Writing a book is more than writing a book. It needs marketing. The three authors of The New Age of Ageing: how society needs to change visited the publisher’s offices in Bristol, Policy Press, last week. It was in part an excuse for a day out and for the three of us, Eileen Carnell, Marianne Coleman and me, to meet up for the first time in several months. We received a very warm welcome and continue to be impressed by the many creative young women who work in publishing. The meeting was productive and we are excited about preparing for Publication Day on 7th September. Our job now is to help the publisher get the book to the people who want to read it.
Why have a publisher?
Producing a book, we have learned in the past, is a joint project between writers and publisher. Writing the text of a book is only one step. Without a publisher we could never have reached so many readers for our previous books. And again we find a publisher who helped to improve the writing and will handle promotional activities, distribution to bookshops and report on sales.
We can’t do without them. The expertise of Policy Press led us through the following promotional areas at our meeting.
The book cover, including endorsements
Our meeting with Jess, the publicity and marketing person at Policy Press, began by revising our summary of the book, the blurb, as it appears on the back cover. We had a brief discussion about the word ‘prove’. The researcher in me balks at its use, but we decided it’s a good word to do some of the required work on the cover: Brought alive by the voices of people aged 50 to 90, it proves ageing is not passive decline but a process of learning, challenges and achievement.
We moved on to selecting the endorsements. We had suggested some people they might approach, and some of these people had come up with engaging quotes for the back cover and for inside the book. We are rather pleased with the selection, an eminent MP and a couple of professors and one or two other luminaries. They are all well known leaders in the field of policy, public discourse and research into ageing.
Their words make me blush: compelling case for radically different approach to later life, inspiring book, excellent and eminently readable, welcome light …We hope they will also encourage readers to open the book.
Pitching for articles and reviews
We plan to hook into some themes that are around at the time of publication, such as housing and suitable accommodation for everyone. We explored what will happen around that time and how to be invited into the discussions and add to the arguments. Our book challenges some widely-held assumptions, and raises issues that are often not heard, so we have to push to get our arguments across. This is where marketing and promotion gets interesting, because it is of course about engaging people in what we have laboured to write. This is not like selling baked beans, or offering quantity (BOGOF). We have something to say and we want to be heard. We believe in what we have written: the authors’ moral commitment is obvious, according to one testimonial.
We moved on to discussing where we would like to see the book reviewed: journals, current affairs, magazines, and so on
Social Media activities
Our twitter hashtag is developed, #newageofageing, and we plan to tweet like mad – well, those of us who have twitter accounts; and to promote the book on Facebook, Linked-In and through other connections. We talked about coverage on this blog, Bookword, and Policy Press’s blog and others we can get to. Any invitations? We would really like you to be involved.
There are some other possibilities too: postcards, flyers, articles, bookshops, speaking events, radio shows … We each began compiling lists of possibilities.
During the meeting Jess mentioned that the book goes to the printers this week. Hard copies will be available soon. The approach of publication day is exciting. We are proud.
And in all this activity and excitement we found time for the three of us to discuss our next writing project. Watch this space!
The New Age of Ageing: how society needs to change, by Caroline Lodge, Eileen Carnell and Marianne Coleman will be published by Policy Press on 7th September 2016.
Copies of The New Age of Ageing will be available through the Policy Press website, at a 20% discount. It will cost £14.99 £11.99.
A Little Rant about Marketing Books Like Cornflakes on this blog in November
We are writing monthly posts about the stages from bright ideas to publishing our book. Earlier posts include
Learning to be old by Eileen Carnell (July 2016)
Ageing: it is not ‘them and us’, it is all ‘us’ by Marianne Coleman (June)
First Catch Your Publisher (April)
One Book, Three Authors (March)
Writers’ Residential (February)
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