Tag Archives: book chick

Writing memoir is a tricky business – work in progress

Blaise 1977. Photo by Lin Van Hek

Writing memoir is a tricky business. What POV do you write in, what style, how much detail? I’ve decided to write from my childhood self. The hard thing about that is to try to not bring in too much of my adult understanding into the story. It’s impossible, really, and it takes a lot of reworking to make it work. Here’s some work in progress:

Markie brought mail from town. Mama is sad after reading a letter because her granny died. I can’t really remember Granny Whitehead very well – only a little old lady with white hair. I know that’s not why she’s called Whitehead. That’s her actual last name.

Mama walks down to the river to be by herself and have a good cry. That’s the best thing to do when you’re sad. Now that Granny Whitehead is gone, I guess there won’t be two dollars a week in Mama’s bank account. But I don’t think that’s why Mama’s sad. She’s sad because she loved her granny and her granny looked after her when her own mama was too busy. Granny Whitehead made Mama feel special when her own mama was mean to her.

Today seems to be the day for people to be dying because on the radio we heard that Elvis died. He died sitting on the dunny doing a poo.

Will Elvis be in the blood and bone now? Couzie asks. We try not to laugh when he says things like this but it’s hard because he’s always saying something funny and then we get into trouble for showing off. It’s good to see Mama laugh after crying about her granny. When she laughs her eyes crinkle up like mine.

Actually Granny Whitehead didn’t die the same day as Elvis. It took a while for the letter to come from Melbourne to the Cobargo post office, which means that she probably died a few weeks ago. Mama’s sad about that too. She didn’t get to say goodbye and she was being happy in the bush not even realising that her granny was gone.

To make us feel better, Markie makes strawberry junket, my favourite. It takes a long time to set but the kookaburras have just started laughing. They’re laughing so hard that they will probably fall out of the trees. When they laugh like this we know that it’s only about ten minutes until it gets dark and then we’ll have dinner and the strawberry junket will be ready.

Mama doesn’t seem so sad any more, now that she had a good cry. I want to ask her if Granny Whitehead is going to be in the blood and bone like Elvis but I don’t know if she’ll like the question. Only Couzie knows how to ask these things. Maybe because he doesn’t think too long about them before he asks.

***

I’m planning on publishing my memoir, The Road to Tralfamadore is Bathed in River Water, next year.  I have a lot of work still to do …

Blaise

 

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Love Your Library

Love Your Library: image by Kev Howlett (Eltham Library)

What is your relationship with the library? Do you have memories of the long ago dark days when you couldn’t talk and if you did you were scowled at by the librarian behind the desk, or worse, shushed?

How things have changed. Libraries are spectacular. At lease in Melbourne they are. Not only do they house thousands of yummy books but there are copious amounts of resources that you can use for free. Fabulous programs and offerings to whet your appetite for learning and entertainment.

Many libraries have done away with that giant desk that separated you and the librarian and have become wonderful modern spaces with computer areas and places for sitting in quiet contemplation.

Books are my passion, so it’s no surprise that libraries (and bookshops) fit with this obsession, but why am I writing about them?

Libraries should be part of your marketing mix when you publish your book. Have you even thought about them in this way? Library programs are full of author talks, writing festivals and programming around a huge variety of topics from mental health, digital technology, gardening and crafts.

If you go and visit, or go to your local library website, you’ll be able to see what their programs are like and if there is anything that might fit your book. Many of them follow standard public events like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Children’s Week, School Holiday programs.

The best thing that you can do is start forming relationships with libraries (and bookshops) in your local area. Make friends with the library staff. They are not obligated to promote your book or to buy it (library suppliers do that) but if they see that an event can be created around your book and that their patrons would enjoy it, they will be happy to help you. There’s no cost to you and quite often the event will be listed in their program.

This isn’t a ‘build it and they will come’ scenario but it’s a way of creating relationships within your community and building a reputation for yourself and your book. Once you have something set up in a program, you can then go and spruik in on social media, on your website and even the local paper. Any chance that you can get to be in front of people to tell them about your book, the better. There’s nothing better than word of mouth.

Here’s another reason to love your library. The staff know books! They are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to people’s reading habits and what is new on the market. They will also be able to tell you what kind of events attract a bigger crowd. Use this resource to help you find ways to get your book into reader’s hands.

When was the last time you entered a library? I dare you to visit one today!

If you’re struggling with your book marketing, come along to our Publish for Profit group each month.

Blaise the book chick

 

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