A wonderful day spent in idyllic surroundings with very good company...and it was work. Pure Work.
United Authors UK - the West Sussex branch of the Society of Authors - organised lunch and a meeting at Rowfant House. The subject was marketing and the speakers were Rae Hardy (Head of textbook marketing at Palgrave Macmillan) and author and ghostwriter Andrew Croft. He has published around 80 books, a dozen of which have been Sunday Times number one bestsellers. One title has sold around four million copies worldwide.
Here's a very partial and very succinct sketch of their talks
As an author you are selling to three people
- the gatekeeper (the shop owner/the campus retailer)
- the decision maker (the lecturer who recommends the textbook to students, the reviewer who recommends to readers)
- the purchaser
Writers are craftsmen and women and an important part of the craft is discovering what the market wants and delivering it. You also have to find ways of selling yourself - differentiating the brand. The internet has made it all so much easier, but you can't use blogs or twitter purely as a market place where you shout buy me, buy me. The public is not stupid and will spot a cynical marketing strategy.