I’ve been getting questions, about my random posts on social media lately. I am talking about my “Virtual Camino” and talking weirdly about the characters from my book, Camino Wandering.
Let me explain what it’s about…
My novel, Camino Wandering, is a fictional tale of three women, Aubrey, Pam and Georgina, who walk the Camino de Santiago together. Along the way, they meet other colourful characters who join their Camino Family. These are the characters I’m talking about in my videos and on various posts.
In my real life, I have walked the Camino. Twice, actually. Once in 2018 (solo) and again (with my husband) in 2019. I decided not to write a memoir, but a fiction novel. There was another story I wanted to tell, other than my own. Now, in 2021, as much as I would LOVE to be in Spain, walking the Camino this year, there’s a worldwide pandemic preventing me (and many others) from doing that. PLUS, I have a book to promote. It’s hard to do either of these things currently.
Promoting my book is one thing. I can do that through advertising, etc, but my book is not your usual, run of the mill, women’s fiction either. It tends to lend itself to a certain audience. Finding that audience is easy, but you don’t want to over saturate things either. You tend to get kicked out of groups and discussions when you do that. Besides, it’s spammy.
So what to do? I had to think outside of the box, as they say.
My goal is to bring the Camino experience to others.
My book (hopefully) does this. At least one review I received on Amazon, from Melissa Bennington, thought so:
“People who have experienced the Camino will enjoy all the memories and people who have not will understand all the ups and downs a Pilgrim goes through.”
My book allows people to experience the Camino for themselves. It’s just… getting it to the right people continues to be a challenge and, unless I want to spend $5k a week on Facebook Ads (um, no thanks), I had to get creative.
Then, a fellow Tasmanian Camino Tragic (as my husband calls me) told me about an endeavour he and his Camino Family have undertaken. They are pledging 75% of their net income from the Camino For Good app to support albergues along the Camino who have been hit hard by COVID travel restrictions. As of May 2021, they have been able to provide of $70,000 USD in relief funds to Albergues! This will not only keep the Camino spirit alive but will give back to the albergues (or hostels) who are doing it tough.
I LOVE this – everything about it – and I wanted to help with their efforts.
Originally, I thought about donating, but I wanted to do more than that. I wanted to share what they were doing, and I knew I could do that through my social media outlets. Sure, I was still contributing financially by signing up for Camino For Good. 75% of my joining fee goes to those aforementioned albergues. I did think about donating a portion of my book profits, but I knew, realistically, it would only be pennies. (Remember, I’m an author. Unlike those big names, I don’t make a lot from book sales. And, if I’m completely blunt here, I need food on my table too. Every book sale is celebrated at this point.)
Still, I wanted to do something.
Then it hit me. I can give back by living this experience through my book.
Doing this does two things: It helps Camino for Good by citing them on my posts AND it helps promote my book by bringing the characters into my own walking experience.
And that brings me back to my whacky posts about Virtual Caminos and talking weirdly about the characters from my novel, Camino Wandering. I am walking the distance of the Frances Route (810km) in my local area, but I talk about the book as if we were walking the actual Camino together. (Or at least give hints about what’s in the book during those stages. Because, you know, I’m trying to entice people to buy the book themselves to find out MORE.)
By doing it this way, I share the beautiful trails in my area and I give you some insight into who I am and what my life is like. You know, when I share things like doing face plants, trying to get off a kneeling chair at my desk. Or of my neighbour’s sheep, a ram I’ve nicknamed Honda (because, you know, he’s a lamb-mower) poking his tongue out.
My crackpot social media posts combine it all: I share the characters from Camino Wandering, telling a little about what’s happening at that stage in the book, while walking to clear my fog brain, and I am still able to give back to those albergues I hope to stay with in the future!
I know it’s bumpy. I’m awkward at making videos. Like Georgina in Camino Wandering, I can take a nice photo, but I am not photogenic myself. Nor do I enjoy being in front of the camera. But I am putting it out there and that’s all you can do, right?
Want to do this virtually with me?
Camino For Good – So you can track your progress and give to the albergues too!
Camino Wandering – Buy the book so you can read along as you go through each stage.
Join my social media pages – so you can laugh at my videos, but also see photos from my area AND from my personal Camino wanders.