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Angelena Boden

Angelena Boden

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My recent blog tour - a few rambling thoughts.

I’ve recently been the star of a blog tour for my new book, The Future Can’t Wait which ran for over two weeks. It’s a popular form of online publicity which helps to create a real buzz around your newly released book and is the virtual equivalent to a physical location, bookshop or library, where traditionally the author  would turn up to talk about their book and sign some copies. For many authors, published by small independents or self-published, this is a model that isn’t working unless there are sufficient numbers to make it worth their while. Personally. I always turn up and talk to whoever has come. You never know who they might know. 

            Book blogs tours are an exciting form of promotion  allowing authors to  reach a much wider audience, either by offering up a guest post or asking the blogger to post their reviews of the book.I found the reviews of my book to be an author’s dream.

            My blog which ran from Nov 2nd to 17th 2017 was managed by an organiser, (you can find her here) https://annebonnybookreviews.com/ throughout the whole period and whilst authors can approach bloggers independently, I found this to be very helpful as it took pressure of me and let me do what I do best… write.

            Each blogger on the tour took a slightly different approach and picked out issues in the book that resonated with them personally. This meant that every review was not a rehash of someone else’s. It was clear that a lot of time and dedication was devoted to each blog even if the genre wasn’t a particular interest of theirs.

            When I was informed about who would be participating in my blog, I took some time to look at their websites and without exception, have to say all are beautifully laid out and professionally presented. I am amazed at how much reading these bloggers are able to do, particularly as publishers are constantly sending them books and authors are bombarding them for help. It’s good to see that they’ve drawn up some clear guidelines on the practicalities. Agents and publishers have specialisms and rules of engagement so why not bloggers. They are a valuable part of the publishing business.

            I didn’t realise how much work was involved for the author. Quality guest posts of between 500 – 1000 words need time to plan as these will create an impression about the author. If you throw something together because the blogger is reminding you time is running out, then what’s it going to say about your book (which may be fantastic).

            Authors need to remember that they are not the only ones the blogger is working with over a given period of time.  Your blog organiser and the team are doing you a huge favour so co-operation is necessary to make the tour as successful as it can be. If you want it to be the start of a professional working relationship, then good communication, rapid responses and getting involved with the frenzy of retweeting and uploading or sharing their posts to your social media is a part of the process. It is tiring but also exciting. I woke with trepidation every day during my tour to see how the book had been received by total strangers but real readers, many of whom consume hundreds of books in a year. They know what appeals and they’re good at picking out what makes a novel “tick.” 

            What really impressed me was the way the organiser took several quotes from the reviews throughout the day and flagged them up on social media, Twitter in particular. They’re carefully selected to be inspiring and encourage followers to check out the book with a view to purchasing. It’s a soft sell approach with an emphasis on connecting authors to readers as people not as another product.  

A few tips for authors on a tour

  • Help out with the promotion banners – post them to your social media and shout about it.
  • Keep track of your own tour and be sure to thank the blogger that day.
  • Engage with the buzz throughout the tour but be subtle.
  • Keep your publisher informed. He/she has many other authors to look after and can’t always be following every mention of your book.
  • Agree guest posts well in advance and send them off early.
  • Be flexible if there have to be changes.
  • Whatever you do, don’t engage in an argument because you don’t like what the blogger/reviewer has said about an aspect of the book. Everyone has their own opinion. Accept it.
  • Enjoy it… it’s great fun and I have made some new contacts some of whom have become friends whom I hope to meet next year.
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An interview with the author of Eyes of the Blind

It’s always a delight to meet writers who understand their craft in order to produce beautiful prose in addition to writing a compelling and unusual story. It’s my real pleasure to introduce you to Alex Tresillian, author of Eyes of the Blind, published by Urbane Publications. Alex lives in rural Worcestershire which I guess makes us neighbours.

Alex kindly agreed to talk about his writing life for my blog.

Alex, what would you like your readers to know about your writing background?

 Been writing creatively since I first knew how to hold a pen. Remember my father typing up two poems I wrote when very small. Have a lot of unfinished novels from my teens. Wrote mostly plays thereafter (my parents worked in the theatre), and was able to stage some myself when working as a teacher, which I did for more than twenty years. Working for an education company in Lebanon, I authored two series of text books, one on grammar (something I greatly enjoy!) and one on writing.

What inspired you to write Eyes of the Blind?

 I worked for eleven years in a school for visually impaired students. It was something that nothing could prepare you for. Having had that window into the blind world, it was something that I thought would be interesting to share, and a believable blind protagonist would be an unusual twist in the crowded thriller genre.

I understand you write in long hand. How long does it take to write a first draft?  Why do you choose this method over a computer/laptop? Is it a labour of love?

I don't see it as a labour of love: it is just how I work. I am anything but a technophobe, and actually type pretty fast. However, I find it very difficult to create when typing, whether it is because words are broken down into their individual letters as you type them (or, even worse, auto-suggested) I don't know. When I am writing I often write two or sometimes three options of verbs/prepositions one above the other and select when re-reading later.  I don't even know how I would begin to do it on a laptop. It is almost as though writing, for me, is a physical process, like sculpting. I literally 'work' on sentences even though the medium is just ink and paper. I was given my first typewriter (a cast-off of my father's) when I was about ten - a manual with the line spacer partially broken - and I have always loved the process of transferring my manuscript to typescript. For me it is a major part of the drafting/editing process. Mentally it would never suit me to write complete draft after complete draft. I would find that soul-destroying. The drafting and redrafting takes place on the pages of my notebook. I will still make changes after printing out a complete draft (in pen!), but would be unlikely to start again from scratch unless someone had given me a large advance!

 

What is your daily writing schedule? Do you have any quirky routines to keep you going?

 

I write in the morning. I have always been a morning person. If I can't get any done in the morning, then I don't do any that day. It doesn't matter what time I get up, whether it is six or nine, I will write for about an hour after breakfast. Sometimes, if it is really flowing, I might stretch to an hour and a half, although I am suspicious when it is flowing too easily. I reckon to write about 500 words of a book like Eyes of the Blind in that time. I might only manage 300 of something more 'literary'. However, for me the slow pace suits the creative process. If I write too much too quickly, the writing may be fine but the level of ideas goes down. Because I only have the most basic outline of where a book is going, I need plenty of time for the ideas to gel and grow while the writing is going on. So I will never write for more than that hour, although I may spend the rest of the day thinking about what might come next. I used to go for 'writing walks' in which I would think out the next phase of whatever I was writing, but parenthood and life in general taught me to do my thinking alongside regular daily activities.

I don't have any quirky activities to keep me going. I never mind missing a day or days because I know that it will all add to the creative melting pot when I do get back to work. The working session always begins with re-reading the previous day's or days' work, and changes often get made then.

 

You are traditionally published. What are your views on self-publishing? 

I have always taken the view that it was vanity. Yes, the publishing world is flooded with books and you almost certainly need luck to get your head above the parapet, but I am not convinced I would get much satisfaction from a self-published book.

 What advice would you give to writers working on their debut novel?

 Get to the end. It's a great feeling. Don't try to write like anyone else, write like you. Write it because you need/want to write it, not because you dream of being a best-seller. Whatever happens afterwards, don't give up. We are writers because that is what we do, not necessarily because the rest of the world recognises us as such.

 

Finally the moment those of us who have read Eyes of the Blind are waiting for; - The Sequel! What can you tell us about that without spoiling the anticipation?

Blind Justice takes us back into the world of the two main characters, Niall and Miranda, nearly a year after the events of Eyes of the Blind. Niall investigates a charity that is helping to empower disabled people through sport, and finds himself in the murky world of state-sponsored doping in athletics. Miranda returns to the British Association for the Blind, where much has changed but all is still not well. Before long, both find themselves at risk in more ways than one...

 

Eyes of the Blind is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eyes-Blind-truth-sometimes-plain-ebook/dp/B01NAAWBCR

This is a fantastic debut novel that will have you gripped from beginning to end. I read it in a few days and highly recommend it. I have some knowledge of children and young adults who are VI and Alex captures their struggles and strengths brilliantly. I do hope there is a second book coming soon.

 

Blind Justice is published by Urbane Publications and is published on July 5th 2018

 

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