MARILYN BENNETT

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By marilynbennett, May 1 2017 06:58PM

I went to my first Literary Festival last week and I really enjoyed it. It was great to see and hear from authors that I'd heard of and whose work I'd read, in the flesh. There were various panel discussions about really interesting bookish things, but the one that really grabbed me was a discussion about finding audiences. It most probably caught my attention because it's something that I am grappling with myself at present.


I came away from the session with further confirmation that those with significantly more experience than me are in the same position and not necessarily much clearer on the best route. I found it quite interesting that there wasn't much discussion about book bloggers. It strikes me (and with my limited experience I could be wrong) that book bloggers are possible the cornerstone to reaching audiences. I'm following 90,000 of them on Twitter becuase they lurve books. I am very keen to understand what they are reading, why they choose that particular book and how they rate it. For me, bloggers are my starting point to finding an audience and testing my own books because at the beginning, middle and end of the day they are passionate readers. It also helps no end that they are open, super supportive and friendly. What more could I ask for?


I've had four reviews from bloggers in April. Fingers crossed, it has been so far, so great. I know it's not many, but it makes a huge difference to me. I don't have a big publishing machine behind me to hype my book as if it's the second coming of Jesus, but in a literary form, or previous book sales that can rely on readers automatic tried and tested loyalty. Right now, it's just me and this story and I've decided it's ok to gatecrash this book party, rather than hoping to be invited. I hope this means that when people read my book and tell me they like it, they mean it. So rock on May, I have a few more reviews to trickle in and I hope they will continue to be positive, because it's truly wonderful to know that people connect with and like my book.


So another first was accomplished this month. I blocked a follower on Twitter. I didn't think I would have to block people, such is my continued social media naivety, but when I opened the twitter profile to view their tweets and hopefully a website, I was met with images of male genitalia. What the blazes I thought. I foolishly scrolled down to find literary tweets in the hope of justiffying why this person had followed me, but the feed just got more pornographic, so I blocked them. I'm guessing that the title of my book prompted this person to follow me. It's quite evident from my timeline that there are no posts of senior citizens getting their groove on, but I have to recognise that my chosen title is quite suggestive. So now I know how to block!


Onwards, sidewards and hopefully upwards!


Disclaimer: I'm middle aged, so increasingly suffer from fine print intolerance! Please forgive any typo's.

By marilynbennett, Apr 9 2017 11:03PM

So I've taken over the reigns from my Publicist for a few weeks now and it's not been too bad. I had a fab interview with the blogging machine that is the wonderful Linda Hill (www.lindasbookbag.com) and the Magician's magic is still weaving wonders, as I've had another radio interview. Today I sat down with the lovely Nikki Bedi on BBC Radio London and we had a good old yap about upcycling and the book.


In my interview with Linda, I touched upon the fact that my hobbies have been a springboard for getting interest in the book. Never in a million years would I have thought that my love of renovating antiques would be a catalyst for getting publicity for the novel, but it really has been. Reloved Magazine have a feature on my upcycling endeavours in next month's issue. I was quite reticent about showing pieces of furniture and my home initially, because I'm generally a very private person, but the piece they have done is quite something, so I'm looking forward to sharing it.


I'm still trying to reach out to bloggers and it's starting to pay off, as I have three reviews to come in this month. I feel a little bit nervous about what the feedback will be, but this is all par for the course. There will be someone who either loves or hates my book. I'll have to take the respectful dislike on the chin, but you know primarily I'll be hoping peope like it!


My response to undertaking this publicity lark is quite interesting. I know my book inside out. I wrote it, so I flippin should, but I get quite nervous before attending these things. You'd think it was a police interview and I was providing a false alibi! Irrespective of today's deodarant failings, I really enjoyed the interview.


Keep it squeezy!


Disclaimer: I'm middle aged, so suffer from fine print intolerance. Please excuse the typo's yeah!

By marilynbennett, Mar 14 2017 12:26AM

So this is my last week in the extremely capable hands of The Magician (aka my publicist) and I feel a wee bit sad. The ability to conjure up something pretty much out of nothing is not an illusion. They made stuff happen for me. I'm not just talking about the interviews and articles, I'm talking about the fact that I now have the confidence to go out and make publicity opportunities for myself. I may not get very far, but at least I have a bit more knowledge and experience about how to try. I didn't have that six weeks ago.


I will miss not having The Magician in my corner. Before the campaign started I actually wondered if anyone would read my book. I got the smallest number of paperback copies printed because the thought of looking at boxes of books gathering dust in some corner of my home was not a pretty one, so I thought this was my way of being a realist.


Working with a publicist has actually made me a realist. I have a long road ahead and work to do, but I think I'm good for it, so Cameron Publicity, I salute you!


My first task in a bid to take over the reigns from The Magician was to reach out to bloggers. Over this past week I have come to realise that these folks are actually the unsung heroes and sheroes of the book industry, so I'm clearing my throat to sing their praises.


One of the bloggers I contacted has 800 books to read! Another reads a book a day! Say what, say who? This level of support and dedication just for the love of it is amazing. I have had interview and review offers purely based on my email requests and they seem very apologetic if they can't fit me in. I'm just pleased they replied! No one owes me their time. These people have whole lives of their own and the fact that they choose to dedicate so much of their free time to support a new writer like myself is a wonderful, generous thing.


Now I don't know about you, but I don't like chain letters. When people send me Whatsapp chain letters trying to guilt trip my backside into rifling through my contacts to find 9 people to forward some long-winded curse-like message to, I resent it. But today I witnessed a new kind of chain action. Short Book and Scribes blogger, Nicola, very kindly agreed I could blogpost on her site. When I opened my Twitter account there were 14 notifications. If I get one notification on any given day we're cooking with gas! These notifications were from various bloggers who had forwarded Nicola's tweet about my blogpost. It was emotional!


So Bloggers, I salute thee!


Keep it squeezy!



By marilynbennett, Mar 5 2017 11:44PM

This week I felt like a real author. Up until now my mindset has been that I have written some book that I whispered about, but over the past seven days I felt like a bonfide author.


I did an interview for a magazine, had an article published on a website, agreed to do another magazine piece and lined up reviews with three blogs. I don't know if this is business as usual for most authors, but these were all firsts for me. I had an amazing week and I know it won't always be like this, but it felt like a treat to be an advocate for something I have created for once.


I think I talked way too much in the interview and I am slightly nervous about the reviews. I'm really pleased with my book, but that means nothing. I'm a glass half full sort of person. What I realised this week is that it's now no longer about my view on the book, this is when I hand my book's fate over to readers and they decide what happens next.


The key at this stage is getting it in front of them and this is where The Magician (aka my Publicist) has been amazing. My campaign will soon be over and The Magician will be off to join a new circus. I will have to start drumming up interest myself. I'm going to have to reach out to more bloggers, organise readings and do lot's of new stuff, but after this week I realise that I'm not going to be as nervous as I thought and I will enjoy it.


I know there are no short cuts, but if my reviews are doo doo I'm guessing I'm going to have to be really strategic and make use of some of the key things I have learnt over the past three weeks about social media. I have learnt that people tend to like or hate human beings, but they lurve cats! If all else fails maybe I could change my profile picture on all my accounts to one of a cat. A cat wearing some form of human apparel seems to be on trend, so this will be step one. I will also put in my profile information that my book was inspired by a stray cat I once knew. I'm not quite sure how I will link this blatant lie to the content of my book, but interest in me is bound to increase purely based on cat association.


If that doesn't work I'm going to use the fail-safe strategy and attempt to start a Twitter beef with Piers Morgan. This appears to be the golden nugget. I might actually get a mention in some random section of The Guardian!


Well I have to start thnking and planning my next steps from now, so cap and book in hand I will approach more bloggers and book clubs next week.


Keep it squeezy!

By marilynbennett, Feb 26 2017 08:59PM

The other day I said that I was galvanised by the fact that here in the UK we have about 200k books published every year. Today, I'm not so sure that I am.


I'm learning quite quickly that like any other creative business, the literary industry is ridiculously competitive. I'm seeing incredibly successful authors on social media sending a tweet for every heartbeat on their new books. These authors have large publsihing houses, the traditional media and sales behind them and yet they too have to push their books with the same might as me.


I was quite surprised to read that apparently a book can be deemd a bestseller if it sells more than 4000 copies. Now don't get me wrong, if I sell 4000 copies of my book, I'm holding a street party, buying myself a trophy and a new mouse mat. I just thought a bestseller meant sales approaching a squillion copies. So I now understand the healthy social media presence of some authors. In that rather polite British way, people don't talk about actual sales figures. It's as if you're asking about their personal bank balance. So who knows how many books successful authors are actually selling, but one thing is for sure, it's more than me, so I need to get my tweet on!


So this week I upped my Twitter game a tad. I tweeted, re-tweeted and retreated. I had to unfollow some people, which my friend advised is poor form. The thing is I just can't keep up with the twitter feed of all these peeps. I mean, if I'm following you I want to read what you have to say, but by the time I get up to date there are another new ten tweets, so something had to give. Some people have tens of thousands of followers! When do they wash, eat or sleep? I imagine they have some kind of Minority Report or Stock Exchange set up and a team manning all the tweets coming through. My friend advised that you can simply mute people. So that was another lesson for this week.


My publicists have lined up a newspaper piece on me. Whoop whoop! I also got my first review and it was 5 out of 5. Whoop whoop on repeat!


So let's see what this next week brings.


Keep it squeezy!

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