A few days ago I sent my latest novel to my publisher. The last thing I write is the dedication and then off it goes, no longer just something sitting on my laptop, but going out into the world, almost with a life of its own, and you can only hope it survives.
But if it is going to survive, you need to help it. People think that once an author has written a book his or her work is done. I have found with every book that the really hard work starts once the writing is over, trying to sell it.
My publisher is very keen on marketing, mainly because he understands the importance of it. So any event, any article, any whiff of radio or TV is pounced on and I am ferried around to talk, smile, write, engage and try to get as many mentions of the book into a sentence as possible.
I have done a lot in my (and my publisher’s) quest for book sales, such as sitting in a lecture hall in Montpellier delivering what I thought was an extremely amusing speech to an audience of about 45 people. As I reeled off my jokes about French women there was a stony silence and fierce glares from the assembled, er, French women. The only noise was a raucous laugh from a lone Yorkshire woman sitting at the back.
I have been on radio countless times, and even reached the giddy heights of the Richard & Judy show, as well as breakfast TV. After the Breakfast TV appearance the book I was plugging went to number one on Amazon, only for about ten minutes, but I can still say I had an amazon bestseller. Not that I needed proof that publicity works.
My latest publicity effort is one I am looking forward to enormously. I have been invited to speak at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (www.emirateslitfest.com) from March 5th to 9th. For a few days I will be being extremely intellectual along with literary luminaries such as William Dalrymple, my lovely friend Ken Hom and Kate Mosse. My topics for discussion include overly cerebral ‘The Viva Mayr Diet- does it work’ and ‘Having it all’. If you are in Dubai then please pop along and listen, I can promise you more jokes than intellectual debate. I just hope that woman from Yorkshire pitches up.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2013