When marketing pays off

Well some of my marketing efforts have paid off, one of them in a bigger way than I could have dreamed this early in the process.

The first one came out of an old outlet of mine. 100 years ago I used to write for a magazine called Bookseller and Publisher that (as the name suggests) was all about the books industry. Everyone who'd ever commissioned me for stories there was long gone, but the publisher was still around.

I duly hit him up offering him a copy and/or review, and to be completely honest he was a little bit dismissive (though you can never assume intent through an email without all the other cues we normally get in conversation), saying they only do reviews of books provided well in advance of the release.

It wasn't the only time that had tripped me up, either. I emailed a guy who used to be at one of the publishers and started his own marketing and publicity firm for authors and asked him what he thought he could do for me if anything, and he likewise said he doesn't take on a project unless it's at least a few months away from release. I can understand it, to be fair - they want time to actually get to know the material and stoke a bit of interest about it before it comes out.

But the guy at Bookseller and Publisher did refer me to another guy I'd never worked with who runs a books newsletter for the magazine, and he offered to do an interview with me about Falling, which he ran a few weeks later (and in an example of being prepared, I was able to use a lot of what I'd already written in the purpose-built interview from the media kit).

Another bump I got was from Moviehole, another longtime outlet. The editor Clint is an awesome guy who has always run basically everything I've wanted to write for him. It's not for any money, but in my other career as a freelance entertainment journalist there's no price I can put on the doors it's opened, free movies it's got me into, interviews it's landed and more.

Anyway, as soon as Falling was available I asked him if he'd run a post about it, which he was happy to do. It didn't happen exactly that way, he's a very busy dude and I think he only partially maintains the site these days along with his agency and PR business, but eventually we settled on me writing a bit for the newsletter with a write-up and the link to the book for all the readers.

I don't know how many people get that newsletter but the site gets traffic in the several dozens of thousands so it must have reached a few eyeballs...

But the biggest news was the review I got in the Daily Telegraph, the Rupert Murdoch rag that's dominated Sydney's printed news landscape for a century and a half. I've written one or two celebrity stories for a lovely editor there (Jeni O'Dowd) and she was among the list of 'anyone I've ever dealt with about anything ever' I contacted when it was ready and published, figuring you never know where it might lead.

She was excited and congratulatory and said she might even be able to review the book in her section (BW, in the Saturday paper), but I didn't think too much more about it. So imagine my surprise and delight a few weeks later when she said it was running that weekend. She sent me a PDF the week following which I present here for your entertainment and amusement.

But the big news is after all that publicity and media action I've now sold...

One copy.

And look, if I'd got into this for the money I might be depressed about that. But at this stage it's all about attention and a following rather than return on investment. If I expected to get money back to represent all the hours I've put into this project over the decades, I'd have enough to buy every house in my street.

But the other big advantage the Tele review gives me is a quote for all the marketing, particularly the front page of the website. The line 'a horror fiction for the 21st century' on the main page graphic was put there intended to be changed when I got a credible quote for the cover and testimonial page of the website and media kit (still to come, pending actual testimonials).

I also get to put it in the descriptions on the various ebooks services, in the email sending it to people, and everywhere else I can think of.

In the next post I'll explain why I think attention is more important than money. It's not that I'm a fame whore, there's economic sense behind it...