I Am No Marketeer

Guest Blog by Rosemary J. Kind

Last time I left you with the question ‘What would I do differently?’ Ah, the benefit of hindsight. I now know I am no marketeer. It is not that I can’t market my book. I can and I do. However, every phone call is nerve racking, every negative response leaves me playing the tragic hero and every success justifies a war dance round the office and a glass of wine. I should perhaps add that the negatives call for a consolatory drink, but I’d hate you to go away with the idea I am an alcoholic!

My book, ‘Lovers Take up Less Space’, is a humorous review of travelling on London Underground. The BBC promptly ran a whole six week series looking at the Underground and naively I thought with this to piggy-back then I couldn’t fail. The BBC showed the serious side of the Tube. It showed the dedicated workers. The true complexity of managing such an impossible infrastructure and instead of providing me with a platform it left me with two thoughts. Firstly, it was the sort of programme watched by geeks and secondly, I felt guilty taking such a light hearted look at something so many other people took so seriously. It was a bit like writing a sit-com based in a crematorium. There were definitely going to be those out there who thought I was being a little irreverent. Is this the best point to tell you about the time I went to the wrong funeral? I should perhaps simply apologise publicly to Elsie’s family for bursting into hysterical laughter at the point I realised I was in the wrong one.

In any case, you can see my problem. There is a time and a place for humour and the BBC programme was neither the time nor the place. I crept away to lick my wounds.

It’s not all bad news. I am selling books. The Evening Standard and Metro may have declined the opportunity to run sections of the book for the edification of their readers, but I have managed to have some pretty decent book reviews in other newspapers and picked up sales on the back of it. I’ve got the book on the shelves of a number of bookshops around London and need to devise a strategy to capitalise on the Olympic rush in the summer. I am finding it always pays to have a book, on your person, available for sale and a pen available for signing and ironically the hard copy has led to a boost in the e-book sales.

Newspaper reviews of a book definitely bring in readers, as long as the reviews are favourable. It is worth being prepared to send a significant number of complimentary copies to reviewers and don’t underestimate the power of the local press. This is no time to be snobbish and think you need to hit the nationals. A good local review, backed up by a local stockist and an internet presence can yield a good volume of sales. However, do research your local press first. Sending a book to a free paper that is almost entirely advertising is not likely to be an investment. Choose papers that do regular book review slots. Their readers will be used to looking out for titles which are worth their while reading.

I’m thinking a stall on Camden Market might be quite good, but I don’t live anywhere near Camden and I think the stalls are probably already taken. I may have to settle for a stall at our village Fun Day, where they are most likely to wonder why I’m trying to sell a book about London while living in North Yorkshire. There really is a time and a place for everything. Now, if only I could get the time and place right at the same time I could make a fortune.

Rosemary J. Kind is the author of ‘Lovers take up less space’ a humorous guide to travelling on the London Underground, it is available through bookshops, Amazon and direct from www.alfiedog.com. She has also written ‘Alfie’s Diary’, ‘Alfie’s Woods’ and ‘Poems for Life’ which are available as e-books. Alfie’s Diary is available on a daily basis at www.alfiedog.me.uk

The Seven Big Fears: Rejection

Rejection is the writer’s enemy and a number one fear and it is an unavoidable one, even the most experienced and successful writers suffer rejections. Lord of the Flies was rejected 20 times before being published and Agatha Christie did not get published for four years.
Rejection is unfortunately part of being a writer and, although it does get easier, it still gives a pang of pain when the rejection slip arrives but there are methods to help you tackle what can be a debilitating worry.

1. Don’t take it personally- a piece can be rejected for numerous reasons and it is not necessarily due to the quality of the work. It may be that a similar piece has already been accepted. If the rejection does give any feedback this is valuable and worth considering.
2. Once you have submitted a piece get working on the next- otherwise you may feel you have everything invested in the one you have submitted.

3. Try not to send too many submissions out at once- no matter how confident you are it can be crushing if you are unlucky enough to have a lot of rejections land within a week.

Most importantly accept that rejection will happen, once you accept this it should help you worry about it less and realise it is nothing personal. Never let a fear of rejection stop you from writing.

Dealing With Rejection

I was in the unfortunate circumstances of having had three rejections in two weeks a few days ago. Rejection is of course all part of being a writer, even the most successful of writers have it and if you cannot deal with rejection then you are in the wrong business. Still, three in two weeks is more than I’m used to and it does leave with rather a glum downbeat feeling.

Speaking to other writers we all seem to deal with it in one of two ways. Some I spoke to find that rejection actually spurs then on to write, if, for example, the rejection is from a woman’s magazine they will make necessary adjustments and resubmit elsewhere.

Unfortunately, I tend to be in the other category- those who sulk, drown their sorrows and think ‘why do I bother?’. That’s possibly down to my pessimistic personality but many others are just the same. It is normal, I tell myself, to feel like this when you put your all into something and then it comes back to you with a slip of thanks but no thanks. You can tell before you open the envelope and that’s what I find difficult, opening it with the small hope that maybe they accepted it but returned a copy to me for my convenience.

I would love to be in the other category, those that strive through and laugh in the face of the standardized letters, its the much more sensible and productive stance to take. I will try to do this and I urge everyone else to also.

Above all remember, as long as you are getting those rejection letters you are a writer!