Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Writing - Call me Dave #DavidCameron

I happen to share a Christian name with our current Prime Minister and don't mind being called 'Dave' but my mother preferred 'David' and that bias still lives with me. On the other hand our PM has had an unauthorised biography written about him with the above title.

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The book is written by Lord Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott and there will undoubtedly be millions of copies bought, no doubt assisted by serialisation in the Daily Mail. As to the literary value of the work, Isabel Oakeshott was a political editor at the Sunday Times so it should be an okay read but that is not what will sell the book, it is the content which is marketable.

As the book is being serialised there will be queues at Waterstones etc for people to get their copies and apart from the revelations about drugs and initiation ceremonies into various upper class 'clubs' there will be another 200 000 words to plough through and it could be a turgid and boring read. BUT the marketing by Biteback Publishing has been astonishingly good made easy by the subject. The book is available from the 12th October.

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Jackie Collins (1937 - 2015)

Best selling author Jackie Collins died of breast cancer this week. She was 77 years old. Ms Collins was a hugely popular author selling over 500 million books and having 40 New York Times awards. She dished the dirt on all things Hollywood which proved highly popular with those of us who suffer from being star struck. She was once quoted as saying that on her tombstone she wanted the words ' She gave a lot of people a lot of pleasure.'

In both the Cameron book and those written by Jackie Collins it was subject matter that provided the push to create sales. If the England football team rocked up at a publishers with autobiographies tucked under their arms their would be more books on the market suitably 'sold' by the marketing departments. You could say the same about pop stars and anyone with a global 'face'. I have read a number of sporting biographies and would say that the quality was no better than mediocre and yet there they are. The world is run based upon profit and anyone producing books has to be able to guarantee their shareholders at least break even. So if you are unknown getting books out there is hard which is why self-publication has rocketed. My colleague, Caleb Pirtle III, quoted a number of interesting statistics which included the fact that sales through bookshops is only around 16% of the market. That fact alone has serious consequences for writers and publishers. He also pointed out that agents are beginning to disappear as no one needs them if publishing their own work.

These are very interesting times for writers like me and a number of friends around the world who are writing. In a sense the market for our works is wide open but we need to find that open niche that suits our style and subject matter.

If you wish to read a scathing article about 'Call Me Dave' log on to http://theleveller.org/2015/09/british-really-laughing/ 

God Bless