Our April blog is written by Dr Wanda Wyporska, a new member, who recently attended two events run by the Society of Authors.
The Digital and Design Conference in March changed my world. Or should I say worlds? Until then, my writing had been rather two dimensional, now I feel that it has been transformed into 3D. I’m now intrigued by the possibility that my writing could reach into many different digital worlds, beyond ebooks and even into gaming. The range of experts at the conference explored what digital really means for authors and even better, practical ways to engage in multi-platform writing.
I’d started the morning thinking perhaps I had got it wrong. It was dedicated to design and while I loved seeing the artwork and typography for a variety of book covers, it seemed to me that the obviously talented designers were aiming at a different audience. Do authors really get to have a say on their covers, much less chose their font types? Alas, as a historical fiction writer, I am doomed to the headless woman cover, but should I ever have the privilege of choice again, I now know some of the best people in the business.
Many of us were tweeting throughout the session, which enabled us to make contact with both the speakers and other delegates. It was interesting to see people’s reactions in real time to the discussions and chat over coffee later.
It was also useful as a record of the event for me to look back on later and allowed other Society members to feel as though they were at the event. I could also check through the tweets for anything I had missed. One of the most tweeted phrases was about thinking about the tone and temperature of your book. What author could resist?
At the conference, as at the new members’ lunch I attended recently, it was a pleasure to speak to other authors, in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere. It’s great to hear ‘what do you write about?’ as an opening line and I immediately felt my spirits rise. For writers, who by the very nature of our craft, are creatures of isolation, such events are a real lifeline.
At both events I spoke to many authors, who write on anything from fiction to academic textbooks, young people’s fiction to craft books. I had a feeling that I was among like-minded folk when I received my first copy of The Author. Just as I’d finished nodding my head in agreement with the article on pdfs replacing academic offprints, I was itching to write about Amazon, in response to another.
So as a new SoA member and an academic author moving into historical fiction, what did I get out of the day? On a practical level, I resolved to spring clean my web presence, shorten my chapters so that they are more digital-friendly, be more inventive with what goes on the back as blurb, and came up with a whole range of cover, spine and chapter marker designs for my trilogy of witchcraft novels. I also felt confident that I could handle the conversion of copy, the design and the publishing of an e-book and have fun doing so. However, it was the birth of the ‘weekly witch’, inspired by Kristen Harrison of the Curved House, which really excited me. A small manageable blog post, regularly published is worth two long pieces published far between. Oh, and I also sold a copy of my book!
The Society of Authors' next conference is on Wednesday 25th June in Bristol. For details click here.