You still have to sell!

Writers, we love to write, don’t we? That’s the best, even if NaNoWriMo can make us a little jittery (I know I had a wobble last week). But if you’re a writer, or an artist or creative of any kind, you know how wonderful it feels to be in the zone.

The converse of this: you still have to sell. 

For indie authors, it’s all down to us.

This is why friend and fellow author, Paul English and I were selling our books at the local car boot sale last Saturday. My husband Cliff was there too with his some of his lovely artworks. He’s a very important member of the team as he has the transport (that’s his bakkie in the background) and the tables and the all-important awning were borrowed from his school.

I have to tell you, it was not a great success. I sold a copy of ‘The Silver Locket’ very early on, but that was it! No other sales of anything! A couple of sniffs… and a couple of people said they’d come back next time. And there will be a next time, in two weeks.

I mean, who wouldn’t want a lovely book for a Christmas present?

Ah well, there’s always next time.

Meanwhile I’m planning some Black Friday and holiday offers – stay tuned out there!

And they’re not even in it!

pimms-lunasonline.png

At first, I think I’m having a flashback. I’m sitting on Cynthia’s garden bench and the sun is shining. A bead of moisture runs down the glass I’m holding.

“Cheers, Ms Hall!” Connor raises his glass to me. “Here’s to another great review of our book!”

Cynthia smiles at me. “It’s so nice to see our author doing well.” She sips her drink and leans over to stroke Asmar, her beautiful Abyssinian cat, who is lounging by her feet. “And even darling Asmar gets a mention.” Asmar pricks up his ears at the sound of his name. “Well, he was rather a hero, wasn’t he?” Cynthia continues. Asmar rolls over and looks up at me, the suspicion of a smug smile behind his long whiskers.

I stretch out my hand towards him, nodding in agreement.

Next I hear a familiar screech and Fingers bounds up to me from the side gate where Bob and Gary have just appeared. The little monkey launches himself at me, chattering excitedly. Bob hurries to retrieve him. “Sorry about that luv, but he’s dead excited about being in a book review.”

Connor refills he glass from the jug of Pimms which is sitting on the little wrought-iron table. He sits back down and leans towards me. “I understand you’re running a wee promotion on that first book of yours?”

“Marketing eh?  Sound.” Gary gives me a ‘thumbs up’ sign. His face lights up as Gina appears at the French doors. “We got any beers upstairs, luv?”

Gina rolls her eyes and sits down next to him, ignoring his request.

“I’ll go,” says Bob, lowering Fingers into Gina’s lap.

“And bring some crisps,” Gary adds. Fingers chirrups in agreement.

The Silver Locket, it’s a lovely romantic book with a touch of mystery and magic,” says Cynthia.

“Oh yes, it’s dead good,” chimes in Gina. “Just the kind of book to read sitting in the garden on a sunny afternoon. Like that nice Ms Scott said.” She sighs. “They even go to Paris! Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Gary?”

Gary pulls a face, he’s not one for ‘abroad’. “How do you two know what’s in the book anyway?” He glances at me, frowning. “She wrote it a while before ours.”

“Ah,” Cynthia reaches for her glass. “Gina and I, and Lucy too, were in a short story Ms Hall wrote, even before that.”

“That’s right,” Gina continues. “We had to wait ages for her to write our book.” She looks at me and smiles, fiddling with her engagement ring. “You could take us to Paris…”

Connor clears his throat. “Interesting idea, this downloading, Ms Hall. Not really sure I understand. I suppose it’s something from the future which we haven’t been written into yet.”

Was that another hint?


kindle edition cover

Mystery, romance, ghosts and dreams: perfect reading for a lazy sunny afternoon!

Get your ebook freebie of The Silver Locket,
written under my pen name Holly Atkins by clicking on the links below.

Offer runs until Fri 23 August:
USAhttp://ow.ly/Px5t50vD8nT
UK –  http://ow.ly/4hwF50vD8nU
Aushttp://ow.ly/Q2Lc50vD8nZ
Canhttp://ow.ly/cUgu50vD8nV
Other countries, such as South Africa

 


And if you really want to do it properly…
although Cynth would probably add a large shot of gin to the mix!

how to mix a perfect pimms lunasonline
Source

The Characters’ Wish

promotional items for YNWA lunasoline

‘She’s been making cards and stuff all afternoon,’ says Gina in a confidential whisper to Cynthia.

‘Cards? I thought it was a book launch? Anyway, how do you know what she’s been doing?’

‘We’re her characters; we’re in her head, aren’t we? So, of course we know what she’s doing; especially if it’s about to Our Book.’ Gina nods her head meaningfully.

‘Oh, I see,’ says Cynthia. ‘I’ve never noticed. It seems a bit impolite poking about in her head, though.’ Cynthia pauses. ‘But why the cards?’

‘Marketing,’ says Gary, joining them at the little table in the back garden. ‘Giveaways, contact details, that kind of stuff.’

‘Look at you, eh, Mister Marketer,’ Gina gives Gary a playful prod in the arm. ‘Ever since he left the Social Security and went to work in that posh insurance company in town,’ she glances down at her new engagement ring and smiles, ‘he’s come over all ”private sector”. He’ll be voting Tory next.’

Gary pulls a face at her.

‘Connor showed me that lovely review she received, from that nice young lady In Sheffield…what’s her name?’ said Cynthia.

Ellie Scott you mean?’

‘That’s right, darling. I though she caught me rather well, don’t you? I’m sure she didn’t mean to imply I was something of a lush.’

‘That would never enter anyone’s head, Cynth,’ says Gary, almost managing to keep a straight face.

Cynthia glares at him frostily and stares toward the bottom of the garden where Connor is gesticulating animatedly. ‘Who’s he talking to now? Or is he just declaiming to that old rosebush again?

Gina follows her gaze. ‘It’s her,’ she hisses. ‘It’s our author! Look, they’re coming this way.’

‘Oh well, in that case…’ Cynthia leaves her sentence unfinished and disappears through the French doors.

I follow Connor back up the garden. He’s been reading to me from his latest slim volume of poetry. Perhaps I’d like to include some of it in my next book. My next book?

‘Ms Hall and I have been talking,’ Connor announces as we approach.

‘Are you going to write another book for us?’ Gina asks, eyes widening with excitement.

‘Like that nice young woman suggested,’ adds Cynthia, emerging from her French doors carrying a tray of glasses and a bottle of wine.

What’s this? My characters are at it again!

Connor gestures to me to sit down on the garden bench which has been moved to a sunny spot near the little wrought iron table where they’re all gathered. I sit and Asmar, Cynthia’s beautiful Abyssinian cat, jumps on my knee, purring his head off.

Cynthia pours the wine. ‘We do hope your book launch party goes well on Friday, darling,’ she smiles at me.

‘Hear hear, old thi…Cynthia,’ Connor adds, picking up a glass from the tray and raising it to me. ‘Cheers.’

We hear a noisy old vehicle rattle to a halt outside. Moments later Bob appears at the side gate with Fingers on his shoulder who immediately starts to chirrup excitedly. Tony Wong is behind them in what looks like a new suit. He has an air of someone who’s come into money and has plans.

‘Well, Ms Hall, the gang’s all here,’ says Connor. ‘What’s our next story?’

I take the glass which Cynthia is holding out to me. Maybe. I lean back and close my eyes. Let’s see…

asmar


If you’ve no idea who these people are, or what they’re talking about, you’d better read the book!

The Characters’ Verdict

youll-never-walk-alone-by-chris-hall-proof-copy.jpg“Here it is!” I hold up the proof copy of You’ll Never Walk Alone to Cynthia and Conner, who are sitting outside in the little garden wasteland outside Cynthia’s flat. It is pleasantly and unseasonably warm for an April afternoon in mid 80s Liverpool.

Connor stretches out his hand. “Let’s have a look then.”

I hand the pristine proof over to him. He turns it over in his hands and nods. “Look rather fine, I must say, Ms Hall. Worth the wait, so it is.” He flicks through the pages and frowns. “Print’s a bit small.”

Cynthia takes the book from him. She riffles the pages, holding it up to her face. “I love the smell of a new book.”

I nod and grin enthusiastically. “What do you think?”

“It’s very nice, my dear.” She looks at the pages more closely. “Oh look, Connor, there’s a little drawing of a cat here.” She holds the book out to him, open at the title page. “Is that my clever boy, Asmar?” 

As if on cue, Cynthia’s beautiful Abyssinian cat emerges from the bushes and stretches languidly in front of us, mimicking the pose in the drawing.

Cynthia turns to the back cover. “Nice photograph of you, Ms Hall.”

“Thank you!” I smile delightedly.

“It must’ve been taken quite a while ago.”

I wince. Cynthia leans forward and pats my hand. “Well why not? None of us is getting any younger.”

Before I have the chance to reply, we hear voices coming around the side of the house. It’s Gina and Lucy. As soon as they see me, they call out in greeting. I hold up the second proof copy I have ordered for my household of characters.

“She has our book!” Lucy and Gina say together. Never mind that it’s my book. Whose name is on the cover?

They take it from me and sit down on the tatty wooden bench next to the wall. They exclaim in delight at the opening paragraphs. Lucy and Gina are, of course, in the opening scene. They start to read and for once they fall silent. After a couple of pages they look up. I can see in their eyes that they approve.

asmar


You’ll Never Walk Alone‘ a novel by Chris Hall will be published next month (we hope).

Character Confusion

coverpic

Previously

I’m back in Cynthia’s flat and the main characters from my very-soon-to-be-published novel are all staring at me. They don’t look happy.

“The book’s going to be out soon. Aren’t you pleased?” I say brightly.

Connor stares at the bottom of his empty wine glass then looks directly at me “We’re pleased that you’ve set the wheels in motion, so to speak.”

“Good.” I nod. “I’ll get the draft copy of the paperback around Easter.”

Connor looks around the room at his fellow characters. Cynthia nods at him.

“Well, Ms Hall, the thing is…”

Lucy interrupts. “We’re sorry,” she says, squeezing Pierre’s hand, “but we’re not really sure about the cover.” She smiles at me weakly.

“Oh?” I shake my head. “Have you any idea how long it took and how many versions of my beloved’s artwork I uploaded before we, or rather I, was happy?” I frown at them all. “I’m really pleased with it. It looks really…”

 “Old-fashioned.” Gina interrupts.

I was going to say ‘retro’ actually. Like a Penguin Original.

“But why a drawing?” Lucy says, fiddling with her long golden hair. “Why not a nice photo of all of us?”

“That’s, er, not going to be possible.” How do I tell them they don’t actually exist?


Another true-life story of an author and her characters 😉

The Undaunted Author

The Undaunted Author photo by Kevin Langlais lunaslonline by Chris Hall
Photo by Kevin Langlais on Unsplash

The building stands proud and prominent on a history-dense corner in the commercial district of the Big City. Not a member of a countrywide chain in a modern mall, this proudly independent book store has character. The floors are wood and mosaic and a rickety stairway leads down to the basement (children’s books and non-fiction, coffee and cake).

The author enters. Staff members are all busy with the stock. She peruses the shelves studiously. Virtually all of the fiction they carry is literary fiction. There is no ‘populist’ or mass-market stuff. Actually, these are the books which the author likes to read.

Awesome company surrounds her.

She ventures downstairs. The children’s books are for early middle grade and below. No YA at all. The coffee smells good and there are lots of comfy seats. A couple of students are chatting quietly and, at a rough wooden table, two women are deep in conversation over a laptop and a sheaf of closely typed pages.

The author sits down with a coffee and a rather dusty chocolate brownie. She selects a literary magazine from the low table in front of her and listens in to the two women. Eaves-dropping is second nature to an author, after all.

They are discussing which new books they are going to take for the store!

Dare she disturb them?

She thinks about the Margaret Atwoods and the Zadie Smiths upstairs. The beautiful book covers with their multiple reviews and recommendations. She hears them reject the latest Alan Titchmarsh.

She is intimidated.

She buries her head in the literary magazine. Time passes. She listens and ‘people watches’. For a Monday afternoon there are a surprising number of customers. She pigeon-holes them for future reference.

Finally, the two women finish their meeting and go upstairs. The author abandons the remains of the brownie; her mouth is dry enough as it is. She takes a deep breath, then takes the stairs.

One of the women is leaving, but the other smiles at her from behind the desk. The author approaches and enquires in general terms about the store’s purchasing policy. What the owner has to say is interesting, but not exactly encouraging. She explains how they know their purchasing clientele and what will sell in their store.

And here it comes. The woman’s guessed what’s she’s really asking. The author owns up and bravely tells her about her book.

The owner is very pleasant. She explains that they select less than one percent of Indie Authors’ work each year. Anything they do pick has to have a local ‘buzz’ about it. The author’s novel clearly doesn’t fit.

The woman is kind. Another might…one day.

The author reflects. It would be nice to have her book in a bricks and mortar store. But one book, amongst all these… and in just one store..?

At least she has something to share on her blog.

…/ previously

Have you heard the one about…

bookstore-by-pj-accetturo-on-unsplash.jpg
Bookstore by Pj Accetturo on Unsplash

So, this writer walks into a book store. She has a mooch about; she knows the store well. She often comes in, to browse (books are so expensive). It’s one of the largest book selling chains in the country. Nicely fitted out, and the staff are always friendly. It must be nice to work in a book store, surrounded by all those lovely books.

The writer picks up the latest copy of The Artist magazine. She’s written a few articles on behalf of clients which have been published in this particular periodical. Not that the artists get paid – it’s for their publicity. Nor does she get a mention, but at least the clients pay for her time. She has an idea for another of her clients.

But that’s not why she came today.

Clutching the magazine, she approaches the desk. One of the assistants intercepts her. “Can I help you?”

She takes a deep breath. “Can I just ask you..?”

The assistant smiles encouragingly. He’s a nice-look young man; intelligent, open-faced.

“Can I just ask you if the store supports Indie Authors?” (There, she said it).

The assistant smiles kindly; a little apologetically. “No, no, never. It’s all done by Head Office…with the publishers, you know.” He pauses. “There was this one time though…”

“Go on,” the author says, leaning forward, as if some major confidence might be shared; some key to unlock…

The assistant is speaking. “The lady’s books were selling very well. There was a lot of publicity. She was selling her books out of the boot of her car.” He shakes his head. “It was a bit greedy really. You know, on the part of the store. They realised they could make money out of her. It didn’t last long.”

The author nods. “So you have to be popular first?”

The assistant nods and smiles sympathetically (pityingly?)

The author nods. “I’ll just pay for this then.” (At least she asked. The ground didn’t swallow her up). She leaves the book store, head held high.

…/ continued