Daily Archives: 12 December, 2011

Thinking publicity and marketing

I’m off to my publishers headquarters tomorrow to talk publicity for my forthcoming book, and also to record a short interview sequence for youtube.

I’ve learnt a hell of a lot through this whole book process. If you thought that writing a book was all about doing a bit of research then writing up, you are sadly mistaken. From the commisioning stage, where you have to put together a watertight case for why it is a good proposal, to sourcing images, accessing sources, proofreading, editing it yourself, sending it off, then re-proofing it, writing the index, and considering publicising your book, theres a lot more to it than you think. But it is a very interesting learning curve.

It has always mystified me how people put in the hard work writing a book, but then don’t seem to publicise it very well. If you’re going to spend a matter of years working on something, get out there and plug it! I would liken it to a band writing an album. The artist wants to sell as many CD’s as possible, so does the record label. It gets publicised in newspapers, magazines, on TV, radio, and its on sale in shops and online. It will get reviewed by peers and experts. The artists will probably also take it on tour to promote it.

Hopefully that’s the kind of approach I am going to take. It’s no good to write a book, and then sit back and wish it would sell more. I want to make it sell, without annoying people, of course. One would hope that if you have written a good book, and it’s not too niche, then it has a decent enough chance of doing well.

Something else that has been vexing me – what the hell does a young, military historian wear? Not to get too image conscious on you all, but it’s a quandry! You want people to take you seriously, but equally you don’t want to morph into somebody 50 years older than you just because you write about the past… A full suit makes me look like a banker, or somebody who’s off to a wedding. Equals overkill. Equally, jeans and t-shirt are a no-no. For now, I have settled on smart trousers and a smartish check shirt, with no tie. I did try a blue gingham-check shirt and a suit jacket, but Sarah tells me I looked like a science teacher minus the elbow pads! And I was stricly under orders to have a shave!

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