Oh my Lordy. After last week’s book cost crisis, my sales need a boost. Thing is, I don’t know quite how to get it going. Me thinks I need a little help.
‘What do publishing houses do? asks hubby one night. ‘You know,’ he says, ‘when they have a new author they need to promote. What do they do?’ I look up from my bar of Green and Blacks which he has kindly bought me and which I feel obliged to eat. ‘Theyggoommmaggggooo,’ I say. ‘Huh? I can’t hear you as your mouth seems to be seeping chocolate,’ he says. I swallow it whole. ‘They have their own marketing and press teams who get on the case of course,’ I say. My hubby sits back, grinning, clearly pleased with himself. I narrow my eyes. ‘What?’ Then the penny drops. I am my own marketing department. Duh! I know I should thank him for pointing out this valuable information, but instead choose: ‘Make sure you wash up your dinner plate when your done, honey, won’t you?’ and scuttle to my laptop, my mind already on promotional plans for my current book.
What I didn’t quite home in on then and what I have realised with startling clarity since, is that without people like my husband – and he is a great, wonderful lad, if not with a worrying penchant for Cop documentaries – making my book even a moderate success will be nigh impossible. So, getting on the case, once my book marketing plan is mapped out, including social media, promotional ideas and pricing strategy (really), I go on to PR. ‘I’ll write a press release,’ I say to myself. Being from a copywriter background, you’d think this would be pretty easy – turns out it’s not. ‘You alright?’ asks my hubby when he finds me dribbling on my laptop at midnight. ‘Huh? Who? Wassup?’ He squints at my screen. ‘You know, if you’re writing a press release, why don’t you just speak to Chris.’ I sit bolt upright. ‘Chris!’ My hubby peels a post it note from my cheek. ‘Chris!’ I repeat. My hubbie backs away. I hope he still knows why he married me.
Anyhoo, the next day I contact Chris and it is a gift from heaven. Because Chris is a Press man at a University. He is a dear friend, known him for years and when I ask his advice, not only does he say he will read my press release, he gives me so many pointers on who to speak to and what to do. As his emails fly in that day, full of advice I am filled with utter gratitude for his help. ‘Beer,’ I think as I make a note of his information. ‘I must buy him a beer.’
By the end of the week, I also receive help in the form of my husband’s old teacher, Stuart Langworthy, who inspired my book in the first place and who my hubby thought would be ideal to include in any press information. Turns out, Stuart’s more than happy to be included in my press release, and more than that, is pleased to have the opportunity to take some of the media limelight from my hubby, who is often on the telly for business news. Bless him.
Sat on the sofa the next evening, checking my emails, I sip a glass of red as my hubby slumps down beside me. Peering at my screen, he reads Stuart’s email. ‘Told you Stuart would help.’ I nod. It is hard to say out loud that he was right. I put my glass down and turn to him. ‘Honey,’ I say, ‘what’s it like being friends with your teacher after all these years?’ He shifts on the sofa so he can rest his feet on my lap. ‘It’s just like having a good friend,’ he says, ‘but one who’s always there for you, I guess.’ I smile at him. That’s it. Having friends who are there for each other, that’s what it’s all about. It’s like the Beatles said, about getting by with a little help from your friends. My hubby wiggles his toes and one of his socks comes loose. ‘God, honey, you’re feet stink. Move them, quick!’ He pulls a sad puppy face. I sigh. He’s my best friend. I will always be there for him. But I draw the line at smelly socks.