On Friday morning we went to Dursley, to hear a new author, Steve Weddle, talk about how he published his novel, It Starts with a Kiss. He’d been invited to talk by a local writing group who meet once-a-week to set themselves writing tasks and read-out homework.
What a nice idea, for the author and the group. For the group, to have the chance to discuss the nuts and bolts of writing and getting published with someone who has only just achieved that has got to be encouraging and enlightening.
How many literary festivals dare to include first time novelists? I know, they have to use the big names to attract most of us in, but sometimes, when I read through the lists of speakers, it seems like it’s all about celebrity now. Interesting as those usually are, there’s a marked difference in the experience of being in a cosy gathering like the one at Dursley, and sitting in the Gods at the local theatre looking down at a stage.
The content too was much more writing specific than some of the festival talks I’ve been to. Of course, ‘gossip’ content is often a result of audience participation. If a writer is known to mix amongst the rich and famous there will always be an element of the audience who want to know, ‘but what was it really like to work with them?’
So much for the audience, how about the author? While I do see that we’re all scribbling away with dreams of selling our work, I’m not so sure that means we’d all be comfortable participating in celebrity interviews.
Everything I read tells me that the price of success for authors these days is a willingness to promote your writing. So whether you’re a spotlight person or not, if you’re looking to be published you might think about getting started with an audience you can make eye-contact with. I’m not sure where you’d find a group better able to appreciate and applaud your success than one made up of writers-looking-to-get-published.
So, if you’re reading this, Sue, thanks again for inviting us along.