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Publicising A Book - Part 1

February 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 116

Sometime after signing the contract, and banking the first trounce of my advance, another document arrived from my publishers. I seem to remember spending a good few seconds reading it, ticking all the boxes, signing it, and sending a copy back as requested. What I'd filled in was the publicity agreement for my book. And I'd agreed to do everything. This wasn't a problem. My local newspaper (I had friends there anyway), perhaps local radio would be interested? That might be fun.

Some months later, just after the book came out, I received a phone call out of the blue. The voice at the other end sounded a bit like an irritated Miss Jean Brodie. I was speaking to the formidable publicist from my publishers who for the sake of everyone concerned I'll just refer to as Y. Y didn't do small talk. I'm not suggesting she barked orders, but she seemed to have little empathy for an author about to loose his media cherry. She clearly had a lot of authors and media to deal with, and very little time or patience.

Brian, she said, the Daily Mirror are going to call you. Er, OK, I replied? They'll just ask you about your background, how you got involved in treasure, etc. What are you doing next week? Why? I asked, still getting over the last pronouncement. I've got radio ( I forget which) interested. You can do it from Birmingham (not far from me). At this point I managed to regain my composure. Y, I said, I'm not really sure about the radio. I mean, I've never done it before. Oh you'll be fine darling, fine. I'll ring you Monday. Byeee.

Over the weekend I decided, on balance, for the sake of the book, I would do the radio show. Y rang back Monday, and I related as much in the context of it being a concession, which she dismissed as not being a concession but a foregone conclusion. Good darling, he said, because I've got two more lined up for you. And so began my radio book-plugging career. I did promise myself I wouldn't swear on this website, but frankly there is no other way to put this, I'd never been on radio before and I was sh*ting myself.

A few days later I was signed in at the Mailbox, the BBC's Midlands hub, and sitting in a waiting area, not at all ready to go on live radio. What if I forget names? What if I forget dates? What if I get events and places mixed up? I'd only written the damn book, how do they expect me to remember everything in it? I'd got a copy with me, marked with post-it notes, and a crib-sheet of interesting facts and anecdotes. But I didn't feel at all prepared or confident. Brian Grove? If you'd like to follow me, said a security-type guy.

Call me naive, but what I was expecting was what everybody thinks a radio studio looks like. Like the one's on telly. Mine was the size of a bedroom, crammed with electronic equipment. Besides the security guard who'd led me there, I was the only person in the room. I sat at a table facing a mike. The guard disappeared. An engineer came in. He pressed some buttons, spoke to someone, adjusted the mike and gave me some headphones. Everything Ok he asked? Er, yes, I replied. He disappeared too.

A voice came through the 'cans'. Brian, can you hear me Ok? Yes, I lied. I adjusted the headphones. It was the show's producer. At the end of this track we'll go to the news, and then straight in, five minutes, Ok? Fine, I replied. I tried to sound like I knew what I was doing. Like a radio blaring in another room, I heard the presenter give me and my book a huge build-up. I don't remember what was on the news. The next, and only thing I remember was "Brian, welcome to the show" Thanks for having me, I replied. "So...

What was it like? You can be honest, I mean how was it really? You were fine, came the reply from the friend who'd been assigned to tune in and listen. No, I mean honestly, what was it really like, did I cock up? No, really, you were fine. You even managed to throw in a bit of humour. Humour, what humour? I don't remember humour. I'd been on air for just 10 minutes, but it had been ten minutes of pure adrenalin. You'd have thought I'd run a marathon. My friend and I had a few beers.

And so it went on. On the second show the presenter had only read the back cover of my book, and introduced me as the person who had found £1.3 million. I threw in a quip about not being here if I had, and we laughed it off. I did three different shows from the Mailbox in one week once. The security guy said "you know how to let yourself out don't you?" I even got invited back onto a couple of shows. I did a one hour Radio London morning phone-in at home in bed. And in the end, I did do one in a 'proper' studio.

What I quickly realised, which was always the case, is that all these shows were interested in is a few minutes of informative entertainment. Tomorrow there will be someone else. The only time I ever felt someone was being a little disingenuous, in this case about metal detecting, was a female presenter who asked a fellow (slightly nervous) guest if he had a wife or girlfriend. I jumped in and said a lot of women were getting involved in detecting these days, it saves a fortune in gym fees. (She was a gym-bunny). How far I'd come.

So when the publicity agreement arrives for your book, think very carefully about which boxes you tick!

My name is Brian Grove and I am a published author. I have a website which provides information to help writer's get their book published. Visit me here

Source: EzineArticles
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