Blog: What's the story?
22nd August 2020
I am embarking on a new publishing adventure. I have a new and very different novel called Once Upon A Place, and it's my literary debut. That's right, not a psychological thriller, but something a little more like my plays. Lyrical, rooted in the local landscape, drawing on my Polish roots and a little playful with structure. Does that sound overblown? Well, fear not, my friends, it is still funny and down to earth and above all, warm. I don't know about you, but I have become tired of random psychopaths, missing children and victimised women. I have been turning to the novels of Anne Patchett, Jessie Burton and Jojo Moyes for comfort. Stories with heart. Stories filled with love. Stories that lift you up. Books that are not for gobbling up, but entice you to linger.
My plan was to find a mainstream publisher and follow the traditional route, but then my play, Bones was commissioned for Radio 4 as part of the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival for 2020.
Bones is another story set on Morecambe Bay. Previously, when I have had plays broadcast on Radio 4, listeners have got in touch to find out if they can buy the book. Now, a script is a long way from a novel. A novel, even if it is the same story, is an entirely separate piece of work. I don't have a novel for Bones, but I have another story that anyone who enjoys Bones is very likely to appreciate. So, I checked out the audience figures for the afternoon play so see just how many people would be listening in and discovered it to be in the region of 1 million listeners!
All those listeners! That was too good an opportunity to miss. I had three months. I had a book ready to go. My brother (INJ Culbard, graphic novelist - check him out!) produced a professional cover. Russell at Pixel Tweaks is formatting the manuscript. Jo Baker (Longbourn author) is previwing the book for a cover quote) and on September 1st Once Upon A Place will be available at the click of a button on Amazon.
But this is where I really have to get to work. Hence the blog. Hence the meeting yesterday, with Marketing Superwoman Jackie Harris, of Brightspark Marketing (fellow creative writer and good friend) to talk me through what I need to do to sell this novel. It's all very well having it on Amazon, but how do I get those listeners (and other potential readers) to see it?
Well, you're here, reading this so something is working! (If you're a small business and you'd like to benefit from Jackie's fantastic advice, you can find out more here.) I have gone from being a story-teller to a market trader. Multi-skilled! It's so exciting and empowering. I am in the driving seat. This novel is precious to me. It was 10 years in the making. I have wrestled with it and polished it and shared it with early readers and I love it. Now I want to send it out into the world and see what happens.
If you are interested then please:
Let's see how far it ripples.
Watch this space!