Friday, August 10, 2007

post-publication neurosis

Thanks so much to Cally Taylor for this link to an article about the antics of a newly-published debut author trying to get people to buy his novel. Although written in a humorous tone, I really felt for Antony Moore (here, Antony, hope this shows up on your Google search!) as he keeps going back to Waterstone's to count how many copies of his book are still there, buying copies himself and writing his own Amazon reviews. He says:

I realise that’s what it means to publish a book: there’s a part of me over there on the shelves, and in Blackwell’s earlier today when a man took a copy down, rifled through it, and then, dismissively, returned it, I wanted to walk over and ask what the hell he was up to. Could he not see that he was touching a part of someone’s soul? Walk softly, I wanted to say, for you walk on my profits.

Beautifully put. But it makes me a bit stressed about how I am going to be when my book comes out. I'm pretty anxious about the whole thing already - I've rounded up a couple of glorious blurbs, which is what the industry charmingly calls those quotes on the bookjacket, from two extremely generous authors whose writing I love, Sunshine O'Donnell and Melvin Bukiet.

But will anyone actually read it, anyone who I am not related to or knows anyone I am related to or knows me or knows anyone who knows me or who has been paid to read it? I'm not in England so can't go into Waterstone's and try and sneak my book onto one of their tables... So what will happen to it?

Yes, ok, maybe I am worrying so as not to get on with something else. Does everyone feel like this?


Brian G Ross said...

Thank you for droppin' by my blog, Tania. I will come back and check you out later.


Vanessa G said...

Hi T

I share your understanding that we have to do some of the 'marketing' work ourselves... but not the stress part. All we can do is all we can do. (If that's not sophistry).

Working with Salt Publishing is a privilege, in that they are so open, wanting to share every step of the process from acceptance of MS through to launch. Their own marketing abilities are brilliant, and I trust that implicitly.

It is not an 'easy' thing, to blow your own trumpet, because thats what we are asked to do. But if our work is good enough to hit print in entire single-author collections , then maybe we ought to turn the thought round... its the work we are promoting, and not ourselves.

I met Jane Wenham JOnes a year or so back. Bubbly, zippy, full of fun and life. And she works like a demon to promote her work. And no doubt due in large measure to that, she is very successful.

Sure the work has to be great... but it goes without saying, your kids wont get to the swimming gala to come first if you dont drive em there.

as for wandering round bookshops and feeling bad when someone doesnt buy... thats a tad pathetic. Cmon... how many times has that guy browsed and selected, putting a dozen books back beofre choosing one that grabs?

You have to be realistic.

I am in a writing grup, and took the wholoe collection along for a group feedback as to balance of content and so on.

One guy whose opinion I trust said 'These are wonderful stories. Every one. But... I've never bought a short story collection in my life. Who will buy them?'

That was a reality check. All we can do is the initial work, followed by 'all we can do' to promote, in partnership with Salt.

The rest is down to the work.