An Interview with Dee Blick ahead of the Indie Writers’ Festival
Bio: Dee is a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Marketing. She is also a genuine Number 1 bestselling author, regarded as one of the most respected and influential marketers in the UK. Dee’s latest book The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Marketing a Bestselling Book on a Shoestring Budget has won the Bookbag top 10 non-fiction books of 2014 and The Guardian top 10 essential reads for entrepreneurs 2014. A northern lass (Dee was born in Horsforth no less) Dee describes herself as a born writer who became a marketer. She is also a professional keynote speaker and enjoys nothing more than sharing tips with fellow authors and helping them on their journey to success!
Writer Clare Fisher chatted to Dee ahead of the forthcoming Indie Writers’ Festival about her involvement in ‘For the love of words’, why many writers baulk at the idea of self promotion and her tips on marketing a book successfully…
TSOTA: What inspired you to get involved with Leeds Indie Writers’ Festival?
DB: I discovered it on twitter. Being a typical northerner (despite living down south for 32 years I’ve retained my northern traits) I introduced myself to Liz Cable, the organiser. When I discovered the event was in my hometown of Horsforth it was easy to say yes when Liz invited me to speak and run a How to Market Your Book masterclass.
TSOTA: What, if anything, do you think makes marketing books different to marketing other services and products?
DB: There is no difference whatsoever. A book is a product and it needs a marketing plan just as all products do. However, what I find on my travels is that with the odd exception, authors are reluctant to promote themselves and their book which is a great shame. Many a fantastic book will be denied that coveted bestseller status not because it wasn’t good enough far from it. But because the author didn’t have a lucky break and they overlooked the importance of marketing it.
TSOTA: A lot of writers baulk at the idea of marketing themselves. Why do you think this is? Have you seen any terrible examples of writers attempting self-promotion?
DB: Understandably because they are first and foremost a writer and the idea of turning into chief salesperson for their book fills them with a mixture of horror and fear. But it must be done! I haven’t seen terrible examples of writers attempting self-promotion but I have seen a few clumsy examples such as sending pretty charmless press releases to the local paper or specialist publications. But most of all I see talented people that are in need of a helping hand, a little confidence and the right tools and templates to help them on their journey to bestselling success. Without a shadow of a doubt this is why I wrote my fourth and final book, The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Marketing a Bestselling Book – on a Shoestring Budget.
TSOTA: As a writer myself, I’m often torn between spending time actually writing, and time promoting what I’ve written. Do you have any tips on this?
DB: Weave the two together. Ideally you should start marketing your book the moment you start writing it. So, use social media to share updates of your writing and publishing progress. Start to think about your target readers, where they hang out online and in print and of course in physical groups so you can make charming introductions. Set aside an hour every week for marketing your book. Remind yourself why you’re doing this. You don’t want this exquisitely crafted tome that you’ve agonised over to sink into obscurity.
TSOTA: How important do you think marketing is for writers with a publishing deal in relation to those without?
DB: You have to market your book with the same zeal and gritty determination irrespective of whether you have a publishing deal or you’ve self published. A publishing house is on a tight budget. They’ll invest a fixed sum of money that covers pre-launch and the immediate post launch period. After that the task of marketing falls squarely on your shoulders. For my third book I benefited from a publishing deal and had the support of an amazing book publicist, Jeff Scott which resulted in many great critic reviews. I’ve written four books. I promote them with gusto and get lots of coverage!
TSOTA: If you had to persuade me to come to your talk at the Indie Writers’ Festival in 12 words…
DB: If there’s a book in you, this is the talk for you!
Clare Sita Fisher
More info and tickets for the Indie Writer’s Festival click here
See the full programme on Leeds Big Bookend website
Clare Sita Fisher is a fiction writer and co-runs a monthly writer’s group in Leeds City Centre, where writers can share short extracts of works in progress in a relaxed and friendly environment. She’ll be holding an informal session at the Big Bookend Festival. Contact her via twitter @claresitafisher if you’re interested in joining.