Such a shame about the day job eating up my time
Today, Ann & I did our first market in Wallingford (WLPM - Wallingford Local Producers Market). It was a great experience. Fear we may have spent rather more than we earned - but it was another stage in our massive learning curve and great fun! Lots of interesting people and fantastic produce. The real bonus is that no cooking has been required today as I have been feasting off samosas and cheese (not together!) to die for....Most Saturdays in the Regal Centre in Wallingford.
Such a shame about the day job eating up my time
The selling continues in earnest. It is one thing writing and producing books. It is quite another telling everyone about them and persuading people other than friends and family to part with their money. We have had reasonable success and now have our books on sale in retail outlets in Oxford - including Christ Church College, Blackwell's, Albion Beatnik, The Book House, Flaggs, as well as locations around the county - Woodstock, Blewbury, Burford, Abingdon and next weekend we start market trading in Wallingford.
Wallingford Local Producers Market will be our first market and it is hard to know what to expect. I, inevitably have focused on the non-key issues. I have decided that the day will be impossible without a "proper" market trader's money bag so have ordered one up in shocking pink...so you should be able to spot me if you come to the market. Whilst this is a definite trial run I hope we have some success and can at last meet some of our potential readers!
We have also booked some Christmas markets too - at Radley College (Sobell House Christmas Fair) the last weekend of November; the Green Party Fair in Oxford Town Hall on 1 December & Wallingford Town Christmas Market on Sunday 2 December. Do come and support us!
I am also writing an article for Costwold Life about the journey our group has made from writers to publishers which should appear at the end of the year.
This self-publishing lark is a veritable roller-coaster that seems to be creating its own momentum!
It has all been rather a shock since we received our books just how much time is required to sell them. Apparently, I read that 80:20 is the ratio of successful selling to writing which seems pretty depressing. But on we go...and we are selling some books. Both books have a very different market in our perception. Imagine Oxford we hope will suit the home crowd and its visitors and can be marketed relatively locally. Tell Tails is for animal lovers wherever so of course a much bigger potential audience but far more difficult to tap into.
Anyway here we all at one of our Thursday meetings feeling good about our books and longing to get them out there!
I am listening to the Archers omnibus as I write. It appears that, contrary to expectation, the characters and cast have managed the week without me! Fancy!
I have returned from the world of Arvon at The Hurst in Shropshire - wow!
When my eccentric and garrulous electronic travelling companion told me "you have reached your destination", and it read "unknown road" I got out with some trepidation. The worries about what would happen in Ambridge without me sunk down my list of priorities.
A smiling face rushed out to greet me and I found myself within the Arvon embrace. Somehow it didn't matter that the room was full of "unknowns", somehow they were already known to me on some level. It was extraordinary what an easy atmosphere it was and how easy to engage with everybody from the very start. I am sure this just does not just happen - the staff steeped in the Arvon ethos create it.
I am finding it hard to generalise about my week. It was storytelling gone mad. Some had arrived with their head already deep into the novel they wanted to write whilst others just wanted to write A novel. I had a story to tell but no clue how to tell it. As I heard and got to know a cast of real and fictional people I was sucked further in. I will, I sense, always know these fellow journeymen/women. It was the same with our fantastic tutors Jane Bailey and Joe Treasure who we all got to know along with fellow students. They were generous with their time, their experience, their expertise and so much more.
We spent mornings looking at aspects of the novel from structure to "voice". We practised and shared our pieces. The afternoons were spent in 1:1 tutorials, writing and cooking (if it was your turn). After dinner we spent the evenings listening to our tutors writing, having a guest speaker talk about her writing and, towards the end of the week hearing each other's work that they had written during their stay. I look forward to seeing everyone's name in print before too long.
I have started my novel based in 1970s "dirty" Soho. When not trying to plot and bring my characters to life by naming them, I spent my time inhabiting the clubs in Soho of the time and trying to think of names for them (Barbarellas sprang to mind). Normally I would have gone straight online but without internet access I have had to search my imagination which has been so much more fun! I have also lost sleep pondering what slang was used at the time. Any ideas gratefully welcomed! I have, at last, taken some ownership of my plot and have even written 2000 words - so only another 68000 or so to go...
It rained for the entire week at The Hurst. As the week drew towards its end and we sat talking in the kitchen nobody seemed too worried about the thought of rivers bursting their banks and being forced to stay and continue our writing without access to the outside world. I suggested that maybe this is what Writers in Residence meant - last week's writers that refused to move on for the next week's course...If only...
A busy day of packing for Arvon. I have quickly discovered that going by car makes a mockery of "less is more" - no chance of car sharing. I am sharing with my wardrobe, all the books I might read, all the books I might need to refer to, a copious supply of codeine-based medications, laptop and its various accessories as well as other items on the "Things to bring" list....
I feel that..."walking boots or stout shoes" may not apply to me...I feel like the longest walk I will undertake (or not) will be the one from the car park to the house! Even the thought of walking on any uneven surface is painful so I am hoping that I will find inspiration from something other than the beautiful countryside.
"A torch" - Hmmmm...wonder what that's about..I am reading it as only necessary if you are someone taking the outdoor footwear.
Ditto for "a waterproof jacket or coat"
"Paper and pens" - at last something that I have in good supply
There are of course bigger things to worry about:
I am growing ever more anxious about lack of internet access. With 2pm and 7pm being times I will be busy, how will I be able to keep up with the problems at Brookfield and Ambridge whilst I am away? I reassure myself that amongst a group of writers there will be others in the same fix and we may find a way to catch-up!
Then there is also the niggling feeling that I can't find any mention in the course literature about the supply of wine and wonder what this may may mean
As my foot FINALLY begins to heal - 6 weeks after falling down some stairs, I realise that in that fall, I lost my ability to multi-task. I have been plunged into a world of tunnel vision where not only is it impossible to do more than one thing at a time but I now can only even think about one thing at a time. It is all very strange. The plus side is that my one focus has been Bombus books the downside is that the fridge is not as well stocked as usual and dinner has become a more haphazrd affair! Now the website is up I hope to find less excuses for actually writing something - with my Arvon course looming on Monday my distractions may be even further diminished as we are told there is neither phone nor internet access....just writing then....
From childhod Wendy Greenberg planned to be a writer. It just took 50 years to get round to it. Wish I'd started sooner! Still hoping time is on my side