Isn't it typical?
My big break-out novel LAST LIGHT... a thriller touching on a HUGE issue that affects everyone - an issue that literally is right round the corner from us...came out in the same bleedin' fortnight as Harry Potter. Not just any Potter book of course, but the last one, the one everyone will want to buy.
You go into any book shop now, and you'll find atleast 25% of the table space that would otherwise have been devoted to new books coming out, filled with Potter books. And of course, my book, the one that I had hoped would be the Big Issue novel of the summer, the one that would stimulate debate in every living room across the country, will quietly vanish to the anonymity of A-Z in bookstores around the country.
Sadly in this business you only really get one bite at the cherry; a window of about 12-16 weeks where the book gets a chance to sit up front in the store on one of those center tables and hopefully grab the attention of browsing customers with a wonderfully eye-catching cover.
Well, that window was lost to Harry Potter. Marvelous.
I never stood a chance.
Well, I'm not a quitter. LAST LIGHT will come out in paperback next year. I'm hoping it won't coincide with the paperback release of HP7...I really am. But, sheeesh, let's think positive. It won't coincide. And LAST LIGHT will have a chance - on those center tables - to attract the attention of tens of thousands of customers casually grazing for a summer read.
And then of course, whilst I may not have a marketing campaign, there's always word of mouth. I stumbled upon this page of reviews for LL the other day. None of these people are my mum. None of them my best mate. None of them are me reviewing under a pseudonym. These reviews have come from total strangers who picked the book up because something in the cover attracted their gaze.
Here....take a look for yourself: Waterstones Page
There's hope yet. Word-of-mouth....it really is the lifeblood of unknown authors. Without people prepared to take the time and stick a few words of review up on the net, newbie authors like me would be wholly screwed.