One thing to come out of the pandemic has been the cancellation of so many author events. The ones still running have had to go online but these have proved to be a lifeline for writers and readers alike.
Going online has also made certain things possible/more accessible, which is one positive thing I’d like to see continue long after the pandemic crisis is over (and hopefully it will be one day!).
The Brechin/Angus Book Festival
For example, I am going to be taking part in the Brechin/Angus Book Festival which is happening during Book Week Scotland. The Festival is being held online tomorrow, Saturday 21st November and again on Sunday 22nd November 2020 (which is when Book Week Scotland finishes). It is a fairly new festival, having started in 2019 and then You Know What came along to disrupt proceedings! Many thanks to Sarah Archibald for sharing the following with me.
Sarah Archibald – Brechin/Angus BookFest organiser
So 2019 saw the first Brechin/Angus BookFest held in the Northern Hotel in Brechin. It consisted of a Murder, Mystery evening, authors discussing their books, reading & storytelling, crafts, book sales, story writing competitions, poetry & even a ceilidh!
This year, because of the pandemic it has to be online, we hung on as long as we could but plans had to be made. Although at first we weren’t keen we’ve actually had a lot more authors interested in the event as they don’t have to travel, so there are authors from all over the place taking part, as well as our local ones.
We have organised a book hunt for kids in Brechin and Edzell and local shops are doing book themed window displays.
Authors taking part include:-
Wendy H JonesChris LongmuirBarbara StevensLinda DeckerAllison SymesGillian MacneillGreta YorkeAndrew JacksonReading FairiesJo GilbertPauline TaitDionne HaysBarry Dominic GrahamTim MendeesDebbie BoltonNeil AndrewSteven BarrAndrew BoyceColin MaxwellAlso have 2 sign languaged bed time stories
Many thank, Sarah, for supplying the above. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/808280536653169 for more.
It is the first Festival of this type that I’ve taken part in and I’m looking forward to it a lot. A huge well done to the organisers. (I can hazard a guess at the amount of work needed behind the scenes given I know how much I put in well ahead of my own cyberlaunch!).
Now normally of course, I could not have justified travelling to Brechin (much as I would love to go!) for one event.
But bringing it online means authors from all over the place can take part in the event. The wider the range of authors and books at an event, the more likely you are to attract visitors. You really do want the “something for everyone” approach here. Nobody has the same tastes in reading and, of course, events like this could be a great way of getting in some useful Christmas present shopping. Events like this certainly give you a great shop window to have a good look at!
Preparing Material For Events
I’ve prepared material for the Festival of course, including videos. Preparation work is never wasted for any kind of author event (and it can help you feel more relaxed as you prepare to take part in said events!). You can also never give yourself enough time to do whatever preparation you think will help you.
The two big tips I would share here are:-
1. Start early.
2. Always prepare more material than you think you might need.
(If you don’t use it for one event, you may well do so for another. Little is wasted in writing).
Now I’ve mentioned before that the writing community is a very supportive one and all of us have had cause to be grateful for that. It makes a huge difference when rejections come in, sales are down, you’ve had rotten reviews, you’ve had no reviews at all etc. So many thanks to Wendy H Jones for putting me on to this one.
Book Festivals – Blessing to Books!
Book Festivals are, ultimately, a celebration of the written word (and that written word includes when it becomes spoken word too. After all, we do talk about audio books).
In normal circumstances, they are great opportunities to hear favourite authors speak and festivals are a great boon to the tourism industry around the area where they are held. After all, look at the influx of visitors to Hay-on-Wye and Edinburgh each year purely because of their renowned book festivals.
I am hoping all of these things will recover quickly once said events can be held “normally” again. I must admit going to the Hay-on-Wye Book Festival is very much on my To Do list. And I would love to visit Brechin’s event in person at some point.
Naturally, I am bound to think books are worth celebrating but given their capacity to take readers into different worlds (whether you read fiction, non-fiction or both), isn’t it more important than ever that books are celebrated?
I think so. Books entertain, they can provide escapism and education, and they can make you think. Even trying to second guess a plot line encourages creative thinking in the reader as they try to work out which way the plot might go.
Getting Signed Copies of Books
Now you might say one advantage of a “normal” Book Festival is it is easy to get a copy of a book signed by its author. True. But that can easily be done via online events too. How?
When you read an online festival event and come across a book you like the look of, use the Direct Message function on Facebook to ask the author how they will “do” signed copies.
My way of doing this is, once someone has made contact with me via a Direct Message, is to ask them to send me their email address. I will then send an invoice for their book order with my bank account details so they can make a bank transfer payment. Once done, I send a receipted invoice, sign the book(s) and get them off in the post to the person concerned. So it is do-able.
You can’t have the immediacy of getting a book signed for you by the author but this is the next best thing.
And if you’re not worried about having the book signed, most authors will either direct you to their website, Amazon Author Central page, Waterstones, Hive, Bookshop pages etc.
Both Hive and Bookshop support indie bookshops and raises money for said indie bookshops through the sales made through them so you might like to consider either or both of those if you want an alternative to Amazon.
Hope to “see” you at the Brechin Book Festival!
Last But Not Least – Late News…
Just to add here that I have now set up my own Youtube channel. I have both of my book trailers here for From Light To Dark and Back Again and Tripping The Flash Fantastic.
I am also adding story videos here so if you want to check out what flash fiction is, do pop over and have a look at these.
Another thing to come out of the pandemic with everything going online has been the need to learn to make videos like this.
Mind you, I have to say it is great fun to do (and of course another string to the old marketing bow!).
You can find my channel using this link and the trailer for TTFF plays automatically when you first visit the link. On that is my story Time For Some Peace.
Book marketing is all about getting the word out there – and festivals like the Brechin one do so much to help there too, even if for now things have to be done in an online manner only,
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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