Would you ‘Paint your bum blue and hang it out the window’?

Some of the books written by participating authors.

Some of the books written by participating authors.

Last Friday I hopped on a train and attended the Writers’ Day run by the Leicester Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, fabulously organised by Lizzie Lamb at the Belmont Hotel, Leicester.

What a great day, filled with fascinating talks, mainly about the business side of being a writer. And nobody could miss the fact that there were all kinds of writers participating.

Traditionally published, ie by a publisher

Agented

Non-agented

In print

Digital

Self-published

Part of an author co-operative

Hybrid, ie traditionally published and self-published

I appear under six of the above headings: traditionally published, agented, in print, digital, self-published and hybrid. I have also been non-agented, so I guess the only heading I’ve never appeared under is part of an author co-operative.

IMG_0364

Sarah Houldcroft sharing her social media expertise.

What we had in common was the desire to do better than we were already doing, no matter how well we were doing already. The subject of social media came up in almost every session, even when it wasn’t actually the title of the talk. We were all interested in sharing knowledge, every speaker was questioned exhaustively, new ideas were greeted enthusiastically. We were helping ourselves by helping each other.

During a coffee-break conversation, I chatted with Jean Fullerton, and we agreed how important it is each writer to find her or his own way. If you’re self-publishing, it should be because that’s what you see as the most suitable path for you. If you’re with a publisher and/or an agent, it should be a good publisher and/or agent for you, not just ANY publisher or agent because you really, really want one. As Jean said, ‘When you’re starting out, if a publisher or agent told you to paint your bum blue and stick it out the window, you would.’

Although I haven’t painted my bum blue or stuck it out of any windows, I’ve definitely gone down publishing routes that, in hindsight, weren’t the best for me or my work. Now, with the benefit of experience, I’m more cautious and clear thinking. I’m not afraid to turn opportunities down if I don’t think they’re right for me. I actively pursue opportunities that I do think are right for me. I sometimes make decisions that lose me money, but the decision is still the right one.

Instead of painting my bum blue, I’m painting the bigger picture.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “Would you ‘Paint your bum blue and hang it out the window’?

  1. I’ve had two books traditionally published by a very well meaning firm, but I realise they are essentially without any marketing plan or direction. I will always be grateful to them, because they read my Blog and encouraged me to write a book, ( now two) Next time round I am going to try and find an agent who believes in my writing as I do. Nothing inspires you to carry on up that hill than the belief and support of others, and I’m hoping a good agent will provide some of that precious commodity. The conference sounds brilliant, and just the kind of thing I should have attended myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It would be a good way to get noticed though, Sue:))

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Terrific to read this Sue and I agree with every word. Having attended previous Writers’ Days organised by Lizzie Lamb for the Leicester Chapter, I know how enormously helpful they can be, and how generous everyone is in sharing their experiences.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A worthy piece for the aspiring author. I’d paint anything blue if it meant someone bought, read and reviewed my books. LOL. Thanks for the shout out, too, Sue. A writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lizzie Lamb

    Reblogged this on Lizzie Lamb and commented:
    Many thanks to Sue Moorcroft for posting this excellent blog and giving our workshop (and me) a shout out. We’d do anything to get our books out there – wouldn’t we?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Would you ‘Paint your bum blue and hang it out the window’? | New Romantics Press

  7. Margaret Cullingford

    Succinctly put, an excellent article from a writer who knows what she’s talking about. Very much enjoyed reading it, Sue, but then I would wouldn’t I? It encourages me to carry on as I am..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A great catch-up for me, Sue – thank you! I was so sorry to miss the day, with all the great advice and info that’s always on offer.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In answer to the question: yes, unequivocally. As long as I am allowed to select my window (oblique/stroke balcony?) and employ patriotic colors…

    Like

  10. Lovely post and some interesting advice xx

    Liked by 1 person

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