Anyways... (as my husband would say, despite my protests that it's not a word), last night I braved the sauna-like conditions of the Central Line to head to the monthly meeting of the London Writers' Club. I emerged, dewy and glistening (i.e., drenched in sweat), ready to hear Scott Pack hold forth on everything there is to know in the wonderful world of publishing.
Scott runs The Friday Project (a HarperCollins imprint) and also works as Digital Director for HarperCollins. Not only that, he also blogs at Me and My Big Mouth and runs the BookSwap events in Windsor. All that and the man loves cake. How could I resist?
Although I didn't get to know everything there is to know about publishing -- like, how one can bribe Waterstone's without using cash to get books on their discount table -- I did learn a lot.
Here's a few of his points:
- Twitter does help sell books. Case in point: The Atheists' Guide to Christmas. Almost all of the authors in the anthology were on Twitter. On a designated day about two weeks before the pub date, they all tweeted about the book. It rose from 200,000 to 11 on Amazon!
- Publishing is a funny thing -- what works in one territory doesn't necessarily work in another. For example: Shit my Dad Says is a massive seller in the States but is only a minor hit here in the UK. There's still a lot of territorial-ism in publishing. Much in publishing is about luck and timing, too.
- No matter how big something is on the Internet, about 80 to 90 per cent of your target bookbuyers won't have heard of it.
- Broadsheet reviews don't sell books, because the books reviewed are usually too literary or obscure. It's much better to get news or features in broadsheets than reviews.
- Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to get momentum -- particularly if the book has a low publicity budget.
- If you're going to go down the self-publishing road, make sure to invest in a good copy-editor and cover designer.
He said a whole lot more but I tired of scribbling notes and started fixating on the promised cakes...
Many thanks to Scott and the London Writers' Club for another great event!