OK— if honesty is the best policy then I’m going to tell it like it is, like it really really is…
I’m well-groomed, coiffured, sprayed with expensive perfume and dressed up in black leather like a mutant cougar on heat, and I’ve even driven to CCCU in my convertible red sports car that screams — I’m hot!
OK — so it’s all about perception. What YOU think is hot and… reality.
But I really can make an effort — believe me.
And, do you know the WORST thing?
After all that effort —dressed like a vamp — does it sell books…?
I guess I’d have to Google stats and figures to work that one out, but quite frankly after wriggling into my sex siren outfit — dressed to thrill and kill — I’m too bloody knackered to care.
Perhaps I should toss the books from my Culture Crime Series out of the car as I drive through the woods from Whitstable to Canterbury— or scream that I’m being abducted by an international crime syndicate as I reach the outskirts of the city OR as I park by the old city wall — install a megaphone from the roof with the voice of George Clooney shouting: Buy Janet’s Books. They go great with Nespresso.
Imagine him saying: “When you want to snuggle up with a cup of your favourite coffee and an exciting international thriller— choose, Pywell — Janet Pywell.”
Now that’s endorsement!
There are so many gurus on the Internet telling self-published authors how to market their books: how to convert readers with Facebook, Amazon and Bookbub advertising or how to lure Bloggers to read in our genre.
My take on it is: Sell and be happy.
- Advertise on the same sites as your favourite authors-Great idea!
- Bond with other writers in a similar genre-Brilliant!
- Promote your favourite authors to other readers-Intelligent!
And do you know what?
There’s a difference between writing erotica and using sex to sell your product!
When I go on some Internet forums, many writers ask for advice on their book covers, their blurb and their protagonists. They often have sexy covers — half naked women with their hands on male counterparts, luscious lips, tanned torsos, provocative positions and steamy titles. (That’s just the women who write them.) AND their sales, they tell us, are going through the roof.
Their membership and fan base is growing at the same rate as the blink of an eye in the sunlight and the question dawns on me:
Am I writing in the wrong genre?
I feel pretty much like a photographer on location in the Antarctic who’s been told Aurora Borealis is a Sex Goddess.
If Sex Sells….then tell me the answer to the multi-million, jaw-dropping, mind-numbing question…
Who wants to read international culture crime thrillers?
Think about the time, effort and energy it’s taken me to come up with an arse kicking and original heroine — Mikky dos Santos who takes no shyte from anyone. My tattooed, alter ego rebel who refuses to conform and who is talented enough to forge expensive artwork and makes it look easy to steal an original?
Power, politics, danger and dynasties….
To write and research international crime thrillers about music, theatre, opera, art, stolen artefacts, kitesurfing and drones and, include minimum sex speak, descriptions or detail (there is a little) is quite frankly, challenging.
AND do you want to know why? Because I only use sex when it’s relative to the storyline and not gratuitously.
There have to be easier and more appropriate ways to sell books.
So, I’ll rip off my vixen outfit, throw the latex out of the window and scrap the blond bombshell wig and get the bus to Uni. I’m better off showing students at CCCU an alternative version of how to sell — and how to advertise.
It might not be so thrilling or revealing but it’s about being true to yourself and who YOU are and sticking to YOUR values. We’re not all Jennifer Lawrence, David Beckham or Kim Kardashian who use sex to sell products.
After the cheap notoriety of sex wears off — I believe, if you’ve engaged, entertained and written what is true to you — you’ll have a sincere reader for life.
And your readers and your fans will feel happy and satisfied that they invested in YOU.
And, at the end of the day — isn’t that all that matters?