Jenny Twist – After you get published

Hi everyone.

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?

Not quite.

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:

CURIOUS HEARTS

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.

Buy Curious Hearts here

SPELLBOUND 2011

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.”

Buy Spellbound here

For more excerpts and other stuff, go to my website.

Visit Jenny

Thank you so much for sharing my visit and thank you, Manic Readers, for giving me the opportunity. I really appreciate it.

Jenny Twist

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. Great post Jenny. I too have *met* wonderful authors and have become friends. And boy you hit that promoting thing right on the head! Who knew becoming known would take up so much time eh?

  2. Hi! I really enjoyed your post, and those excerpts are excellent. I REALLY need to know what happens to Christine! 🙂

  3. Thank you, Rose.
    How right you are. I spend much more time promoting than writing these days. But how I appreciate the friends.

  4. Nora, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your constant support and your lovely comments. You are one of the friends I was talking about.
    xx

  5. Really useful blog article, Jenny! I agree with you and Rose about making new friends through promoting – that’s a lovely plus to writing.

    Very intriguing excerpts. I love the fey aspects in your work.

  6. Great post and I too, need to find out what happens to Christine.

  7. Jenny, terrific post, and very timely. I am one of six authors of a poetry anthology that has just been released. Boy, I had NO IDEA how much work getting the word out would be. All I can say, is bless our publisher and the other five authors.

  8. thank you for a great post, Jenny! Good information for those of us who haven’t published yet. I will be looking for your other article also!

  9. congrats on all your successes! I contributed to a antho myself this year. keep up the great work!

  10. Love it! Very insightful and I’m sure it will help lots of us yet-to-be-published authors 😉

  11. Thank you Lindsay (another of my new-found lovely friends). Marika, Margaret, books4me and Liz. Getting these great comments makes it all very worthwhile. Keep up the good work Margaret and Liz.
    Love
    Jenny
    xxx

  12. And thank you, Eva. Just keep trying. Persistence pays off.

  13. LOL, oh that tickles me. My name is Janice.

    Janice~

  14. You said it all, Jenny. I feel like I write more than promote, too 🙂

  15. Yes, once I got my works published then came marketing. I had that beaten down martial artist voice in the back of my head, “Where you goin’? This party’s just gettin’ started.”

    There’s still a lot of work ahead, but I had a pretty good bead of what it would be like. I was advertising my first book at the college years before being accepted for publication. And then it was getting the word out in advance that, yes, you’ll see it available to buy. There’s just a few around where I work who I know bought my first book. However, even butterflies can cause hurricanes.

  16. Thank you Janice, Tara and John. Love the comment about butterflies, John. I’m off to flutter my wings. xx

  17. It’s hard to get the balance right between writing and marketing. But if you don’t do the latter, there is little point in the former, unless you only want your family to read your work. I don’t WANT my family to read my stories. They’d lock me up!!!

  18. Hi Barbara
    If they’re that weird, I want to read them!

  19. What a great post! It’s so true – you don’t know what’s hit you after that first publication, it’s just the beginning! Your ideas are really sound, and networking with other authors can be so good. Not to mention the friends you can make along the way. 🙂

    Jane x

  20. Thank you, Jane.
    I think I may have struck a chord here. I know how hard you work at promotion.
    xx

  21. Hi Jenny, just got around to reading your post. Great post and so true. Good luck and keep the balancing act going!

  22. You too. Brenda. I know we’re both in Warm Christmas Wishes and you have another novel coming out in December, don’t you? Keep them coming!

  23. Jenny,

    You are so correct in all your comments. People think that writing the novel is the hard part. It took me nine months to write my novel, and then three and a half years to find a publisher (Melange is wonderful). Then comes the really hard part, getting people to read your work. But it is a thrill to see your work in print and to get feedback from those who read it.

  24. Hi Jenny,
    Great blog, your right many people do think the hard work is in the concept & the writing.
    Keep pushing forward.
    xh

  25. Thank you, Walt. You are one of the new friends I talked about, and a lot of fun to work with, I must say. I feel like I’m on a roller-coaster sometimes, do you?

  26. And thank you, Helen. I do appreciate comments from fellow authors.

  27. Jenny really great post. Like you I’m into the marketing mode – trying to get the word out about my Indie publication – Rapture which is on Amazon.com. I never really thought about the anthology aspect but you’re right – it helps to spread your books to other audiences. Good luck with your books they sound great.

  28. Jenny – Wonderful post and info. And your books sound fabulous!

  29. Thanks Renee. The books haven’t been out long enought yet to tell. But just getting the other authors together and working as a team has meant we’ve done so much more marketing with much less effort per person. So I think it ought to work. Keep up the good work on your own book. I’m just going to have a look at it.

  30. Hi Penny. Thanks for your lovely comments.

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