Thursday, July 28, 2016

A once in a lifetime opportunity

One of the biggest challenges facing struggling authors these days is how to promote their writing. The growth of accessible, high quality self-publishing and professional printing services has made it easier than ever for writers to put their work out there, even without a contract with a big publishing house, but writers often face huge barriers in attracting readers to take an interest in their work.

I myself have tried to make liberal (and efficient) use of social media (mostly blogs like this one, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube) to get my writing out there but the impact has been somewhat limited. I have had better luck generating local media attention and having articles in local newspapers and reports on local radio and television help promote my books.

But even that is hit and miss. The media may cover your work once, especially if there is a significant issue of local interest attached to it, but they are rarely willing to come back to you time and again as each new book hits the shelves.

Imagine, then, how awesome it would be for a writer to be invited... INVITED... to appear on a immensely popular national TV show, starring one of the country's favourite personalities?

I was honoured and humbled to have just that happen to me recently.

As you probably already know, my Abigail stories are written and sold to support the restoration of the historic McAdam Railway Station and Hotel, located in Southwest New Brunswick. So, when CBC's comicumentary Still Standing decided to focus on the Village of McAdam as one of the communities that is still standing after all these years, I was invited to participate.

I had a blast working with the folks at Frantic Films, who produce the show, and the crew from CBC, including host Jonny Harris (of Murdoch Mysteries fame) as well as writers Graham Chittenden and Fraser Young, when the episode was filmed in February.

And I was absolutely psyched/amped/stoked/excited when the broadcast date finally arrived this past Tuesday.

The episode was awesome. Funny, informative and affectionate, beautifully constructed to tell the story of McAdam and its Station while providing hope for the future. And I was delighted to see that I was given ample screen time, with the story of my Abigail books told clearly and concisely.

This is the kind of exposure (on national television, no less) that an author would die for. I know just how lucky I am and I am already seeing the positive impact of that exposure. I have been stopped on the street by people who saw the Still Standing show. I have received emails and tweets from several people across Canada enquiring how to obtain copies of the books.

The social media coverage of the show has been significant and the reaction universally positive, with literally hundreds of people declaring that they must, absolutely MUST visit the McAdam Railway Station and, more importantly, that the Station must be preserved.

If you didn't get a chance to watch the show, you can stream it from here. If you want more information on the station, visit the McAdam Railway Station's website. For more information on the Abigail stories, visit the Abigail website.

I am grateful to the good people at Frantic Films and CBC for this amazing opportunity and, even if it doesn't make me a best-selling author, Still Standing has given me the absolute thrill of seeing myself and my work receive national attention.