Sunday interview: John Spencer

John Spencer is co-author (with Anne Spencer) of a number of books concerning the paranormal including The Encyclopedia of Mystical and Sacred Sites, published by Headline in 2002.

1. What kinds of marketing have you done as an author?I think it’s more publicity; I did interviews on TV, radio and in newspapers and magazines. I also did some signings etc. The marketing was done by publishers Hodder Headline.

2. What marketing did Hodder Headline do?For earlier books they were very good; for example they got me into bookclubs where we were bookclub book of the month three times and sold 300,000 copies in hardback before going into paperback and foreign, but as the subject waned a little they lost interest and for this last book frankly I think they did very little marketing.

3. What essential things about marketing did you learn that you wish you’d known from the start? I did get involved in the early days with actually attending marketing department meetings and giving talks to the sales force to ‘beef them up’. Headline stopped that in the later years. I think it helped sales though when they were selling to chains and clubs to be able to say they had spoken to the author personally.

4. What did you learn during your experiences of trying to market your books?That you need to seriously suck up to the marketing department head at your publisher!

5. What’s the most successful piece of marketing you’ve done?The bookclubs were our best publicity. In addition to the one I already mention, another sold around 70,000 copies in hardback and went to several successful overseas translations as the result of bookclub intros.

6. What advice would give for authors starting out with marketing their books?As far as possible try and make yourself available for interviews and brush up on your TV and radio image techniques.

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