Appreciating My Membership of BAIPA
At last my novel, She Wore a Yellow Dress, is published — it took five years, and it is very much a tribute to BAIPA. Through my membership I learned about the importance of development editing as well as copy editing, the advantages of a strong cover design, the need for websites, blogs and newsletters, the value of collecting email addresses, alternative methods for publishing and book distribution, the use of bricks and mortar, and the need to receive as many reviews as possible, including those from readers before the book is launched. The only item I had to struggle with on my own was writing in English English while speaking the American variety. Here is one of my early reviews which so far have rated the novel either 4 or 5 out of 5.
Amazon/Goodreads reviewer remitted the following 5-STAR review to NetGalley:
“John is brought up on an isolated farm near York, spends his spare time birdwatching , and attends Hull University as the government pays his expenses. He worries about serious relationships with girls and has no idea of what career to follow. His experience so far is as a farm hand and a hospital porter. A letter he finds at home confirms his biological father is alive but has no intention of helping him.
On Bonfire Night 1965 (Guy Fawkes Night), during his final undergraduate year, he meets a fellow student, Jean-Louise, and a romantic relationship develops. In many ways she is different from John; she is a town girl, brought up by loving parents, is an only child, has opposing politics and knows what she wants to be – a fashion buyer for Marks and Spencer. The obstacle is her mother is ill with muscular dystrophy and she must help take care of her parents. She surprises John by encouraging his birdwatching. John joins Ford of Britain as a graduate trainee and after an uncertain start, is placed in industrial relations.
What happens to the couple during the subsequent 10 years as they navigate their careers, have to deal with events that take place in Britain during the period and manage personal issues at home, are the subjects of this book. There is panic buying during the 1974, 3-day working week, the affects on home life of Britain’s entry into the Common Market, annual inflation driven above 25 percent in part because of trade union militancy, and many other national incidents.
A unique feature of the novel is the use of bird species to illustrate human behavior and character. At the end of each chapter there is an illustration of the featured bird from that chapter to provide a summary of the bird’s appearance and habitat in case the reader is interested.
The novel blends British history, ornithology, success at work, discrimination against women and the challenges of home life into a single story.”
I do not think I have loved a book cover more than this one. It has the feeling of Hitchcock or an old French New Wave film.
And now I move forward with the book launch on February 16, 2021. I have been told to be relentless. It is a terrifying and daunting task but marketing is an essential part of Indie publishing. During my preparations, a literary agent told me “you are not commercial enough”. It seems you have to be already famous or writing about someone or something well known to go down the traditional path of publishing. Obviously there are exceptions. The Martian and 50 Shades of Grey jump to mind as novels that were switched from self to traditional publishing. But if no-one knows your book exists, no-one is going to buy it.
So relentless I am. To help me, I am using Smith Publicity to oversee the PR aspects of the novel, and my representative currently has the task of chasing down more reviews, attracting bloggers, and pitching to the media. Already I have achieved a feature article published a few days ago in the British Hull Daily Mail. If you would like to see the full article read it here.
Join Me for Reading with Sausalito Books by the Bay
I have an invitation from Sausalito Books by the Bay to present my novel on Zoom, Tuesday, February 23, 2021, from 5.00pm to 6.00pm. If you are interested in listening to the talk, joining instructions are below:
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You can also sign up on the store’s website at www.sausalitobooksbythebay.com /2021-events.
It’s gratifying to see my book in the Sausalito store window, only a few books away from Obama’s A Promised Land. Good company to be in.