THIS IS a massive week for me. The Rugby World Cup kicks off at Twickenham on Friday night when England take on Fiji, and I make my radio debut the day before.
I have been invited by BBC Radio Wales to talk about my book and all things Rugby World Cup and newspapers with Eleri Sion (pictured above) on Thursday afternoon at 3pm. Fortunately I don’t have to travel all the way to south Wales for the interview and feel quite honoured that I have been booked a “suite” at BBC headquarters in central London.
Not nervous. Much!
When I first launched Crossing The Whitewash I always knew that I would have a five-week window in which to make the most of my marketing ‘hook’. Although the novel is a character-based thriller, setting it against the backdrop of a Rugby World Cup meant that I could take advantage when seeking out media organisations and reviewers to showcase my work.
So far the tactic seems to be working. This weekend, for instance, one of the papers I slave away for – The Daily Star Sunday – put a panel about my book on a page alongside an exclusive interview with former England World Cup winner Jason Robinson. Honoured, I’m sure.
Alongside that I am hoping to be featured on the Books page of the Express website, and will also have a piece going into my local Ilford newspaper. Some of this has come about courtesy of friends, but I’ve also put in a lot of groundwork, providing free interviews and the like to some of these news outlets to build up brownie points with them.
It’s not all cost-free, though. There has been quite a sizeable investment, too. I figure if I don’t put my money where my mouth is now, I won’t get a better chance later.
I’ve done two things with my hard-earned cash this week. The first one was to book a mailshot through Net Galley and the second was to produce a facebook ad with direct links to my website www.theripperfile.com.
It’s not cheap to join Net Galley as a self-published author who has invented his own imprint and only has one book to showcase. I always feel a bit easier when the price comes in dollars because I know it will be less in pounds, but am never brave enough to do the maths.
For those unfamiliar with Net Galley, it gives access to a digital copy of your book for reviewers, bloggers, media professionals, bookstore owners and librarians. You upload the cover and an ePub version of your book, Net Galley members see it and request a review copy. You can approve or refuse their request depend on what your first impressions are of them (you have access to their bio).
The initial response was OK but the good thing is that, for an extra fee, there are ways you can target certain audiences. One, which cost £300 but has produced excellent results so far, is to send out a mailshot. In my case Net Galley designed an email for me after I provided blurb and images, I made some tweaks and approved it, and it then went out to over 20,000 members. It targeted everyone in the UK and Net Galley members around the world with an interest in sport. I was clicking the approval button all weekend and hope it will produce some good results. Among those who asked for the book were bloggers, magazine reviewers and a couple of buyers from the entertainment departments of major retailers. Fingers crossed.
Facebook was far cheaper. For an outlay of £35 I have targeted a chosen audience all week – Sports fans who also list reading, fiction and thrillers as among their interests – with an ad which directs them to my website. I’m pleased to say that ad has had a greater response than 90 per cent of similar ones on Facebook, resulting in 300 clicks to the website already at a cost of about 7p each.
With a link to Amazon on the home page of that website it may help explain why Crossing The Whitewash rose from 160,000 to 28,000 in the Kindle sales rankings on Monday. Then again, perhaps it was the article in the Daily Star Sunday. That’s the only problem: Finding out why people bought your book. Perhaps I’ll put a questionnaire asking that very question in the back of the next one.