Thursday, 25 February 2010


Salt Publishing are having a sale.

Times are hard for all and small publishers are really feeling the pinch. If you are in need of a good read, do please consider Salt as your first port of call. You don't even have to leave your desk - they have an excellent online shop. You could buy my short story collection Nude (plug plug) or, if you write, Short Circuit, their guide to writing short fiction. Or if you are a poetry nut, Jane Holland's Camper Van Blues. Look, there are hundreds of worthy titles on there - pop over for a browse.

On the subject of plugging ones own work, I came across a great quote, which all writers need to bear in mind, no matter how much they resist the notion. I've written an article for the Spring issue of The Stinging Fly on this issue called 'The Writer and the Internet'. Coming soon!

Here's the quote (it's from Marion Maneker here):

“The success of a book is dependent upon the ceaseless hard work and self-promotion of the author. More than any other aspect of the book business, this is what constantly surprises outsiders: It's all on the author. Sure, the publisher can add some luster and oomph, but without a strong author promoting a strong idea/story/concept, a book will just sit there, inert.”

Inert. Now we don't want inert books, do we?


Kar said...

I’ve seen how hard you’ve worked launching ‘Nude’. Its hard hard work putting yourself out there like that and I was shocked that all this was done without the support of the publisher. I had always thought that the publisher looked after this or at least helped. How naive am I?

I’ve chosen ‘Nude’ for our next book club gathering – 8 copies will be ordered over the next few days.

Looking forward to reading your article in the Fly!

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Great post, N - no we certainly don't want inert books!


Kar - well, the publisher does support you but you have to do the bulk of the work yourself.
Only the very rich publishers can afford to employ in-house publicists. ANd even then the author must get behind their book also.

Thanks for recommending the book to your book club. If they like it, I can come read to them from it after your discussion night, and take questions.
If they hate it, I won't! Ha ha.


Vanessa - no, we want lively, energetic books jumping from reader to reader, right?


Kar - I see now you specifically meant the LAUNCH of Nude.
Yes, I did organise that myself. Most publishers simply can't afford to host launches for every book they publish. And Salt publish a lot of books.
N x

Kar said...

thanks for the offer to come and discuss/read, the group would love this! I'll send you an email.
Kar x


Kar - great! I'll let ye discuss it in private first. I imagine I would clam up and not be honest if the writer was sitting in the room!

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Today, the author is right at the front of the sales efforts, even with a larger publisher. You have to be prepared to work hard, and invest both time and money in promoting your books.

I was at a large writer's convention last weekend, with talks for some senior figures in the publishing world - (Get Writing 2010 - and a speaker in question was the MD of Hachette) - it was a wake-up call for anyone in the audience who thought that all you had to do was get a book accepted and then sit back!

I do wonder, though, whether there are ways in which smaller publishers could use the good will of their authors, to spread the word about the books - physically, not just on blogs like this, and other word of mouth means.

I'd love to see stands of beautiful Salt titles at literary festivals where Salt authors appear. Not just the author's books - leave those to the author to buy and sell for themselves...but others. Surely tis better to be out there, seen, picked up and admired, than in the dark on a shelf?

N - would it work, if Salt can't do this, for (say) the short story writers to group together to take examples of some other books around with them? Id LOVE to show off Nude, and White Road, and Ballistics, and Wena's book, and Balancing, ...just a small thought.


Hi V
It's a great idea. I'd be willing to do it for Salt but I can't afford to be out of pocket to do it.
I already lose pots of money on my own books (book shops who won't cough up, family & friends expecting my book for free when they are the VERY ones who should be upping my sales etc etc)

Note to family and friends of authors: BUY THEIR BOOK - get them to sign it when you see them. Don't ask for a signed copy - that is taking money out of the author's pocket. And guess what? We earn F*** all!
OK, rant over.

I always promote my friends' books - at classes, here on the blog, wherever I can.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Hi N

Nope, I dont want to spend dosh I havent got either!

However - I have copies of all the books I've mentioned, plus a few. I'd be more than happy to take 'Nude' with me when I do readings/workshops , let people hold the book, read a bit...hand out an order form...even sell my copy so long as it was replaced at some point.

what think? Would it work at all? Im just trying to think laterally!

By the way, off topic - Red Car! When are you coming here?


Yes, letting people see the physical books is a good idea - much more seductive than a website address.

Re. Red Car Tour - send me some questions and I can stop by at a mutually agreeable date in the v near future. N x

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Well, lets see if we cant do summat then? Even if it was, say three of us - thee me and maybe Tania? I shall resort to email! and will think up some clever questions for Red Car.

Angela France said...

"I'd love to see stands of beautiful Salt titles at literary festivals where Salt authors appear. Not just the author's books - leave those to the author to buy and sell for themselves...but others. Surely tis better to be out there, seen, picked up and admired, than in the dark on a shelf?"

A lot of festivals have agreements with a bookshop to handle the sales of writers' books: in Cheltenham, sales must be done through the booktent which is run by waterstones and in Ledbury, all sales are through a local bookshop who sets up a stand at each reading. Additional stands/booksales are just not allowed.

BarbaraS said...

Whenever Doghouse do a launch, all their available titles are on display. I've often picked up a few that way. I think Salmon do the same at their launches. Reading what Angela says, makes me realise how presciptive some fests are...