When you are releasing a first novel, the most unexpected things can happen. One is that you attract guardian angels — fellow readers and writers who decide to champion your work (even complete strangers). This is especially important for debut novelists. If a writer with a following retweets you, invites you to guest blog or writes a review, it makes an enormous amount of difference to how your work is perceived, and whether it gets any attention. Two champions for me have been the authors and social media experts Walter Mason and Angela Savage. Both have done everything in their power to help promote my book (without me even asking). I had never met Walter before the Sydney launch, and only recently met Angela for the first time in Melbourne (after conversing via blogs).
It started me thinking. What I am hearing via FB and blogs is that many debut authors are releasing books or stories into the current climate and the reaction is … NOTHING. Can you imagine spending many years on a project (12 years in my case) to get absolutely no reaction in the media? It can be heartbreaking. Especially as the books are often well-reviewed (if they finally do get reviews). On Twitter it can be like millions of writers all with their own little megaphone, and you can’t hear a thing.
So, I thought I’d take a hint from Walter and Angela, and start a new item on my blog called Friday Night Fictions, with the sole purpose of promoting debut authors’ fiction. I’m also keen on digital fiction, short stories, and Flash or micro-fiction. If you can link to it, even better. The idea is to start a club that promotes first-timers, and we can check out and comment on each other’s work too…
I also realise how important bloggers and reviewers have become in promoting first time writers’ work. If you review any of the works featured, or interview any writers, in Friday Night Fictions, I will link your reviews in the following edition so there is a developing dialogue around each writer’s work…Email me and let me know.
The scope of the internet means first-time works don’t have to come and go without a trace. Unlike printed book publishing, there is time online — to reflect, to debate. Works can stay current and relevant for as long as readers want to look at them, with ebooks available…that’s why I encourage writers who have published in 2013 and 2014 to contact me.
The title comes because I’ve become addicted to the TV show Friday Night Lights. I started watching it on Friday nights. I know, I always come to things a bit late. I’d get the kids to bed early, wrap myself in a doona, hold my husband’s hand and settle in for some good drama and great southern American hairstyles. Then it eked out to Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Then series one ended and now I’m wringing my hands each night as I wait for the next series to arrive in the post on DVD. Sometimes it’s good to wait for good things. You know, like we used to. I originally discovered the series when a friend sent me this article written by Lorrie Moore (you now need to subscribe to get it, but it’s worth it).
Back to Friday Night Fictions. If you would like to be included, I have a series of conditions.
1.If you submit work, you need to subscribe to my blog at Wild Colonial Girl (http://www.wildcolonialgirl.com).
2. You promise that when your work is published on the blog, you will help promote Friday Night Fictions on social media and to your mates. You also promise to read at least one OTHER writer’s work featured, and comment on it.
3. All work needs to be fiction and published in 2013 and 2014.
4. All books need to be debut novels (any genre, from anywhere on the planet). E-books and self-published books are fine.
5. Short stories and Flash/micro-fiction OK, as long as you can link to it.
6. You can only enter a particular work once.
7. Please email submissions to info(at)frecklefeatures(com)au with FRIDAY NIGHT FICTIONS in the subject line.
8. Email submissions need to include: Author’s name and title made clear, and up to 150 words on the work (I will not be editing down so if you include more words than this, it won’t go in); a small image, preferably of the cover, where applicable; a link to where readers can buy or access the work; a link to an extract already available online so readers can get a sense of the style, if possible. Please note: emails must come from authors. No publishers or publicists/agents please.
9. Friday Night Fictions will go up on the last Friday night – every three months. The next issue is May 2014…
10. Reviewers can only send links to reviews of works featured in Friday Night Fictions. These will be updated for the following edition, so featured writers can see responses…
11. Each month I will choose a writer/work from the submissions whose work EXCITES me – to feature for the following edition.
Please pass on to anyone who has had a debut novel published this year, or any emerging writers in fiction. I look forward to your comments and hope we can build a global community of first-timers in fiction…