A Day for Writers

 Part of an author’s job is promotion. It could be done on line with blogs, guest blogs, a website, Facebook and/or, twitter. It could be a book launch in a bookshop in which you concentrate on the newly published book, or giving talks to reading and writing groups or the Women’s Institute and other like groups. The whole idea is to persuade people to buy your books in the gentlest and most interesting way you can. It’s a talk not a speech.

Sometimes the organiser of the talk will suggest what they want to hear, for example, how you became a writer; writing novels; writing non-fiction; how you organise your day, how you do your research, or (in my case), writing about the Second World War or historical romance for Mills & Boon. They may ask you to suggest something. But you need to research your audience. One size does not fit all. Speaking to an audience can be nerve-racking but if you have prepared your talk well and it’s a subject you are passionate about, then it becomes easier and the more you do it, the more relaxed you feel about it.

Yesterday, I became involved with a Writers’ Day in Ely. It was organised by three local authors, Rosemary Westwell, Hayley Humphrey and Mary McGuire. There were about 40 attendees, enough to fill the meeting room at the library. My Picture shows some of the early arrivals waiting for the event to begin. A series of speakers gave their own slant on writing and being published.  My contribution was to offer practical guidance on writing and presenting a novel.
There were opportunities for questions and these were lively and fun. I, for one, am always more comfortable answering questions. Lunch was provided when everyone mingled and asked more questions which showed how alert and interested they were.

The afternoon ended with the Mayor of Ely, Lis Every, presenting the prizes for a short story competition, entries for which had been sent in beforehand. The three judges, of whom I was one, considered thirty-six entries. The standard was generally high and the subjects chosen diverse. The first prize went to In Our Time, by Lisa Woods. This was a gentle story about a widow coming to terms with the loss of her husband and delighting in her grandchildren, a worthy winner.

The day was a great success and there will be another On 17th October. The deadline for the short story is Friday 4th September. 

It was great fun talking to everyone, both published and unpublished. I made new friends and perhaps the day might have inspired those who had not yet taken the plunge to go for it. I might even have sold a few books!