Roz Morris, author of My Memories of A Future Life and Nail Your Novel, describes how the highly popular, innovative guest slot on her blog helps indie writers in all genres reach new readers for their books.
Does music help you create your books? It certainly helps me. Without it, my thoughts are too fast, too slippery. Music holds the hurricane still, allows me to examine my characters and scenes so I can discover their significance. Some pieces I choose because they conjure the setting; others seem to find me from the wild when they align with the scene that’s on my mind. It all adds up to a collection of tracks that become a signature for the novel.
I started to wonder if other writers did this. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to see them describe their novels in terms of the music that helped them behind the scenes?
So I invited a few authors to post for me, in a series I called The Undercover Soundtrack. I originally started it as a way to keep fresh content on a site I set up for my first novel, My Memories of a Future Life, which was about a musician. But more than two years on, the series is still going, and its reputation has grown so far that I get emails from publicists wanting to book their authors for a slot.
It probably also helps people get familiar with my own work too, bolsters SEO or something techie, because the site always has new incoming links as participants share their posts.
But that’s a secondary consideration. I enjoy meeting the authors and offering them something creative to do, and many have become good online friends. And I couldn’t keep it up if I didn’t believe I was sharing good content.
What do they write?
Some authors trot through their plot with the music that conjured the mood for crucial scenes. Others write a deeper exploration of who they are when alone with the page and how music eases the way. It’s all an expression of their individual personality and that’s what makes it such fun for me to host. I love opening the latest submission to see these very personal snapshots of creative people doing their thing.
Even if two writers choose the same piece by Beethoven, they won’t get remotely the same idea from it. And I get terrific tracks that hit a bullseye for my own work.
This seems to work for commenters too; right now we appear to have started a craze for the Icelandic instrumentalist Olafur Arnalds.
The Undercover Soundtrack is also a unique way to connect with readers. With other kinds of post, we might struggle to find ways to make readers remember our title or hook, but with this one, the music does that for you. People remember you created your villain from the mood of ‘Red Right Hand'. Or that the seduction of your hero was honed to Ella’s smoky purr. To help this along, I’ve cross-linked the site so readers can look up artistes and see who wrote about them – more chances for readers to stumble across you. It’s the kind of writing post that laymen can relate to and find genuinely interesting; a view of a novel as if from a parallel room. And it’s building a loyal band of readers who return every week to see how the latest author has ‘played the game’, regardless of musical or literary tastes.
Who writes Undercover Soundtracks? Everyone. You don’t have to be literary like me; it’s for all genres, all styles. I'm happy to host anyone who will write an honest post to fit the criteria. If that’s you, contact me on rozmorriswriter at gmail dotcom and I’ll send the detailed brief.
If you have an interesting opportunity for other indie authors to write guest posts on your blog, please feel free to leave details here via a comment.
If you enjoyed this post, you might like to read these articles about other innovative ways to reach more readers:
- Send Your Book into the World with Book Crossing
- How To Get Good at Goodreads
- Set Up Author Interviews on Facebook
*Desert Island Discs is one of the longest-running programmes on the UK's BBC Radio 4 in which each week a high-achieving person, while being interviewed about their life, is invited to choose eight discs that they would want to take with them if stranded on a desert island. They also get to choose one book, apart from the Bible and the Complete Works of Shakespeare, and are also asked to specify which of the eight they would choose to save if seven were washed away. It often features authors. Broadcast since 1942 and still fascinating! Complete archive available here within the UK.