I’m Jenny Twist. I’ve visited Manic Readers before to talk to you about how I came to write my first two books and the difficulties I experienced in getting them published. Today I’d like to talk about what happens after you get published.
I had, rather naively, assumed that once your book was accepted by a publisher all you had to do was sit back and wait for the money to roll in. Well, it doesn’t happen like that. In order for a book to sell, the author needs to have a fan base, to get fans in the author needs to be actively marketed. Even the best publishers, and I think mine is one of the best, cannot spend the time and money marketing an unknown author. They will only do this for new books from authors who are already best-sellers or for those whom they believe have a really good chance of becoming best-sellers – celebrities writing their autobiographies, for example.
So is this a Catch 22 situation?
The answer is, you have to market yourself. Luckily, a good publisher will give you lots of tips on how to do this. Ultimately books sell through word of mouth, so the more people you can get to read your book, the better chance it has of becoming well-known. Join author groups – Yahoo has dozens of them. Send your book for review to any review site that seems to be appropriate. It is so easy now that we have the internet, and costs you nothing but your time. Offer to do interviews and blogs. It’s time-consuming, but it really does work.
That’s the down-side of getting published. The upside, apart from the sheer joy of seeing your precious book in print, is that once you are on a publisher’s list of authors, you regularly get asked to submit more stories and your publisher will actually read them! Just remember how many rejection letters you used to get and how you just knew they hadn’t even read your precious manuscript. How fabulous is it to know that your publisher will read your story and take it seriously?
The other great thing, and I wasn’t expecting this at all, is how many new friends you make amongst your fellow authors.
I found myself energised by all this and started writing at a rate of knots. I have so far had three other stories accepted by Melange, two of which, Doppelganger in the anthology Curious Hearts and Uncle Vernon in the anthology Spellbound 2011, are already in print. The third, Jamey and the Alien will be published in a Christmas anthology later in the year.
Contributing to anthologies is both exciting and nerve-racking, since you have absolutely no idea who the other authors will be until the finished product appears. To my great relief, I have enjoyed the other stories in both books and found the other authors to be highly entertaining and full of enthusiasm for promoting the books. It’s too early yet to tell how they’re doing, but I have high hopes.
Here are a couple of excerpts from my contributions:
EXCERPT from Doppelganger by Jenny Twist
Christine lay in the bath sipping a glass of wine and staring at her toes. She had quite nice feet, she thought. A little chubby, perhaps, but a pleasing shape, the toes even and straight. In fact, she wasn’t bad looking altogether. Despite bearing two children she retained a shapely figure. She had stretch marks, of course, fading to silver now, and scarcely noticeable, and her breasts were perhaps on the large side. Kevin thought so, anyway. He had laughed at her bra on the line, saying it looked like a couple of potato sacks. And she used to think he was such a kind and loving person.
She scooped up a handful of pills and knocked them back with another sip of wine. It was taking much longer than she had expected. She’d had to run more hot water in twice and had to get out to get another bottle of wine and more pills. She’d used all the painkillers she could find – paracetamols, aspirin, ibuprofen, even the children’s junior aspirin and was now starting on the rest of the stuff in the bathroom cabinet – antihistamine, diazepam, something for diarrhoea. They all said not to exceed the stated dose, which just goes to show how much leeway there was.
She had considered slashing her wrists, even gone as far as bringing the sharp kitchen knife into the bath, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. An overdose seemed so much more civilized, less messy. And if you did it in the bath, you’d slide under the water when you passed out and there would be no question of botching it.
Except she wasn’t passing out.
Excerpt from Uncle Vernon – Jenny Twist
She reached the ground floor without further incident and was just reaching for the handle on the back door, when she realised there was someone in the kitchen. She could hear singing – Janice, singing along with the radio. Damn! She didn’t think she could let herself out the back way without being seen from the kitchen window. She was still trying to work out a way round this when suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder and she gave a small shriek of surprise and turned round.
Standing in the passage was an enormously tall, incredibly thin man. His face was so pale it was almost translucent. His hair was completely white and swept back from his forehead in a perfect Dracula’s widow’s peak He was dressed entirely in black, the collar of his coat turned up like Dracula’s cloak. And his eyes were staring and colourless in the dim light of the passage.
She screamed a full-blooded, heroine in a horror film scream. And the man put up his hands as if to fend her off. Long, thin, incredibly white hands with long, thin fingers.
She screamed again and was just taking a breath to scream a third time, when the kitchen door opened and Janice said, “It’s all right. It’s only Uncle Vernon.”
Alison flung herself, sobbing, into Janice’s arms and looked back into the passage way. The man had disappeared! How? There was nowhere for him to go. At that moment Gary came clattering down the stairs.
“What the fuck?”…
“Gary!” Janice said. “Watch your language! It’s only Uncle Vernon.”
For more excerpts and other stuff, go to my website.
Thank you so much for sharing my visit and thank you, Manic Readers, for giving me the opportunity. I really appreciate it.