How lovely to see Nancy Jardine in the coffee shop this morning. Since 2011 Nancy has had seven novels published. Six are now published by Crooked Cat: three are in the Celtic Fervour Series of historical romantic adventures and three stand-alone contemporary romantic mysteries. She has also published the first book of a historical time travel series for early teens.
Hello, Katy. Thank you so much for inviting me and getting me out of the house for a while, even if only virtually!
You’re very welcome. What would you like to drink?
A caffe latte would be perfect.
Anything to eat?
Yes, please! I’m a sucker for shortbread with coffee
Can you remember how it felt when you had your first novel accepted?
It was exhilarating but also quite unreal when I read the email from a US ebook publisher for Monogamy Twist, a contemporary romantic mystery. I went back to my teaching job after lunch in a complete daze. I’m fairly sure the 11-12 year olds in my class thought the permanent smile on my face was due to some sort of weird gaseous indigestion! It was my first ever submission for Monogamy Twist and the acceptance email had popped into my in-box a couple of weeks after I’d emailed the manuscript, such an incredibly fast turnaround. This was at the end of March 2011 and Monogamy Twist was published in the summer of 2011. (A different version of it was republished by Crooked Cat Books in 2015)
Do you have any advice for someone who is writing their first novel?
Your previous question makes me remember all of the things I didn’t have back then in March 2011 and which I think are invaluable for an author who is currently writing their first novel.
Contacts: After I signed that first contract, my US editor requested my contact information. What was my Website URL? Oh, oh! I didn’t have a website. What was my Blog URL? I didn’t have one of those either. I admit to barely knowing back then what a blog was, never mind have one or how to use one. What was my Facebook contact info? You’ve guessed it, I wasn’t on Facebook and I wasn’t on Twitter. By June 2011, I’d worked out how to run a basic Blog. I’d created a basic Website. I’d learned how to make a Book Trailer Video and had added myself to loads of other Social Media places. It was a crazy, nerve wracking time!
I was catapulted into those ‘getting my name out there’ aspects so my advice to any author who is hoping to gain a first contract would be to get onto Social Media places long before you make a submission to a publisher. Younger authors are more likely to be on a number of Social Media sites already but they maybe use them for other purposes.
Author Branding: Learn how to use internet sites for author branding. There are some excellent Facebook groups that you can join where authors share their expertise and give support to both fledgling and oldie authors. There are other internet groups for specific genres on Yahoo which might be the ones to aim for, especially if your writing fits into a particular niche. There are also groups which support and advise in a more general way on Google Plus etc. I’ve often seen the phrases ‘Sharing is Caring’ and ‘Pay it Forward’ and they are spot on. It’s great to be able to get answers to what might seem like a dumb question. Asking questions and gaining help isn’t dumb at all if it will help you progress.
The internet changes so rapidly from year to year that there’s no one ‘quick fix’ place to be on: what works for one author may not for another. I’ve joined all sorts of sites to get my author branding out there but it’s like all walks of life—invest more time and you’ll probably gain more rewards. Being on Social Media isn’t, in my opinion, for gaining book sales (though excellent if that happens) but it’s more that you’re not writing in a bubble of virtual isolation.
Local Contacts: Before publication, I wasn’t in a local writing group. I now know many novelists who meet up regularly with other writers and this can be invaluable for gaining beta readers for your manuscripts. Try to fit in time to make local contacts if that’s possible. A couple of years ago I joined the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) which also has a fledgling author scheme which not-yet-published authors can use to join. The RNA subscription fees are quite high, but if you live near London you can probably attend lots more events than I can since I live in Scotland, in rural Aberdeenshire. Attending these events will widen your contact base of authors. To counteract my ‘geographical’ location, I’m meeting up with some RNA Scottish authors in Edinburgh at the beginning of May 2017. I also joined the Scottish Association of Writers and will attend my first ever author conference this coming weekend (18th March) which is being held near Glasgow. Such exciting prospects, even though I’ve never actually met anyone, yet.
It’s taken me years to make these arrangements so I’d advise not-yet-published authors to branch out as early as you possibly can—virtually and locally!
Thank you Nancy – such good advice. If we’d had this conversation a couple of years ago I’d have been much better prepared!
About Nancy Jardine
Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour Series of historical romantic adventures is set in first century northern Roman Britain whereas her contemporary romantic mysteries are set in fabulous world-wide cities, Topaz Eyes being a finalist in The People’s Book Prize 2014. The Taexali Game, her Teen time-travel adventure, is set in third century Roman Scotland. Her week passes in a blur of regular grandchild minding, gardening, leisure reading, researching, writing…and keeping up with politics. Not necessarily in that order!
She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers and the Federation of Writers, Scotland.
You can find her at these places:
Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk Website: http://nancyjardineauthor.com/ Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @nansjar
Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere
(A Google search will find her other sites)
The Beltane Choice http://getbook.at/myamazonplace
After Whorl: Bran Reborn http://getbook.at/pageatamazon
After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks http://getbook.at/hereistheplace
The Taexali Game http://getbook.at/findmeonamazon