A New Decade,- The Author “Netizen”
Posted by Robert Craven on Thu, 09 Jan 2020
“For there’s no-one with endurance
like the man who sells insurance.”
(Crumit / Curtis 1935)
Or the modern author too. Eighty-five years after this song was composed and the start of a new decade, it’s all about endurance, persistence, self-belief and hard graft. I have just published my seventh novel: Eagles Hunt Wolves. It is the fifth and final part of a wartime series I started in 2006, beginning with Get Lenin which was published in 2011. I have Eagles Hunt Wolves set-up on KOBO and Amazon for pre-order and now, the real work begins – letting the planet know that this is for sale. The endurance of the modern “Netizen Author” means getting your voice heard, flagging your links and postng your hard graft onto the 280-character 24/7 feed of Twitter and setting up the Facebook page for your book. I look on this part an opportunity to grab attention. To quote the late great Mickey Spillane, “I don’t have fans, I have customers.” Eagles Hunt Wolves will go ‘Live’ on the 30th of January 2020 and I want my customers buy it.
Dublin city in the 1980’s was bleak, virtually encased in hoardings like fortifications. Every rock band had a poster pasted to these; they were screen-printed in the Crazy Horse corner of Georges Street (only because it was the cheapest option). In 1984, I had bought my first bass. By 1986 I had sprung out of the dilapidated Temple Lane (all the old warehouses had rehearsal studios prior to the boom) playing in my first band. We were called Lexicon. Lexicon played three nights a week, every week for two years on the pub circuit. The rhythm guitarist and I, a wily Glaswegian named Lyndsey Welch would grab a bucket, two sweeping brushes and walk from his second-floor flat on the South Circular Road with our posters tucked under our arms. The bucket was full of wallpaper paste. Along the Southside quays, and up through Camden Street into the flatlands of Rathmines, we would plaster these posters up. Sometimes splashing over other band’s posters. From 1986 to the 90’s I was convinced most of these battered hoardings were held together with wallpaper paste. Our posters too hung in the windows of the bars we had residencies in.
And I treat social media the same way.
Taking this idea and discipline to the world of Social Media means my book covers are POSTERS on my pages (FB, Instagram & Twitter- @cravenrobert); the media is a digital “wall” or better yet, “hoarding”, just waiting for my poster. Hashtags and links are the paste – pitches and tag lines draw the eye in the ever-revolving feed. I have learned the hard way that 5am on a Wednesday morning is a good time to tweet (its Midnight in the USA and Canada, teatime / early evening in Australia and New Zealand). I have a 25-word pitch that is useable, and I link it to the cover. Fridays are the best for weekend catchment, but Tuesdays never seem to catch any kind of like / heart or retweet.
But not just Social Media, never underestimate the mail shot. Again, you can use email to great effect and if you title the email ** Mail Shot ** (or PRESS RELEASE), it takes the guilt out of cc-ing the world and its mother. Again, I use a simple tagline, a quick 25 word – paste in the cover and press send. You’ll be surprised on its reach and in fairness, “Best of luck” responses.
Another overlooked medium is Radio. I already have my complimentary copies of Eagles Hunt Wolves ear-marked for radio DJs who will shout out your books on the airways – in June 2019 I was invited to chat with Liam Coburn of Dublin’s Q102 – 8:15 am, drivetime airplay. Ten minutes of invaluable free advertising. I got sales spikes on Amazon as I linked my books to the radio station’s Twitter account. By doing this, I have been invited onto another radio station Sunshine 106FM in the new year. Like the pebble dropped in the pool, you never know where the ripples end.
All you need is a poster, a bucket of digital paste and put in the legwork of letting the public know where to get your next book. I look back fondly on those walks with Lyndsey, doing something that was basically graffiti.
But graffiti that got punters in through the door.
And paying the admission fee.