A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Lin Treadgold, along with a group of other authors from the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Lin is a great role model to writers in the dreaded business of getting yourself out there and promoting, and so when she offered to write a post for my blog on how she went about selling her books, I jumped at the chance!
‘Don’t be Afraid to Push Forward’ says Author, Lin Treadgold
After spending my childhood with a father who was a good salesman, and a mother, a part time actor on TV, I had learned to push myself forward from a very early age.
To be quite honest, I never enjoyed being in the limelight, but at the age of 16 I found myself being in the musical, ‘Carousel’, at Middlesbrough Little Theatre. I used to go to ballet school and I remember each night having to wear clown make up for the fairground scene and then turning up to work the next morning as a dental receptionist with red cheeks. The make up for the previous night’s performance refused to come off no matter how hard I used soap, water, and cream to remove it. I had to explain to each patient as they came to their appointment, ‘no I haven’t been drinking, it’s stage make-up’ The performance went on for a week but it wasn’t long after then I left ballet lessons to work in a hospital and didn’t have the time to be on the stage again.
Memories of those days will always remain with me, but it would be a number of years before I pushed forward once again. At the age of 27 after travelling the world by sea, I trained to become a driving instructor, passed all my exams, and within a year, I owned my own driving school. Fortunately, a colleague had left the profession and sold the business to me. The exams were probably the hardest thing I had undertaken since leaving school. I progressed to become one of Britain’s top lady driving instructors. Women in that role were few in those days and I really enjoyed teaching people to drive and continued up the ladder of success, later owning my own driving instructor training school.
I learned a lot during those 25 successful years. My role not only involved running a business, but also promoting the training school in whatever way was necessary to be a competitor in the profession. It was extremely satisfying to help new more mature students pass their exams and my reputation for this was soon realised when my test pass rate and instructor rating was at its highest.
I often had to attend exhibitions and conferences that taught me about promoting a business. I have to admit I got quite a kick out of mingling with the ‘in-crowd’. I was a good organiser and often arranged breakfast networking sessions at local hotels and had to be innovative in all respects. My confidence grew and so did the business. It was only when my husband had to move to Holland to work did we make a heartfelt decision about leaving it all behind.
Therefore, with nothing else to do, I had to make life-changing decisions. My experiences in my business had helped me a lot. Being the lady instructor was still an unusual situation and I often appeared on radio. I had many contacts in the UK and when I decided to write a novel, I didn’t think I would actually get published. I had already attended creative writing classes and eventually with my previous experiences, it all seemed to fall into place.
Last year, I wrote the romance novel, Goodbye, Henrietta Street, launched on The Isles of Scilly. I invited local residents to attend the book launch and organised a fantastic party in conjunction with the Wildlife Trust on the islands. We raised £150 for new boardwalks on the nature reserve. The sea shanty group Bone Idol sang for us and everyone was extremely generous. I sold 150 paperback books in just three weeks through book signing on the islands with the tourists. I am returning this year for four days in July and will be book signing at the airport on St Mary’s.
The novel came about because of a friend who passed away not long after I began writing. He encouraged me to keep going during his time on the islands. In his memory, I wrote the book.
After a recent meeting with new author friends in York, I realised the importance of having someone you can talk with and learn how to promote your novel. My experiences of the past helped me with confidence about pushing myself forward. Others find it hard to feel this way. This is especially so in book signing sessions. Perhaps in the future, when I have a few more books published, I may be able to help in this respect and do a couple of workshops with role-play to kickstart the authors who might feel awkward and shy.
We are all learning something new each day about writing. I feel you should never pull yourself down about your abilities to promote. Just enjoy doing it and enjoy chatting to the people out there. They are, however, the ones who are going to become your readers in the future, so selling yourself as an author face to face, as well as the story in your book, is important.
If anyone would like to gather in the future for a workshop in the UK in 2015 I would be happy to provide you with the benefits of my own experiences. I envisage a fun role-playing session where everyone can have a go at improving his or her confidence. Perhaps include a guest author to further the session. I am particularly keen to help budding authors, as I will never forget I was once a learner driver.
Goodbye, Henrietta Street is available here on Amazon as a download and a paperback. Go to this link to find out more.
Take a peek at my blog too: www.itslinhere.wordpress.com
And finally, good luck!
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Thanks so much for coming, Lin. It was brilliant meeting you in York recently, and I think your idea for a ‘Put Yourself Forward’ workshop for writers is excellent. You’re an excellent teacher, and with your friendly and outgoing personality you’d make a great role model for us introvert writers on how to promote ourselves.
If you have any questions or comments for Lin, please let us know – we’d love to hear from you!
12 thoughts on “Some advice on promoting yourself”
Excellent post, Lin – so many of us have to force the necessary promotion work! Thanks for featuring Lin, Helena.
Thanks for your comment, Ros! I’m definitely one who has to force the self-promotion. It’s good to learn a few tips from Lin!
Well I would be happy to have a fun day with the new authors. I remember it well taking the first drive after passing my test. It’s a scary world out there. I am always glad to help. Perhaps at the end of the year I could take a note of those who would like to meet up and I can organise something. It would cost, but I am coming from Holland or you guys could come over here for a short holiday workshop week end. I know I have one author who would like to do this with me too. I can ask her again. See what you think.
Yes, it’s a great idea, Lin. Maybe you could run something at the RNA conference. I’m sure there must be plenty of other authors who’d like some tips. Thanks again for your post!
Lin, thanks for sharing a bit about yourself with us. So interesting to discover the stories behind an author’s decision to write a novel. I’m sure a class for those who are shy about promoting themselves would be helpful as well as a lot of fun.
Hi JQ, after having met Lin, I’m sure her classes would be fun! Such a shame we’re scattered all over the globe, and we can’t all just meet up for lunch once in a while. Would be lovely to have you along!
Fun reading about your fascinating life story, Lin. I do believe you have to go through the open doorways. Sometimes that involves pushing yourself a bit. As a former speech and theatre arts teacher, I can testify to the need to just do it. Nike is right about that. Even if you fall down a bit at first, just get up and try again. Learn by doing is what it’s all about. Thanks for sharing such interesting info.
Thanks, Marsha. You’re right, we have to keep pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. Wish you could come along and give us some tips, too, from your teaching experience!
Thanks for sharing Lin and Helena. Lin, I don’t live anywhere Holland or the U.K., but if I were to meet you, I’d love tips not only for shy authors, but also tips for drivers with poor parking skills!
Oh, me too, Loren! When I took my driving test many years ago, parallel parking wasn’t part of the test, and so I never learned how to do it properly. I still can’t do it to this day!
There is a method to parallel parking and in the early days of driving far too many people parked on a wing and a prayer on their driving test. I discovered a foolproof method to help you get it right every time. I felt it was liking pulling teeth watching some people struggle with the parking. I suppose writing is a bit like that, there are guidelines and methods to help you make it easier and once you got it, it stays there for life. One of the difficult manoevres was reversing into a parking space at the supermarket Students found it hard to understand which way to turn the wheel. I think writing is also confusing in the beginning. Everyone wants to write a story and they think it can be done by just writing it, then they discover it’s not what you write but how you write it and that’s where confusion reigns with new writers. The methods used to write a novel, there are no real rules. I tend to let my characters do the writing for me. They teach me a lot about what they want and I used to do that with my students. The best teacher is the student. Give them what they ask for and let them decide if it works or not. Discovery learning is a slow way to learn, but it sticks in the mind longer. Just enjoy doing it.
Enjoy your driving and your writing and keep smiling.
Great post, Lin. You have an interesting background and it was fun to read about it. I agree you have to push yourself to promote your book. I am looking for new ways everyday. Thank you for this timely post.