I was lucky enough to be invited along to the first ever London Author Fair on Friday. Organised by publishing and marketing consultancy Authoright, the event hosted hundreds of authors – both traditionally published and self-published – for discussions and seminars on everything from tackling social media, to working with literary agents and how to self-publish.
Hayley Radford, from Authoright, held a session on PR and marketing, and she had lots of advice for authors striving to get media coverage for their books.
Here are some of her top tips:
- Think like a journalist – you need to work out what kind of stories journalists are looking and create a strategy before pitching ideas
- If you’re not already tweeting, start now and build a social media following
- Approach local TV and radio stations and offer to do the newspaper review
- Journalists love human interest stories – so what’s your story?
A workshop led by best-selling author Polly Courtney, on how to self-publish, was among the other highlights. Having published three books herself and three via a traditional publisher Polly had lots of advice on how to get it right. Her biggest tip for new authors is to ensure you invest in a structural edit which can “radically transform” your book and can often be the difference between success and failure.
The last session of the day was a debate called – The Big Publishing Brain Storm: how can we get to where we want to be in 2020? Kindle and other e-publishing platforms have transformed the way we read and have also made it much easier for writers to publish their own books.
So much so that Gareth Howard, of Authoright, believes that by 2020, the number of authors will mirror the number of readers. I’m not sure if this is an exciting or scary thought.
It will, of course, mean it will become increasingly difficult to earn money through writing – already not an easy task unless you are a superstar author – and literary agent Andrew Lownie predicts that authors may have to make money through personal appearances in the future. If this means being able to chat to favourite writers over a coffee and ask all those burning questions, it can only be good news for fans.
I had intended to leave the fair after a couple of hours, but I kept meeting inspiring people and the workshops were so interesting that I was still there at the networking drinks reception at 8pm! I’m already looking forward to the next one…
At Nine Media we work with authors to devise media strategies to maximise coverage for books. Get in touch if you’d like more information.We will also be holding public courses specifically designed with authors in mind so watch this space.
By Karen Attwood