The Novel’s Just The Beginning…

Elaine Roberts talks about the next stage of her writing career

As all of you probably know by now, I have written my First World War One saga, The Foyles Bookshop Girls, and have been lucky to be offered a three book contract with Aria Publishing, which was duly signed. I planned my novel in scenes and chapters, tying in the historical timelines with my fictional one. It was all a huge learning curve for me, but I took my time. Sometimes, I moved scenes around, only to realise my characters were then talking about things that hadn’t happened yet. Thank goodness for modern technology and cut and paste. Imagine doing it on a typewriter.

I am now moving on, and I expect you’re all thinking I’m talking about my second novel. However, while I’m writing that, it isn’t it. I’m talking about another huge learning curve; marketing and promotion. This is something I’ve never done in any shape or form. I’ve never pushed myself forward into the limelight, never wanting the attention, but now I’m having to bite the bullet and force myself out there, otherwise people don’t know me, or my book, exists.

I did wonder if I could carve out a mysterious persona like Banksy, the street graffiti artist, but that’s not possible.

So what will my promotion look like? I’m not altogether sure. My publishers are arranging things behind the scenes and I know that includes a blog tour. For the people who don’t know, bloggers do a fantastic job reviewing books, interviewing authors and hosting competitions. They probably do a whole lot more than that, but I am in awe of the time and energy they put into their blogs, mainly because they love to read and to encourage others to do the same. If you are not a writer, please search out the bloggers on the Internet. They do a wonderful job.

Social media is now a big part of the process of marketing and promoting yourself. Do I hear you all scream noooo? Yes, that was me several years ago, when I was at the start of my writing apprenticeship.

I now have a website, and YouTube has also been mentioned.

Doing talks and being part of an event, instead of a spectator, is another new adventure for me. I’m booked to attend my first event, the War and Peace Revival 2018 at Paddock Wood in Kent. I’m sure as that gets nearer, panic will start to take hold!

I also write short stories/articles in the chosen genre/interest, which in my case is historical fiction.

Wherever your career path takes you, think ahead to your marketing strategy. There will be blogs out on the Internet that probably cover every subject you can think of. If not, start your own. Build your social media platforms; it’s how most people find things out these days. Take lots of photos; we all love a photograph.

Above all else, don’t forget to thank the people that helped you to achieve. In my case, there are lots, too many to name but they know who they are. Some will have just offered a word of encouragement, while others will have given me sound advice and critiqued my outpourings, but they’ve all played an important role in my achievement. Thank you for all that you have given me.

Twitter: Elaine Roberts

Facebook: Elaine Roberts Author

Website: https://www.elaineroberts.co.uk

Elaine Roberts – The Woman Behind The Words

It’s strange how life works out, inadvertently, I have become a firm believer in fate.

While I was at school, I wanted to be an actress or a drama teacher but that fell by the wayside when I was fourteen, when my father, a member of the armed forces, was posted to Hanover, Germany. There was no school place available for a year so I fell into working in the Navy, Army, Air Force Institute (NAAFI) shop. Obviously, when a school place became available, I’d worked for nearly a year and had no interest in going to school and in true “I know it all” teenage style, I didn’t and my working life began. While I stopped work to have my children, all my working life has been in a customer-focussed environment. I’ve held my current position for fifteen years, which is a record for me. I’ve always had a creative itch that was scratched through various forms of needlework and reading endless books, it never occurred to me to become a writer, although I always wrote for my own pleasure.

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Growing up in the forces and moving around every couple of years, I’ve lost track of the number of schools I attended but it’s taught me to be adaptable and only rely on myself. I was born in Cyprus and we were lucky to return there when I was nine, I spent three wonderful years living in the sun, such great memories. I live in Kent now and have done for eighteen years. I love my home; it’s my haven from the mad world we live in. I have lived with my husband for twenty one years and I’m one of the lucky ones that found true love the second time around. He is very supportive in everything I do. There’s no doubt in my mind that I couldn’t achieve what I do without him.

Our children are all grown, there are five in all, and I have one grandchild who is adored by everyone. When my children were young, I would have bitten your hand off to live by the coast or a river, I’m always drawn to water, but I’d hate to live too far away from my family now. My family will always come first and in my mind, there is nothing more important. I have great support from them all. As they’ve grown older, they’ve all discovered their creative itch and do various things to scratch it. My son was the instigator of my writing career, pushing me to follow my ambition seriously. He regularly discusses my writing with me and continually questions what I write. It’s very annoying, of that there is no doubt, but my writing is stronger because of it, but please don’t tell him I said that.

In the past, I’ve had lots of hobbies, sewing; crocheting; crosswords; reading; writing and watching crime programmes. When the hobbies are listed like that, I realise they are all solitary ones, perhaps that’s a result of moving around a lot as a child. Now I spend most of my free time writing, I’m looking forward to the time I can give up my day job to do the things I love.

At sixteen, I was shy and lacked confidence and truly thought I wasn’t worthy of love, let alone achieve anything at all, career wise, despite being an A grade pupil at school. If I could give my sixteen year old self some advice it would be, “You can be anything you want, if you work hard enough at it. Have faith and believe in yourself, don’t let other’s beliefs hold you back.”

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAIf I could invite two people to a dinner party it would be John Lennon and Margaret Thatcher, not for any political reasons, but because I would love to have conversations with them about their perseverance, determination and self-belief, to achieve what they believed was right, despite opposition.

Who would you invite for dinner and why?