What needs doing two months prior to book launch?
Still Shining Bright was completed last April and put aside so I could look at it with fresh eyes later. I came back to it in June and tried to read through it slowly and iron out any concerns I had about the details. With a new Word program on my laptop, I was able to make use of the Read Aloud feature. This reads my words in a monotone voice, often misreading the name places. It’s brilliant! The quirks keep me focused and mistakes are suddenly highlighted when read out to me. Next it went to Michael from Dungeness who has been persuaded to read the novel and pick up any mistakes in the details about the area. He has been fantastic, doing so much more than I asked him to do and giving the novel a thorough edit. After I have worked on Michael’s suggestions, the book then goes to the proof-reader.
At the moment, part of the book is still being checked by Michael and half of it has been proofread. After proofreading, I’ll ask a few people to read it and look for any mistakes which have slipped though.
I have decided to have all my Dungeness books with covers to match The Artist’s Gift. Zoe Beardsley, from Greatstone, has already changed Secrets of the Shingle and next it will be Stranger on the Point. The lighthouse features in the new book and I wanted this on the cover with a blast of yellow light. I sent Zoe photos of the old lighthouse and made some suggestions. She then came back with some sketches, and I chose the lighthouse from one, the plant from another, removed a small boat and asked for changes to another boat. In mid-August, the painting was complete and next it will go to the graphic designer (Bluebirch Creative from Hawkinge). The reason I haven’t sent it yet is because I am still working on the blurb (words on the back cover).
Now I am thinking about the information I need to put at the front of the book. It starts with a real historical event and I need to write a little about that, as well as noting the books and websites I have used, and thanking people. I have some notes on all these things and it is important to get this part right.
I’m not spending many hours a week on this at the moment; it is just a case of keeping an eye on the book and ensuring that everything is ready for November. I hope to have a proof copy by early October. About three weeks before the books are printed, I need to think about if it will be possible to do any ‘meet the author’ or book signings. It will also be time to start promoting it on social media.
Still Shining Bright is a prequel to Secrets of the Shingle, and there will be a second prequel coming after this one. That will make five in the series, with Secrets of the Shingle becoming the third book. It starts in 1873, and so brings a new cast of characters, but will also link in with the fictional families known from the other novels – including some surprise appearances! Mainly set at Dungeness, this book also has more Ashford chapters than the previous novels in the series.
With Still Shining Bright very much on my mind, I am also thinking of the next novel and have been busy writing a sequel to the Pendant Cross. Switching from one era to the other can be a bit unsettling, and sometimes I have to get on with real life and live in the 21st century! Hopefully, there will be a cover to show you soon and more to tell about both books. Thank you to everyone for your on-going support, especially during these strange times when so many businesses are struggling. Every sale really does make a difference.