Lynne’s off on holiday this week, so she asked if I’d cover for her. Gladly, I agreed.
‘Don’t be afraid of a little self-promotion,’ she advised.
Right then, I won’t.
As it happens, today is the UK publication day for my new book, Two Bronze Pennies (Severn House, out August 1 in the US). It’s the second in my series of mysteries set in Victorian Leeds – my hometown – and featuring Detective Inspector Tom Harper.
Most of my book are set in Leeds, in different eras (1730s, 1950s). It’s what I know best, it’s where I live. Because of that, my book launches have been here; after all, that makes sense, right?
Well yes, after a fashion. My books actually seem to sell better in the US than in Britain. No idea why, but it’s just one of those quirks (I should add that I lived in the US for 30 years, but we can safely say that’s not a factor. I wasn’t that popular there!).
My publisher can’t afford to send me on a book tour there, and I certainly can’t fund one myself. But for the launch of this book I’d like to look outside this city. Hmmm…
MY paid gig is writing press releases for a music PR company based in the US. I’ve been a music journalist for over 20 years, I know the field, and they want something more interesting than the bog-standard press release. On top of that, they pay very quickly, a win-win situation. Working with them led me to a site called Concert Window, which allows musicians to stream gigs via their laptops. The can play at home, in a club, anywhere, and interact with the online audience through a chat room.
And that gave me an idea…
To my knowledge, no one’s ever done a streamed book launch. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. So why not try it? It’s simply a case of picking the time that would catch as many people around the world as possible. 6pm UK time, Sunday May 24. Five hours ahead of the US East Coast, eight hours ahead of the West. Evening in Europe. Early morning in Australia and NZ, but there have to be compromises.
A couple of special guests – in this case a very, very good storyteller and (hopefully) a historian who’s written about the life of the Jewish refugees who came to Leeds at the end of the 19th century, since the book takes place in the Leylands, effectively the Jewish ghetto of Leeds in that period. It breaks up the monotony of just me.
But this is promotion today. The excellent publicist at the publisher does a great job, but with no real budget, there are very strict limits. It’s down to the author to be creative and to do it on a shoestring. Necessity is the mother etc.
Will it work? Ask me on May 25. I’ve made it as easy as possible. No one has to register on the site. Just click on the URL and you’re there. I’ll have a link to buy copies of the book (in case you’d forgotten it’s called Two Bronze Pennies), but largely I’ll be winging it. It’s new territory for me, and maybe it will become the future of book launches.
So yes, that’s got in the idea of promotion, and self-promotion. And since you’re all thinking, wait a minute, I want to see this, here’s the URL:
Fingers crossed, eh?