But that’s cheating!

The Distant HoursCandice.  A couple of weeks ago I went to see a book reading by an author called Kate Morton.  I’ll be honest, I’d not heard of her but my friend promised a free glass of wine on arrival and a chance to pick the writer’s brains.  It was held in the Library Theatre in the middle of Birmingham, a lovely historic setting.

So after we’d eaten various types of food for dinner, as there was a food fair on in Brum, off we trooped to see this lady.  In the mean time I’d looked at her website and thought, “Hum, her writing is not really my cup of tea but I’ll give it a go.”

Anyway, a lovely evening was had with some gossiping with my friend, but no free wine (council cuts, we think), and Kate was actually a lot more interesting than I thought.

She began by explaining how she came to be a writer and then her writing process. One of the most interesting things was, she’s an Aussie, but her books are set in the UK.  One of the audience asked her why, and she said it just seemed natural as all the books she’d read when she was growing up were set in the UK, and she’d grown up in a place called Tambourine Mountain outside Brisbane which was a little British enclave. Gave her a good excuse to come to the UK regularly for some research too!

However, after 45 mins of patter and abit of book reading we got to the most interesting section.  Up went my hand first, but she wasn’t looking at my side of the room.  After abit of desperate attention seeking, “Me Miss, Me Me” I got to ask my question.

“So, how did you get published?”

“Well”, says our Kate in her lovely Brisbane accent, ” I had a friend who was a published author and I gave my first book to her agent.”

“Oh,” says I, though quietly.  And turned to my friend, “That’s cheating.”

Kate did go on to explain it took three manuscripts before someone finally picked up on her, but she had an AGENT!  Needless to say I left the event most miffed!

But, I might still give one of her books a go – I quite got into it when she read the first chapter. I’ll let you know what I think.

And, as Phil quite rightly pointed out afterwards, yes I did sit in the theatre and think, “that should be me!”



Filed under Writing

4 responses to “But that’s cheating!

  1. It’s the people you know…right place… etc. One thing I learnt in my career was the importance of networks. With my partner we joined a business organisation called BNI (Business Networking International). There was a breakfast meeting every week when you were given a minute to extoll the virtues of your business, in our case graphic design and marketing. Every 6 weeks or so you had 15 minutes to present to the other members who could bring along a guest so there were always new people at the meetings. There were about 30 members and you could visit other groups or Chapters (it is an American idea) in the local area. Also you could refer contacts from outside the group each week. This worked really well for us.
    Maybe you could set up a book reading event with other new authors. My step-son is in Bristol and is a poet and writer and there are many art events that he attends which has resulted in him being published. Self publishing is an obvious route that I’m sure you have considered and you can give out to friends and family, leave copies in Starbucks and on the train, send to book review blogs or book in at garden centres for a reading and give out packets of seeds with the cover design on and a money-off voucher inside.

  2. Of course it is cheating. If my name was Katy Price or JK Rowling, the book would be published by now. The only way it wouldn’t be cheating would be if we were to benefit from it…

    On the other hand, there are plenty of ways to promote this yet. The writers groups is interesting but they tend to be filled with other writers more interested in doing down anyone they see as competition than helping each other.

    The free copies thing was done with Stig Larsons first book – 2000 copies were left on the tube – and it seemed to work. The budget doesn’t streatch to the £10k that would cost but something along these lines might be an idea. Either that or one of us needs to marry a publisher !

    • you’d better do that then, dont think my husband would be happy if I told him “I’m ditching you for a publisher!”

    • Comment from my friend on Laura via Facebook. “Kate Morton is an amazingly good & well-respected author, tbh, and probably would’ve been picked up quite rapidly anyway. Friend of mine sent off tens of copies before she got a bite. It’s unusual to get interest quite so quickly, so Morton’s friendship probably helped, but she has the right writing pedigree, researches deeply & writes evocatively so her friend’s publisher probably just knew a good thing!” My response – how did your friend get a bite!

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