Friday, 23 March 2012

The Incomers First Outing

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of appearing at the Glasgow Aye Write Book Festival.  I previewed my forthcoming novel The Incomers to a welcoming audience of about seventy.  The event was a combination of readings from the novel and a dramatization of 'The Pairty Line'.

The novel tells the story of Ellie, a young Black African who comes to live in a Scottish mining village in 1966. It draws deep parallels between the cultures of West Africa and Scotland. As well as dealing with racial prejudice, the novel also touches on colonial oppression, bigotry, bullying, class and depression.  The Pairty Line is a device I used to give the villagers a voice.

In this extract Ellie finds out about the Penny for the Black Baby - a form of charity used in Scottish schools for decades before it was abolished in the late 1960's.

The Incomers from Colin Baird on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Sponsorship for Writers

Why have one book launch when you can have three?

Because I can't stay in one place for long I have friends and family all over Scotland.  When my book is launched at the end of this month I will have my first book launch in Glasgow. The city where I lived and worked for ten years, the city I have made my literary home.

The second will be in Dunfermline. Fife was my home for thirty five years, is the setting for The Incomers and is still home to my family.

The third will be in Stirling.  I now live in Stirlingshire and have many friends, old and new, living there.

Publishers like book launches.  They generate a good crowd and good sales, but three?
Was there a risk of over exposure and who was going to buy all that wine?

I am not too worried about the over exposure, the areas are quite separate, but I wanted an angle for the Dunfermline launch.  I wanted people in Fife to know about the book.  I wanted publicity. I wanted wine at the launch.   So I struck on the idea of sponsorship.

Many years ago I worked for CR Smith Glaziers, a well know Dunfermline employer.  Thomas Crielly, the artist who designed my book cover also worked there.  Two amateur actresses will act out part of the story at the launches and one of the actresses, Kay, worked there too.

Quite a nice connection I thought.  So I wrote to Gerard Eadie, the Chairman of CR Smith, reintroduced myself to him after fifteen years and proposed that he sponsor the event.   I was delighted when he agreed to pay for the drinks reception at the launch.  On the strength of that story I could and did confidently contact the local and regional press and am assured of some publicity.  All I did in return was to display their logo on my invites.  Win/Win.

Unfortunately due to a family commitment Mr Eadie is unable to attend the launch but a few of his management team will come along with many members of staff who knew the launch trio way back then.   

I would urge all writers to try asking for sponsorship.  Businesses normally have some money set aside for sponsorship and if you don't ask you won't get.