Oh no, it’s the M word. Yes. Marketing.
A couple of times on this blog recently, Seumas has been talking about singing and it got me thinking.
When I was a kid, I was in the church choir – not so much because I could sing as to make up the numbers. That said I liked the hymns and anthems and I could certainly make a lot of enthusiastic noise. Actually, I like singing, full stop. Preferably, at the highest volume possible, and the great thing about church is that no matter how out of tune I sing, they’re stuffed because it would be highly unchristian to tell me to shut up. But I digress… As I sang in the choir, I used to let my mind wander and daydream that the church was some kind of inter-galactic vehicle powered by sound. Yeh, well, I know but look, I write spec-fic, alright? I can’t help myself. Anyway, I don’t think it’s a new idea. Isn’t there some film, or Python sketch, with a building and a bunch of pirate accountants? Anyway… in my whimsical mind-game, volume was linked to acceleration, so, the louder the congregation sang; the faster the church would go. The priest drove but using secret hand movements and telepathy so that none of the congregation realised what was going on. We were on a special mission to collect precious minerals and holy water from the far reaches of space – except we didn’t know that, of course.
The church would automatically pick up the minerals and holy water when it landed. Both items were sucked up through special tubes and piped into two bespoke containers the wardrobe in the Vestry. Meanwhile, we sang on regardless, not realising that we were making a round trip to the outer galaxy and back in time for biscuits and coffee.
A few weeks ago, in church, McMini was beginning to flag, so I shared this idea. He liked it. We extended it to those cars that teenagers drive round and round and round. You know, 500cc engine, lowered suspension, alloy wheels, exhaust kit and a music system so loud that the whole thing vibrates like a spin dryer doing 2000 rpm. The one thing those chaps have in common, apart from being deaf, I suspect, is that they seem to hold a firm belief that the vibrations from the stereo will get them from 0 to 60 faster than the engine… and thinking about the kinds of cars they choose, they’re probably right.
This morning, during a hymn, one of our team vicars – who has a rather good voice and obviously enjoys singing – started to sing extremely loudly. McMini nudged me.
“Listen to him Mummy, I reckon we must be racing another church; trying to burn them off the lights.”
And what has this to do with writing?
Well, with two books coming out in two months, I’ve had to try and find some interesting and memorable ways to say ‘buy my book’ recently. Intriguingly, the louder I shout to be heard, the less effect it seems to have (outside my head where I’m pleased to be doing something). No inter-galactic, precious mineral and holy water collecting for me: I’m not even getting out of the garage, let alone down the street. Indeed, the most effective efforts to sell my drivel to the general public seem to be the ones where other people have talked about my books, in my absence, rather than me doing it. On the back of this revelation, I’ve hit on a new ground breaking marketing idea and it’s this:
Most of what we authors do to market our books is a waste of energy and time. People do business with people. They’ll buy books because they’ve ‘met’ us on a forum or on a blog and they like us – not that anyone has to buy my first book, luckily, because it’s free. Or they’ll buy a book because they trust the person who recommended the author to them. Maybe I’m crazy but it seems to me that the only thing that really sells an author’s books is for them to pretty much ignore them and talk about other stuff. Oh… and to write more books. So. That’s my marketing advice for writers. Let people know you’ve written a book. Once. Put it on the notice board sites and maybe take out an ad or two. Make sure they can find it if they want to. And then enjoy the social side – hanging out on forums and chatting to people on their blogs – and leave the rest to take care of itself.
There we are. That’s it from me. Seumas, thanks for letting me hijack your blog.
Who Is M T McGuire?
M T McGuire enjoys the real world but wouldn’t want to live here full time. That’s why she writes books. She grew up, or at least, got bigger, half way up a windy down in Sussex. Her home was also the first location choice for Hogwarts, in the Harry Potter films, so maybe it’s not so strange that she’s ended up writing spec-fic. Perhaps there’s something in the water up there, apart from chalk. She now lives in Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk, with a McOther, a McMini, a McCat and a selection of very silly cars. She hasn’t found a way to make any of the cars fly, and none of them is fitted with ordnance, but she and her team of evil scientists are working on that.
Despite being 46 now, and supposedly, an adult, she checks all unfamiliar wardrobes for a gateway to Narnia. She hasn’t found one so far but she lives in hope.
…thanks for the great view on how it really WURKS, M.T. ,
…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…
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