Bookpres introduces a new Behind the Cover series of blog posts sharing personal user stories from authors and publishers using Bookpres to get themselves and their work noticed.
Hello Mark! Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Could you please tell us a little bit about how you got into writing?
I guess I have always been a writer although I was never published until 2010 with my first collection of short stories – Even When Tonight Is Over. My very first piece of work was a short story about growing up in Thatcherite Britain during the 1980s. It was called – We’re Not Going To The Opera – and re-reading it recently, I was amazed at how political it was. But it was always short stories, song lyrics, characterizations before a chance encounter with a publishing team led me to my first book.
Walk us through the process of creating your books as a self-published author, from idea to final publication?
As with any book, it starts with an idea and looking back. I have always kept my collection of notebooks, unpublished stories and ideas which I look back through and see if anything can be sampled, edited, used. Some of these ideas will probably never be used, but I think it’s useful to have a backup of ideas you can use or work on. Let’s take my next book – Take Down The Flags – (to be published May 2016) as an example, which deals with stories and memories all based on one day in May 1945. The idea started a few years ago when I was editing a book I had written about a beautiful bright young person from the 1930s, and their life was entwined with equally glamorous people who I felt deserved a book on their own. From that idea, I created A Life Of Parties and started work on this one. There were a few characters that felt needed their own story so I created this book purely to give them a voice. After writing a few chapters, I decided that the basis was not working so I edited a few characters out, discarded a few ideas and concentrated on two characters which seemed to work, one from Parties and another from my book Trumpets.
The first thing I actually do as with any book is write down the chapter titles; I love a good title and then write the first part before skipping to the end and writing the final paragraphs. This way I have a journey to follow, that journey may change, but ultimately I have a quest to follow.
This book was actually quick to complete, in total about three months. I like to rest the book, so I don’t look at it, read it or think about it for a few months. When I feel it’s been rested enough, I read and start again, pages are chopped, and editing is in full swing, amendments made, new stories composed. In many ways, it is like starting all over, but at least this time you have a basis for a book. A new set of eyes is needed at this stage, so copies are sent to my editor for their appraisal and notes that are useful. More editing, more working on the notes, and then finally you have a completed book, onto the next one.
The next stage is really polishing and finalizing the presentation of the book, the acknowledgments, dedication, quotes, the cover naturally and promotional deadlines. The best part is when you hold in your hands the finished product.
How do you get yourself and your work noticed?
I guess I am lucky in that I have a good team working alongside me, a fantastic editor who gives ideas and encouragement and a publicity team who ensures that the book gets out there, read, seen, reviewed, etc. I have done two book tours so far. One was a small intimate meet and greet to promote my winter collection of prose – Hounds Of Winter – and the other was a full-on media circus to promote my first full-length book – Now Is Not The Time For Trumpets. The result of this tour was a further book by fellow writer Chris Henson, who came with us and would be seen sat in a corner scribbling down notes and observations. He wrote a book called Tour De Europa, which was a behind the scenes look at me promoting a book. It was a privilege to have a book written about you and your work and has sold extremely well. We are both off to America next year, and he is coming with me to try and capture the same thing although this time it may be different. We have a title already- Versus America.
Then there is the social networking, of course, which is so valuable in getting your message across although I do think it’s not just for endless book promotion, but to be real as well, share opinions, photos, memories, so you become a real person rather than an endless promoter.
Please describe how you are using or intend to use the sales and marketing features provided by Bookpres, to reach out to your audience?
Promotion is a two-way street. If you are promoting one site, it’s good if they promote you back. To read out to any audience, you have to be seen as well as heard, and any form of promotion and sales that can do that is a bonus.
To learn more about Mark Binmores´ Bookpres profile
and buy his publications go visit: markbinmore.bookpres.com