Saturday 12th May was a great day for aspiring writers to meet six local established authors. On the day I was joined by Joy Wood, Holly Gill, Steve Bloy, Tony McCabe and Kirsty Brown to host an ‘Author Workshop’ at The Gingerbread House, Cleethorpes.
The writing event was created to give something back to the community and to show aspiring writers that getting their work published may not be as hard as they first thought. We wanted to show any hungry writers out there that if they had the ability and drive, and were willing to follow a few simple steps, how their dreams could, in reality, be turned into a published book.
The day began at 10:00 am but even before we had our displays ready, aspiring writers were flocking to the tables, eager to ask for help and advice about their manuscripts.
My first visitor wanted a compilation of short stories published. Mavis loved animals and over the years she’d written dozens of stories about them. Her work had already been published in magazines such as My Weekly and Women’s Own so it was fairly easy to guide her to the next step. She basically had two choices: To grab an agent and get a traditional publishing deal or to go self-published, at which we discussed both at length. By the time Mavis left I felt she was a little more confident about what path she may choose.
What a lot of aspiring writers don’t realise is that every writer’s journey is unique. Each book we write defines the path we take and therefore influences the people we meet along the way. It is an exciting time, but all writers must have their feet planted firmly on the ground. Only a handful of writers will ever make it big. Authors such as J. K. Rowling and E. L. James had an element of luck to their undoubted success. Be realistic I always tell new writers, and start off slowly, building your readership along the way.
As the day drifted into late morning, budding writers just kept on coming. There was no doubt that Lincolnshire was filled with talented writers and so the day simply flew by. Some people had come specifically to buy my books which was wonderful. I met several readers who were visiting the venue to grab a signed copy of my new romance novel: Two Kinds Of Truth.
I also met Kerrie, who is a big fan of my fantasy series, The Magic Trilogy. Kerrie came to see me because she was writing a story about two little girls who wished for a magical land and was struggling to make the story believable. I was able to guide her with a few helpful hints such as making sure there was a reason why the wish came true in the first place. I asked questions such as whether the children had suffered a sudden loss of a pet or a family member in the story to make them wish for something else? I pushed her imagination and asked her what was the real reason behind the wish? I also explained that although Kerrie wanted to write fantasy, the reader would want the story to be absorbing and completely believable.
Whilst I was delving into the world of crime with a gentleman, Joy, sitting behind me, was chatting to a lovely lady who was writing an Arabian love story. Joy is well known for her romance novels and this enabled her to advise the novice writer on her next step. She also explained to her the various routes to publishing her book and shared ways of marketing and promoting her work. By the time Joy had given her a few leaflets to take away, she appeared a lot happier and her enthusiasm at getting started shone through.
Before we knew it, it was 1:00 pm and time to go home and by then we were all mentally exhausted. The day had been a brilliant success though. We had met many walks of life including students from Grimsby and Franklin College. We also attracted other published authors who needed help and advice with marketing and how to get Social Media to work for them. We simply hadn’t stopped all day and the mountain of giveaways had proved very popular. I have to admit; the venue gave us all a huge buzz and I can’t wait until we get the chance to do something similar again.
A huge thank you to Joy Wood for organising the event on our behalf and of course to Nathan at the Gingerbread House for sponsoring the ‘Author Day’. Without such supportive people behind us, the day wouldn’t have been such a roaring success.
Below: Joy Wood with one of her romance novels: Knight And Dey.