Arundel-based author and publisher Sandra Saer, of SMH Books, will be sharing the secrets of success at a special session for the Festival of Chichester.
Sandra will be offering a talk entitled Selling One’s Own Wares at the New Park Centre, New Park Road, Chichester on Wednesday, June 27, 12-1.30pm. Tickets £10; seniors £6; students £4; 01243 816525 or 775888 or visit thenovium.org/boxoffice.
“The talk is very much connected with my 30 years of publishing with SMH Books (www.smh-books.co.uk). I prepared a board showing the highlights of 30 years of SMH Books, and it reminded me just how hard I have worked to publicise and promote my books. I am a great marketer! I think if you have got the right product, which in my case was books, then you have got to have the confidence in it. You have got to believe in it. The starting point has got to be your confidence.
“Having trained as a journalist, it was a great start in my career. Having started as the editor’s girl on the Chester Chronicle, I then progressed to writing the leaders. I was taught how to write a certain number of words, a certain number of column inches.
“When it came to publishing books, it was a terrific plus. I was able to put words together that I knew would be well received and would manage to avoid the waste-paper basket. National newspapers and not just provincial newspapers were saying ‘Wow! This is some press release!’”
Essential, Sandra says, is that the press release is properly targetted: “When you are sending something to newspapers, you have got to know who you are writing for. If you don’t, it can be a total waste of time and also very bad publicity for you personally. I have always done my best on most occasions to find out the name of the person I need to be writing to.”
Sandra recommends an initial email, but also to send a hard copy of the book along with a hard copy of the email. In other words, don’t simply give them the option of asking you to send the book or not.
Inevitably, you need also to know how far to pursue it if you don’t hear back.
“In some cases, if you really want a review, then you could always email the editor again and ask them if they think they might be able to look at the book.”
If you don’t hear back then, then that sadly that’s probably when you need to drop it.
As for advertising: “I am going to speak very carefully on that. Having been trained as a journalist, I know how newspapers need people to advertise in their papers if those papers are to continue. If we don’t support our papers, then we will lose them and it will be a big gap in our community. It will be rather like losing our local book-sellers. I do feel quite pro-advertising these days.”