One of the things about being published by a few different publishers in the same market, is that you can end up with a slightly disjointed approach to selling your work. Even within the one publisher, you can find that different types of books are sold in different ways.
In some cases, this is necessary; the kind of thing that might help get your books into the hands of a bunch of six-year-olds, isn’t likely to work when applied to young adults. Most of the venues I visit to do my sessions ask for promotional materials, and the posters, bookmarks and other bits and pieces sent out by my publishers tend to focus on one book, or a particular level of books (younger readers, fluent readers, young adults etc.).
But in this brand-conscious world, it’s not enough to sell books one at a time – in fact, with so many different media around now, it’s not books we’re selling at all. The way I look at it, I’m selling stories. There’s a major difference. And though these stories may be aimed at various types of readers, and distributed by a number of publishers, they are written in a way that they all have certain elements in common: basically, the things I look for in the stories I like to read.
I should emphasize that, with all this talk of branding and marketing, I still do this for the love of the job. But I want to still be in the job ten years from now. And to do that, I have to sell my stories. Not one book or another, not a particular series. I want people to come looking for an Oisin McGann Story, regardless of the publisher, subject matter, or reading level.
That’s the way I approach my sessions, trying to gauge which of my stories will appeal to the audience that end up in front of me – by asking them what they read before I do any talking at all. And this attempt to create a unified image also decides how I structure my website.
So I decided, since people regularly look for promotional stuff off me, to do up some of my own. Starting with a couple of posters. There’s one for my younger readers, and one for the older ones. I’ll probably do a second one for the novels, and I’m in the middle of doing one for my foreign editions, which I’ll be using in the Etonnants Voyageurs’ Festival in Saint-Malo, France.
For all of the designs, I wanted some way of showing the book covers for a very general level of reader, without the poster looking like a page from a catalogue – which is what usually happens if you try and lump a load of covers onto one page. Hopefully I’ve succeeded, but I’ll let you decide.
And in case you hadn’t seen them already, there are some Mad Grandad activity sheets to found here. Oh, and I haven’t forgotten about the whole ebooks thing I started with ‘The Vile Desire to Scream’. I’ve got a couple more, different types of stories lined up. Now all I need is the time . . .