Friday, 2 March 2018

Buy My Book - But Only If You Really Want To.

by Em Lynas

I am so lucky. My first book You Can't Make Me Go To Witch School came out in August 2017, my next book Get Me Out Witch School is out in April 2018 and the third in the series Help! I Am Trapped At Witch School! is out in September 2018. But that's not why I am lucky.

Prior to the launch in August I prepared a Notes From the Slushpile post for You Can't Make Me Go To Witch School but it didn't go live because Jo Wyton wrote a surprise post, a big squishy hug of a post about me and my book baby. 

Then the amazing hat extravaganza began on facebook and twitter thanks to the fabulous George Kirk, Candy Gourlay and many others. I think Paul Morton put them all together.

I really can't thank them and all the other hatted folk enough, you really did get the message out there that the Witch School books are- All About The Hat! 

But I didn't get to post my book launch post so I'm sharing it now because the launch date of book 2 Get Me Out Of Witch School is coming up fast. In light of the awesomeness and madness of the first launch I think it's quite funny. This is what I would have posted.

The Dreaded Book Promotion! by Em Lynas

A long time ago I was persuaded to have a Tupperware party. I was supposed to drum up business, drag friends in off the street and get them to spend money they could probably ill afford. My Tupperware Party pitch went something like this

Er, I'm having a Tupperware Party but you don't have to come if you don't want to.

Every home had one!
Then, for some odd reason, very few friends came. The woman running the party (my best friend's mother) was not pleased and she was not the sort to hide her displeasure well. However, she cheered up when a newly married neighbour ordered a whole pile of stuff. Phew. I ordered a Party Susan out of guilt. It was probably the most expensive item in the catalogue (It stayed at the back of the cupboard until it turned yellow.) So, best friend's mother was placated.

But then the neighbour returned, within minutes of leaving, to cancel most of the items at the behest (great word) of her husband. They couldn't afford them. I told her it was OK, that she didn't have to buy anything if she didn't want to. My best friend's mother was not best pleased, yet again. Honestly, there was no pleasing her at all. I think she went to counselling.

I tell you this to show how bad I am at asking people to part with their money. After all, they could have a cappuccino and a cupcake for the price of my book.

link to lovereading4kids
So, I have been dreading trying to market You Can't Make Me Go To Witch School in case my pitch ended up something like this – Er, I've published a book, but you really don't have to buy it if you don't want to.

I fear this is an attitude that will not generate many sales and is not listed as a recommended technique on any Marketing Degree. But as we've discussed on Notes from the Slushpile in the past it's really difficult to get the balance right between saying, 'Hey! I'm having my book birthday', and 'You MUST buy my book.'

The first, 'Hey! I'm having a book birthday' is exciting. But the second, 'Buy my book' is so bossy and rude and like poking people with a big pointy stick that's been sharpened to be extra pointy and painful.

Then there's the launch party. Everybody has a launch party. So I should have a launch party but – see above - what if it's a repetition of the Food Container Catastrophe? 

What if I create a fantastic flyer to hand out but say, 'Here's a flyer about my new book but you don't have to take it, it is quite heavy and your bag looks full.'

What if I post about the party online but say, 'Come to my book launch. There'll be free wine and nibbles and you really are not under any obligation to buy my book just because you've eaten all of the cupcakes.' 

What if I take copies of my book to the launch venue but hide them under the table at the back. Ready to hand out if anyone should ask what the point of the party is.

What if I have a table in a corner with the books and a notice, 'Please take one and make a donation to the starving author only if you can afford it.'

What if I talk about anything BUT my book to anyone who came.
Things I would be comfortable saying:

How's your mum?
Did the plumber come?
Yes, Jamie Littler's images are amazing! Look at the one of Twink and Jess hugging, they're so sweet.
How was Menorca/Cyprus/Cornwall?
Yes, it's been fabulous working with the Nosy Crow team. 
What did you think of (insert authors name) 's book?
You don't have to stay long, you know. 
Yes, Agent Amber is fabulous, she's been amazing. 
Don't bother buying my book now, you have a drink in one hand and a Toadspit Towers titbit in the other, how could you possibly buy my book now? You're not a juggler. 

Things I would not be comfortable saying:
Anything about my role in the creation of the book. I would mumble thanks if anyone said anything complimentary and change the subject.

So, I thought, 'Maybe I need a book friend. Someone who knows how hard I've worked, someone who knows how long I've taken, someone who understands the suffering, the emotional turmoil, that is the roller coaster journey to becoming a writer.

What an excellent idea! If only I felt comfortable asking – 'Would you like to help promote my book?' I know I would have added the caveat, 'You don't have to.'

Ah well.

The End.

So that was it - my You Can't Make Me Go To Witch School book launch post, but it turns out I didn't have to ask for help to promote my book baby. My friends, my agent, my editor, the team of Nosy Crows were amazing at 'doing it for me'.

Big hugs to all and an enormous THANK YOU!

And, just in case you're interested and have a bit of spare cash that isn't required for cake and coffee, here's a link to the next book.

You can Pre-order from Amazon if you want to.

Or you could get it from a library.
Libraries are good.


  1. Why not do a blog tour? Get your publishers to offer review copies. Have some interviews - it seems to me your friends have already been promoting! You’re welcome to a guest post on my blog, The Great Raven. Let me know.

  2. Ah, I see. A joke. Anyone who has an agent for their first book is doing nicely! But you will still need to do a lot of marketing yourself, especially after your book has been out for a month or two. All the best! And you can still have that guest post - my blog is about children’s and YA books.

    1. Hi Sue, definitely a joke but based on real events and real reluctance to self promote. I'm organising a few blog visits for later in the year so I'll be in touch to take you up on your offer. Thanks!

  3. Totally get that. Can't get the b-words, book and buy,out of my mouth.

  4. Well I shall go get it now. The first was ace. Cupcake and cappuccino?? Ye gods, your story lasts for far longer in the mind than any food in the belly! As an ex teacher just go do brilliant school visits (yes, I know you were writing tongue in cheek!) but if you have the books with you and do a fab Lynas session, children will just buy them. That's fast publication of three books btw. Has the industry woken up?? x

    1. Thanks, Eleanor. It is fast! I've used chocolate as fuel.


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