35. Raining on my parade

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MY first-ever book signing became a bit of a damp squib – or squid as some writers would have us believe.

No fault of the good people at Books & Pontyclun in the Welsh valleys, the Indie shop where the event took place. It’s just that at 11am, just as the signing was due to start, the heavens’ opened and South Wales was drowned under a flood of Noah-like proportions.

To be honest, if I hadn’t have been there myself I don’t think I would have ventured out of the door.

Why am I so surprised? From my experience of that area of the country, the Arc was probably manufactured in Cardiff Bay.

Still, David Norrington and Daniel Parsons were fantastic company and gave me some great ideas as we talked Indie authors, books, marketing strategies and social media.

David is a leading light in his own publishing company, Onion Custard, and at the moment one of their writers is making plenty of waves (appropriate really, with water lapping at the door as we discussed her success).

As he contemplated whether we would need to employ sandbags, David told me about MK Jones and her novel Three Times Removed, which has swept up the charts both here and abroad.

At one stage it reached No. 6 in Amazon’s Women’s Sleuth section with a story centring around a main protagonist who has to investigate her family tree and solve a mystery in the past in order to prevent disaster striking in the present day.

Apparently it has been flying off the virtual shelves in Australia, for instance, and David is trying to get to the bottom of his own mystery by establishing why the good people down under have taken it to their hearts.

David organises book signings, book launches, book fairs and book clubs. In fact,  mention books in any way and David’s ears will be burning.

He was pretty busy for most of the day but has agreed to make Crossing The Whitewash book of the month at some stage in the New Year, probably to coincide with my promotion on Nook, the eBook wing of American company Barnes and Noble, which is scheduled for February.

Daniel, meanwhile, not only helps run the shop and spends time editing for Onion Custard, he has to hold down another job working in a valleys nightclub while also trying to make his way as a writer.

He is a full-time advocate of the modern publishing era, marketing his “brand” to more than 70,000 twitter followers and using tools like Wattpad to promote his writing.

Daniel writes teen fantasy novels and his serialisation Necroville was recently rated as one of Wattpad’s top-10 zombie stories. It ranks at No. 133 for horror reads as I write, and has 16,900 people read it. To put my little Sci-Fi experiment in comparison, it’s had 72 reads.

As someone who can make head nor tail of Wattpad, I salute his endeavour and will definitely take another look. He assures me it as a useful tool for creating buzz around your writing.

In the final hour of the signing the rain did ease off somewhat and I am pleased to report I made three sales on the day. This Indie author lark is a lot of hard work for little reward at times, but the satisfaction of seeing your work in print and getting encouraging comments from those who read it makes it worthwhile.

In the New Year my plan is to come up with a couple of Novellas featuring some of the less established characters in Crossing The Whitewash and to put out the novel itself on audio.

Amazon already have a tool – ACX – which will pair you with a narrator and an editor. I understand you can get some gift “codes” enabling you to give away the book free to some people, part of my long-term plan for world fiction domination.

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