Acceptable Attitudes

I subscribe to a popular members-only writers’ group. While it’s mainly to discuss the process of writing, there’s room for other types of post.

A couple of weeks ago, one member announced that her book was now available on Amazon, but she failed to provide a link or even the title. When these were requested, she eventually provided the title, and at the same time insulted one of those who had asked. As other members found the book and read the free sample, they brought to her attention a number of errors in the text.

By the end of the discussion, she had admitted to publishing the book without reading back over her work, so desperate was she to make it available. She even became a little apologetic.

Bad Attitude (album)
Bad Attitude (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It comes down to one concept: attitude. The member who had started the post did so with a terrible attitude, though it was eventually softened by the firm yet helpful hand of many of the commenters.

Whether we’re aware of it or not, our attitude can earn or lose us readers. Around 18 months ago, I attended a literary event where one of the students constantly took over the conversation by talking about her degree course at length. She stopped coming back after her second visit; perhaps she ran out of achievements to boast about.

Fortunately, such an outright egotistical attitude is rare face-to-face, at least in my own experience. Yet a lazy approach can be similarly offputting.

I’m privileged to be followed by some amazing writers on Twitter, a few with verified accounts. But I won’t follow back if the writer posts the same link to their work over and over again, often adorned with tags such as #amwriting; one of many tags that’s now so common, it’s become meaningless. Laziness doesn’t fly with savvy Twitter users.

One user who gives an excellent impression is @RayneHall. A casual look at her page shows writing advice interspersed with photos of her cat, sparing use of tags – and plenty of replies to followers. To me, this projects the attitude of a writer who is passionate towards her subject without subjecting us to overbearing self-promotion, and who is willing to listen to the views of others.

If you view this entry on a laptop or desktop computer, you’ll see my own Twitter updates on the right-hand side of the screen under the handle @LadyGavGav. My usual style is to post jokes – especially puns – to engage people. These updates provide a little insight into me as a person rather than as a promoter. But when I do have something to advertise, such as a blog entry every Monday, the audience shouldn’t feel hit over the head with it.

In my experience, allowing an audience to see even a little piece of yourself is important. In 2015, I attended a Jeanette Winterson book launch. The first part of the event was taken up with videos about Shakespeare and speaking about his life. I was bored, frankly, because it wasn’t obvious at first that she was referring to the structure of her book. Thankfully, once the videos stopped and she began to answer questions, her own personality shone through; much more engaging than the razzmatazz that had gone before it.

There is no single correct or effective way to project a good attitude, but there are plenty of bad ways.

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The Purple Spotlights EP – Another Plug

I’m so far behind with my reading that a friend actually pointed this out to me before I saw it. The Purple Spotlights EP, self-released in April, has been featured in Writing Magazine. It’s available from Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, plus many other outlets.

More information: www.purplespotlights.com

Cover art: www.lemon-drop.co.uk

In which I launch my spoken word recording, The Purple Spotlights EP.

I’m today launching my debut spoken word recording, The Purple Spotlights EP, featuring four poems on the theme of friendship: some long-term and certain, others transient and complex. It’s available from on 7 DigitalAmazoniTunes and Spotify, and many other outlets. Head to PurpleSpotlights.com for samples.

Although I started as a prose writer, I soon built up a collection of poems. Some of these run to more than 100 lines and many publishers will not accept work of this length, so an audio recording seemed the ideal format. In February, I attended a masterclass in Edinburgh with professional performance poets, and that prompted me to turn the idea into a reality.

The Purple Spotlights EP cover
Created by Isaac Lemon at http://www.lemon-drop.co.uk

I expected the distribution to be difficult and making the recordings to be simple. I’ve talked before about my previous interest in radio and music production, so I drew on some of that experience. However, the production was tricky as the microphone picks up a lot of unwanted noise that needed to be removed.

I’ve also previously discussed my lack of design skills, so I knew I would need assistance with the cover. After some research, I discovered Isaac Lemon here on WordPress, and he’s since moved to Lemon Drop. He quickly created the striking mountains design, which looks fantastic next to other recordings.

One of the few disadvantages of releasing work online is that there’s no physical product to sell at live gigs. However, if The Purple Spotlights EP proves a success in the long run, I would consider making it available on CD, as an e-book, or as a paper pamphlet.

But until that happens, go and tell all your friends. Heck, even tell your enemies. I’ll be performing tracks from the EP at a few gigs this month:

Alternate Hilarities Released by @Strange_Musings Press.

I’m pleased to report that my short story Amending Diabolical Acronym Misuse has been released today by Strange Musings Press in its Alternate Hilarities anthology, along with a number of other comedy pieces.

It’s available in both paper and electronic formats. You can buy a copy from Amazon UK, from Amazon US, or from Smashwords. Find out more about the book, and enter their Rafflecopter gift card giveaway, at the official website.

I’d also like to give thanks to the editor, Giovanni Valentino. Book publishing takes months of work, and throughout it all, he has been in regular contact with the contributors, and kept us up-to-date with its progress.