I don't think I've ever been so low on Christmas cheer as I am this year. Am I the only one who's just not feeling it? I think personal circumstances, being sick, coupled with an argument with my parents over my birthday (which will be on Monday) means I'd rather not be forced to be happy and cheerful right now.
Anyway, a few updates since I've been AWOL for a while:
First things first - I didn't 'win' NaNoWriMo. But I did write 30,000 words, and to me, that's a win in itself - there's no way I would've written that much in a normal month, so I'm happy. And although my book is still all over the place, I do have more of an idea of where I'm going with it. So that's a plus.
I also attended a Higher Education marketing conference last week - I enjoyed my journey down to Manchester, and although I wish the conference had been writing related (the joys of my day job!), it was actually very useful, and I learnt a couple of things that I think might be applicable to how writers can market themselves as well. I'll try and write a post next week on it in more detail.
But for now, my most recent news is that I attended a webinar run by The Writers' Academy on Monday night. It was called 'Behind the Bestseller' and it featured Jocasta Hamilton, Publishing Director at Hutchinson. There were some really good questions begin asked - and two of mine got chosen! I'm going to share them both with you below, as I found her tips really helpful and they inspired me to start writing again.
The first question I asked was, 'is it essential for authors to have their own website/social media pages before they have been published?'
A: Not really. Think about how you're trying to represent yourself and your book online, and the angle you are going for. If you enjoy it, or you have some kind of experience related to your book and it could be useful to market your work, such as you've been travelling and you're a travel writer, then yes, it could give your publicist something to say/give them them an angle to work with. But it's not essential. If it comes naturally to you and you can, do it, but if not, it doesn't matter.
My second question (and the one they saved for last!) was, 'what advice would you give to a writer who's been writing for years but keeps getting rejected?'
A: It depends on the feedback you're getting. Listen to the feedback you're receiving and keep going. Do it because you get something out of it. Are you sending it to the right people? Check your first pages are really great, and make sure your book is telling a story. Can you sum it up in one line? Can you sum it up in four? Publishing is a matchmaking game, and eventually, you'll find the perfect fit for your work. So if you love it, keep doing it, and remember to listen to the feedback you're getting.
I really enjoyed attending the webinar, and it was so useful to hear an editor saying what they're looking for in a book/author. Plus, I feel less guilty now about not updating my blog/Twitter as often as I should!
Anyway, that's it from me for now - I might try and write one more post before Christmas, but with birthday celebrations happening this weekend, I might not, we'll see!
Did anyone else attend the webinar? Would you attend a similar webinar in future?