Today here at Hayley Reviews I’m pleased to have Eliza taking over for me. I was part of the blog tour for The Letter- Kitty’s story and was overjoyed when she agreed to guest for me. She’s talking about getting to grips with social media – something I love and also hate at times.
Blog Tour: The Letter – Kitty’s story
So without further ado….
When I first decided to take my writing seriously and to actually do something about it – i.e. think about getting published – I realised I was probably going to have to get my backside into gear as far as social media was concerned and build myself a platform. At that point, the only thing I knew about this on-line world was the snippets I’d overheard from my daughters’ conversations – I hadn’t been tempted by Facebook, which even my most technophobic friends had. You could say I was a little late to the party.
So, one afternoon, and with a determined look in her eyes, my eldest daughter sat me down and fired-up my laptop with threats to have me social-media savvy by the end of the day. I have to say I was a dreading it; I couldn’t imagine enjoying spending time tweeting about this, that and the other, or posting pictures on Instagram. And I was convinced I’d make a hash of everything! But, with assurances that I’d be absolutely fine, my daughter and I ploughed on and sure enough, by the end of the day I was signed up to more social media than you could shake a stick at! I even had my own blog – heaven only knew what I’d post on that!
I have to say that, being a bit of a chatter-box, I took to Twitter pretty quickly, and was happily tweeting away in no time. And it was this platform that introduced me to friendliest, most supportive bunch of people I know: the book community. From book bloggers taking the time to post detailed reviews of books they’d read, authors promoting other authors’ work and readers tweeting about how much they loved a book, it was a real eye-opener. The kindness and generosity of spirit was heart-warming, especially after hearing so much about what my daughter referred to as ‘trolling’. This very definitely changed my opinion of Twitter.
For me, social media was a Narnia-like doorway to another world. One that introduced me to a whole host of fabulous new authors, such as Caroline Roberts, Jules Wake, Linn B Halton, Helen J Rolfe and Sam Tonge to name just a few (the full list is rather lengthy!). I had no idea that such great writers were either signed to digital first imprints of the big publishing houses or were successful indie authors. At the time I was a strictly physical-copy only reader and wouldn’t entertain a Kindle. I quickly changed my mind and bought one, and boy am I glad I did! Since getting my hands on one I’ve read some fantastic ebooks.
Twitter also introduced me to York’s Festival of Writing, run by the Writers’ Workshop. I booked myself a place on the course and came away inspired. Indeed, it was here that the first seeds of self-publishing were sown in my mind.
Once I’d got my manuscript finished – or once I’d convinced myself I had to stop tweaking it to within an inch of its life! – I submitted it to a couple of the imprint publishers (I decided on only two as I still felt compelled to self-publish) and received one rejection and no response from the other (a flicker of self-doubt made me wonder if my writing was so bad, it didn’t warrant a response!) This made me take a long, hard look at my manuscript, which at over 150,000 was a bit of a hefty brute, and I decided a serious pruning session was in order. This I did and managed to discard over 20,000 words. Phew! My next step – and here’s where the internet and good old Twitter come in again – was to find an editor and book cover designer. After a good sniff around, I decided I liked what freelance editor, Alison Williams, offered and sent my manuscript off to her.
As far as a book cover was concerned, I’d decided early on that it had to be professionally designed, and I had the very designer in mind: Berni Stevens, whose book covers are just delicious! I’m thrilled with the one she designed for my novel; it captures the essence of the story’s location perfectly – in fact, I think I fall a little bit more in love with it every time I look at it!
Next up was marketing! Again, I knew who I wanted for this: the fab Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources. First off, I enlisted her help with a cover reveal followed by a whirlwind of a blogtour – it took my feet a while to touch the ground after that, I can tell you! I’m eternally grateful to Rachel for her slick organisational skills and for helping to launch my novel into the marketplace and introducing my book to the generous book bloggers who offered an unknown author a spot on their blogs.
I owe Twitter a big ‘thank you’, for helping me find all of these awesome people!
So, you see, after being sniffy about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and co, I’m a fully-fledged convert, fan and user – though I’m still a little behind on some forums, but I’m doing my best to catch up!
My first novel, The Letter – Kitty’s Story, which wouldn’t have been published without my introduction to social media, is available on Amazon in digital form and pretty soon it will be available in paperback. If you fancy a read, the links are:
You can also catch me on:
You can find me on Goodreads, too.
Please feel free to get in touch – I always love to hear from fellow readers, authors and bloggers. Oh, and before I go, if you read The Letter – Kitty’s Story and like it, I’d be so grateful if you could pop a little review on Amazon. Thank you so much.
Thank you Eliza for taking the time to talk to me. I am hoping to do a Q&A with Eliza soon so if you have any burning questions then please leave them below. I must admit I haven’t read this yet but it’s on that ever increasing pile.