Tag Archives: marketing

How general elections happen

Downing Street
The scene. Downing Street. The Prime Ministers office.

A telephone rings.

“Hello. Theresa May here.”

“Mornin’ Tezza. ”

“Errr, good morning. Sorry, who is calling?”

“It’s me Tezza. Candice. You don’t know me, but I have a bit of a proposition for you.”

“A proposition? Is it about Brexit? I’m a bit busy at the moment.

“Brexit? Naaaah. This is much more serious.”

“More serious than Brexit? Not Trump? What’s he done now?”

“Don’t be daft. It’s about a book, and that idiot probably hasn’t read any.”

“Well, I errrr.”

“Basically Tezza. I’ve got a book to sell and it would help me enormously if you could do one of those general election things.”

“Sorry. You want me to call a general election to help you sell a book?”

“That’s about the size of it. Don’t worry, there’s a bit of wedge in it for you.

“I’m sorry, I don’t see how that would help. Surely everyone will be too busy reading our election pamflets to bother with fiction?”

“I don’t think so. Besides, if we are talking about fiction and political pamflets…”

“Very funny. I still don’t see how an election helps.”

“Let’s just say that when your book came about ‘cos that muppet Gove sacked the greatest writers wot England has ever produced after an election, then the medja are much more interested in our story, especially when the alternative is some numpty in a suit banging on about policies an’ stuff.”

“Ahh. Good thinking.”

“I knew you’d see sense. Shall we say a score?”

“A score? I’m afraid young lady, and I’m assuming that despite sounding like an effeminate Danny Dyer, you are a young lady, I’d want at least a monkey.”

“Ooo you callin’ and effeminate Danny Dyer? Listen lady, you might hold your little finger up when drinking a cup of the old rosie but I know what’s what. A pony at most.”

“A pony? In cash.”

“Cash. No questions asked.”

“Oh go on then. It’s better than having to look at Corbyn every Wednesday anyway.”

“Good Gell. You know it makes sense.”

*

And that, ladies and gentlemen is why the UK is having a snap general election. It’s all part of our plans for world domination.

Please note: None of the characters in this scene are related to real people. Any resemblance is purely coincidental. I have to say that or Candice will kill me.

 

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Letting the book fly brings success

bookwithwingsPhil: Last week I gained a new Twitter follower. Pleasant enough, but there was a surprise attached.

My new friends last tweet was: “A very funny read: an horticulture agency, including plant pathology and redundancies!” along with a link to our book on Amazon.

I recognised the name as one of the scientists I’d worked with over 16 years ago in my days on the veg research IT helpdesk. Joana wasn’t one of our regular visitors (the one you remember with a shudder) so how had she found our book?

It turns out that it was all down to Leamington Spa railway station.

Platform 3 is home to a bookcase in the waiting room. People leave books and collect others, all free of charge. A few weeks ago, I’d dropped off a copy of Kate vs the Dirtboffins, complete with new cover in there.  When I checked a couple of weeks later, it had gone and I wondered if the person who’d got it was enjoying the read.

It seems she was.

Not only that, but she passed it on to her friend Joana who suspected that HRI where she works and HRA in the book might be related!

The book has continued on its journey and a signed copy has been bought and dispatched. Giving away copies of your book pays off it seems. Best of all, I keep hearing, “We can’t wait to see what happens next.”

So Nolan, we better finish book 2!

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Nearly ready for Books Showoff tonight!

talkcheckingPhil: Last Friday was the final meeting ahead of our appearance tonight at Books Showoff tonight.

Sitting down in an artisan bakery, Candice started to tell me about potty training, so I quickly changed the subject to the slides prepared for the evening entertainment. As anyone who has friends with small children knows, the obsess about the topic and there are some things that can put you right off your hot chocolate.

All words have been expunged from the slides. It was just left to sort out what we are going to say. The audience needs entertaining, not just a selection of pictures to look at.

Doing a two-hander talk is a bit of a challenge. We don’t want to talk over each other, but there must be banter. That’s easy when you are sitting opposite each other and stuffing some delicious sandwiches and cake in your gob. I’ll shut up when I’m eating for a start, but you can’t rely on that on stage.

So, we have a sort of script. Not a strict one as that would be rubbish, but an idea what we’ll be filling our alloted 9 minutes with.

Now, if you excuse me, I need to write a rant to accompany a certain photo. Come along to see if I manage it.

Books Showoff, London 28th Sept at 7pm

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Why are you giving away your book?

Candice: I’ve been taking a good, hard look at book selling in the modern age. It seems to me there are two routes to success:

Be a celebrity. Phil hates this but you can’t deny that a famous name on the cover sells copies. Sadly, I didn’t end up writing with Joey Essex so that’s not going to work.

Create some word-of-mouth. Get people talking about your book and hopefully sales will grow by recommendation.

So, I have decided that we need to concentrate on reviews, not sales.

This sounds stupid. After all, we ought to be trying to sell books shouldn’t we? At this stage, I don’t think so. What I want to do is establish us as authors whose work people like. If we can get them hooked on our first book, selling the second one should be a lot easier.

So, we’ve decided to give the electronic copy away on 3 summer Sundays. We’ll plug it on various social media outlets, including our new Facebook page. There’s even a video of us waving the new look book around on there and Phil is fiddling with his camera to make some funny photos up.

What we need out of all this is a selection of reviews. We’ve got some good one so far now people are being bullied or bribed to do more than just read it. Even this is helping as people at work are now reading it on the recommendation of others!

Hopefully, once we’ve collected a healthy number, somewhere between 25 and 50 seems to be the target, sales will start to grow.

In the meantime, all the good feedback has encouraged us to get back to Book 2, so watch out for us holed up in a library any day soon.

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Read. My. Book.

This IS the book you are looking for.Phil: The route to fame and fortune is more convoluted and full of unexpected pitfalls than negotiating a trip around Ikea on a Sunday. We’ve learnt to our cost that when other authors tell us something will be a problem, it usually is and we should pay attention.

One problem we didn’t expect was persuading people who have bought or been presented a copy of our book to actually read the thing.

It might seem like a small problem, but if we want to become rich and famous, and we do, then people need to read the story and then be so pleased that they tell others about it. That way word of mouth will spread, sales will rocket and we can buy more cake.

From an authors point of view, it’s really difficult to explain the reticence to open the pages and enjoy the fun. To us, this is a baby and we want everyone to love it, or at least to tickle it under the chin and make goo-goo noises.

To everyone else, it’s just another book. OK, they know the author but that’s just luck.

Of course there is the dread that it might be terrible. Far easier to put off the reading rather than admit you don’t like it perhaps.

So, I’m on a mission. Everyone I suspect of owning a copy is now being badgered to get reading.

I’ve emphasised that I don’t mind if they don’t like it – and I really don’t. After all, we all like different things and not everyone is going to love our book. People with no taste for example, they won’t like it. And stupid people. And possibly Michael Gove.

Seriously though, not everyone will love it but if they don’t I’d like to know this and even possibly why. That way, maybe the next one will be even better.

Of course, when they do like it (yes, WHEN, no author really thinks they have written anything but brilliance), some glowing reviews on the web and perhaps an Instagram photo holding the book and grinning. Maybe tell everyone you know on Facebook, remembering that copious linking would be appreciated.

Which brings me to you lot. Our blog readers. Have you bought a copy yet? Why not? Come on, just click on the picture of the book cover on the left of this page. It’s a really good read!

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Nerves of steel…?

CaptureCandice: So D day is nearly upon us. Phil and I will be hanging out with the Shakespearean lovies on Thursday and doing out bit to talk  about the trials and tribulations of writing a book at Stratford Literary Festival.

To be honest even the thought of it makes me fell slightly sick.

I don’t mind getting up in front of audience to talk.  Over the years I’ve done a lot of drama and presentations and once I get going I’m fine.  But is the build up I hate.  Thursday morning I will be a wreak and am trying to fill it with other things so I don’t think about it all.  By the time 2.55pm comes about I’ll probably be being sick in the loo.

Saturday night I was watching RSLive.  It was a brilliant show celebrating 400 years of the Bard with a raft of stars showing how many ways he has influenced people, from Duke Ellington to Cole Porter.  It was very clever in showing us the breadth of Shakespeare’s catalogue and its not all the boring text that you had to study at school.

However, the show went on for a few hours and as the actors came on to do their bit one of the things I thought of was, ‘they must get nervous waiting in the wings’. Lets face it, does Dame Judi Dench still get stage fright?

But I have learnt over time that sometimes adrenaline does you good.  I have literally been throwing up back stage before going on to do a play, and then once I am on stage I can remember every line because I need the adrenaline to help me.

Luckily, Thursday is more off the cuff but we have our cue cards ready and have planned a talk that we hope people will find interesting.  Roll on 3.30pm and I can relax with a cuppa.

And  if you are coming don’t hesitate to come and talk to us after, when I’ll  be feeling much more chipper!

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Grab your marketing opportunities

VFPhil: On Tuesday, spring had sprung, the sun rose early in the morning and the daylight had woken me up. Flipping the radio on I listened dozily to Venessa Feltz. She was looking at the story of a Big Issue seller who had married one of his customers. In an effort to generate some feedback, the question, “How did you meet your partner or one of your friends?” was asked.

Team NolanParker have always felt that the way we met (quango, redundancy) makes a useful handle to hang a story on.

For many minutes I pondered doing something about it. Lounging half awake in the warm, only the thought that I’d regret not grabbing this opportunity made me sit up and grab the tablet.

A few minutes later I’d fired off an e-mail:

I met my friend Candice while working for a quango. When it was closed down we found ourselves having to go to the office while things were wrapped up but had no work to do.

Somehow we discovered a shared passion for writing and 5 years later our novel “Kate vs the Dirtboffins” has been published!

We’re appearing at Stratford literary festival next month – who would have thought something good could come out of losing your job?

Not a long story but enough for a dozy person to type on a tablet computer. I didn’t really expect anything to come of it but in the run up to the 6am news, the letter was read out verbatim!

You can hear it here, 58 minutes in.

Now Candice might consider Radio 2 unfashionable, but then she buys clothes in Marks & Spencer so I no longer think she is entirely reliable on matters cool. Even she was impressed with my guerilla marketing though. What I didn’t know at the time was that the name of our book will have been heard by over 3 million people. Not bad!

OK, so I don’t suppose this will result in a rush of sales. At that time of the day you’re half asleep or doing something useful, but you never know. Maybe a major Hollywood film producer was listening and can’t get the title out of his mind now. Maybe it will be the start of something big. Or maybe I just need to be chuffed that I bagged a bit of coverage while not fully conscious.

If I can do that though, what can I do when I wake up properly?

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