I am attending my first ever author event tomorrow. My first ever where I’m the author, I mean. It is being held at the brand spanking new shiny Library of Birmingham, currently perched among the Frankfurt markets like a glorious Christmas cake on a table of Lebkuchen.
The event is the first of a week-long programme to promote Circ, a novel written by ten authors, of which I am one. We are starting with a “Meet the author” panel event, lasting an hour, where four of us will read and then talk about ourselves and our writing. I can’t think of anything more terrifying except the event which takes place on Friday, where more of us will read and talk to an audience who have actually bought tickets in order to attend. At least tomorrow night’s is a free event for up to 20 people so I can always cling to the possibility that no one will turn up. Right up until the moment where I look out over the audience (which will obviously seem much more than 20 people…)
Enough of this quaking. Let me tell you about the book. Ten of us were chosen to write, we each created a character and devised a plot. The author group were from all over the world and so we collaborated by Dropbox. We all wrote our first chapter which was open to votes from the public and from a judging panel. Whoever got the fewest votes was written out until there was only one left.
I wrote three chapters. I think I was the least experienced writer in the pack so I figure that’s not too bad going for a first try at proper novel writing. And I learned a lot from the process. The most important lesson was to have some idea of what on earth your character is going to do in terms of the plot – a point that I failed spectacularly at. I also realised that I need to get a whole lot better at badgering people to support me in a public vote, or to buy a book, or to have any interest in anything I’m doing. Natural reticence doesn’t win you votes or readers.
Once we were all done writing, came the editing. I liked the beta reader process. I liked the feedback they gave. I tweaked, cut, and then washed my hands of it all. The result is a crime spree set in Skegness among Romanians, circus folk and one crazy seagull.
So now we’re onto the final stage – the promotion. Wish me luck. I’ll post a review of my performances over the weekend.