Chris Hamilton-Emery

Bookmark, marking a moment for Fair of Face

Window on the world of Bookmark

Last Monday dawned squally.  As I drove to Spalding for the first signing session of Fair of Face, the leaves were being snatched from the trees, victims of whatever the latest Atlantic storm was called (I’ve lost track!).  As I approached Spalding, the rain arrived. (Lovers of pathetic fallacy, take note!)  However, once inside Bookmark, I was safe, as I knew I would be, enveloped by its usual high standard of hospitality, warmth and the provision of many interesting people to talk to.

Last year, when Rooted in Dishonour was launched – the staff at Bookmark have, magnificently, given me events for all my novels – the café was closed for refurbishment.  This year, I was delighted to find it open, with an enticing range of treats to choose from.  My husband, never behind the door when it comes to food, indulged in a farmer’s breakfast and, a few hours later, a massive slice of coffee and walnut cake. I confined myself to a cheese and tomato toastie (not as modest as it sounds: Spalding helpings are generous!).

I was there until 3 p.m., signing copies of Fair of Face.  Several old friends, readers I have met since In the Family was published in 2012, came in to see me.  I met new readers, too, some of whom wanted to buy all the DI Yates titles, starting with the first – though I made it clear to them, as I do to all new readers, that each novel is a standalone. As I’ve said before, I think it’s cheating to expect readers to have to read all the previous titles in order to make sense of the latest one.

On Tuesday, a radio programme followed the Bookmark signing session: Carla Green interviewed me on Radio Lincolnshire at lunchtime, asking some particularly searching questions about Fair of Face, and generously promoted the events at Spalding and Stamford (see below).

I was back in Bookmark on Thursday evening to give a talk and two readings to members of Bookmark’s reading group and some of its other customers, too.  An author’s dream audience, they were extremely lively and engaged and, if any of them is reading this post: Thank you very much indeed for a magnificent evening – you were brilliant in your response!  And huge thanks to Sam Buckley, Sarah Halgarth and all the rest of the staff at Bookmark for welcoming me again and working so hard to make great successes of both occasions there.

This coming week the wonderful Chris Hamilton-Emery, founder of Salt Publishing and the equally wonderful Emma Dowson, Salt’s PR Manager, have organised a blog tour for Fair of Face. Here’s the tour and I hope to ‘meet’ some of you there.  I’d like to thank all the bloggers who have so generously contributed their time and their oxygen to this.

There are several other events in the pipeline:

  • 4th November.  Signing session. Walkers Bookshop, Stamford.
  • 18th November.  Readings and workshop {‘Fair of Face but dark at heart’), Wakefield One.
  • Date tbc, February 2018.  Readings and workshop, Lincoln City Library.
  • 17th February 2018.  Readings and workshop, Spalding Library.
  • Dates tbc: Readings and workshop, University of Winchester

Review in Lincolnshire Life

There will be other events and reviews, too, which I’ll announce here when I have more details.  If anyone reading this is organising an event to which I could contribute, I should be very happy to hear from you.

Last but certainly not least, if you have bought Fair of Face, I should like to offer you my sincerest thanks: authors are not authors without readers and I want you to know that I feel greatly honoured knowing you have spent several hours of your precious time reading my book. I do hope that you enjoy it.

A publication date and a tribute to two very good friends…

Promotional postcard
In this blog, I try to write mostly about crime-related topics, people, places and things that interest me, aspects of writing and other writers and their work. It isn’t intended merely as a vehicle to promote my own work; this was a conscious decision that I made right at the start, because I quickly tire of blogs by authors who use them too blatantly for this purpose.

However, I hope that you will look upon today’s post indulgently, because I have to confess that it is indeed about promoting my next book, Almost Love, which will be published on June 15th 2013. It is a promotional piece with a difference, however, because it also celebrates a gift to me by my publisher, Chris Hamilton-Emery of Salt. Before In the Family was published, Chris designed a postcard based on the jacket; I sent this, with a short personal message, to as many people (friends, booksellers, librarians, colleagues) as I thought might be interested in it. I received some lovely replies; it may have helped to generate some interest in the book.

Today, Chris sent a similar promotional postcard for Almost Love. In fact, it features both the novels. I am delighted with it and I think that it is a thing of beauty. I’d like to share it with you; that is why it is the subject of today’s post.

I’d also like to say how much I appreciate Chris and Jen Hamilton-Emery, for their unfailing good-humour and encouragement and also for all their hard work on my behalf. Thank you, both!

A London Book Fair 13 seminar about using social networking to create author presence

Elizabeth Baines LBF13  3Chris Hamilton-Emery LBF13  4

I cannot miss the opportunity to comment in today’s post on the social networking session yesterday morning at the London Book Fair.  First, may I thank the very many people who attended and made the event very special indeed; you were a lovely, attentive audience and we all valued your interest and contributions.

Secondly, I should like to thank Elaine Aldred (@EMAldred, Strange Alliances blog), who very generously agreed some time ago to chair this session and, with her characteristic attention to detail, introduced the panel and provided a succinct summary of the key points arising, as well as modestly managing us and our timekeeping!

I was very pleased to meet and honoured to join my much more experienced social networking fellow panellists, Katy Evans-Bush  @KatyEvansBush) and Elizabeth Baines (@ElizabethBaines), and to be able to listen to the social networking supremo, Chris Hamilton-Emery, Director of Salt Publishing (@saltpublishing), all of whom provided different perspectives from my own.  However, though we may have addressed in various ways the topic of how to make the most of the best of social networking, I felt that we were unKaty Evans-Bush LBF13  5Elaine Aldred LBF13 2animous about the terrific value of what Chris called ‘the confluence’ of such media as Twitter, Facebook and personal blogs in creating author presence and profile.    I believe that we also affirmed the essential need to be ourselves (however uncomfortable it may initially feel to present our private side, as Elizabeth very pertinently explained) and to interact with the people we ‘meet’ in a genuine way.  We shared the view that ramming our books down the throats of our online audience in a ‘hard sell’, as some people do, is counter-productive; it is much better for us to engage with others in discussion of the things which matter to us, such as the business of writing, literature, topical issues and so on.  Katy pinpointed the effectiveness of social networking in creating a global family of friends and followers, something we also all felt.

All in all, the session emphasised that participation, helping others, reciprocating generosity and showing real interest in people whom we come to know online are crucial to creating a lasting author presence.  It is really important that authors recognise that they need to have such a profile; with it, books certainly do sell and, as Chris put it, without it they don’t.

Finally, we all accepted the inevitable consequence of managing all of the personal interactions online: it is extremely time-consuming and we have to find our own ways of handling that; if we succeed, the benefits are very clear to see.

My thanks again to all concerned in what was for me a very memorable occasion.

Christina James LBF13  6

It’s tomorrow! Making the most of the best of social networking…

Salt

 

Today’s post is a repeated ‘shout-out’ about tomorrow’s Salt Publishing seminar at this year’s London Book Fair, when there will be an opportunity to listen to Chris Hamilton-Emery, founding director of this world-renowned independent publisher, and three of its authors talk about how to use social networking to promote books and good writing.   There will be a question-and-answer session to develop discussion about the topic How to Build Social and Brand Equity on a ShoestringElaine Aldred, an independent online reviewer, will chair the occasion. 

Date:  Tuesday 16th April 2013

Time: 11.30-12.30

Place:  Cromwell Room, EC1, Earls Court

I’ll be joining Katy Evans-Bush, writer and editor, and Elizabeth Baines, novelist and short story writer, to offer some personal experiences of social networking as a means to achieving an online bookworld presence.   Readers of this blog will already guess from previous posts here about both Salt and social networking, how much I personally value the opportunities provided by the Internet to meet and mingle with booklovers across the world.  I have also made it very clear just how proud and privileged I am to be supported as a writer by Chris Hamilton-Emery and how exciting it is to be associated with an independent publisher with the finest of literary lists.

I hope to become real to at least some of my ethereal friends at the London Book Fair this year!

In love with Cromer…

Christina at Cromer

It seems fitting to write about Cromer on World Poetry Day. If you are new to the blog, please don’t be baffled by this!  Regular readers will know that Cromer is the adopted home of Salt Publishing, which is becoming ever more renowned for its fiction.  Last year it achieved international fame with The Lighthouse, Alison Moore’s debut novel, which was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker prize. (Its crime list includes In the Family, my first crime novel, and will shortly also feature Almost Love, the second in the DI Yates series.)

However, Salt built its reputation for literary excellence on its superb poetry list; in my view it is the greatest current British publisher of contemporary poetry.  Some Salt poets are poets’ poets, though most are very accessible.  I believe that perhaps, of all its achievements, Salt’s greatest has been to develop its ‘Best of’ lists, especially the Best of British Poetry series, and the Salt Book of Younger Poets.  Now widely adopted by undergraduate courses in English literature and creative writing, these books bring contemporary poetry alive to a new generation, as well as supply more mature readers with an impeccable selection of great poems.  The Best of British Short Stories series achieves a similar effect in a different genre.  And, not to spare his blushes, Chris Emery, the founding inspiration behind Salt, now publishes his own poetry under the Salt imprint.  If you have not yet read The Departure, I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Back to Cromer.  I was there for a long weekend because, as I mentioned on Sunday, I was asked to play a small part in the Breckland Book Festival.  I stayed at The Barn, one of the cottages owned by The Grove Hotel (itself steeped in history – parts of it are eighteenth-century and its original owners were the founders of Barclays Bank).  I called in on Chris and Jen Hamilton-Emery after the Breckland event and my husband and I were kindly invited to have dinner with them.  They were brimful of ideas as usual and delighted that Chris has been appointed writer-in-residence at Roehampton University, as well as looking forward to celebrating Jen’s birthday today (that it is on World Poetry day is a poetic thing in itself!).

The rest of our time in Cromer was spent exploring the beaches and the streets of the town.  Twice we walked along the beach in the dark and, on Monday morning, we took our dog for a very early morning run there.  Even in bitterly cold weather, the town itself is enchanting.  Developed in the mid-nineteenth century to cater for the emerging middle classes, who could for the first time afford holidays away from home, it seems to have been preserved intact from any attempted depredations by the twentieth century.  There are not even many Second World War fortifications in evidence, though a pill-box languishes in the sand of the west beach, its cliff-top site long since eaten by the sea.  The pier retains its pristine Victorian originality – it is well-maintained but has not been ‘improved’.  Some of the hotels, again ‘unreconstructed’, are quite grand and all serve superb food at reasonable prices, as do the many cafés and restaurants.  It is true that some of the shops seem to exist in a time warp.  My favourite is the ladies’ underwear shop that does not appear to stock anything designed after 1950; it even displays  ‘directoire’ knickers – much favoured by my grandmother – in one of its windows.

Cromer has a literary past, too.  Winston Churchill stayed there as a boy and Elizabeth Gaskell was a visitor, as the pavement of the seafront testifies.  (Churchill apparently wrote to a friend: ‘I am not enjoying myself very much.’)  That Tennyson also came here, even if I had not already decided that I loved it, alone would have served to set my final stamp of approval upon the town: Lincolnshire’s greatest poet, he is also one of my favourites.  (I’ve always considered James Joyce’s ‘LawnTennyson’ jibe to be undeserved.)  I know that Tennyson would have been fascinated by Salt if he had been able to visit Cromer today.  I can picture him perfectly, sitting in Chris’ and Jen’s Victorian front room, sharing his thoughts about poetry – as one fine poet to another – in his wonderfully gruff, unashamedly Lincolnshire voice.

And so, Jen, Chris and Salt, have a very happy Cromer day, listening to the lulling rhythm of the rolling, scouring waves and painting salty pictures in the sky.

9781907773150frcvr.inddTennyson

Making the most of the best of social networking!

Salt

Today’s post is, in fact, a ‘shout-out’ about a Salt Publishing seminar at this year’s London Book Fair, giving an opportunity to listen to Chris Hamilton-Emery, founding director of this world-renowned independent publisher, and three of its authors talk about how to use social networking to promote books and good writing.   There will be a question-and-answer session to develop discussion about the topic How to Build Social and Brand Equity on a ShoestringElaine Aldred, an independent online reviewer, will chair the occasion. 

Date:  Tuesday 16th April 2013

Time: 11.30-12.30

Place:  Cromwell Room, EC1, Earls Court

I’ll be joining Katy Evans-Bush, writer and editor, and Elizabeth Baines, novelist and short story writer, to offer some personal experiences of social networking as a means to achieving an online bookworld presence.   Readers of this blog will already guess from previous posts here about both Salt and social networking, how much I personally value the opportunities provided by the Internet to meet and mingle with booklovers across the world.  I have also made it very clear just how proud and privileged I am to be supported as a writer by Chris Hamilton-Emery and how exciting it is to be associated with an independent publisher with the finest of literary lists.

I hope to become real to at least some of my ethereal friends at the London Book Fair this year!

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