When Rose woke up in her favourite shop doorway, she was resigned to yet another day of hunger, struggle and abuse. This was life on the streets after all.
What she wasn’t prepared for was a visit from a demon, an invitation back to his temporally insubstantial sanctuary, and forced to take sides in a battle involving most of the denizens of hell. Oh, and a boat trip down the river Thames.
After a disappointing start to the day, things were about to get a bit more interesting…
I’m learning quickly that in order to be a writer these days you have to be a near relentless self-publicist. Unless of course you’ve been given a massive contract with one of the big publishers and can rely on their marketing machinery to get your book in front of people. And, despite having worked in marketing for years, seeing myself as a brand doesn’t come easily and neither does forcing my book under people’s noses at every opportunity. Put it down to naivety, but most of my energy has gone into thinking up stories and the best way to convey them. Very little of my thinking has gone into advertising channels, pay-per-click and market segmentation. For someone who enjoys the solitary aspect of being a writer this is all very jarring.
A few weeks ago I was at a big family party for my father-in-law’s birthday. It just happened to be the day after my novel Gape was published and my mother-in-law took great pride in announcing to everyone that my book was out. Naturally everyone was very interested and wanted to know what it was about and where they could find it and I was suddenly the centre of attention. Now, I knew absolutely everyone there but the experience was still very uncomfortable. I tried to field questions but felt so self-conscious that I found an excuse to duck out and sit somewhere else.
I hope I’m learning though. I’ve taken the plunge and setup a Facebook page, I’ve contacted my local newspaper to raise awareness of the book and have even arranged a launch event at my favourite local comic book store (something I need to do, but which is already causing me sleepless nights). I’m getting word out through various social networks – on and off-line – and word is slowly getting around. But it all still feels very strange to be pushing myself and my work.
Perhaps confidence comes with time and it will quickly become second nature – hell, most people just love talking about themselves, so why should I be any different?
Well, because I just am.
In an ideal world, my work would do all the talking. People would just stumble across it online, take a chance, be blown away and then evangelize about it to all their friends. I could just do nice little online interviews from time to time (no TV or radio!), but essentially it would all come to me while I work at the next novel. And when that one is published, the same cycle of effortless acquisition would start over again.
And then I snap violently out of the daydream and remember that I have to get out there and talk to people and expose myself. A friend of my wife even suggested that Gape might be great for her book group and that perhaps I might attend one of their meetings and answer questions. This is absolutely the kind of thing that I need to be doing, but the prospect makes my blood run cold.
Self-publicity, it seems, is a necessary evil for a writer. But I just want to write about evil.
Aiden Truss is a forty one year-old geek who still thinks that he’s twenty-one. Despite never having grown up, he’s now been married for twenty four years and has two sons who have grown up against all odds to be strangely well adjusted.
Aiden spends his time flitting between high and low culture: he holds an MA in Cultural and Critical Studies and can often be seen stalking the galleries and museums of London, but also likes watching WWE, listening to heavy metal music, collecting comic books and playing classic video games.
Aiden lives in Kent, England and Gape is his first novel.
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