I don’t know how I got to Esther Newton’s blog, but once I did, I spent a good bit of time browsing her posts and enjoying her take on the publishing world. When she launched The Siege, I wanted to share her story with all of you.
Briefly, Esther is a tutor for a British distance learning college. A lot of her students ask to read her work, which is why she decided to put them all together in a book of stories. Despite awards she’s won, she chose self-publishing because short story collections “don’t sell particularly well” (her words). To her surprise, the feedback has been great so far. As I read through her thoughts, here are questions that I just had to get answered:
- How do you market this, Esther? Do you require it in your class? Or use it as examples of a particular writing idea?
The idea behind bringing out the book was simply so my students could read my work. A number of them had asked to read some of my stories. A lot of my stories had won competitions or appeared in magazines you can no longer get hold of, so it wasn’t easy for my students to see my work. This got me thinking about bringing out a book of my competition-winning stories so anyone who wanted to read them could.
- How long did the stories take you to write?
As they’re all from different competitions, it varies but I find short stories come quite easily. Once I get an idea, it won’t rest until it’s written.
- Love the cover! How’d you come up with it?
My publisher asked me what I wanted. I opted for a cover based on the first story (a siege in a library). I wanted the cover to have that element of menace to draw readers to it so they were interested enough to want to know about the contents. The publisher came up with this cover and I loved it straight away.
- What has been your marketing plan for the book? Has anything worked better than anything else? For example, did blog hops work better than give-aways on Goodreads?
I didn’t have much of a marketing plan to begin with. As I mentioned, the idea was simply to get the book out there for my students to read. It first came out as an e-book and then people began to ask for a paperback, so I listened! People began to find out about it through my blog and then suggested I ought to spread the word as they really enjoyed the book. But that’s been easier said than done. I’ve found the hardest part is getting people to know it’s actually there! Once people know about it and read it, the feedback has been good.
I have had a lot of local publicity. Some retailers have taken the book and offered to try and sell it. A national magazine is also doing a spread about it and my path to publication, so that should really get it out there.
I know I also need to contact reviewers and offer free books. I’m very happy to do that; it’s just looking into it and finding out about the process, who to contact etc.
Blog hops have been a fantastic help (thank you Jacqui!) and I’ve been overwhelmed with fellow bloggers’ support.
- Is there any marketing scheme you’d recommend new authors avoid? And why? Or Why not?
I haven’t come across anything I’d do differently – so far!
Intrigued? Here’s the link to her book on Amazon US.
More interviews with rising authors:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of dozens of books on integrating tech into education, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, adjunct professor of technology in education, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.