Spreading the Word …
Authors often wonder how to spread the word about their books, particularly if they are at the beginning of their writing career, as I am. Book launches, talks, book signings and adverts are just some of the usual avenues used by writers. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, although I think the best way will always be word of mouth from reader to reader.
A few months ago my husband suggested that a vintage car event might be the perfect opportunity to spread the word about The Thief’s Daughter. Of course I was sceptical as a car show is not the usual place to promote an historical romance. However, when he told me we would be raising money for the Restormel Mind Association, a charity which supports adults with mental health problems, promoting my novel took a back seat as I was happy to be involved.
Each year, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem, whilst 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. The prevalence of mental health problems mean that any one person will know several people, whether acquaintances or family members, who have suffered or are suffering from a mental health problem. The symptoms can be visible or invisible, mild or severe and the effects can be far reaching and at times, devastating.
With this in mind, in July we set off for Wadebridge Wheels, which is held at the Royal Cornwall Show Ground, near Wadebridge and organised by the local Rotary Club. The money raised through tickets sales and registrations go towards their chosen charity. We helped to add to the funds by holding a slot car racing competition and as it was a vintage vehicle event, our camper, Ruby, came along too.
We set off early, as we knew it would take several hours to erect the gazebo and set up the racing track. I couldn’t resist having a go myself and surprised my husband … and myself … when I didn’t crash the cars.
The gates opened at 10 o’clock. Despite the rain, we had a steady stream of families happy to pay £1 to have a go. Ages ranged from 5 to 65 years old and included boys, girls, teenagers and adults. Several customers spied my chocolates and went home with a free bookmark so perhaps my husband’s suggestion that it would be a good opportunity to spread the word about my book wasn’t so absurd after all.
The money we collected helped to boost the overall funds raised by the Rotary Club, bringing the total amount taken over the course of the day to a new record.
Did giving away free bookmarks and chocolates help spread the word about my book? In truth, I have no idea. However, I had a fun time and met some lovely people who enjoyed reliving their childhood and introducing their own children to the world of slot racing. It also meant that we were able to help a charity whose work supports people in a time of their life when they could do with a little help. And everyone, no matter your circumstances in life, needs a little help from time to time …