Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

The Importance of Being Reviewed

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Right, this is it. I have come down from the dizzy high of receiving my books and now it is time to get serious (I am mostly lecturing myself here). Things He Never Knew is going to be released in 24 days and I need to be prepared.

You would think that my time management skills are excellent, having juggled a baby and a Law degree in the past – not to mention my hectic social life at the time – and indeed they might have been back in the day. Now, they are lamentably awful. Clearly a lot of you will be used to working and running a household with everything that entails, but I am not. This is all very new to me and I am struggling a bit to fit everything in and get it all in the right order. For example, my house is quite clean but my children still look a little bohemian; this is not by design but rather through lack of ironed clothes. I can get away with this because as a writer it’s possible that I could be slightly bohemian myself, but as anyone who knows me will tell you – I am not. Headscarves and flip-flops and maxi dresses and coloured beads and string bags are not to be found in my wardrobe. I’m not very tall and I think I’d look silly in a maxi dress. Mini is more my style.

So obviously I am thrilled and delighted to be in this position of having a book published, not to mention lucky, but that said I had no idea that so much – well – work went along with it. I have a friend who is knowledgeable in the fields of marketing and promotion and things and I am exceedingly lucky that he has taken me under his very skilled wing, but along with that comes a task list which is longer than me. And enforced rigorously. Even from afar. For example, he is abroad at this moment on holiday in Florida which I thought might lessen his communication levels. Not a bit of it, in fact he’s become inadvertently more effective at nagging because of the time difference. Every morning when I wake up and check my emails, there is always a little one entitled “Task List” sitting menacingly in my inbox, and it contains tasks – obviously – and then the final, killer, line: “….and when you’ve done them, send them to me.” It is precisely like being at school and catches me at my most unaware. But I must admit that it has the effect of making me do things that I might otherwise prevaricate about. Like thinking of ways to get people to review my book. At this stage they don’t even have to be favourable; just someone reading it would be fab. No, I am JOKING. Let me tell you that the idea of getting bad reviews strikes a chill into my very soul. It would silly of me to think that I can avoid it forever but frankly, the longer the better. For those of you not in the know, good reviews are completely necessary to the success of a book. This is because they draw the attention of far more people than mere advertising could do and not only that, but it’s a very effective method of imparting the salient information about the book and then hopefully following it up by a recommendation. Which brings me onto my next point, it needs to be a recommendation from someone whose opinion could be respected. I could get one hundred of my friends to write nice things about my book but it doesn’t count so much if I could have bribed/cajoled/threatened/blackmailed them into it. Far be it from me to do that, of course. In fact I have offered it out for review to a couple of important people so far and happily they have said yes, but the caveat that I have given them is that they are under no obligation to deliver a good review. All I’ve said is that I’d love them to read it and if they have something nice to say would they mind writing it down for me to use in my promotional material? I think it’s important not to make people feel that they must say nice things, which is a risk if you’re doing it through a semi-personal route, as I have done. When I begin approaching people and publications in a more formal manner then I will include no such caveat; I will simply request a review. But it will be done in an artful and persuasive manner.

Featuring prominently in this morning’s email was compiling a suitable list of people to target for review. As it has been for the past sixteen mornings. When I say ‘prominently’ I mean number one out of approximately 164. I have never known a task list to breed so prolifically. And I have 24 days in which to complete it………I can’t help feeling that I need an urgent lesson in time management; the way I did it before was a little extreme. In my defence all the stuff that I need to do is necessarily creative, and you can’t just switch creativity on at the drop of a hat. But I am also easily sidetracked.

Damn you, facebook.

Compiling my final list will take careful research and time, of which I am perilously short. I think I know this sub-consciously because I’ve started waking up in the night wondering what I should do next – the minute I can translate this into useful output during the day I will be sorted. The target review list has become something of a hurdle, and even when I had my ponies I was never very good at jumping. It’s even harder to scramble over a hurdle when circumstances conspire against you – take Monday night for example. I was trying to write (and trying is the operative word) but every five minutes my laptop just shut itself down with no warning. And I’m sorry but I cannot write whilst having to pause every two seconds to save the blasted thing. This malfunction nearly caused a complete meltdown from me – my husband watched me out of one eye anxiously whilst I watched him to see what he was going to do about it. I effectively lit the touch paper by mentioning the words “buy”, “new” and “laptop” all in the same sentence, whereupon he leapt up, took the computer apart, cleaned five years worth of dust and crap from it (ooops….) and then, magically, it worked. And whilst all this was going on, I was trying to remember what I was going to write, do the ironing and watch Coronation Street.

It’s a hard life being a writer.