After answering a tweet in the autumn of 2009, I agreed to assist Graham Storrs’ virtual book tour (blog tour), on the release of his new book “TimeSplash”. At that time I also asked for two interviews with Graham; one to cover his feelings and findings before the start of the tour, and the second one after the tour to ask how, for him, the tour went.
As is the nature of things, we quickly realised that a single after-the-event interview, could not do justice to what was occurring during the tour. So we chatted together after each event, whilst the tour was running, and this has resulted in a post of seven and a half thousand words.
This is now too big, so to help the weary reader I have serialised it over a few days. I hope you keep coming back to see what Graham did next.
Today we join Graham alongside Nathan Bransford and Barak Obama. (Click here for yesterday’s post.)
The next stop on the tour was with the lovely Joanna Penn when you shared your Nine Marketing Tips For Authors. I will admit to being a great fan of Joanna and of all the advice she gives out. That post was completely in line with the focus of Joanna’s blog, being based on marketing, and I wonder if you would talk a little on the selection of post topic and its relation to host blog focus?
When I started the tour, I had it in mind that I would do blog posts tailored to each individual’s blog. Good bloggers tend to focus on particular niches and it’s fair to assume that their readers stick with them because that niche is what they want to read about. It would be a disservice to my host to write about something their readers weren’t interested in. So I asked them to suggest topics I might cover that their readers would like to hear about. Surprisingly many of them said just do whatever you like, but a small number had specific suggestions – and Joanna was one of them. Even so, in each case, I thought carefully about each blog that was hosting me before writing my pieces. Joanna’s was quite hard to do. I’m no marketer (as I expect my sales to reveal!) but I have been totally immersed in book promotion for months now and found I did have things to say. That particular piece was retweeted 65 times, which, for me, is a personal best and, I think, shows that I managed to say something of interest to Joanna’s readers. I shouldn’t say this but, in some ways, that is more important to me than generating book sales.
After the stop at Joanna’s blog there was another wonderful post at Janette Dalgliesh’s blog which delved into your early years of writing. You talked of writing as a dance, of penning the odd paragraph in the “small eddies” of your life, of mechanical typewriters and of throwing away manuscripts, by the box full on one occasion. You talked about the lack of information when dealing with publishing professionals and about how your turnaround came from being in close contact with publishing professionals. For the new writer engaging in the publishing dance for the first time, what would be the key action that you would advise?
I suppose I’d say what so many others say, “Get an agent.” Of course, I can’t offer any advice on how to get an agent because I haven’t quite worked out how to do it myself yet. However, I know enough about this business now to have come to the view that trying to sell a book without an agent means too many big publishers are inaccessible to you. Publishers are easier to get than agents, but the ones you have access to are the smaller ones. The big publishers only accept manuscripts through agents these days. This didn’t used to bother me until I had my book published by one of these smaller publishers and realised the only significant difference between small and large publishers is in their access to publicity. The big ones have it, the small ones don’t. Without the reviews in the the major newspapers and the leading genre magazines, without all the press mentions and Web visibility that a big name publisher provides, the only people who know your book even exists are the ones you can reach yourself – and that is not enough to give your book the chance it deserves. So get an agent and let them get you a big name publisher. Anything else and you’re little better off than if you had self-published – except, of course, you haven’t.
Hmm, sobering words there, I know that I read articles that say time and time again saying how important it is to treat the your book in a businesslike and professional manner. Simply because everything that happens after you finish writing your book, is then controlled by hard business decisions. We may not like it but that is the arena that we are working in. If you do figure out a neat way to get an agent, I hope you remember your old blog hosts, especially me.
Of course I will – at least I hope I will.
One my favourite stops on the tour was the interview on the HowDidYouGetThere blog that Kristi puts out. Although… Ok, I’ll come clean, it was fun, it made me smile, it was refreshing and I got confused. Somewhere around about the time of the kangaroo, Shack’s brain melted. So I read it again and… it still made no sense. I would go on but I don’t want to risk your wife overhearing.
So tell us more about the experience of working with the unique Kristi?
First and foremost, it was fun. Her method is fun too. She sent out a set of interview questions – very ordinary, dull-looking ones. I answered these as humorously as I could (putting in the gags about taking camping gear to go down to my mailbox, for example – it is a very long drive – and about my wife thinking I’m browsing DIY catalogues instead of writing.) Then Kristi chewed it over for a couple of months and sent me her edited version, having totally transformed it into the quickfire dialogue readers saw and adding in plenty more gags of her own (like the whole timesplashing is real thing and my wife in her splashgear – that one cracked me up!) She’s very clever.
Actually, I took a screen capture of her blog the day my interview appeared. It may be the only time my photo is ever displayed alongside those of Nathan Bransford and Barak Obama!
After Kristi’s event of irreverence, your next stop explored why we write on Little Scribbler’s blog. This was the opposite type of post from the heavy interaction of Kristi’s, where it was a Graham only effort without any obvious interaction by the host other than putting up the guest post. Obviously any author is grateful for any and all opportunities for getting the word out there, but do minimal interaction sites leave you flat when compared to the full on support some sites give you?
It’s true that some hosts really go out of their way to give you a hand. The interview I did with Nanci Arvizu for PageReaders was followed up by her posting reviews of my book on Amazon and Goodreads. That just blew me away. But the non-interactive hosts are not to be sniffed at. My post on sci-fi at Marianne de Pierres’ blog was later picked up and mentioned or quoted at sites I would have been invisible to otherwise, including Walker of Worlds. Posts like the one I did at Little Scribbler’s blog have given me a chance to vary the content and make the tour more interesting. A diet of two months of interviews might have been a bit hard to stomach, fascinating as I am.
Oh! One little observation, I see you are now two books on from TimeSplash, I take it that the rock band gig in the local didn’t work out and it’s back to scribbling to get your sex appeal on the up?
Yeah, I have to admit it, it’s the writers who get the chicks. Rock bands are so twentieth century!
At the next stop, you are back to the Lyrical press blog and you are talking about easing up on the marketing gas for TimeSplash and allow your head to dive more into the new book. Now writers are not normally marketers, if we were then we would be out there marketing, earning a generous living and not be huddled in darkened rooms, bent double over our keyboards. So it’s not surprising that at the end of weeks and weeks of continuous promotion, that an author can catch a dose of tail end fatigue. Especially if there is another wondrous world clamouring for our undivided attention, one that has no boring marketing requirement at present. Can you tell us a bit about how you perceived the drag of the last days of the tour, and about the discipline to maintain a working promotion?
Continued tomorrow, when Graham talks about how to keep going when the glamour is fading.
TimeSplash Virtual Book Tour (Blog Tour)
This interview is part of the virtual book tour running from 16th of February to the 5th of May. To find out more about the book, characters, Graham, publication and inside information about writing the story, go to the virtual book tour schedule page at “TimeSplash – The Blog Tour 2010″
About Graham Storrs
Graham Storrs is someone who thinks a lot about the future. It’s a place we’re all going, whether we like it or not, a place where we, our children and their children will have to deal with changes we can barely imagine. Some of us can’t wait to get there, to see what it’s like, and how we will cope. That’s why Graham writes science fiction – he wants to know what happens next in this amazing story we’re all living.
After a career in research and software design, Graham has turned his gaze firmly to the far horizons and now lives and writes on a remote mountain-top in rural Australia. Surrounded by gum forests and wild animals, he relies on his wife, Christine, and their Airedale terrier, Bertie, to keep him anchored in the present.
Released: February 15, 2010 · Lyrical Press Inc.
Purchase: TimeSplash can be bought as an eBook direct from the publisher, by clicking on “Buy now”.
e-Book: All six popular formats supplied with each purchase
Price: US $ 5.50,