A first public appearance…

It feels rather strange, as a rookie author – and someone who’s not naturally outgoing – to get out there and try to sell yourself – or at least your first book. But as a self-published author it’s what you have to do. In fact, if the truth is told, so now do traditionally published authors. They may have the backing of a publisher’s marketing and distribution network, but they still have to get out there on social media, selling themselves and their wares.

But on the interesting journey of the past few months towards publication of The Order of the White Boar, I don’t think it ever occurred to me that I would be getting out and about, meeting potential buyers and readers, trying to sell my books face to face. I didn’t look much beyond the tortuous process of actually launching my words into the public domain. And for the three or four years before that, while I was writing it and The King’s Man – well, I barely even looked ahead to doing that.

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But now, with a published book under my belt (a great feeling!), another on its way (I’m impatient for that next publication day!), I have to face the fact that selling these books is the only way to bring Richard and Matthew’s story to readers. Well, that and the books being available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited, but that’s another story…

So how to do it? Well, first of all the social media presence (and this blog) – chatting to people on Facebook and Twitter, seeking out like-minded people, Ricardians or otherwise, who may be interested in reading about young Matthew’s life with Duke Richard – or in bringing Richard’s story in this way to young people they know.

Next there’s approaching places that might want to stock the books – major Ricardian sites like Middleham Castle (interested, still waiting for approval from English Heritage) and Bosworth Battlefield Centre (stocking The Order already!), bookshops, locally or perhaps in Ricardian-connected towns, historical societies (such as Barnet 1471 Battlefields Society which is selling it at its interesting programme of events).

Nathen Amin at Barnet 1471

Then there’s attending events myself. That’s the scary part. There are any number of regular events through the year where the book might go down very well. Battle re-enactments, medieval festivals, historical society events. Events I’ve pencilled in for the coming year include the Middleham Richard III Festival in July, Tewkesbury, Bosworth, the Richard III Society AGM…* Lots of Ricardians and history fans who might buy – or just stop to chat or debate.

But tomorrow I’m dipping my toe in the water, so to speak, with my first stall at an event. It’s a school Christmas fayre in Halifax. I don’t anticipate selling many books. How many people will be interested in Richard III there?

Having said that, it’s surprising how many Ricardians come out of the woodwork when you least expect them!** And of course it is a children’s book, and there will be children there (and their parents) who may be interested in history. And may be looking for the ‘perfect Christmas present’. Or may simply be keen to chat to a local author, or about a fascinating subject, namely the life and times of a king who died more than 500 years ago – but was recently the focus of intense debate again when his grave was found just five years ago.

Who knows?

I’ll tell you tomorrow. Or maybe Sunday if I’m too exhausted from signing my name on numerous paperbacks – or just from debating with hard-line Shakespeare fans, rabid Lancastrians (in Halifax?!), or anyone who wants to discuss England’s ‘most controversial king’…

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(How my stall may be laid out (albeit on a table tomorrow!). Would it tempt you to stop? Or do I have to add that tub of Heroes I have stashed away?!)

*Do let me know if you can think of any I should add to my list.

**Especially in Yorkshire, the place where Francis Bacon’s words from 1622 still ring true: ‘the memory of King Richard was so strong, that it lay like lees in the bottom of men’s hearts; and if the vessel was but stirred it would come up.’

 

 

About alexmarchantblog

A Ricardian since a teenager, and following stints as an archaeologist and in publishing, Alex now lives and works in King Richard’s own country, not far from his beloved York and Middleham
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