In mid November 2017, I embarked on a mini journey of discovery in the company of my super supportive publisher, Lindy Cameron, from Clan Destine Press.
The release of my first crime fiction novel, SOLD, roughly coincided with the biennial writers’ conference, Genrecon. Lindy convinced me attending this event, held in my home town of Brisbane, would be the perfect opportunity to meet some “real” writers and learn a thing or two about the craft. And was she right!
There are too many people to name, but off the top of my head I can say I took away plenty of knowledge from a bunch of enthusiastic writers, including brainy Charlotte Nash, sharp-witted Emma Visckic and ebullient and smooth-talking Garth Nix. Lessons learned ranged from how to manage your taxes and finances, how important it is to get the “details” right using horses in fantasy fiction as an example (yep, no kidding), and how to write 500,000 words in a year. In between seminars and talks, there was plenty of opportunity to socialise with established and aspiring writers alike. I made some great new friends at Genrecon, hopefully for life.
Something I wasn’t prepared for was a radio interview at the crack of dawn, a newspaper interview that was a bit like an interrogation, and giving a talk at a bookshop. I was apprehensive for each of these, however somehow I conquered my fears and nerves and all of these “assignments” came off much better than I’d anticipated. I guess that has as much to do with the skills of the interviewers and the enthusiasm levels of the audience as much as any moderate talent I might have. I was least comfortable with the interview at the Gold Coast Bulletin, but even that got easier the longer it went.
At first these gigs seem like ordeals – horrible events that must be endured rather than enjoyed. It’s more the dread, the awful waiting, that gets the palms sweating and the heart racing. However, as Garth Nix pointed out at Genrecon, the more you do these things, the easier they get. And he is absolutely correct. Yesterday evening I did a telephone radio interview for a Melbourne community station and was horrified at the thought of having to read from my own novel. I’d never done it before and was agitated all day thinking about it. Would I sound stupid? Would I stuff up, stumble over words? Again, the host was gracious and able to put me at ease. Listening back to the interview today, I’m rather pleased with the result. So, take it from a naturally shy person, you can do it too!
From now on, I shall embrace opportunities to self-promote rather than shy away from them. In this day and age, you have to knock on lots of doors to get attention, especially if you don’t have a big publicity machine behind you. There are a gazillion writers and wannabes out there, and the meek will not inherit the earth when it comes to fiction writing.