I believe in signs from God. And I think recently I’m getting some.
A few things that have happened recently have convinced me that I need to share my work with the world so more people can read it. First, this article in the Independent (paywalled, but a few screenshots below) on my collaboration with Lyeanne Beckford-Jones to craft an authentic, rooted experience for Lucia’s War. I love how the comments from myself and Lyeanne make clear that it was a productive duet and it was fun! I wanted to take the contention out of so-called sensitivity reads (silly term tbh) after the Kate Clanchy nonsense and other authors’ overreaction at the idea.
Then came the audiobookish podcast review of Unfortunate Stars which really moved me and touched my heart. The review came out during a week when there was great turmoil and sadness in the Irish LGBT community. Unfortunate Stars is a story very loosely based on a real person, Herr H., a gay man arrested by the Nazis whose life was chronicled in the Cologne Nazi Museum (details in the Author’s Note.) It encompasses Friedrich’s life in a novella, his internalised shame, his incongruous coming-out in the middle of a WWI battlefield. The reviewers, Fahed and Poppy, were so thoughtful and perceptive that I realised I was receiving a sort of cosmic prompt. Because the review rightly praises the narration, I contacted Greg to let him know about it. My discussion with him, another prompt, made me consider how to make this more widely known.
It’s clear that having two out of three of my published works self-published means that I have to do a lot of this work myself. I also have the strong feeling that the traditional linear process (book comes out, in the shops, buzz generated, buzz dies down, next!) is not the one I should follow. While I need to do individual promotions – I am in the process of setting up a blog tour for the audiobook for Unfortunate Stars – my work is a continuum rather than a series of discrete items. I do not make my living from writing, and have no financial relationship with any arts bodies, so this sharing / marketing is just done for the joy of letting more people know that these books are in the world, and that – allow me a flash of arrogance – they have transformative power and that reading them might make lives better.
So, I am open to suggestions and thoughts and approaches. And signs 🙂
Happy Easter, if you celebrate!