Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Out and about...but not in a boat! by Cathy Ace

Business: How have you changed the way you promote and support your work, and generally go about the business of being an author, since “Lockdown Life” began a year ago? Anything you’ve learned that will remain in place as we move forward?

This month we’re talking about THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM…indeed, we’re examining it in detail. March 13th will mark my personal one-year anniversary of being at home. I cannot recall a time in the last thirty years of my life when I’ve gone two months without someone handing me a boarding pass, so – yes – my life and way of working has changed significantly over the last twelve months. Just like millions of others.

At least a part of my office is tidy now - because the world gets to see it quite often! (NOTE: the paintings on the far right of this photo were all done by my late father - he's with me as I go out and about around the world!)

However, I’m luckier than most: I have an office in my home, and we live on acreage…so I can continue my writing quite easily. And I’ve been doing that (as well as decorating the house!). But this week’s question is specifically about the BUSINESS of being an author which – to me – is all the bits that aren’t writing/editing.

And I’d say that this has been a year of downs, and ups.

Promoting my work has never been more difficult – nor “easier” at the same time. No face-to-face events in bookstores or libraries, no conventions or festivals, which is a great shame…but access to so many more online opportunities to reach readers/potential readers around the world that just never existed before. (As an aside – as a reader I am LOVING the access I am getting online to authors I admire!)

A fabulous example of NEW channels to reach readers: it's free to join the Facebook group, and you get to hear Hannah and Hank read the first chapter of a possibly-new-to-you book twice a week!

I’ve participated in free-to-view events like panels and more social “noir at the bar” type events, as well as some that have required a payment. Oddly, the not-free ones have been better attended than the free ones – not sure what that says, except that, maybe, if a person commits even a small payment to attend an event they actually attend. I know I’ve intended to watch panels, but something’s come up at the last minute (as things do when we’re all at home all the time!) and I’ve had to watch later. That element – the being able to watch at my own convenience – has been the biggest thing for me. So maybe the “watch later” attendance for the free events is where the numbers have crept up.

I’ve been invited to contribute to more podcasts and radio interviews than in the past, which is great, and I have some wonderful events lined up throughout April and May (check my website for details!) where I can at least “mix” with some old friends. To be honest, it’s been bittersweet watching Zoom sessions with people I wish I could be hugging at conventions, but I also know I’ve seen people more often online than I could have done in real life, so that’s wonderful.

Fellow Criminal Mind Catriona McPherson interviews me at Left Coast Crime 2019
(photo thanks to Dru Ann Love)

I think the inaugural Gwyl Crime Cymru Festival – taking place online from April 26th to May 3rd – is an excellent example of me grabbing an opportunity that might not have been possible otherwise: I am pinching myself to know I’ll be taking part in the first ever panel for Wales’ first ever international crime writers’ festival. Not something I could have imagined – and you’re invited! Check out the fabulous authors who’ll be taking part here: CLICK TO CONNECT

At Malice Domestic: I interviewed Martin Edwards when he was the recipient of the prestigious Poirot Award in 2017. Here we're being served afternoon tea by our maid - the wonderful Verena Main Rose. Martin and I will be on the inaugural panel of Gwyl Crime Cymru Festival in April this year, with GB Williams

I, personally, would like to see all future conventions and festivals retain the digital access they’ve had to create for their 2020 and 2021 iterations – every author wants to reach their WORLD of potential readers, and these online opportunities are great at doing that.

If you're not familiar with my work, you can check it out BY CLICKING HERE.

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