I’m sure you’ve already heard writers bellyaching about what a lonely business it is, sitting chained to the computer in our ivory towers and only receiving news once a year by owl, er, email. Actually, that’s true to some extent. But it’s not so important. What I’ve found out in the course of this first bumpy year of publication, what is truly important, is that there are people out there who know exactly what the isolation feels like – and knowing, don’t hesitate to step in when there is need, with encouragement and very practical support.
Sometimes, as a new writer, you do feel like you’re shouting into a void. Try my book! you cry. My book! My book! the echo responds… and there doesn’t seem to be much more of an answer.
But others have been in this situation before me, of course. I’ve been lucky enough to find a fantastic network of colleagues in New Zealand and Australia, who support each other through the business of book promotion in those rocky first years. Because writers have finally figured this one out: no one else is going to do the nitty gritty, day-to-day work of promotion for us. And there is room for every single quality title out there, far more room (on shelves and in e-readers) than the doom-laden prognostics of chain booksellers would have you believe. The main thing is to register on readers’ radars; why would everyone want to buy the same thing? So this is a note of thanks to my fellow authors, for seeing a collaborative way forward. I cannot say how much I appreciate your support, praise and encouragement.
To cite just one example: one of my colleagues, Helen Lowe, recently won the Sir Julius Vogel award for her fantasy title, ‘The Heir of Night’, at Context in Auckland this June. When she heard I was unable to make it to the convention, Helen took it upon herself to read extracts from both ‘Tymon’s Flight’ and ‘Samiha’s Song’, in addition to her own works, at the same reading. She read beautifully; you can see the first pair of extracts here. The second pair will be posted shortly.
As you can imagine, having a lovely, award-winning author offer to read your work at a convention is a huge boost! I can only say: I have the best colleagues in the world. I wish them every scrap of karmic return due! 🙂