Friday, 24 April 2015

World Book Night

Last night I organised a special event in my local micro-pub to celebrate World Book Night. I was delighted that four local authors - David Donachie, Sarah Grazebrook, Stephen Bates and Anstey Spraggan - were able to join me to share their love of books and also to read from their work and to answer questions from a lively(!) audience.  

Since it began in 2011, World Book Night has given away books to over 2.25 million people, focusing on reaching the 35% of the population who, for whatever reason, don’t read for pleasure. I was one of many volunteers across the UK who gave away 250,000 copies of 20 specially printed World Book Night titles last night.

As well as being St George’s Day, yesterday was also the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and his death, and the anniversary of the birth of Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. It’s also the day, in 1374, when Edward III granted Geoffrey Chaucer a gallon of wine daily for the rest of his life. So what better place to celebrate than in a pub!

Anstey Spraggan, David Donachie, Steve Bates, Sarah Grazebrook and yours truly.
It was something of a leap in the dark as I'd never arranged anything like it before, targeted at drinkers who wouldn't usually read. But as it turned out it was a great success. It could even be the start of a regular Beer and Books evening...

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Marketing and the Writer

I’ve always felt uncomfortable ‘pushing’ my work. Call me old fashioned (or just old) but I still feel that books should be read and judged on their own merit rather than as the result of a great marketing campaign. I’m not naive enough to think great marketing doesn’t help, it’s just that too often I’ve been hoodwinked into reading a book because the marketing was immeasurably better than the book itself.

I started blogging ten years ago because my publisher at the time said it would be good for my book sales to ‘reach out’ to potential readers. I was encouraged to go on Twitter for the same reason. I followed all the strategies I was told would result in readers flooding to my pages, but I was never really convinced. I felt like the pushy salesman who harasses you the moment you walk into his shop. When that happens, I’m the kind of guy who just walks straight back out the door. I couldn’t help feeling most people were that kind of guy, too.

So I’m grateful to Debi Alper for pointing me in the direction of this rather interesting post: http://www.whimsydark.com/blog/2015/4/13/please-shut-up-why-self-promotion-as-an-author-doesnt-work

I suddenly feel I’m not alone. And more than a little reassured….