Since the release of my first novel, Devolution, in paperback I have become a publicity hound. I am trying to sell my books in an extremely competitive market, and as much as I find it annoying to have to spend so much time on marketing, it is a necessary evil.
Twice I have appeared out the front of my local book store doing meet and greet, sell and sign. I've also appeared at the library to talk about writing. I've been to local markets three times. I've been in the newspaper three or four times. I've been interviewed on local radio. I've had some exposure, but as yet I haven't broken through.
Last Wednesday, Dapto library hosted me as the guest author for their new program 'An Audience with..." It was a Q & A session with a group of people, most of whom had read my latest novel, Ashmore Grief, in their book clubs. They formulated some excellent questions which I was given in advance. I sat and was interviewed by the event organizer, Jo David, answering those questions and others that arose during the discussion. It was great. I loved being the centre of attention. There were nearly fifty people there, and I only knew 9 of them. I felt significant. I felt appreciated, and I felt tremendously encouraged.
Why? I've been reflecting on the occasion and how good it made me feel. To interact with people who had read my work, and to hear how they responded to it was thrilling. My desire as a writer is to touch my readers, to connect with them. On Wednesday night I was shown proof that I had succeeded. One woman said, 'I think everyone in Australia should read this book.'
I said 'amen to that', and I thought to myself how great would it be to sell 23 million copies. None of my novels have reached sales even in the hundreds yet, but now I believe that it is possible. If one complete stranger tells me they loved Ashmore Grief then there must be others. A writer's life is full of loneliness, discouragement and insecurity but last Wednesday night I received a massive injection of faith and hope.