The perils of publicity for authors

photo 3It’s publicity time for The Pick-Up Artist at the moment, which means I have to do various interviews etc for the media. Being a literary small fry this mostly means local press and radio, local mags, that sort of thing.

The first problem for me is having my photo taken. This is something you become gradually more allergic to as you get older I think.

When I was in my 20s it didn’t bother me one bit having my picture in the papers. I was a newspaper reporter back then and I remember one occasion when I was writing a series of features on a body-building competition they printed a full length picture of me on the front page wearing just a pair of budgie-smugglers. Did I mind? Did I heck – such are the joys of youth.

These days it’s a different story of course and being pictured in your pants on the front page sounds like the penalty for some heinous crime.

Now I don’t look forward to having my picture taken and, though I don’t exactly believe it will steal my soul I do admit would be grateful if someone stuck in a picture of Brad Pitt instead of me. A social media friend, trying to be supportive, said Brad Pitt looks vacant and is this the look I’m going for? But to be frank I would take vacant all day long as the pictures of me which do appear in newspapers always seem to show me looking confused and a little guilty as though I’ve just been caught on CCTV up to no good.

I always feel that rather than ‘Local man’s book published’ a more suitable headline would be ‘Local man’s shame at drunken escapade.’

11043000_663777310421077_4121675246492116759_nThere I am, leaning awkwardly against a tree, perspiring slightly, a look of panic in my eyes, holding out my book like some kind of peace offering.

Then there’s what you say in the interview. I’ve always preferred asking questions to answering them and, in a funny way, I think asking questions is a novelist’s job. But, come publicity time, here you are, being asked a lot of questions about what you’ve done and why you’ve done it.

It pays to think the issue through before you put yourself in an interview situation I find, otherwise you can find you have no answers. Writing creatively is quite an instinctive affair in a lot of ways. You do it without necessarily having a written manifesto for what you want to achieve, what your aims are, or your motivations. So, if you get asked these questions and you haven’t decided on answers in advance, you can find you go to the well and come up empty.

I usually find something to say, which is a blessed relief, especially on radio where the alternative is an awful silence.

But the media, and local media in particularly, doesn’t really do book reviews any more, so if you want to get a mention for your pride and joy at all then interviews it is.

It’s a necessary evil if you have a book out and there’s no point crying off because you’re too shy since what’s the point of having a book published if nobody gets to see it?

puaad02If you wish to take a look at the book on Amazon, and who knows, become one of the very first people in the world to own a copy …

Then why not give it a go click here in the UK and click here in the USA.

7 thoughts on “The perils of publicity for authors”

  1. Funny isn’t it, Chris. Many writers have a side to them that’s fairly solitary and private, so being grilled about their books can feel awkward. Good luck with all the promo! I’m looking forward to having time to read more next month, and yours is on my TBR list.

  2. I think you’re right Val. Writing is a solitary occupation when all’s said and done. I did a radio interview recently where the interviewer asked me if writers needed to have big egos to write books – I said I think it’s quite the opposite, we hide behind characters rather than be ourselves 😉

  3. As I’m gearing myself up for all this – hopefully – this post is timely for me. It’s really cringe-making stuff but got to be done. The other thing is finding a sensible answer to “why did you want to write this book?” – seems to me you just have to find SOMETHING to say, whether it makes sense or not.

    1. Good luck with it Anne! PR media training teaches that you should answer the question you want them to ask rather than the one they do ask (see: all politicians ever!) so maybe have an idea about what you want to say before you go in and make sure to say it – works for me 😉

  4. All good advice Chris, particularly about thinking through some answers to questions. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for me looking particularly bad in the photograph of me on the red carpet!

    Good luck with the new book – The Pick-Up Artist. I’m halfway through now and thoroughly enjoying it!

    1. Thanks Peter – good luck with your own book publicity, it can be quite fun so long as we take it all with a pinch of salt! Very glad you are enjoying PUA.

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