Bestsellers, blockbusters and the marketing world

House of Books

ABC: Jennifer Byrne Presents: Bestsellers & Blockbusters (With Lee Child, Matthew Reilly, Di Morrissey and Bryce Courtenay)

Hi all! Two posts in one day (awesome, huh?). I had to share this with you because for anyone who writes fiction — and wants it published — this interview has the best advice you’ll ever receive.

Here are the best bits:

  • Worldwide publishing phenomenons are missed. The publisher for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo manuscript was quoted by Lee Child saying, “Please, please read this and give it some kind of comment. We can’t do anything with it.”
  • Everything you do sells books. Lee Child said that “[he] once met a fan who … wanted all the books signed”. When he asked the fan why she picked up this book,

    Lee Child and a fan

    she said, “I saw you at a conference and you opened a door for somebody and I thought, what a polite gentleman. I’ll try his book.”
  • Don’t put yourself at the mercy of browsers. Matthew Reilly says you’ll sell 15 copies if you don’t put yourself out there. If you go on the radio and say your new book is called Pink Flowers, people will go to their book store saying, “I heard this young bloke on the radio, this book called flowers or Pink Something.” And Bryce Courtenay on giving away free books: “… you may see it as a gesture of generosity, but on the other hand they’re gonna tell 20 or 30 people.” Bazingo! Get your name heard — I’m doing it here. Connect with people.
  • Popular versus Literary fiction: there’s no point writing a book if no one reads it. . “First it’s written, then it’s read, then it exists.” — Lee Child. Matthew Reilly comments on the popular vs. literary debate that “But what I do object to is somebody saying that the time I spend making this as fluid and fast and readable as possible, is some sort of inferior form of writing.” As popular fiction writers, both of the above authors, as well as Di Morrissey and Bryce Courtenay agree that they refine and refine their books so that the reader has an easy journey and doesn’t need to sweat over the book, wondering what’s going on.
  • Don’t take all reviews to heart. Matthew Reilly says he’s been told one of his books has less literary merit than a shopping docket, and another person sent him an email asking him to chop off his hands so he could “never type [his] drivel again”.

    Lee Child signing his books

  • If you don’t market your book you won’t be noticed. Make sure your book is somewhere people will notice it. Develop a ‘brand’ with your book that readers can always easily identify with you: your name on the cover, the type of picture, the styling.

I’ve linked you to the transcript on the Jennifer Byrne presents page of the ABC website. Click on the ‘Transcript’ tab under the video. Unfortunately, the original video isn’t available on the site anymore, or on YouTube. If you do find it, please let me know and link us all up!

Before I zip my big mouth, I just wanted to say keep going, keep churning out the best you can and please follow me so we can share and blog together. As always, click ‘share’ or link this post if you want.

3 thoughts on “Bestsellers, blockbusters and the marketing world

  1. That was really interesting! I downloaded the episode to watch, it was great but felt a little short – although I could listen to those four talk for hours, so maybe I’m biased =p Very inspirational.

  2. Pingback: What is made from straw, has a carrot nose and is feared by large black birds? « Squeaky Shoe Stories

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