Marketing, Glasgow Style.
I know a thing or two about marketing. Literally, a thing or two; which is not ideal for someone attempting to flog a book in an overcrowded market. However, I’m doing it on my terms, my rules, and the outcome be damned. I mean that with some drama; clearly, I want to succeed.
Where does one start, and how do you choose your strategy? Aside from the all-important friends and family social-media route (already in hand), where do you plant your flag and say, ‘Hey, look at me, I’m trying to be the next big thing?’ Pitching your product to strangers is never easy, but I knew one place that suited my unusual thought processes. A pub may be the last place you’d expect to see someone selling books, but the place I had in mind isn’t your standard, sticky carpet tavern.
West of the M8, on Old Dumbarton Road, there is a craft beer shop. I’ve been a regular customer at the Grunting Growler since it opened. The owner, Jehad, is not just a nice guy; he’s an exemplary human being. And I thought, who better to approach about a marketing lead than my liquid vice-dealer? He couldn’t say no, not if I keep buying his beer.
As I had hoped, Jehad agreed to putting up a poster that I had carefully drafted using Canva. Better, he suggested a tabletop stand. I had already considered that idea, but rejected it myself for being too presumptuous; it was fantastic to hear him say it. Jehad agreed to the idea without condition, but I felt morally compelled to purchase some beers even though it wasn’t beer day. I’m lying, every day is beer day. Initial job done, I skipped off home in the cranky old Ibiza and celebrated with my DIPA friend.
With some tweaking to my design, I ordered and received my shiny new A4 tabletop stand. This is my first physical promotional work. With a smidge of hesitation, I returned to the Grunting Growler and showed Jehad my new wares. This is its new home. Aren’t they all lovely?
The Grunting Growler’s patrons aren’t the standard ‘drink-until-you-drop’ crowd. Many of them sit in the comfy space and oftentimes they read things. I thought; why not my things? So, I also gave Jehad a shop copy. All that is required for this to work is for one or two people to notice. One or two curious minds among all the regulars to pick up my book in the Growler. If they turn the pages, I’m sure they’ll engage with my fantasy world. At 130,000 words (310 large pages with small print), Hammer & Glass is a long read, and unless Glasgow’s famous speed-reading alcoholic, Shuggy McSophisticated, is reading it, it might tempt those interested to visit my author site and purchase a copy for themselves. If I get that response, these civilised connoisseurs might feel motivated to spread the word on their own social-media channels. This is my take on marketing, Glasgow style. Set little literary fires in places I know, and hope the chattering wind catches the flame. Spreading small ideas in the hope they become something bigger.
If positive things happen, I could even do a signing at the Growler. And by signing, I mean I could go there, drink for hours, and throw signed copies of my book at people disinterested in epic fantasy. It is a niche genre, after all; made more unique by the immediate style of prose and the avoidance of slobbering monsters, magic, and tired facsimiles of Tolkien’s lore.
My adventure continues and I’d love for you to keep tagging along. Bring some friends—get them to sign up to my mailing list. One day I might be famous and you’ll regret not being involved at the start. What if I throw an extravagant party and you don’t get the invite; wouldn’t you feel distraught? There would be sumptuous cakes and everything.
Special thanks go to Jehad for his support. If you like this blog post—please share it. And if you’re local to Glasgow, go visit the Grunting Growler.