Vivienne Dockerty

Author of Historical Fiction

Common Courtesy: Where's It Gone?

Why is it so difficult to get in touch?


As you may know, I have been busily promoting my new book A Distant Dream and I have been amazed at the lack of common courtesy whilst doing it. Years ago, when I started promoting my first book, at least I would get a reply to my letter, as in those days I was looking for a publisher or a literary agent or someone who would give me a critique on my manuscript ...

Why did you make me wait for months when a simple email to say no would have sufficed?

Why did you make me wait for months when a simple email to say no would have sufficed?

Nowadays, it's possibly because so many people have written a book compared to thirty years ago, emails, letters and telephone calls are simply ignored.

The worst culprits are the magazines and national newspapers, the ones that have a book review or bookstore section and can have the pick of any mainstream author they like, but apparently, not a self published one.

I was told this years ago by a kindly reviewer, who said that unless my book was sold in their Bookstore he wasn't allowed to comment on my work. So I tried to have my book featured in the newspaper's bookstore and to date I haven't heard a thing!

"Had I pretended to be a celebrated name who wanted to have their life story published, they would have been wetting themselves to get in touch with me!"

I once had the promise of a review in a regional magazine. You know, one of the monthly ones with a glossy countryside picture on the cover. I was highly delighted, imagining my books whizzing off the bookshelves, because of this wonderful review that was going to appear in the Book Review pages. 

Three months went by and I contacted the editor to ask her when the review was going to be published. Her answer was that she had decided against it. No reason why, although she told me she had thoroughly enjoyed reading the complimentary copy of the book that I'd sent her.

Again, was it because I was self-published? Is there some sort of snobbery involved in these peoples' decisions? Why didn't she have the decency to write and let me know? I must admit I was devastated and I have never bought a copy of that particular magazine since.

Nowadays, my promotion hinges on the goodwill of the managers at Waterstones, the regional organisers of our libraries, free publications who are looking for copy, author talks and book signings where I can meet people who like to read my work.

I still suffer rejections from the newspapers and magazines, who are only interested in titillation and not the promotion of hardworking people, but with hope in my heart - one of these days - a person with a bit of common courtesy may change my world. 

Until next time ...


More about Vivienne Dockerty ...

Since arriving back in the U.K I have enjoyed meeting lots of people at the Author Talks and book signing events that I have been invited to. It has been great connecting with my roots again and listening to other people's stories whilst I have been doing research for my next book.

A big thank you to all the readers who have posted Amazon reviews after they have finished one of my books.


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