Well, I must confess I am a bit taken aback by the response to the release of The Road Out.
It would seem that all the hard work is going to pay off in the end. I am still realistic enough to appreciate there is a lot of hard work ahead, though.
In reality, whereas writing the book was hard, the marketing side of things will be harder. If there is one thing I have plenty of experience in failing at, it’s sales. I just don’t have the mindset for it; it’s not me at all. However, having done all the hard work, it would be very remiss of me to let the book simply drop out of sight due to my reluctance to follow through.
So, this coming week will be spent researching the best avenues for promoting the book. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as this is all new to me. There are many avenues to explore, so it’s a question of finding the most effective vehicles to get the title out there.
There is one factor in having a book for sale that really doesn’t apply to many other products, though. The book is always there, always for sale, and always earning something.
One thing bodes well for the future, that’s for sure. The groundwork for the subsequent volumes of the series is already laid out in a complex web of possibilities.
Mapping out the bones of volume 2, I am spoilt for choice as to where to take the various sub-plots of all the characters of the series. Naturally, sifting the feedback received, from a few who have read it and contacted me about it, is helping to identify the most popular characters.
The parts seen through the eyes of Arthur’s son Jimmy have proven very popular. They’re scattered throughout the book to give a light relief in places. It’s something Rob pointed out as a real strength in the story, the fact that Jimmy actually thinks like an 8-year-old boy. The old Aboriginal tracker, Mintie, is also a favorite; as is Arthur’s friend and mentor Ziggy, the little German engineer.
A couple of American readers who kindly contacted me to share their thoughts both said they enjoyed the learning experience the book gave them. Highfields is set in a time period and a place rarely covered in any solid form. Yet, it was a time of great upheaval, in a place almost lost in time. Culturally stuck in the 1950’s, yet with a youth in full contact with a dynamic and rapidly changing outside world.
The older generations, however, wanted no part with the changing world around them. They dug in hard and, supported by an ultra-conservative ruling political party, resisted all struggle for change with a dogged determination that exasperated many in Queensland.
Rules and regulations of the period were behind the times and, in some cases, downright archaic. Women did not have equal pay rights, Indigenous Australians had only voted for the first time in 1966, and married women were still banned from working in the Queensland public sector.
The other thing that stuck out to these readers was depictions of the well-watered and verdant countryside of South-East Queensland. Quite at odds with how many, even here in Australia, view the bush. Most see it as being vast swathes of dusty outback plains.
Many have commented on the story being very easy to read, and expressed their surprise at how fast they read it, for a 312 page book.
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my writing career, and I humbly acknowledge the help I have received from so many over the past two years.