Friday 5 October 2018

This is Me Not Shouting - Savita Kalhan

When my book, The Girl in the Broken Mirror, was published this year I had no idea that I would be
spending so much time and energy on all things not Work-in-Progress.

Publicising your book while not shouting about it is an art, I’ve realised. Clearly many authors with bigger publishing houses benefit from publicity departments setting up events, festivals, school visits, blogger events, blog tours etc. But those of us with smaller publishing houses are largely on our own, unless we can afford to hire a publicity person. 

When you see your peers invited to speak at various events, appearing at literary festivals, and so on, you do feel a certain amount of pressure. Shouldn’t you be doing those things too? Networking, blogging, tweeting, instagramming etc. How else will readers be aware of your book? Will your book ‘disappear’, unnoticed, unread, if you don’t step up?

Hiring someone to do the PR isn't an option for most writers, for obvious financial reasons. But the amount of work involved in being your own PR person can be immense, particularly if you are editing another book and trying to work on a WIP, and trying to have a life too...

Some of those non-WIP-writing things involve sending out hundreds of emails to bloggers to create interest in your book, and then organising your own blog tour, then follow up emails, arranging the dates, the guest posts etc. Writing guest posts for blog tours can take up a lot of time, depending on how long the blog tour is.

For me, the blog tours are well worth it. There are some amazing book bloggers out there and I was very lucky to have come across some champions of my book. I have an an international blog tour starting on November 1st with another group of YA bloggers.

So how much of all the non-WIP-writing and PR work is actually worth the time? Personally, I would say that most of it has been worth the extra effort. Maybe it will become easier if I’m lucky enough to have another book published. I just have to be a little bit more organised and also not bite off more than I can chew. It’s about working out how much I want to do and how much I can physically and mentally achieve without over-stretching myself.

September was great for non-WIP-writing events. I was in the Waterstones tent at Berkofest on Saturday 8th September, with Tamsyn Murray. I got to meet lots of adult authors too and hear Erin Kelly talking about her next psychological thriller.

I loved the YA Lit Cardiff event on 29th September! I was on a panel discussing identity in our books with Tracy Darnton and Katherine Webber (more on these events in my next blog in November). It's a new event organised by Karen Bultiauw and Claire Fayers, and it's set to be a great addition to the YA scene.

I was also invited to a school in Paris for an Erasmus Plus event, which included talks and workshops on my book with students from several countries across Europe,

I'm juggling hats - every writer has to do this - because book sales are important. I'm still trying to keep it fun.  

But, above all, there are stories I want to tell, and this is what I'm trying to remember - to make time to write.

The Girl in the Broken Mirror by Savita Kalhan, pub by Troika Books, 2018


Penny Dolan said...

Wishing you lots of energy for the next round, Savita, and conratulations on getting your book so often noticed. Enjoy the festivals.

Chitra Soundar said...

It's a balancing act and always planning ahead works with bloggers and reduces stress, I've found. I also keep two weeks cleared in my diary before a book comes out to do stuff on social media. But easier said than done. Good luck. I hope to catch you at a London event soon.

Claire Fayers said...

It was lovely to have you in Cardiff. I hope the promotion and the writing goes well. It is difficult to fit everything in. I try to keep mornings for writing and afternoons for other things, and the allotment is my escape time (so peaceful since I've stopped taking my phone with me.)

Savita Kalhan said...

Thank you everyone!

Lovely to see you too, Claire!

My allotment has been slightly neglected this summer I have to admit. But hopefully, my balancing act will improve with time and experience.