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SPEAKER NIGHT, Grahame Anderson – Wednesday 10th April 2024

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Self-publishing to Mainstream by way of Cats and AI

Ayr Writers’ Club members were treated to an entertaining evening in the company of Grahame Anderson, whom many of us know as the current president of the Scottish Association of Writers. Grahame gave us a useful insight into how, by dint of a bit of savvy marketing, a self-published book may be picked up by a mainstream publisher.

He gave us an amusing montage of his interests, early career, and family (including the cat standing in observation mode on the garden fence, keeping an eye on the neighbours) and said that his writing career only began at the age of 50. While his earlier careers in printing, publishing, and web-marketing clearly gave him a distinct edge when it came to marketing strategy, he felt disadvantaged in the area of the nuts and bolts of writing. However, joining Greenock Writers set him on the right path, though his first view of them, dressed in togas and ankle socks, nearly put him off for life (don’t ask).

He attempted various genres leading up to full length works. The book that gave him most success, ‘The Best Seat in the Universe,’ was written in response to a problem his son had with a manipulative girlfriend. He describes this book as ‘a self-help book in story form,’ and it took him five years to complete.

When promoting a self-published book, Grahame’s best tips were:

  • Think of it as a business
  • Be in charge of your own brand, beginning with your own website. Attract followers to an e-mail newsletter with free downloads, building up a mailing list.
  • Advertising is only part of marketing. Be prepared to spend and lose a little at first, but don’t spend more than you can afford.
  • Marketing is a numbers game. Only about 3% of your output will result in a sale, so the larger your following, the more sales.

And AI? Grahame says don’t be afraid of it. It can be a useful tool in generating marketing copy, including images, but is not innovative, being totally reliant on information given. We shall never be able to forget the images generated of Kirsty as a ‘swashbuckling wordsmith!’

Thank you, Grahame, for an enjoyable and thought-provoking evening.

Maggie Bolton

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