Tag Archives: circ

Launching a novel…

An author panel sit stunned as their writing story gets projected above their heads....
An author panel sit stunned as their writing story gets projected above their heads….

I’ve sat in the audience for author events before, listening to someone rad their words aloud. I’ve also organised author events – I have been that person who takes your picture with the writer you admire, who always carries Sharpies, who makes small talk while they sign stock copies. But this week were my first events from the other side – from the side of the author.

There’s something gratifying about being recognised as you walk into the venue for your first author event. “Hi Sue! Glad you could make it!” said the voice. It was actually the publisher and editor, Iain Grant, talking, but for a man who met for about an hour two years ago this isn’t bad.

The authors for tonight’s event meet in the coffee shop, they are relaxed and poised about reading. I am nervous. We discover there will be at least 70-80 people present for Friday’s big launch – now that’s an audience. To mask more nervousness I ask what everyone’s wearing on Friday. They look surprised, clearly haven’t thought about it before, perhaps preoccupied with more worthy literary things. I mention I was going to wear something sparkly and heels. I have set the bar low. Oh dear.

In the event, our audience for this free drop in event is tiny. It’s a freezing cold night and we all understand. But we read anyway. The questions we get asked are excellent and the comments are positive. It’s lovely to meet everyone and I feel really encouraged.

Everyone else has author business cards. I don’t. I get some online on my way home. They should arrive in time for Friday. I decide it’s time to take myself seriously.

Reading is helped when you can mostly hide behind an enormous lecturn
Reading is helped when you can mostly hide behind an enormous lecturn

Friday is a ticketed event. We start off with a boozy reception in the library – to loosen the vocal chords for reading in a theatre (well that was what I told myself…) and then make our way to the theatre. The stage is set, a table for the seven of us, and a  complicated and engaging Powerpoint presentation about the writing process delivered by Iain and interspersed by readings from the authors. I manage not to embarrass myself by falling over in my heels as I walk across the stage. So far so good.

Finally, we sit and sign copies of the books as the audience come up and ask questions. I’ve got to improve my signature… I feel it’s not flamboyant enough.

And so there you go! I have a book out. An actual book. Here’s the link should you want to go and buy it. I think it would make a great Christmas present for everyone you know. Go on, get it. Books are easy to giftwrap too…

Circ – a Ten to One novel

I am attending my first ever author event tomorrow. My first ever where I’m the author, I mean. It is being held at the brand spanking new shiny Library of Birmingham, currently perched among the Frankfurt markets like a glorious Christmas cake on a table of  Lebkuchen.

The event is the first of a week-long programme to promote Circ, a novel written by ten authors, of which I am one. We are starting with a “Meet the author” panel event, lasting an hour, where four of us will read and then talk about ourselves and our writing. I can’t think of anything more terrifying except the event which takes place on Friday, where more of us will read and talk to an audience who have actually bought tickets in order to attend. At least tomorrow night’s is a free event for up to 20 people so I can always cling to the possibility that no one will turn up. Right up until the moment where I look out over the audience (which will obviously seem much more than 20 people…)

Enough of this quaking. Let me tell you about the book. Ten of us were chosen to write, we each created a character and devised a plot. The author group were from all over the world and so we collaborated by Dropbox. We all wrote our first chapter which was open to votes from the public and from a judging panel. Whoever got the fewest votes was written out until there was only one left.

I wrote three chapters. I think I was the least experienced writer in the pack so I figure that’s not too bad going for a first try at proper novel writing. And I learned a lot from the process. The most important lesson was to have some idea of what on earth your character is going to do in terms of the plot – a point that I failed spectacularly at. I also realised that I need to get a whole lot better at badgering people to support me in a public vote, or to buy a book, or to have any interest in anything I’m doing. Natural reticence doesn’t win you votes or readers.

Once we were all done writing, came the editing. I liked the beta reader process. I liked the feedback they gave. I tweaked, cut, and then washed my hands of it all. The result is a crime spree set in Skegness among Romanians, circus folk and one crazy seagull.

So now we’re onto the final stage – the promotion. Wish me luck. I’ll post a review of my performances over the weekend.

Circ is available to buy now in e book or physical format.