Beautiful beech trees in November

The leaves are almost gone now, and in fact I’m quite surprised there are still any about after last weekend’s storms. Beech trees, as pictured above in a wood near me, really are my favourite. It’s their variety of colours – from that brilliant impossibly lime green in May through deeper shades of green, then gold, russet, yellow and finally … nothing. Although they make a thick golden brown carpet all winter.

It’s a strange time of year now, this bit in between Samhain and Yule. Or Hallowe’en and Christmas, whatever you like to call it. The lull, where nature is closing down and battening its hatches before winter truly sets in. I always feel less energetic and more sleepy and lethargic, and I’m sure that hedgehogs and squirrels have got it right. Hibernation seems an attractive prospect when you’re faced with a dark, rain-lashed morning. It’s at times like this that I’m grateful for not having to leave home in the dark to make my windswept way to school and inspire a classroom of sleepy, grumpy children. A brisk circuit of the lovely park behind my house, and then I can settle down with my laptop and a cup of coffee. A trip to the post office may be necessary later on if orders have come in, but other than that it’s warm and cosy working away with Stonewylde.

My life at the moment revolves around increasing sales and gaining the maximum amount of publicity for Stonewylde. I’ve spent much of the summer and most of the autumn out and about promoting the books, and when I’m not “on the road” I’m busy on the Internet using all the available avenues to make the world aware of that magical place I’ve created in Dorset. I suppose I do what every person working in the PR dept of a publishing company does, but I’m lucky in that I’m just promoting one series, they’re my own books that I feel very passionate about, and I’m working from the comfort of my own home.

I’ve just done a brave thing and launched our special promotion for Christmas/Yule, which involves giving away free copies of Magus of Stonewylde. I sent out an extra newsletter at the weekend advertising this, even though I normally try not to bombard my loyal followers with stuff. There’s nothing worse than signing up for someone’s newsletter and then being inundated with junk mail. But this is a very good deal – a copy of the first book in the Stonewylde series for just the cost of postage and packing.

This might seem a daft thing to do when I’m clearly not a rich author and need to make money on the books. But during the summer I attended a business seminar at which Scott Pack (publishing maverick extraordinaire and hyper-active tweeter) was extolling the marketing virtues of give-aways. We all love to get freebies. And as Stonewylde is a series, and one that can become a bit compulsive, I know from the sales figures that a very high percentage of people who read the first book go on to buy the second, and virtually all who read the second go on to the third. So it makes sense to try and get as many buy phentermine thailand people hooked on the series, and what better way than giving away the first book? I let Scott know of my promotion, and the dear man very kindly tweeted about the offer. @meandmybigmouth certainly has his uses when it comes to broadcasting to the world, and is generous enough to help small people like me.

I’ve had an amazing response so far. I created mayhem in my post office yesterday when I tried to post all the free books ordered via my website. I actually caused their computer to crash, and the huffing and puffing in the huge queue behind me was alarming! I’m really hoping this latest promotion (along with the special deal for buying the whole trilogy) will help Stonewylde. For a home-grown series, it’s doing so very well, but the publishing world is a nightmare and every report I read is full of doom and gloom. I follow a lot of blogs, tweets and newsfeeds about the publishing industry as a whole, and it makes depressing reading.

But luckily because Stonewylde is something very magical and different, I convince myself that the nasty grey recession stuff doesn’t apply to me. I also ignore the sheer cynicism and incestuousness of those in the industry. I’ve recently started looking for a literary agent because I realise that I need one to help steer me through the minefield of rights. I’ve started getting enquiries about selling the foreign and translation rights and have no idea how to cope with this. We all know that literary agents receive a lot of manuscripts from wannabe authors, commonly referred to as “the slushpile”.

Last night one particular literary agent whose name I shall not divulge was going overboard on Twitter as she worked her way through the slushpile in her office. It was amusing up to a point, but it made me sad to think that every manuscript she was merrily rejecting with a blase and witty toss of the hand and tweet of the keyboard represented someone’s hopes and dreams. However dreadful each manuscript may have been, some poor person had spent a long time pouring their soul into it, hoping it was good enough to be read by the world. To see her tweets as she mocked and scorned each one was in the end rather heart-breaking. She commented later that she’d lost several followers – I’m not surprised. It’s that sort of cynicism, fuelled by her friends’ guffaws and in-jokes, that makes me quite glad I’m not really a part of the publishing industry as a whole. To have got this far as a complete ingenue and ignoramus is really quite amazing, and I think I prefer to remain on the outside looking in at the big boys (and girls).

Anyway, I hope this special Yule promotion continues to go well. If you’re reading this and want to find out more, just look on my website. There’s no catch, I promise! I just want to spread Stonewylde even further, and if every person who gets a free copy of Magus for Christmas then goes on to buy the next two books, and champ at the bit for the fourth book, my cunning plan will have worked!

3 Comments

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  1. claire 10 years ago

    speaking as one of those just about to set off for work in the dark, the wind and the rain 🙂 (not for much longer though!) ~ Do we envy those big boys? ~ no we don’t for we have the warmth and intimacy of Stonewylde in our hearts ~ Keep on keeping on Kit xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Jan-B 10 years ago

    Not being one of the big boys is far better place to be – I bet none of them have brought so much joy to their readers, and also helped them get their confidence and life back, for which I shall be forever grateful! And my two freebies are destined for people I am sure will just want to buy more! x

  3. Kit Berry 10 years ago

    Thank you,Claire and Jan-B! I’m very lucky to have such support.

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