Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Whore (or how I found out how to market myself)

I've just had the most fascinating evening. Usually when I say that sort of thing I'm being sarcastic - y'know, the kinda thing where I'd write it as 'I've just had the most *fascinating* evening,' or use italics or something equally patronising like asking you to read it in the style of Stewie Griffin, but this time I'm being genuine.

Really, I am.

Why? Because I've just been to one of the events at the Kingston Readers' Festival, an annual, month-long series of events geared towards people like you and me who actually still read rather than sit around getting bladdered every night and happy-slapping people. In recent years I've been to a number of events at the festival, the most memorable being an evening with Danny Wallace, which was hilarious and ended up with him naming me Timbolina for reasons I shan't discuss. 

To be honest, I'd actually planned to attend another of the festival's events at the end of last month called How to Manage Your Time as a Writer, but I'm pretty poor at managing my time (as shown by the fact that I still - I mean *still* - haven't finished my book), and forgot about it.

Anyway, the event I attended tonight was entitled How to Market Yourself as a Writer, and was conducted by a real writer named Alison Baverstock. I'd probably have felt a little ripped off if they'd just used some random off the street, but she was definitely a real writer so that was OK. I was all on my lonesome because both Willowc and Yaz who'd planned on joining me dropped out - Yaz because she's feeling a little under the weather (described as feeling like she's "constantly pushing an invisible person along in front of her"), while Willowc was off doing something exciting and dramatic like engineering a perpetual motion device using only a mid-1980s portable television and a hyperactive kitten. Not to worry though; I rocked up reasonably early, was promptly ignored by an elderly fellow on the door who actually turned his back to me and had to be told to give me a flyer for future events by an elderly lady to his side (possibly because I wasn't wearing my Sunday best), then secured a good seat.

I'll cut to the chase: for what could've been an incredibly dry, boring subject, this was a thoroughly interesting evening, so much so that I actually hung around at the end to thank Alison for the quality info she divulged. The gist of it is that in this cutthroat world we live in, authors really need to put themselves out there; you need to be interesting, articulate, and eager to promote your work. You can't really just write something then be all reclusive like J.D. Salinger - unless of course you're J.D. Salinger.

What I really found useful, though, was the fact that I've actually already got a few things going for me aside from studly good looks, toned pectorals, a quick dry wit, and modesty. Why? Because I've already been published! OK, magazines aren't quite fiction, but the point that Alison was trying to make is that someone has actually put faith in your work - you are, in essence, already a 'successful writer' if you've actually managed to carve a niche, however small, for yourself.

So that's cool - as  is the fact that she mentioned a few other things I've already been thinking about and which I'm definitely going to act on. Another interesting point she made is that in this celebrity-worshipping culture we exist in, authors are themselves a marketable commodity above and beyond their book; imagine, for example, that some crack-whore hauls herself off the street to write an acclaimed account of her hardship - her real life is a key component of what makes the book. Your own families, relationships, hardships - they're all fair game in promoting your work. So now I just need to get it on with a celebrity. Um, Autumn…?

Anyway, to sum it all up - I feel positively energised!

47 comments:

WillowC said...

I'm very peeved to have missed out, but you'll be thrilled to know the kitten is fine.

p.s. In case you've forgotten again, I *am* coming on Friday.

Dinah said...

Yay! I'm so happy for you. And knowing what a big media whore you are, I have a feeling you'll be just fine.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Forget Autumn. You're a commodity. I'm glad you have finally realised.

* puts a packet of chocolate, a tub of icecream and Tim in trolley before making way to checkouts *

Tim said...

Willowc - That's what all the girls say.

(The bit about Friday, not the kitten bit. But I'm glad the kitten is A-OK)

Dinah - You're right - I'm a whore and I LOVE it!

Inexplicable Device - I'm not on two-for-one you know.

T-Bird said...

So what is your marketing ploy? Do you have a plan of attack so far? I'm sure the coven and pals could come up with some pretty nifty and completely sensible suggestions.

Tim said...

That would probably involve me in a state of undress, I expect.

Yes, I have a plan! Bear with me…

watch*paint*dry said...

Brilliant! I love evenings where you get energised... Unleash that inner whore, although it may be outer nowadays... Rawr!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Well Tim, one has to make use of one's assets. Let's be frank, you could rewrite the phone book and people would snap it up if it had a sultry & pouting you on the cover having a wardrobe malfunction.

Tara said...

That kind of festival would energize me too! It sounds like it was wonderfully informative!

When that old guy turned his back on you, you could've shouted with proud anger, "Do you know who I am?? You'll never work in this town again!" And then stomp off in a dramatic huff.

CyberPete said...

I'm with IDV on that. Looks do sell and your looks - well hello no 1 on the New York Times best seller list

A friend of mine and I go to books shops and laugh at some of the author photos. We are a shallow people.

Can't wait for you to be the huge success you deserve to be.

Tim said...

Watch*Paint*Dry - It's aaaaaaaalways a good time to be a whore! In? Out? Who cares - shake it all about!

Inexplicable Device - Thank you … I think…

I'm always a little confused by compliments wrapped up in salacious come-ons.

Tara - I totally should have! If I see him again I'll do it - then run away!

Cyberpete - Bless you! See, that's how it's done, IDV.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Don't get taken in by CyberPetra - He's just taking the more subtle softly, softly approach. I've totally given up on that one!

Tara's suggestion had me in stitches! Make sure someone videos you doing it.

Tim said...

Don't pout, it's very unbecoming.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

* immediately stops pouting *

Is that becoming enough??

Tim said...

No.

CyberPete said...

*dresses IDV up in tinsel*

Does that work for you Tim?

-some people just need a helping hand.

Tim said...

No. He just looks like a massive ungainly Christmas tree.

T-Bird said...

You boys make me laugh! It's all zinging and comebacks and homoerotica.

I'm in heaven.

Tim said...

We need a quality Dinah-style "ZING!"

CyberPete said...

Maybe if I put some fake lashes on him?

Tim said...

Or real lashes - like Indiana Jones would!

*whip cracking sound effect*

Take that vile wench!

T-Bird said...

Oh, stop! I can't handle it any more! It's all to glorious!

Tim said...

It's aaaaaaaall pantomime!

Dinah said...

T-Bird's right, you guys are awesome. Especially know that tinsel has entered into the mix (I love Christmas!)

Inexplicable DeVice said...

* gasps in mock-horror like a panto dame who's just been slapped on the bum by one of Prince Charming's guards *

Ah, now Tim's pervy fantasies are coming out. I suppose I can put up with the whipping...

T-Bird said...

Pantomime or no, I still need a cigarette.

Tim said...

Dinah - Damn right we are! Where's the Zing!?

Inexplicable Device - Stop perving or I'll whip you in the face.

T-Bird - Let me light you a match off my left pec.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Oh gods. Now I need a cigarette! That image of match-lighting has titilated me like no other.

Tim said...

You don't smoke.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Well, not unless someone's lit some kindling underneath me when I'm not looking...

Tim said...

It's like Salem all over again!

T-Bird said...

Salem from the with trials, or Salem from Days of our Lives?

Tim said...

Salem the Cat from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

God I loved that show…

T-Bird said...

Me too. I can't believe I just admitted that. I liked it when she used to go to the other realm.

Harvey was a real drip, though.

Don't you think with all that magic she could have fixed that lazy eye?

CyberPete said...

That show was brilliant Tim

Salem from Days of Our Lives not so much...

Tim said...

T-Bird - I liked her two aunts. And Sabrina. I had a real late-90's thing for Melissa Joan Hart. What the hell happened to her?

Who had a lazy eye?

Cyberpete - It was, wasn't it? I always hoped they'd revive it when she was older as Sabrina the middle-aged bitch.

Dinah said...

I liked the two aunts, too. They and Sabrina were always getting into such shenanigans!

T-Bird said...

MJH has a massively lazy eye! But I still love her!

Tim said...

Dinah - Shenanigans is such an awesome word!

T-Bird - I never knew… Still, I reckon I could find a way to 'sort it out'…

Inexplicable DeVice said...

"Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

God I loved that show…"

You are *so* gay, Tim.

CyberPete said...

....and we love it, right IDV?

That was an awesome idea Tim. You could write it and make a fortune!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Of course, CyberPetra.

I can feel a trip to London coming up to take advantage of it!

CyberPete said...

Exciting!

I won't be popping over until my birthday

Tim said...

Inexplicable Device - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine? You are *so* hetro, IDV.

Cyberpete - It could be my making! Hello, house in the Hollywood hills!

Inexplicable Device - London is shut. For the foreseeable future.

Cyberpete - Everyone's converging on London!

T-Bird said...

London is shut? What is this? V for Vendetta?

*sigh* will you boys just find your numbers on the Kinsey scale and stop bickering already? Or at least make it sexy again.

My cigarette was lovely, by the way.

Tim said...

I'm off to sulk in a manly fashion. While smoking my bubble-pipe.

T-Bird said...

There, there... here's something to make you feel better:

TITTYWANKING ROBOCOP TEMPLE OF POON!