Having met lovely Gill Paul on several occasions, I cannot believe this is her first visit to Linda’s Book Bag! I’m thrilled that Gill has agreed to be on the blog and tell me all about what it’s like in the run up to publication day – especially as Gill’s latest book, The Lost Daughter, will be published in paperback next week.
The Lost Daughter is currently available for 99p as an ebook here and will be available in paperback on 18th October 2018.
The Lost Daughter
A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret…
From the author of The Secret Wife, a gripping journey through decades and across continents, of love, devastating loss and courage against all odds.
With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia’s imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong.
Fifty-five years later . . .
Val rushes to her father’s side when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: ‘I didn’t want to kill her.’ As she unravels the secrets behind her mother’s disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
Even when it’s not fun – it’s fun
A Guest Post by Gill Paul
Publication month means Biro-chewing, existential angst and living on wine and adrenaline for most authors of my acquaintance. Six months earlier, there will have been a sunny, optimistic meeting with the PR person, possibly over lunch, when we gleefully planned articles we would write for newspapers and identified lots of marketing angles to explore. In the weeks prior to publication, reality sinks in: few of these early ideas tend to pan out. There will be other opportunities, though, and we start bandwagon-jumping and haunting social media, as if one perfect Tweet will make all the difference.
A few weeks before the pub date, you learn the print run and which shops and supermarkets (if you’re lucky) are going to stock the book, but you generally have no idea if there will be any magazine reviews, or how readers will react to it. If you are brave enough to let your novel be released to Amazon Vine readers, early reviews will pop up there, but it’s nerve-racking because they are a critical bunch and you could be stuck with one- or two-star reviews that will be the first thing anyone searching for your book sees. GoodReads also posts pre-publication reviews, and if you are super-brave you can look on Netgalley and check out what the bloggers are saying. I’ve never done this – I’m far too much of a wuss!
Of course, those of us who write for a living should learn to be business-like about it, but it’s well-nigh impossible when your creativity – and possibly your career – are on the line. It always feels personal.
The blog tour arrives like manna from heaven. Bloggers tend to agree to be on a tour if they already know they like your work, or if the idea of the book appeals to them, so you’re in with a good chance of favourable reviews. Every morning, you haunt social media till the review pops up then you bathe in the glow of any favourable words or phrases. When other bloggers retweet, you want to kiss them. Suddenly you are not alone!
If there is a brilliant new review on Amazon, if a reader contacts you directly to say they loved the book, or if your agent rings with news of a foreign sale, you’re positively floating on air. Fellow authors tend to be supportive too because we all understand the nervy reality behind the chocolate-box images of Prosecco, launch parties and pub day flowers.
Some authors tougher than me log in daily to Amazon Author Central and check their ranking as it surges up – and then down – almost minute by minute. I used to do this but, frankly, I’m not resilient enough any more. The fact is, there’s little I can do to influence it at this stage. My main role was the previous year, when I wrote the best book I could possibly write.
I envy the authors who don’t get involved in any of this. Kate Atkinson said in a Guardian interview last weekend that she refuses to do social media and seldom reads reviews; Elena Ferrante had bestsellers back when no one knew who she was. But for most of us, marketing is part and parcel of the writers’ world because there are thousands upon thousands of new books to choose from at any given time.
In the midst of my adrenaline-angstiness, I heard a wonderfully inspiring, very honest interview on Radio 4 with Stephen Sondheim, who is still writing musicals at the age of 88. He admitted they are not as good as his past work but remarked “What else would I do?” He said that the artist’s life is full of setbacks and rejections, but that we should all paste a notice on our bathroom mirrors and look at it each morning, and the notice should say “Even when it’s not fun – it’s fun.” I’ve been thinking about that ever since and feeling the truth of it: how lucky I am to be a published author and get paid to make up stories; how lucky to work with bookish people like Linda, who generously agreed to host this blog. Hope you are all having a super-fun day!
(It’s my pleasure to host you Gill. I think every author can relate to your words. I wish you every success with The Lost Daughter. It looks an absolutely fabulous book and one which I shall be reading just as soon as I can.)
About Gill Paul
Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her novel, Another Woman’s Husband, is about links you might not have been aware of between Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Gill’s other novels include The Secret Wife, published in 2016, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.
All of Gill’s lovely books can be found here.