Launches, Videos, Awards and Keeping Sane

Alison Morton tells us how to plan, prioritise and pace yourself when promoting your books.

Alison Morton’s third Roma Nova thriller SUCCESSIO came out on 3 June 2014 and was launched in London the following day at the University Women’s Club with an interview by broadcaster Sue Cook. Here’s a link to a short preview.

On a quick trip to Shortlands Library near Bromley, two days before the launch, Alison met up with fellow SilverWood Books’ author David Ebsworth. As well as setting the scene behind his book - The Kraals of Ulundi - David told of the fascinating story of the Prince Imperial who had lived nearby.

The day after the London launch, Alison met up with her new agent, Annette Crossland from A for Authors. It was a very exciting event, but also a serious professional exchange - even though the lunch was delicious. Annette is representing Alison for subsidiary and foreign rights.

On 10 June 2014, Alison also spoke at the Tunbridge Wells library where she had a terrific welcome from librarians and readers alike. Alison says, "Libraries are so welcoming - every author should embrace them. You may sell some books!"

When she reached home in France after the launch and library trip, she opened her copy of Writing Magazine to find INCEPTIO (first in series) and PERFIDITAS (second in series) had been shortlisted in the 2014 Self-Published Book of the Year competition! There were some kind words for SilverWood Books from the judges.

Alison Morton tells us how to pace yourself when promoting your books.

'Whistle-stop tour’ is a well-known cliché, but it certainly applied to this packed trip. Behind all the real time activity there were online launch splashes, blog posts, a book tour for the second book PERFIDITAS, plus the normal social media activity, which included arranging future virtual and real events.

Now, non-writing activity peaks around a book launch and that’s how it should be, but how to avoid it all collapsing in on itself and dragging you down into the black hole?

Planning - the obvious one! Not just times, places, transport tickets, but nitty gritty like access doors, how you are going to transport boxes of books by public transport (it can be done), display stands and marketing materials, contact numbers, etc. Make a folder, either virtual or physical, and keep everything in it.

Calendar - I use iCal, which synchronises between my desktop and laptop computers to schedule work that contributes to events. For example: calling or emailing people, drafting blog posts or getting printing done. Every activity has an alarm/message attached, which keeps popping up to remind me to do it. It’s like switching the news on in the morning to track time left to get ready for work.

Prioritise - when tight for time, select which activities contribute directly to your events and jettison the rest. Be brutal or you’ll find that seductive time-sucks like Facebook - although enjoyable - will rob you of vital time. Making a video trailer is great if you are going to use it actively. Is the time spent worth the return? Balance your time versus using (and paying for) somebody else’s time.

Say no - you can’t do everything. If you don’t want to say no, then defer. Most people will understand. The time I would say not to say no is when a book blogger with a decent following wants to review your book. Your trip to the post office, or drafting an email with an attached PDF becomes your priority.

Call in favours - all that time on social media has brought you good virtual friends and if they’re proper friends they’ll help. If you’re not sure then ask, but ask nicely. Very few people will refuse. You wouldn’t would you?

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers: INCEPTIO and PERFIDITAS. The third in series, SUCCESSIO, is out now.

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