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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Rubbing Shoulders with the big guns in London

February 7, 2015

It’s been quite a week, one way or another. The highlight though was attending the meeting in London of the International Thriller Writers (ITW). This was for the European members, and hopefully it will be the forerunner of many more. The ITW is really an American organisation, and all the emphasis with regard to meetings and “Thriller Fests” has always been American orientated. Now the European arm finally has a real voice.

For a writer like myself: virtually unknown and with very low sales, it meant a great deal to rub shoulders with the big hitters on this side of the Atlantic. I used to be a contributing editor for ITW: something I volunteered to do in the hope it might raise my profile. It didn’t work, although I contributed about seven interviews including C.J.Carver, one of ITW’s higher profile members. She was there on Wednesday, and I was able to have a few minutes chat with her.

The meeting was organised by J.T.Penn (Joanna), and Simon Toyne. Both best-selling authors. Joanna will be one of the guests at the New York Thriller Fest this year. The other speakers were Nick Stephenson, an Amazon top ten author, and Erin Kelly. Erin won the Richard & Judy top book award (big here in UK), and is now working with BBC to novelise the hit TV series ‘Broadchurch’. She currently has four, best-selling novels to her credit. There were other writers there who have achieved much in the book world, and I was able to speak to a couple of them.

The meeting was not about glad handing and paying homage to the big guns: it was more of a celebration; being able to meet as a European contingent. And there was a great deal of information and help from the presenters on how to look at the way in which books are marketed and promoted, and some eye-opening stuff about advertising and promoting. I’m sure people like me came away from the meeting filled with ideas of how to change direction with regard to ‘selling’ ourselves and hence our books.

Nick Stephenson has a free, on-line tutorial about raising your profile and readership levels. I had signed up for this free course of tutorials a week ago. Imagine my surprise when I saw Nick sitting in front of me at the meeting. Naturally I grabbed the opportunity to talk to him. And because he was one of the presenters, I knew I was on safe ground with his tutorial.

All in all the meeting was a resounding success for more than just my own reasons. And as a bonus to my good week; I had an interview published in the local newspaper about my latest book, Past Imperfect. One of the pieces of advice I have taken on board is to try and build a reader platform by starting an e-mail subscription list. I will begin by offering one of my e-books free (permafree), and build from there. Perhaps readers of this blog will keep an eye out for my first offer and sign up. I hope so. Whether this will work as effectively as other writers who have found success this way, I have no idea, but I am going to give it a go. Wish me luck.

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