‘Y Streic A Fi’ on 21st February, on S4C, with subtitles

Doing anything worthwhile and creative involves struggle and frustration – and getting a self-published book noticed these day must top the list of teeth-gnashing tasks for writers…

So I’d got my novel on kindle, but the idea of endlessly tweeting ‘Buy my book’ held no appeal. So I decided to vent my frustration by using free software to make digital stuff, on themes in The Gritties story.

I dragged Owen, my 17 year old son, up to Lewis Merthyr, the pit where his grandfather worked now a heritage museum. He’d got a new camera and was pleased to use it to shoot some footage. I wrote a script, in the voice of the main character’s mother, and we mashed up violent scenes from news footage in 1984. I found some wonderful Appalachian mining music to go with it. Hey, we had a little You Tube video…

Pop music is an important background in The Gritties, and I discovered Fifty Shades has its own playlist online, before it was published. I did the same.

I found software that created newspaper front pages where you could date historically and add headlines. This became a traditional press release, that few people looked at. More people looked at the digital film poster I made, which featured unlikely famous Welsh stars, and direction by uber cool director, David Fincher. Then I thought ‘what the hell?’ and cast the film in the project blog. Most of the actors were too old, but regulars in the Welsh soap opera to which I am addicted, Pobl Y Cwm. The family queried whether I was getting too carried away here…

This was 2012, and infographics were just getting popular, so I thought I’d throw everything together to share with other writers what I’d done. There was quite a lot of novelty value in this and it got a lot of views.

It made me realize the importance of being early in online, and of standing out by using unusual channels. What the infographic also showed of course, was that this story could be much more than a Kindle e book.

And with hindsight, I realize that through all this playing about and making stuff, I’d demonstrated vividly that golden rule of writing: show – don’t tell.

PS. Writers in Wales may be interested in this free workshop I’m running at St Brides Spa Hotel, Saundersfoot on making infographics, videos and gifs on the 17th February.

the gritties infographic

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