New skills for authors – it’s not just about the writing!

Listening to Silver Crow’s second published author, Brenda Bannister, on BBC Radio Bristol today, made me think how fast our writers have needed to develop their skills in the tricky area of book promotion. It’s no longer enough to type the final full stop and reach for the kettle – or even to get your masterpiece published – a book can be brilliant but still hang around without a reader in sight, unless their creators are willing to do a chunk of extra work.

Grappling with this ‘chunk’ can be a near-vertical learning path. As Steve Yabsley, the Radio Bristol interviewer, moved through the programme asking Brenda questions ranging from her home, education and career path, to the origins and plot of her book, it became clear that interviewees as well as interviewers do well to rehearse their stories. A successful Q&A session, like this one, needs to come over as easy and engaging on the air – and it takes most of us a fair bit of effort to appear effortless!

Brenda’s a good example of how a writer can get stuck into the business of publicity. In the two months since her novel, ‘The Tissue Veil’, was published she’s had articles printed in local papers and the ‘Western Daily Press’, launched to a packed audience at Frome’s Hunting Raven Bookshop, given readings at a Frome Writers’ Collective (FWC) social, and has a second launch planned at the Brick Lane Bookshop in London’s East End, where her story is set. She’s tackled social media too – setting up a website and Facebook page and exploring online opportunities for book sales.

Daunting? Yes. But one of the reasons why FWC was formed was to exchange information between writers, to support each other through the tricky process of connecting books to readers, and to come up with solutions to benefit us all.

We’ll post more about this aspect of an author’s life – the good bits and the hmm bits – in following weeks but, in the meantime, if you’ve got a book promoting experience or tip to share, do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

Gill Harry

To listen to the interview click here.

Photo credit: BBC Radio Bristol’s Twitter

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