Sunday interview: jay Dixon

jay Dixon is the author of The Romantic Fiction of Mills & Boon 1909-1995 (1999, UCL Press). She has published numerous articles on genre fiction, romance, and the novels of Georgette Heyer.

1. What kinds of marketing have you done as an author?

(a) Mainly by giving talks about the book at various conferences, both academic and writers’. I had been doing this for some time before it was published, so people knew about it years before it appeared.

(b) I was invited on Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 – this was a disaster, but presumably garnered some publicity.

(c) I knew the owners of the bookshop Silver Moon in London and they did a window display for me, though I was unable to go in and do a talk/signing.

(d) I phoned various newspapers asking if I could do an article on the book, but they weren’t interested, partly I suspect because of the subject matter and partly because another book about Mills & Boon had been given a lot of publicity.

2. What marketing has your publisher done?
Apart from putting the book in their catalogue and sending out review copiesto journals I had suggested, none.

3. What did you learn during your experiences of trying to market non-fiction?
You need a lot of energy and time; and if your publisher isn’t helpful you are often banging your head against a brick wall. Also, choose your subject matter wisely!

4. What’s the most successful piece of marketing you’ve done?
Giving talks at academic conferences, which told the people who taught the subject the book was forthcoming/published.

5. What advice would give for authors starting out with marketing their books?
Put time aside to do the marketing before the book comes out. Put most of your energies into targeted marketing, i.e. if the book is set in a particular place, target that area. Use the Internet – just one mention on a relevant list can reach hundreds of people round the world.

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