener to realise publishers publish, and authors have to drum up the business. I love writing, hate marketing and although I’ve learnt a lot over the years, still feel as if I’m a newbie.
My author career actually began when I had an accident which left me house-bound and going stir-crazy. Clearing out some old health files recently from when I originally shattered my leg, I noticed the date and realised it’s been ten years since I wrote my first book, which was subsequently accepted for publication.
Although I shouldn’t say it myself, ‘Changes’ was a decent read if you like romance, and Mediterranean islands, and genuine snippets of local history combined into fiction which might or might not be Happy Ever After. It’s no longer available in the original paperback, as when the contract finished I self-published with a new cover, title, and author name, so it’s now called ‘Summer Changes, Winter Tears.’ An advantage of blogs having a world-wide reach is they are international, a disadvantage is I still have copies of the original book for sale at a discount, but postage costs would make the book too expensive unless you are local and can collect from where I live in London, England.
The reason I wrote the address that way is because I have a good friend who lives in London, Ontario, Canada and whenever he mentions somewhere local, I have to think twice before realising it’s not up the road from me. By coincidence, he is actually Maltese and we first met face to face on the island of his birth which was the inspiration for the story. With the summer months approaching there might be the option of a book fair, art and photography exhibition locally, which would be ideal to sell some of the original pristine copies and clear some space in the house.
What did astound me was when I posted on my Facebook page about my ten-year anniversary; I was absolutely gob-smacked at the response, even if I did feel a bit of a fraud. Amazon top-spot authors congratulated me, and so many lovely readers mentioned how much they enjoyed my short stories. Some have even bought my books. Two of my books have been revised, updated and given new covers to fit in with current trends. That means I currently have (I think) seven of my own books available on Amazon plus entries in four anthologies.
Looking at my author photo, perhaps it’s about time I updated it, or perhaps not. I’ve never learnt to knit properly, so it might be better if I stick to writing. My current WIP is being awkward and I’m in two minds whether to start a totally different book, or beat TJ2 into submission.
I know my heart is in short stories, around 2,000 word is perfect for me, but compilations are for some reason not good sellers. This always strikes me as rather strange when you consider the modern way is everything NOW. No waiting days for a letter to arrive, no long distance journeys to meet up with a friend in another part of the country, unlikely to spend time travelling to browse a physical library and select a book, today’s technology is instantaneous email, zoom, or online browsing. Press a button and your choice is delivered within seconds.
There are advantages to all the various types of book formats, and personally I enjoy all options for reading – as some people say, proper books (paperback or hardbacks), Kindle or audio, although the smart phone is not my go-to preference.
I thought it would be interesting to conduct a small survey so if you are a reader, (which you must be otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this,) I’d love to hear from you.
Do you enjoy short stories or only full-length novels?
Do you only stick to one reading genre? (I’d love to know what is currently popular with real people as opposed to Bots.)
Could you be persuaded to look outside your comfort zone? If so, what would entice you? A freebie, a discounted offer for paperback/Kindle, having a connection with an author?
Personally, I don’t usually enjoy doom and gloom, hard lives, semi-autobiographical books, as there is enough of that around in real life, so my own preference leans towards humour, fantasy, an easy read and some romance.
Authors also tend to be avid readers of other authors’ books. Reading the series by Paula Harmon about Margaret, a turn of the century historical series where the main character is a female who has the audacity to become a doctor and try to make her way in a man’s world, wouldn’t have been something I would normally read. After the first book, and appreciating the amount of research involved to ensure accuracy, (unless she is around 120 years old so has first hand knowledge,) I was hooked. We initially met through a writers’ group and many of my online friends also write, everything from poetry to cook books and a multitude of categories in between.
Did you know there are something like 10,000 categories of books on Amazon, everything from romance (the number one and hardest category to hit the top spot) to obscure sub categories like ‘How to keep unicorns as pets?’
Okay, I made that up but I might have a good chance of getting to number one if I made that my next book to write. Now see what you’ve done by inspiring me!
Thanks for listening to my waffle. See you next week.
© Val Portelli May 2022