Look At Me, Look At Me.

This week I received an email from my new publicist inviting me to lunch.

Obviously, this made me happy.

First, I like being taken out for lunch. Who doesn't?

But more importantly, it means that my publishers are taking my next book seriously.

There is nothing more annoying to a writer than spending a year writing a novel, only for their publisher to act like nothing's happened.

Publicity is the lifeblood of any book.

Without it, your hard work languishes and dies. There are a million books out there and readers tend to go for the ones they've heard something about.

This is one of the reasons publishing houses would rather ask established authors for more books, than take a punt on a newbie. At least the readers will have heard of you.

My new publicist, Jamie, and isn't that a great name, the sort of name that belongs to a person who can come up with mind bogglingly ace sales ideas at the drop of a hat, asked me to consider various proposals and also to 'put forward any suggestions [I] might have.'


I mean, I am always banging on about how this is a business, how authors don't take enough ownership of their own work, how they expect everything done for them.

But actual real life suggestions for publicity. That might conceivably work. That's another matter.

So I've been thinking. And thinking. And thinking. And here's my list.

1. Radio.

I like doing interviews on the radio. As the saying goes, I have a great face for it, certainly the perfect arse. And I find the presenters terribly accommodating. I suppose if you have hours of time to fill every single day, a ten minute slot with a wittering author seems like a plan.

I've also found that talking about writing in general or the theme of the latest book to be preferable to an all out sales pitch.

2. Blogs.

Like radio presenters, bloggers have space to fill every day.

As long as you've got more to say than 'please buy my book' they seem happy to have you on board.

3. Festivals.

I've never really understood if these work or not in terms of sales. They always seem to be full of writers not readers. But I suppose we writer are probably more prolific book buyers than most, so hey ho.

Anyway, they're a laugh and a great place to get pissed with writerly mates.

4. Social media.

Hmmmmmmm. This is very tricky.

I accept absolutely that this is the future and that done in the right way, social networking can put you in touch with thousands of pontential buyers. I read articles about books/songs/games 'going viral'. The trouble is, if I'm honest, I don't really know what that means, or how to go about it.

Twitter, Facebook and the like all call.

But how to make the most of it? How not to end up wasting hours and hours of my time?

I have made a note to ask the lovely Jamie.

In the meantime, does anyone have a clue?


JW_Firth said...

Hi, useful post! On social media, it is so easy to share things and for information to spread, but it has to be something simple and compelling.

Caroline Green said...

No and I eagerly await Jamie's suggestions!

Am most amused at your 'arse fit for radio' :) :)

MorningAJ said...

Are you considering personal appearances? "Local author will sign copies of their book here at 6pm on Tuesday" and all that sort of stuff.

What's the book about? Maybe you can form links with somewhere relevant that will sell and promote it. Historic novel in museum. Animal book at the zoo. Romance and a hairdressing chain. etc etc

Donate copies (donate? Yes - you won't lose too much on it and it generates publicity) to your ailing library service. They're having to close branches so there's no way they can afford to buy books!

Prize draw. "Win a complete set of the author's works by answering this simple question: What was the murderer wearing when he climbed out of the cellar after dismembering the body? Closing date for entries Dec 31, 2011"

Can't really come up with much else without knowing more about the book. Sorry!

Helen Black said...

Thank you for those thoughts.

I have wondered about giving away some copies of the book. Perhaps through my agent's blog.
He probably gets a hell of a lot of traffic from all those would-be subbers.

Neezes, when you say something simple, what do you mean?

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Oooh, to have a publicist! (sigh)
Ooh, that he should be called Jamie! (swoon)
Erm (returning to planet earth with a bump), your ideas sound good, and so do AJ's. I think author talks are always good. Also offering to visit book groups, libraries, etc. There's something very compelling about actually seeing the author which encourages one to buy the book.

Fionnuala said...

I'm useless - still in the corner swooning with Susie...

Anonymous said...

Children's authors have it (only slightly, i know) easier, as they can target schools for signings - the ones that visit out school sell loads.

What about libraries, i know a few authors who'e done those - and local reading groups?

What about asking the local paper to do a short article on you and get readers to send in a postcard if they want to win one of your signed books?


Debs Riccio said...

Blog Tours are ALL THE RAGE now and they're crying out for a decent arse! Seriously, though, having some writerly bloggers 'host' a spot happens A LOT and it seems to go down a storm.... the last one you're on announces the next blog you're appearing on, and I guess that's the 'viral' thingummy sorted out - like the domino-effect.... Any help?

EmmaH said...

How about amazon's Vine programme. I don't know how to go about getting a book onto it, but basically it involves giving free copies to a club of regular amazon reviewers, and keeping your fingers crossed! It can lead to a whole bunch of hopefully good reviews, and generate some interest in amazon as a whole.