How I got published part III:
So, at the publisher's Christmas party I finally met my editor. She said she had some good news about my book - W H Smith were taking it. Only get about one in ten of their books get in.
Three months to go before publication I contacted the press office to talk about their marketing plan, as advised by Carole Blake's Pitch to Publication.
I got nowhere. Carole was writing about authors with sizeable deals or writers with really small but enthusiastic hands-on publishers. Insane with frustration at lack of contact by publisher, I bit the bullet and phoned my agent to complain. This 'whingeing-author' card has to be played with extreme care. All authors have to promote their own books. I knew that, but wasn't quite prepared for the complete and utter lack of interest. The press woman was obviously worked off her head, she was the sole senior press and PR person.
I worked on it, and got myself into the local freebie glossy mag and the local papers and did signings, talked at my local college and stuff. The launch was brilliant, my friend T stepped in to be my PR type pal, she came with me to the signings and blagged cases of wine out of local businesses and my friend D organised an amazing post-bookshop party.
The marketing guy at the publisher's was friendly and on the ball, and arranged fliers and posters and stuff and they gave me £75 towards the party. (I was offered £50 for the 2nd book, this should have told me something!) Their distribution, too, was good, especially for such a small publisher.
I was so nervous on the day of the first launch I just sat indoors all day, rooted to the spot in fear. I have the shyness handicap, big time, and I suddenly realised what I was doing: publishing a novel and inviting 150 people to hear me read it out loud. Well, some of it, I mean. I got through it but it was no great performance that's for sure. Still, it all went well and we sold 90 copies on the night, a record for the bookshop. The same nerves thing was about to happen at the second launch when I was rescued by my homeopathic doctor cousin. At 10pm the night before, she drove 30 miles to give me EFT http://www.emofree.com/, which is an amazing technique she uses to cure all sorts of phobias, fears and illnesses. It's a kind of acupuncture rebalancing the mind thing, without the needles, which involved me counting to ten lots of times and singing a nursery rhyme whilst she tapped away at my meridien points. All I can say is it works. I wasn't at all nervous the second time, loads of people commented on how calm I seemed. And there was none of that build up of scaryness and no 'Thank Christ that's over' feeling afterwards, I simply did the job. It lasts too, apparently. Though reading extracts from a third novel is relegated to 'yeah as if' right now and possibly for ever.
It's the tradition at launches, fortunately I didn't know this then, for your editor to give a little introductory speech saying how much they love you as an author and your wonderful book etc etc. My editor didn't come to either launch, nor did anyone from the publishers. The bookshop people found this extremely weird.
Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.