Six and you’re out

by M.J. Hearle

It’s nearly been six months since Winter’s Shadow hit bookstores and I couldn’t be happier with the the overwhelmingly positive reaction I’ve had from readers. The paranormal genre is over saturated to a ridiculous degree so there was a real chance my book would become lost amidst all the vampire, werewolf, and angel romances. Luckily, it turns out there’s a small but hungry audience out there for original supernatural mythologies.

In previous years there would have been an opportunity to nurture that audience, for word of mouth to spread over a period of months allowing more and more people to discover the book. Unfortunately, the publishing industry is facing one of its grimmest times and this window has shrunk considerably. Before I became an author I just assumed books remained in stores until they were sold. At the very least, I thought they’d be given a year or so to attract readers. Unfortunately, novels from first time authors like me are presently given about six months to sell. After that, they get sent back to the publisher where they are sequestered to a big spooky warehouse like the one at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

With this is mind, I’m trying my best to raise the books profile so it can hang on to its shelf space during this busy Christmas period. Lacking a marketing budget, I only really have this blog and my own charming personality to rely on. Meagre tools I know, but you’ve gotta make the most of what you’ve got. On the web side of things, I’m asking all you wonderful Aussie bloggers to give Winter’s Shadow a shout out. It doesn’t have to be a review or anything (though re-posting a review would be cool – especially if its positive) just a quick mention that the book is still out there and worth picking up before the sequel gets released next year. I’m also available for interviews or guest posts so if you’re interested, please email Of course, I’ll return the favour by linking to your website through this blog.

That’s about all I’ve got in terms of online marketing initiatives. Feel free to comment below if you have any other suggestions. For example, I feel like I’m not using Twitter to the best advantage so advice or tips would be much appreciated. As for what other promotional opportunities are available to me, I’m eager to take on some speaking engagements. I think the best way for authors to connect with their readership is through face to face interaction. So, if you’re a librarian, or host a book club or readers group in the Sydney area and would like to meet a dashing young author shoot me an email. I’m more than happy to chat about the book and my experiences in the publishing industry. Also, I know the school year’s about to wrap up, but if you’re a parent or an educator in the Sydney/Central Coast area and would like me to speak at your school don’t hesitate in getting in touch. I may not be Neil Gaiman but I’m relatively articulate and have superb personal hygiene.

Lastly, if you happen to be visiting a bookstore in the near future have a quick perusal of the paranormal section. If they don’t have any copies of Winter’s Shadow, ask them to order some in and perhaps mention how it’s the first in an exciting new Aussie paranormal series. At the moment, my publisher is starting talks with booksellers about stocking Winter’s Light so it’s important the sellers know there’s a demand for the books.

So Shadettes and Shadudes, I know I’m asking a lot from you but it’s a tough old industry and to survive it I’m going to need all the help I can get.

Thanks in advance,

M. J.