December 6th, 2019


Behind the Scenes

A lot goes on for an author behind the scenes which the book-loving public rarely think about! I face the exciting challenge of having my book published in another country, which gives the issue of not being able to just drive to the publisher and pick up cartons of books to take to events or talks. 

Oh, no. They need to ship internationally to me before I can do that. And the publisher doesn't pay for that, I do. We all know shipping of books from USA is not a  cheap thing and being a new author, I really have no idea how many books I should be taking to places like the Abbey Medieval Festival or other events. 

So up front I get to:

  • buy the books at cost (not cheap)
  • pay for the cartons shipping to Australia (seriously, not cheap)
  • pay for postage for anyone who wants a signed copy (add $7.50 in AU if it fits the standard package)
  • pay for the packaging material as well (several more dollars right there)

A few people are saying they want a signed copy at Abbey, but whether  they actually turn up with money or do the "I'll get one later" thing, I won't know. I'm looking at a pre-order where they can pay beforehand and collect at the event. And quite frankly, I don't know what amount of books I should be  taking. Site fees need to be paid for. I still need to get  Exhibitors Insurance as well which will cover me for a year of selling  books at places as my re-enactor insurance won't cover me. 

If I  want 200 books which isn't many really, say 15 in a carton, that's  paying for shipping for 13 big, heavy boxes filled with books. Still  waiting to hear what that is likely to cost, but I'm stressing about it. Ordering online and bringing to an event is a great idea for signings, but this year, our first event will launch the book, so anyone who buys one there will be ahead of online buyers and save the shipping cost. Not me. I pay the shipping cost and for the book. My share at the end is very small before everything else. 

This, dear people, is a peek into behind the scenes. 

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A First Impression: Book covers can make or break a book.

It seems like this is an ongoing saga, but you'll be excited as I am to hear that I think we have a cover for the Very Secret Sex Lives Of Medieval Women which the Publisher and I can both live with. Live with, not love. The art, of course, I love to pieces, but the text and other additions to the page to "pretty it up" have been a point we are having some trouble with. Currently, the title had two fonts in the title and either one of those would be quite nice!  

I'm still sad that none of the covers I asked for and provided were acceptable. Such is the life of an author, I am discovering. Many of the elements which actively have nothing to do with the book have been removed and now it's down to the font again.

Conversations with other authors have shown that this is extremely common for authors to not have a say in the cover or end up with one which is not only not historically inappropriate for the book they wrote, but sometimes actively harms the perception of what's inside the covers to the intended audience. I hear them loud and clear. Putting things which are not right for the time period makes the author look like he or she has no idea what she's talking about and gives the impression that the book itself will be filled with such nonsense and historical fallacies.

I've actually been in that situation where I was looking at the cover of a book by a respected medievalist and wondering how a picture of a woman with her hair out, kirtle half-laced with a thick belt and a viking drinking horn on her belt got put on the cover and wondering for a minute whether the book had anything to do with medieval housewives at all. Of course, I knew of the author and bought the book trusting that the information would be solid, and it was. I notice the book has been republished with a really lovely photo instead since I bought it.

This is very not much the case for me as a brand new author. I have a small but enthusiastic following on facebook where we discuss and share research and historical clothing re-creations and sewing techniques and look at manuscripts together for discussion, but I am not a known author. A cover with things which are not right will sink the book before it even starts, leaving the publishers to wonder why it received such a poor reception when it sounded like a good book. 

It's a book I'm proud of. A non-fiction book about the voices of medieval women, some lost to dusty court records, voices unheard. I want to remember them and hear their voices. I want to share those voices and even through a snippet of text, connect with their lives. 

Stay tuned.

#medievalrosalie #medievalbooks #verysecretsexlife #medievalwomen #authorthings



I am in the process of getting some lovely little Very Secret Sex Life of Medieval Women-style bookmarks.  Actually, they tie in to my website and have the very encouraging words NO TOUCHY-TOUCHY on them while the lady in the bed points her finger, so they're not book merchandise as such, but they share the book cover art and manuscript leaves.

Silky coloured tassels! Pretty artwork from Tania Crossingham! 

If you buy a book from me in person, you'll get one free!

#medievalrosalie #medievalbooks #bookmarks #medievalbookmarks