The launch party on April 14th was followed by such a busy two weeks of book and family events it has taken me until now to take stock of ‘life after publication’ and what comes next. Because the launch, as Linen Press reminds me, is just the beginning.
What strikes me first of all is how generous people have been in their praise for In the Blink of an Eye, not just in official reviews but also in contacting me privately with their reactions. Here’s what one reader – who knows me only very slightly – took the trouble to say:
“Thought it was beautifully written and I loved the way you kept it moving from the beginning of the great painting to the completion…. Found it very moving …. and the Silver Harvest chapter was excellent. “
Here’s another from someone I’ve met only briefly but corresponded with about my research,
“I’ve been meaning to get in touch ever since I finished reading your fascinating story … I found In the Blink of an Eye a really lovely story … I suppose I’ve put off getting in touch to tell you all this because I didn’t feel I could do justice to put pen to paper.”
Comments like these appearing in my inbox really do make my day, because a writer above all wants to be read and for the story they have told to fall on hearts and minds that respond to it. And as a writer in this case of ‘faction’ I also wanted ‘my people’ as encapsulated in the Hill and Adamson story to reach a wider public. So when a photo historian says,
“I am optimistic that ‘In the Blink of an Eye’ will be popular which will also help to publicise the work of Hill and Adamson and those others who contributed to it”
I get another frisson of joy.
But it’s not just about my feeble writer’s ego. Book sales, apparently, are still all about word of mouth. So the more people spreading the word the better. I’m hopeful these correspondents will say nice things to more people, then, who knows?
While I play a bit of a waiting game, I’m doubly grateful for the reviewers – bloggers and private individuals – who have posted reviews online. Here’s one from a fellow author on Twitter:
“…as sensitive as an old calotype print – beautifully written and arranged, with an enviable lightness of touch and tone, redolent of place, of outdoors, of the ‘crescents and wind-racked skies of the north,’ – a triumph.”
I know this isn’t something everyone thinks of or wants to do, but as well as massaging my ego (7 Amazon reviews so far!) – this is one of the best ways of boosting the visibility of a book – especially one from a small press.
So while I take my show on the road to places as far flung as Languedoc, Suffolk and Scotland, I’ll be grateful for anything any of my friends and supporters can do to bring Blink to public consciousness. Here are a few suggestions:
- Post comments online (this could be Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter or Facebook, or email it around a few friends)
- Recommend Blink to a library or put in a request
- Adopt it as a reading group choice
- Think about which of your friends might be interested in the period, subject matter or the style – and tell them!
- Ask about it in your local bookshop – do they stock it? If not, why not!
Of course, in a perfect world, such a great book would (IMO!) would be in the window of every Waterstones in the land. But while these places (lovely indie bookshops like this one excepted of course) are the exclusive domain of big publishers offering big deals, we smaller fry are grateful for a little help from our friends, and anything they (you) can do to spread the word.
In fact, quite soon there’s going to be something else you can do to give Blink a final boot into the minds of the public. But I’ll leave that for another post or for Linen Press to tell you about.
I’ll soon be off to try out Blink on the English speakers of Montpellier. Let’s hope the Auld Alliance is alive and well!