The Birds and the Bees
So it recently hit me that my novel will be published on (don’t snigger) April 1st and that the file labelled Marketing, which has hitherto sat on a shelf above my desk in a floaty, non-threatening, futuristic kind of way, has begun to jump up and down and beckon me – or whatever a marketing file without hands or feet does to signal Urgency.
It’s time, it seems, to enter the publicity machine. Or rather, the animal kingdom. I must imitate the bee and Create A Buzz around my book. I must emulate the bird and learn to Twitter and Tweet (even, it seems, to Re-Tweet - which for some disgusting reason brings to mind Refried Beans). I must copy the spider and spin a website to entice unwary media flies to my lair (mwa-ha-ha).
Now all this doesn’t come easily to me. One of my reasons for leaving the BBC, back in 1996, was because of the emphasis on what they called Your Profile In The Department. In other words, it wasn’t enough to make programmes: you had to be seen to be making them. Whereas all I wanted was to hide away in my tatty corner of the horribly open-plan office and just get on with it. Or so I told myself. So what’s different this time around?
Maybe, like any pushy parent, I want to do the best for my book. I want it to be top of the class, invited to all the right parties, chosen for the first team and elected Head Prefect (jolly hockeysticks and shades of Mallory Towers).
Or maybe my Media Tart is coming out of the closet.
O Media Tart – you of the black lace padded bra, the pillar-box lipstick, the tottering sparkly heels, the perpetually astonished Botoxed brows and the sooty false eyelashes, all the better to flutter at unwary victims –
Erm, sorry. I digress. Get back in that closet, will you, and shut the door.
So I’ve made a start on the seven pages of what-seemed-like-brilliant-ideas-at-the-time. I’ve contacted well-known media figures to ask if they might read and possibly review The Making of Her. So far, the tally is: three no’s (one of them absolutely delightful – thanks, Bel Mooney), one yes, perhaps and six waiting. I’ve crouched over Benn’s Media in the library, sandwiched between whispering students, and copied out 50 contacts, from glossy magazines to cosmetic surgery trade magazines. After that, I will turn to newspapers, literary festivals, bookgroups and local publications. My new Publicity Profile will be peppered with postcards and press releases. I will Face Up to Facebook, Brazen it at Bookstores, Bare All to Bloggers and generally learn to Be Nice.
The other day I had an email from my publisher, wondering whether a new book was in the pipeline. My inner writer attempted to reply, but was prevented by the Media Tart who had decided it was prudent to sit on her.
Will any of these activities make an iota of difference to sales? Ask me in six months time, when the inner writer will hopefully be back in her dark corner, plying her trade.
Meanwhile, let the Media Tart have her wicked, wanton way. Let her make predatory eyes at the press. Let her toss away her black bra and frolic with the birds and the bees.
And wish her luck, will you? I think she may need it