About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

Barking at Bookshops

When I wrote Their Cancer – Your Journey it was my first book. I was a very good girl and did some research in local bookshops to see how books on cancer were represented – simple answer, they weren’t. The only book with the word cancer in the title was ‘Anticancer – A New Way of Life’ – which is basically a nutrition book. I spoke to a member of staff in one shop, who told me they did not buy in cancer books as they were felt to be ‘too depressing’ to have on display. So any efforts put into marketing that book to bookshops were definitely ‘barking up the wrong tree’.
But this time might be different. Every bookshop has a Mind, Body, Spirit section, so I thought it was worth a go to see how I would represent this book to a bookshop. My first attempt was truly awful as it was all about what the reader would get out of the book. Then I had a reality check – the bookshop cares nothing about that, only whether it will sell! So this is my second attempt at a pitch to a bookshop :
“Spiritual development books cover many different ideas and methodologies. Each reader may be interested in a selection of the approaches on offer. What they all have in common is friends, family and colleagues who may not think about life the same way. This applies to many forms of alternative healing as well as spiritual exploration, all of which are growing in popularity but growing more slowly in acceptance from society at large. Every customer buying from the Mind, Body, Spirit section is a potential reader of this book because it will help them resolve the conflicts that arise from the difference between how they think and what is still considered the ‘accepted norm’ in society.”
I’m sure this still needs a lot of work (especially as I don’t really know what a bookshop buyer would expect to see in a pitch) but it was an interesting exercise to carry out. It made me think that I might want to approach bookshops about carrying this book – and that I might need more research before I do so.


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