The Perils of Social Media – or how I got a publishing contract ages ago and forgot to tell you

As a self-published author, I was told it was essential that I “…maintain an active social media presence. Oh, and a blog.” So I did. Sort of.

I set up this site (powered by WordPress because I couldn’t raise the enthusiasm to design a “proper” website, nor the money to get someone to do it for me). I set up an “author” page on Facebook. I started a new Twitter account. I even opened an Instagram page, though I’ve no clear idea why.

And then I realized that I had to maintain four separate things. I know I can link them and cross-post stuff, but that’s not entirely satisfactory. Each requires its own approach. Twitter is snappy and (at its best) amusing. Facebook is chummy. A blog is thoughtful and rambly. Instagram is for pictures from my phone (though I do go to the trouble of loading pics from my camera onto my phone and then posting those – if I post anything at all). Cross-posting is a rubbish idea.

But this leads to a problem.

I’ve been a semi-enthusiastic Facebook user since 2007 (apparently – that’s what it says on my profile). I discovered Twitter a little while later but I’ve never really taken to it. Blogs… yeah, blogs. I’ve never kept a diary and I’ve never been entirely convinced that anyone anywhere cares what I think about anything. Instagram… I mostly take pictures of garden wildlife.

Of the lot, then, Facebook suits me best and I tend to drop titbits of info there when they occur to me. And that seems to work ok, except that the other places sometimes get left out.

Take this blog, for instance. The last thing on here was a bit of wibble in January announcing the release of the paperback version of The Spirit Is Willing. Nice, but… I mean… January.

So the blog, the place where it’s possible to write proper explanations of stuff, where I can muse and ponder and wibble to my heart’s content, contains nothing about the new book, nor the new publishing deal that goes with it.

So, then.

At the very end of November 2015, I was contacted by an editor at Amazon Publishing. She was enjoying the Lady Hardcastle books and could we talk. We talked. She asked to see what I’d already written for Book 3. I sent it to her. We talked some more. I was offered a publishing contract. Hurrah, etc.

Time passes…

I spent the last few months doing some hefty re-writing on Books 1 & 2, turning them from collections of four, linked stories into single narratives (novels, if you will). They will be relaunched in the autumn (2016). They’re the same, but different (better, I hope).

Right now (obviously not right now – I’m writing this blog entry) I’m working on Book 3 which will be published next spring (2017). This is brand new, conceived as a full-length story from the outset, full of country houses, racing cars and murders. And Lady Hardcastle and Flo doing their thing, obviously, because that’s what it’s all about.

I’ve known all this for some time, and I’ve mentioned it on Facebook, but I’ve never written about it here. Now I have.

I can’t guarantee that I’ll be more diligent in my future blogging, but I’ll certainly try.