A reminder that this anniversary festival is all the work of our authors, from making suggestions as to what they would want to attend, to putting together the events. We just promote and host!
I thought it would be useful to give you all a bit more detail about the authors who have put together our amazing, eclectic anniversary events.
For our fourth week we have events on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday (two events)
Tuesday Jan 24, 2023 6pm The Business of writing– The Society of Authors This is very kindly being run for us, by two of the coordinators of the Society of Authors Poetry & Spoken Word group: Johanna Clarke and Mathilde Zeeman
Johanna Clarke has been an advisor at the SoA since October 2021. She advises writers on publishing contracts and issues, and works closely on their outreach programme. Johanna is one of the coordinators of the SoA’s Poetry and Spoken Word Group.
Mathilde Zeeman joined the SoA in 2022. She recently transferred from the Membership team to the Advisory team where she will continue her work advising writers on publishing issues, and is a coordinator of the SoA’s Poetry and Spoken Word Group.
[not part of the festival, but on Wednesday 25th, 7.30pm Jeremy Dixon is reading from his award winning poetry collection, A Voice Coming from Then at Verbatim, at the Poetry Pharmacy in Bishops Castle, Shropshire.]
Thursday Jan 26, 2023 7pm The Empire Writes Back: “Space, place and belonging” is being run by Nikita Aashi Chadha
Nikita is a writer, poet and social commentator who advocates for an intersectional lens and approach to be utilised – she is committed to spotlighting the ‘other’, those who are chronically unheard and underrepresented within society. Her poetry focuses on the experiences of the South Asian diaspora, mental health and identity. Nikita’s poem Jallianwalla Bagh appears in our anthology Where We Find Ourselves, and she chaired our Writing the Diaspora panel. Nikita is also a patient voice advocate, lead facilitator and speaker for Cysters (a non-profit that specialises in supporting marginalised people with reproductive and mental health problems. Instagram: @nikkaayyy_c @didacticdiaspora @cystersgroup
Friday Jan 27, 2023 6.30pm Using family history/photos as inspiration for poetry with Seni Seneviratne
Seni was born and raised in Leeds, of English and Sri Lankan heritage. Published by Peepal Tree Press – Wild Cinnamon and Winter Skin (2007), The Heart of It (2012), Unknown Soldier (2019). She is a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry and has collaborated with film-makers, visual artists, musicians and digital artists. She is one of ten commissioned writers on the Colonial Countryside Project: National Trust Houses Reinterpreted. She is currently co-editing a Bloodaxe anthology of post-independence Tamil, Sinhala and English poetry and working on her fourth collection. She lives in Derbyshire and works as a freelance writer. Arachne published Seni’s poem,Triptychs Without Borders, in our Global Majority anthology, Where We Find Ourselves, and Seni took part in our writing the Diaspora panel.
Sunday Jan 29, 2023 11am Writing About Mental Health in YA fiction: Cormorants & #cornishgothic with Clare Owen
After working as an actor and arts administrator in London, Clare married a boat builder and moved to Cornwall. She promptly had three children and set up an improvised theatre company, re-enacting the stories of their audiences around the county. More recently she has co-written and performed with the all women ensemble, ‘Riot of the Freelance Mind’ and she regularly reads her short fiction at spoken word events and local festivals. Her first YA novel Zed and the Cormorants, was published by Arachne Press in April 2021 and is the winner of the Holyer An Gof YA prize and the Ann Trevenen Jenkin cup. Clare also had a story in our anthology, An Outbreak of Peace, both the short story and the novel explore various aspects of mental health through the lens of a young adult protaganist, and the way the natural world can help.
Sunday Jan 29, 2023 3pm Marketing on a Tight Budget for Writers with Saira Aspinall
Saira is our marketing expert. What she can achieve with no budget and in only one day a week is positively miraculous, you really want to hear what she has to say!
To celebrate our tenth anniversary we are having an online festival throughout January 2023, mostly weekends and Thursdays, although a couple of Tuesdays and Fridays have snuck in.
We invited our authors and friends to run the events they wanted to see, to set their own prices and number of tickets. It’s quite an eclectic mix, readings, discussions and workshops for writers, and about writing, or the business of being a writer. We invite you to join us! Visit the Eventbrite Collection
Saturday 14/01/2023 15:00 reading/open mic/discussion Jeremy Dixon & Cherry Potts
Joy//Us LGBTQ Poetry
40 places free/donation
including 10 open mic spots of 3 mins each – max 2 poems!
details and tickets
Sunday 15/01/2023 15:00-16:30 Lowri Williams
Translating poetry from Welsh into English (workshop)
suitable for advanced learners of Welsh and native speakers.
10 places – pay what you can £3/£5/£8
details and tickets
Tuesday 24/01/23 18:00-19:30 The Business of writing– The Society of Authors This is very kindly being run for us by two of the coordinators of the Society of Authors Poetry & Spoken Word group: Johanna Clarke and Mathilde Zeeman
Sunday 29/01/2023 15:00-16:30 workshop Saira Aspinall
Marketing on a tight budget for writers
12 places £10
details and tickets
I’m a writer as well as a publisher, and when I had my first work published I was dreadfully naïve and thought the books would sell themselves.
After all, I’d written it, and someone liked it enough to publish – my work was done!
Now, three books in, and running my own micro-publishing company I am a bit wiser and a heck of a lot more cynical.
The statistics on the number of books published every year don’t bear thinking about – how on earth can you get noticed? Especially if you haven’t been snapped up in a bidding war between the big publishing companies who have an army of publicists on their payroll?
You have to be prepared to get into the limelight and tell the world how fantastic and fascinating your writing is, and what a wonderful charming person you are.
I know. You’d sooner walk across hot coals and sell your child/cat into slavery.
Well, nonetheless, the books don’t sell themselves, and being prepared to get out there and meet the public in all their various guises really helps, whether that is in person, touring your work round bookshops and libraries, or setting up a blog, or being interviewed on your local radio station. THIS is how books become word of mouth best-sellers.
I have cast iron evidence. My first book hardly sold at all, because I was too frightened to do the publicity my publisher wanted from me. The second book pretty much sold out because I did it anyway, fear not withstanding… and I ENJOYED it. (not a lot, but it was bearable and I discovered I LIKE talking about my writing.)
The popular image of the writer, secluded in her attic/ the library with her notebooks, gazing at the view from her window or the riveting ancient text that has inspired her work, is desperately out of date, but some of us (me included) would MUCH rather be doing that, than spending time on Facebook/ Twitter/ Tumblr/ Whatever, inviting people to make contact and talk about their work and READ it, and the idea of facing a microphone or camera and having to SPEAK…
How to cope? Why would you want to?
How I did it is: I thought about who I needed to be, and in what circumstances I can pull that off, and I wrote myself a character who is the relatively thick-skinned, witty, charming, outgoing person, I can be when I’m really comfortable, and I put her on, coat-like when I need her. She’s been really useful for my publishing face too.
That doesn’t help with the white noise that hits when I’m asked a (to me) stupid question live on air. What does help is preparation. Interviews are fairly predictable, you will almost always be asked – what do you write/ where do your ideas come from/ what’s this book about? Although you might want to respond – haven’t you read it? Your interviewer is actually trying to help – the viewer/listener/reader hasn’t read your wonderful scintillating work, and the interviewer is getting you to persuade them to do that. If you do get asked something that throws you – say what a good question (flatters the interviewer gives you time to think) then answer as gracefully as you can, and don’t be afraid to say I hadn’t thought about that, or I don’t know!
Why am I explaining all this?
I’ve made the difficult decision that I won’t publish people who won’t support their work. I haven’t the time or energy (or money) to promote every book as though it were my own. If you can’t get behind your book, why would I? With an anthology it’s not so bad because there will be 20 or so authors to spread the load – although it’s hardly fair on those who will schlep around libraries reading to expect them to support those who won’t.
How can I support the diffident writer?
I really do get it! As I said, that was me once upon a time. That’s why I’ve got Arts Council funding for a series of workshops for writers, that aren’t about writing – you’ve missed the performance one, but…
FRIDAY 23/9/16 (that’s this week!) 2-4pm Canada Water Culture Space £12 we have: Handling the Media with Rosie Wilby, who broadcasts at Resonance FM, and is also a comedian.
These workshops are heavily subsidised, you would expect to pay £35 or more on the open market. At the moment we have no takers for the basic marketing, so we are cancelling it if we don’t get at least 4 bookings by midday Thursday. Tell your friends! (if we get 3 bookings, we’ll transfer you to the advanced course, or return the booking fee) The other courses have some space left, but if you want to come, you need to get booking.
Join us in South London in September for workshops for writers that aren’t about writing! (All workshops are being run only once, £12)
What’s on offer:
Performance for Writers – reading your work aloud is a near inevitable part of success. learn how to do it with conviction and have fun in the process. Lead by Katy Darby. Wednesday 7th September 2-4pm at The Albany, Deptford SE8. (max 20 places)
Marketing for writers (basic) – Not sure if you need a website or social media presence? Are you spending your time effectively online? Learn what your online priorities should be and how you can leverage your online presence to build on your writer profile. Lead by Yen Ooi
Saturday 24th September 11-1 pm at The Albany, Deptford SE8. (max 10 places)
Marketing for writers (Advanced) – Are you effectively leveraging your online presence to improve your writer profile? Do you know what your brand values are, what messages your want to promote, and the new audiences you want to reach? Lead by Yen Ooi.
Saturday 24th September 2-4pm at The Albany, Deptford SE8. (max 10 places)
Managing Media for Writers Once you get published, your publisher is going to want you to talk to the media if they have the slightest intention of selling your book (we do anyway!). This can be quite intimidating, and it’s easy to get cross with silly questions. Comedian and broadcaster Rosie Wilby will help you sort out what you want to say and how to handle tricky questions, and where to look if a camera is involved.
Friday 23rd September 2-4pm Canada Water Culture Space, SE16. (max 20 places)