Philip Whiteley's Blog

August 31, 2017

Really, I shouldn’t … oh, all right then

Filed under: Uncategorized — felipewh @ 3:59 pm

As authors, we’re not wired to promote ourselves. Typically, we’re observers, not leaders or salesmen. At school, we didn’t lead the gang, we didn’t even join it. We watched what it did. As published authors, we tend to shy away from self-promotion; or, we get caught between two extremes – pushing our books openly for a while, then retreating and hiding again.

But without some promotion, we don’t get noticed, and without notice, we struggle to get sales. I’ve learned to square the circle by changing my view of marketing and self-promotion. Instead of donning a sales hat and yelling ‘Buy my book’ (OK, I occasionally do a bit of that, if I’m honest ….), I’ve sought to make marketing part of the story telling. If I have an idea for a story, I think about whom it might appeal to, and why. Instead of being a me-me-me pushy approach to sales, it becomes a more modest one; a case of saying to a reader panel: ‘Do you like this idea for a story? No? Yes? Which parts? OK, thanks.’

Gaining insights from a reader panel on draft works, and thinking about the potential readership while I’m still writing, helps me improve the book, as well as identify constituencies who might like it. I’m still at the early stages of learning about this process, but I’ve gained a few insights in the past year, with the launch of my second book Marching on Together, for which I secured some valuable media coverage.

I was given the tremendous opportunity to discuss the theme at the recent Margate Book Festival in Kent, earlier this month, alongside PR guru Gemma Pettman, who presented some valuable practical tips on use of social media and engaging the press. We discuss the theme in this podcast.

‘If you’re buying something, whether it’s a widget or a book, that human side of things is really important,’ says Gemma on the podcast. ‘People buy from people.’

  • Marching on Together, which I discussed at the Margate Bookie, has been featured in the Yorkshire Evening Post and BBC Radio Leeds. It’s my second novel, and is available via this link (go on, buy it, you know you want to ….).
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1 Comment »

  1. Brilliant blog Philip – really resonates. Writers are generally introverts and it takes a Herculean effort for most to promote their material. Podcast was fascinating. Thank you! 🙂

    Comment by Beverley Harvey — September 1, 2017 @ 8:58 am | Reply


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