Time to Read Blog

Independent Writer? Be Your Own PR Department!

Posted Monday 25 September 2017 by Ian Anstice

Independent Writer?  Be Your Own PR Department!

Diane Hinds on how to promote your book

So, just because you’re independently published, this is no barrier to generating much needed PR coverage for you and your book.  You just need to think how to go about it.

We have seen an increase in the self-publishing market and there have been a number of successes - EL James, Andy Weir and many more.  Some writers I have met are just happy to publish and leave it at that.  With the wealth of writers I’ve met with interesting stories to tell, it is a shame to let the books sink.  It doesn’t take a lot to generate media coverage.  Just a little time and patience.

Diane HindsThe most important thing to consider is your message.  What is your message?  How clear are you on this?  Next, you need to research your local media.  This is a good starting point and they are more inclined to find you of interest, due to your local angle.

Also, do you know your target audience?  If so, consider where they go to find out about similar books to yours being published?  What do they read?  What’s the demographic of this target audience?  Do your research!  Remember some people are not technically literate so what traditional media are they reading for example the older generation?

One thing I advise when you are putting together your personal PR campaign is to avoid advertising spend.  All this should cost you are: pennies in telephone calls, travel/accommodation and time.  If you’re invited to be interviewed on television, away from home, then this may incur expenses which are tax deductible.  Normally these are covered by the publisher, if you’re traditionally published, but you will have to cover these costs as you are self-publishing.

You need to put in as much effort to running your own campaign as you have to writing and completing the book for online sale, or you will risk minimal sales.

Traditional media gives the author valuable ‘third party validation’ and can be circulated on your social media accounts.  Now would be an ideal time to set up your Twitter and/or Facebook accounts as you need to start developing on online presence.  You can find other online platforms that work better for you.  For example, if you’re writing a travel book/blog then images work well for you.  These can be shared online on Pinterest, Instagram or other image based social media sites.  You can also add images to your posts.

Can you lead the news agenda?  This is where your message is so important.  Can you support it with industry quotes and ground breaking research?  These will strengthen your campaign.

If you want to know more, you can find out about my talks in your local area by visiting Time to Read’s website or visiting: www.TheEntertainmentBureau.co.uk/Events/.

Go for it!

Diane Hinds

Wirral Free Bookfest

Posted Wednesday 13 September 2017 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

Wirral Bookfest returns to Wirral's with some fantastic events in Wirral's libraries between from 3 to 30 October.

All of the events are in libraries and they are all free, featuring local authors who have made good, local authors making good and those who are experts on authors.

Find out more via the Wirral BookFest website

There’s nothing odd about the Squad: Steve Dearden on the Writing Squad

Posted Wednesday 13 September 2017 by Ian Anstice in Opinion

WS Logo

I recently met up with Steve Dearden of the Writing Squad to try to get a handle on what they did and how they could work with libraries. My thanks to Steve for so patiently explaining things that it became a blog post. He's a lovely guy and the Writing Squad clearly do great work. What do they do? Well, strange you should ask ....

What we do …

Our mission is simple, to create the next generation of writers in the North.

Every two years we recruit 30 writers aged 16-21 who live, work or study in the North of

England and offer them workshops led by professional writers as well as 1-1 support from our Core Team. Making up that team along with me are poet Helen Mort, novelist Jenn Ashworth and writer/artist Stevie Ronnie.

Steve DeardenAfter the two year programme we continue to offer writing and professional development as our ‘grads’ begin their careers.  We help them establish themselves as individual artists, collectives or new start up companies. We link them with the literature industry and independent sector, while encouraging them to produce and distribute work themselves, and of course they become part of the wider Squad - a community of artists who support each other's development.

We also set up projects with partners like Read Manchester, Manchester Literature Festival and Hull Libraries to give our grads the commissions and work experience they need to get a track record, build their CV and secure further work. Increasingly we have become the go to organisation for people looking for emerging writers - this is perhaps not the happiest example, but the day after the Manchester Arena attack, Le Monde got in touch to ask us to find a writer to capture the city’s mood.

How have we done?

We have worked with 179 writers in 8 Squads since 2001 and are still in contact with 123 of them.  Over the last year we have given support to 93.

33 of the 179 currently make all, or a substantial part of their living through writing or cultural activities as theatre/TV/film scriptwriters, theatre makers, band members, performance artists, journalists, copy and content writers, a game writer, a translator, a radio drama producer.

29, while not making significant income, have become recognised as emerging poets, prose writers, playwrights, film writers and makers, songwriters, publishers and performers.

Visit our website to meet some of our writers, see where they have ended up and even buy their books, songs and magazines.

What distinguishes us from other writer development programmes? 

Our support is rigorous and long term, we can work with a writer over a period of 2-12 years as and when they need it.  What we offer is shaped by the constant renewal of their needs, ambitions and circumstances. We work around their life circumstances, where they are, what they are up to, their physical and mental health.

We are early adopters, fleet of foot, a virtual organisation enabled by technology.  For us building is a verb, not a noun, our assets are people and time, so our Arts Council England National Portfolio funding goes into activity rather than overheads.

If someone comes to us with new challenges or interesting partnership ideas - we tend to say yes.

What can we offer libraries and librarians?

Passionate writers and readers with experience of working with the public. Writers and readers who can be role models for young library users and offer fresh perspectives to adults or all ages!

As more of our grads are published or produced we can broker visits to readers and book groups.  They can share their own work with you, but also talk about their reading. I am constantly being nudged away from the known, familiar and already well promoted else by their eclectic tastes, as well as re-exploring the classics I read at their age, but in the context of today.

We are always on the look out for projects that give our writers experience - whether that is simply offering a workshop for your users, or something more creative - for instance we have set up and run library based young writer groups in Manchester and Hull, made a film as part of an intergenerational workshop in Leeds, spent a weekend at John Rylands Library exploring what it is like to write on things other than paper - glass, bone, china for instance. We have supplied menu poems for a restaurant, made online soundscapes for the Amy Johnston Festival, and been writers in residence in a bank.

Obviously we know our writers and will only recommend people up to the job! And it is a job for them, they are emerging professional writers, so this isn’t a free service, we would want them to be paid unless there was a significant advantage - a guaranteed sale of their books, or a professional development experience they could not get elsewhere.

So if you have an idea you want to talk through or are looking for exciting writers at the beginning of their careers, then please do get in touch.

Steve Dearden

Director, The Writing Squad

www.writingsquad.com

Get yourself addicted

Posted Wednesday 6 September 2017 by Ian Anstice in Opinion

Addiction

Get yourself addicted

There’s a lot of addictions in this world and most of them are pretty bad for you. I for one eat far too many biscuits that are advisable for a man of my age. But there’s one addiction that I’m proud of and isn’t bad for you. And that’s reading books.

Can you read too many books? I don’t think you can. The worst that can happen to you is that your knowledge increases and you’re suddenly able to spell more words than you could beforehand. Employers will gaze in wonder at your applications and relatives will bow down to your knowledge. Moreover, a good novel – or, hey, any Captain Underpants title –  will allow you to get into the mind of someone in a way that a film or anything else does not. A story gives you the very thoughts of a person in a way that even the best actor finds hard to convey. You see their feelings. In fact, in the hands of a good author, you become the character, at least for a little while. Fancy being a pirate? Or want to understand what it’s like being from a different culture or country? Well, now you can. And, today, when it seems all about “us” and “them”, this ability cannot be over-rated. Empathy is the thing.

Speaking of over-rated, sure, a film has a lot of special effects but that’s nothing compared to a good book. Read and you get full surround-sound 360 degrees vision and the best special effects you can have, because they’re not on your eyeball, they’re in your head. Even virtual reality is only as good as the designer, while there is some sort of strange magic in the book that connects directly to the imagination neurons on the brain.

And that’s a thing, books may be one of our older forms of communication but they’re still one of the best. Time travel is possible in a book. Instantaneous travel anywhere in the universe can go on amongst its pages. Fall in love on a spaceship or discover a new way of thinking over a couple of bits of paper.

So, today, take up a book. You should have one or be able to buy one. Or, if not, borrow one from the library, either by going there or online these days, and grab yourself a moment. Six minutes is enough to reduce your stress (here’s the research) and if you’ve got a kid, ten minutes can change their life (here’s some more).

So, read a book today. And get addicted. In a good way

.

North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

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