Down a dark alley…
This post is just what the title says: to take my mind off things – one of my lovely grandmas is very poorly in hospital, and I thought spending time on the computer might stop me worrying… Apologies for any typos, as my mind really isn’t on the job in hand!
I’ve been browsing various book-related forums for some inspiration, and will admit to being hugely jealous when I read about another author’s publisher launching a huge campaign to launch her book. She’s just a newbie too, but has a bucket load of promotions coming up (combined with oodles of publicity – that’s the technical term) and a radio campaign! Now I don’t begrudge her any of this, as I know she has worked hard and truly deserves it, but it is a bit of an eye-opener to me. If you happen to read this Claire, well done, and I’m completely green-eyed! But not monster-like…unless I’m caffeine-deficient.
This is what’s going on in my book world at the moment:
As you know, I was supposed to be a featured author at Blaydon Festival on Wednesday (6th June 07), but heard nothing from the organiser and had no way of contacting her. Sarah’s since told me that she’s seen it advertised as a poetry event now…
You may remember the nice people at Gateshead Libraries Service contacting me about an Author Event. They intended to stock the book and then hold an event, where I could talk about how I wrote it, etc. However, I got an email to say that they hadn’t been able to BUY the book. They were told it wasn’t registered with Nielsen Book Data (which it is), it isn’t available through their library supplier and (this is what upset me) it isn’t stocked in Borders and Borders “weren’t keen to order”!!! Can’t understand it! I know I shouldn’t take these things personally, but I do…it’s just the way I am, I’m afraid.
I took a look at the revamped Discovered Authors website, and was delighted to see the link to Karma was back…until I clicked on it: Introduction to Statistical Engineering! Thanks, guys! I was invited, by generic email, to send DA some information about myself for their site – perhaps they might link Holly A Harvey to the details of someone successful (maybe the author of Introduction to Statistical Engineering, LOL)! Must email them to point this faux pas out.
Trying to promote this book is like walking through treacle – I’m trying really hard and getting nowhere fast!!! What keeps me going, you ask? Fibre, I reply! Only joking: a fortune cookie told me “You’re only a loser when you quit trying!” so I’m still trying (ask my husband how trying I am…)
Is it just me (and probably Paige, from Karma) who thinks this: the new advert on TV for Oasis drinks is really scary. The one I’m talking about is where the man is at the Hoppings (I’ve said Hoppings, but am suddenly wondering if this is a local word for travelling fair, or a universal word) is at a side show and is spraying water in to a clown’s head. Into its open mouth, actually. Then you see this poor man later, in bed, in a darkened bedroom. He opens his eyes to see…the clown! In his room! I think it then squirts water in to his mouth, but by that time, I’ve usually either hid behind a pillow or changed channel (if the remote isn’t down the side of the sofa or under the dog, where it usually is).
There is actually a thread running on Yahoo Answers calling for the advert to be banned on the grounds that: clowns are freaky and should be banned and someone nearly ‘cacked it’. I find clowns very, very, and let me stress this, very, unnerving and I don’t know one person (unless you correct me) that finds them funny…
Hello! No gallivanting for me this weekend – I have dedicatedly spent this afternoon getting the Blog up-to-date on my website. So, from now on, posts will be posted at blog.com and then transferred to my own site(always good to have a back up). I have also trimmed down the gallery at www.hollyaharvey.co.uk I’d intended to update this but can’t find the cord thingy that attaches my digi camera to the computer (I sound like such a technical whizz…thingy indeed).
Aside from making a stew this weekend, I have started the first chapter of another story, for ‘fun’…but it isn’t writing itself like Karma did. Maybe I don’t know enough about the characters yet – I think I’m going to have fun getting to know the ‘drag queen’ (I would welcome suggestions for his/her stage name…) Have also spent some time in front of the TV watching the likes of Ugly Betty, Saturday Kitchen and Grease is the Word (maybe I shouldn’t admit to that???) Watched a great film last night called The Prestige, with Hugh Jackman in it. It isn’t usually my kind of film, but is the first of its type to have me guessing all the way through and STILL getting it wrong!!! I even managed to stay awake through the entire 126 minutes (considering 96 of those minutes were after my bedtime…)
Returning to topic, I have still heard nothing from the local paper regarding an article I was asked, by M.E. NorthEast, to contribute to (did email Jennifer to let her know it wasn’t my fault, and that I did call the journalist); surprisingly, I’ve heard nothing with regard to the book event in Blaydon meant to be taking place in early June (haven’t seen any publicity for it yet, either). I have nothing more related to book-promotion in the pipeline at the moment (I was offered a spot on a radio show, by a nice gentleman, but had to decline as I would have been WAY out of my depth, intellectually speaking- was kind of him to consider me though). I’m not feeling as sad about it as I was last week, you’ll be pleased to hear!
Hello – was actually out of the house for a few hours this morning, and it has made me feel a bit better (not physically, of course, but definitely mentally). Think my lack of activity made me focus on the bad side of life, instead of looking at the positives. Still not sure about book number two…maybe I don’t have another book in me anyway!
Today, I’m feeling a little more content. The Wii I won several months ago has finally arrived (husband is pleased), as has a present I ordered ages ago for my grandma’s birthday. My bank has decided to refund the charges I incurred in 2001 and I’m waiting to hear if there’s going to be another addition to my doggy-family. And I found a bar of chocolate in my cupboard – if that’s not a reason to be happy, I don’t know what is! Oh, and I’ve been offered a Reiki healing session next week from a lady who’s studying it – I’m both nervous and excited about it in equal portions.
And Karma? My sister works for a news group and is trying to generate some interest – unfortunately I’m not local enough for most of them to take an interest, but she’s still working on it. Bless! I have a few emails to follow up on, but am trying to be a little more realistic in my expectations from now on.
Hope you all have a great Bank Holiday weekend – I was one of the few people who was delighted to hear that the weather was likely to be cold and rainy!
Another miserable post, but I feel I’m allowed to wallow in self-pity for a little while. Why? Finally found out how many books I have sold and feel as though the previous post I made was spot-on!
If anything, it has made me question the decision to try writing another book if all my efforts are worth so little. Guess it was just a fluke, but I can’t help but wonder if some printed reviews may have made a difference (good or bad, it gets the book out there).
So, what should I be now? Been a writer, so what about singer (I’m neither Sonny nor Cher, and couldn’t hold a tune with both hands) or perhaps an artist (I don’t even draw the curtains)? Off to drown my sorrows in a chamomile bath…
That’s the question I’ve been asking myself this past fortnight – is all the energy I’ve been putting into promoting the book really worth it? I am absolutely exhausted, and feeling rather rotten at the moment, so this has given me a unwelcome opportunity to dwell on the things I’ve done and what I’ve achieved by doing them. The answer is, probably very little!
I haven’t said no to any opportunity I’ve been offered, no matter what scale it is or how scary (in the case of the radio shows). I’ve spoken frankly about my illness (which I haven’t really done before) in order to raise awareness (ironically, the need to do so is probably what has put me back to this meagre level of activity). I’ve followed all of the routes open to me from my computer (ie this Blog, my website, participation in forums, etc). I just couldn’t think of one more thing to do to increase sales. I was feeling extremely frustrated and fed up that I couldn’t do more. Then I read this:
And I realised it’s not just me! It’s not because I’m ill and can’t promote my book! The reason for my frustration is that there’s nothing else I CAN do, like most first-time authors, rather than nothing else I’m ABLE to do. That made me feel a little better. I think I’d just hoped for too much, considering that this is my only BIG achievement (although I did finally get round to washing some cutlery this morning…) I think I’ve come to terms with the fact this this isn’t going to be my ‘big break’ and launch a career I can do from my bed/sofa. Sadly.
I wish I had some better news to tell you (like that reporter had got back to me, for example), but maybe next time. Until then, it’s back to the TV…
Why the title “Stir Crazy”? Not because I watched the film (Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder – excellent) this week, but until yesterday, I’ve been stuck indoors for what seems like an age.
Because of the book, I’ve heard from some people I haven’t heard from in a long, long time. Firstly, I got an email from my former boss, who’d been told about Karma from a ex-colleague (who’d heard the Mike Parr interview, and read the Sunday Sun article). The former had looked me up on the internet, and discovered my website. In turn, she’d passed this info on to another colleague who also contacted me through my website – as well as being a surprise, this also translated in to a few extra sales! They were going to buy from Waterstones in Newcastle, but I was forced to point out (again) that no-where in Newcastle, Gateshead or the Metrocentre stock the book, despite it being a) by a local author and b) set in the region. (ooh, reading this back, I sound a tad bitter, don’t I?)
Secondly, I was contacted through Friends Reunited (or bloody Friends Reunited, as Paige would say) by an old classmate. I logged on to the account we’d set up for our school reunion so I could reply, only to find that my sneaky little friend (who shall remain nameless) had contacted ALL of the people in my year at school to tell them about the book!!! I must admit that I was annoyed at first, but I know her heart was in the right place…
Then I decided to give things another go with the Libraries Service (as you’ll remember, I hit a bit of a dead end last time). This time, however, I got several nice emails, saying that they would order some books, and also that I could participate with the local Reader Groups – I love the idea of doing this, but am not quite sure what they will expect from me. I’ve never been to an Author Event before, so don’t know what the procedure is… Looking forward to finding out, but a bit nervous, too.
On Tuesday, I heard from ME NorthEast, who’d been approached about a feature about ME – to cut a long story short, I said I’d be happy to talk to the reporter about the condition, and promised to ring her. I did so immediately, before I chickened out, and she didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. I felt a bit silly and wondered if I’d got the wrong end of the stick (as I sometimes do) but she said she’d check it out and get back to me. Haven’t heard anything yet…
My haven’t I waffled today (don’t answer that: it was rhetorical). BTW, I found out where my delivery of books came from: I was the runner-up in Trashionista’s Jane Austen competition. I’m unexpectedly enjoying It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn ( http://www.juliaquinn.com/books/kiss.htm ) which, in my opinion, has the best unintentional double entendre I have seen in a historical romance novel. First line of chapter seven, if you’re interested (email me if you’re that curious)!
PS Quick plug for the forthcoming British Divers Marine Life Rescue’s Marine Mammal Medic Course. As a non-diving, water-phobic, non-swimming Medic, the least I can do is encourage other, more useful, people to attend. If you’re interested and can get to Tynemouth, keep Saturday 28th July free and visit this webpage: http://www.bdmlr.org.uk/pages/main.html – click on the ‘Training’ dolphin/link. The course is both interesting and fun, and the instructors/existing Medics are a great bunch! Despite my physical limitations, I was never made to feel less than part of the team, and I’m grateful for that! Health-permitting, I’ll be there, lending a hand/being a hindrance/eating chocolate biscuits (delete as applicable)…
Drum-roll, please…the winner is…MaryAnne!
The Judge was very impressed with the quality of all of the entries (and I’m relieved to say that there were no negative ones), and had the following to say about MaryAnne’s review:
“I liked the way it didn’t give away too much of the story but described the book really well. It made it sound like it really is – a funny book with lots of surprises, and not a tragic story as someone might expect if you just said it’s a book about someone who is ill & people are nasty to them.”
So, I won’t keep you waiting any longer. Here’s the winning review of Karma:
Amusing, entertaining, satisfying.
I first read the opening chapter of Karma in the Bookforce “Undiscovered Authors” competition. Holly A Harvey then went on to win for the North East of England and the result was this highly entertaining book.
After making her way through school as an object of ridicule and practical jokes, Paige has still not managed to pull her life together at the age of 28. Her working life is unsatisfactory and illness has left her straddled with debts that she just can’t clear.
In the office things are not going to plan. After 4 years she is still not happy there and office politics are a constant dark cloud. When Paige applies for promotion things really come to a head ; Karma needs a bit of a helping hand!
In the midst of this arrives an invitation to her school’s 10 year reunion. She bravely decides to face her fears and attends with her close friend Sarah. There are, after all, some scores to settle!
I loved the way the book unravelled. Thanks to karma, and with a little assistance, the bad get their just desserts – but not necessarily in the way you’d expect.
Witty and erudite, this is a must-read for all fans of better quality, non formulaic Chick-Lit.
MaryAnne has also kindly placed her review on Amazon. I hope you enjoy spending your Amazon voucher…on more books?
PS Haven’t managed to arrange joint radio-interviewee blog yet – maybe next week?
I’m having one of those days which go from bad to good to odd in succession (nothing major just a bit of an uppy-downy day, mood-wise).
I haven’t mentioned this to many people, but I’ve been doing a counselling course (thinking that if I ever get back to my old self, it might be a career I could pursue, alongside my massage therapy). However, today it dawned on me that I would make a terrible counsellor: I’m fairly opinionated and like to help people solve their problems – these aren’t characteristics of a good counsellor, as counsellors aren’t supposed to give advice (I don’t think I could help myself). Perhaps the course will help with my writing, as I may have more of an insight into the characters, so it isn’t a complete loss. Must look on the good side!
On the subject of writing (which is why I’m here), I’ve decided to start working on “Angela of the North” (cheesy title?) to keep me occupied, as I really need to rest up. Other writers have mentioned how hard it is to work on book number two, but I don’t feel any stress, as I’m only writing it for my own benefit – there are no publishers issuing deadlines, no agents and no pressure to complete it. It should keep me out of mischief for a while…some people will be glad to hear that!
Back on topic, the realisation that I’ll never make a counsellor was a bit of a low point. Then I got home to find the post woman had a package for me: two books and a note saying “Two more books to follow.” Strange, as I hadn’t ordered any. Then, minutes later, there was a knock on the door. A deliveryman handed me a large box which contained FOUR books (2 copies of 2 different titles). Peculiar! The only conclusion I can come to is that I won one of the many competitions I entered (via www.loquax.co.uk – great site to look at if you are bored or settee-bound). That was good and odd at the same time.
This weekend, I have some more to say on the topic of the BBC Radio Newcastle interview, but am hoping to do a joint posting with another Blogger. Intrigued? Watch this space. I will also be posting the winning Karma review this weekend.
Gotta go – websites to read, emails to check!