Our recent trip up to Hong Kong for three weeks from our winter hideaway in Phuket had a number of goals. First and foremost, we were there to see the Hong Kong branch of the family: stepdaughter Zoe and granddaughters Lily and Phoebe – do you recognise the names from Rare Traits?
For Gail, the trip was also about introducing her new illustrated children’s book ‘Searching for Skye: An Arctic Tern Adventure’ to a number of international schools. She saw around 2000 children over nine days and is now even more firmly on the fixture list of the local schools as a presenter and storyteller for primary school children. Check out her website for more details.
With respect to Rare Traits, I continued with the experience of becoming an author by giving my first book reading and signing with a presentation at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, an old stamping ground of mine during my twenty-eight years of living and working in Hong Kong and, as a life absent member, a watering hole I still use whenever I’m back.
Around twenty people showed up, which was initially a little nerve-racking since I haven’t stood up in public to speak in a while. I talked about the background to Rare Traits and read a couple of short extracts from an early chapter in the historic section of the book and a passage from the modern day story.
Having got one book reading under my belt, I’m enthused to do more so if I’m in your neighbourhood – book clubs, discussion groups – all suggestions welcome!
An expected extra to my trip developed when I heard about another expat author living in Hong Kong being interviewed by a local English radio station – Radio Television Hong Kong. Why not? I thought, what is there to lose? So I contacted the presenter who emailed me back immediately agreeing to include me in a spot on his morning show. A couple of days later, there I was sitting in a radio studio chatting away to the presenter, Phil Whelan, on live radio! It was all rather impromptu and ad-libbed since, apart from just a brief outline of the book in my email, we had no real discussion prior to going on air. However, I enjoyed it and people I’ve spoken to who heard it seemed to think it all went well enough. You can judge for yourself by going here then click on either the media player or real player icon (assuming you have either or both on your computer) just below where it says Morning Brew in red near the top of the page. A separate panel will appear with a drop down choice of segments. If you choose the 12:05 segment – the last one – and then press the start arrow, it should play. It starts with the news and then some music before the interview. There’s an alternative towards the bottom of the page, but it doesn’t work as well.
While I was in Hong Kong, I also approached some local bookshops about selling the paperback version of Rare Traits on consignment. The net result is that as well as being on sale at the RHKYC’s Ship Shop, if you happen to be in Stanley on the south of Hong Kong island, you can find it at the Beachside Bookstore. Having said that, while I got a reasonable deal with Beachside, bookstores normally take 50% of the retail price. Given the cost of production on CreateSpace together with shipping and local delivery to each bookstore, the profit margin is thin at best, making the whole enterprise more about the satisfaction of getting your book on display in a bookshop rather than profit.
I’ll be posting again on this in due course.