Archive for December, 2015

Media tart

It’s been a really busy fortnight.

At Uttoxeter on the 8th there was by far the smallest crowd I’ve ever seen there, but I signed quite a few books – many of which had already been purchased by their annual members.  For the second consecutive meeting I was interviewed in the parade ring by the compere Tim Peters, who did the same when one or two of my previous books were launched.  Not for the first time I admired his skill.  With minimum warning or preparation he asks intelligent questions of his interviewees that give them a chance to communicate their subject in the best possible light.

Unfortunately I couldn’t go to the Friday 18th meeting, where there was a markedly bigger attendance.

I did a local radio interview about a month ago, and now it seems another station is interested in talking to me.  It looks like there’s a possibility of excerpts from the book being broadcast or discussed over the span of a Monday to a Friday. Nothing is fixed yet, though.

A piece about me appeared in the Hoofington Post page of last Sunday’s Racing Post, which was very welcome.  My worst enemy couldn’t accuse me of wanting to seek the limelight, but when it comes to my books I believe there can’t be too many plugs!

The book review in the Post is anxiously awaited.  These used to appear on quiet weekdays, and you never knew when they’d turn up, but nowadays I get the impression they’re confined to the Sunday paper.  For all I know it may have been in today’s, but I haven’t had a chance to go to a newsagent and check.

Sending books to people on my old mailing list – and the admin like getting stamps, banking cheques, writing thank-you notes, travelling to a pillar box with a wide enough opening to post each parcel and recording all of that – takes time. I haven’t got too many in stock now and on one hand I hope they’ll last till I’m next in Uttoxeter, but on the other it’d be nice to need some more before then.

Aside from the Uttoxeter book, I’ve done three separate racecard articles in the last week for other courses and I was asked to do a rough “timeline” of notable events in the history of Windsor racecourse as some very early marketing of their 150th anniversary is being planned. I am now composing text for the Windsor book, but not quite as much as I’d like, for the reasons described above!

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Selling Uttoxeter

Two weeks have passed since the launch of The History of Uttoxeter Races and today I’ve been busy putting books into envelopes and sending them to reviewers and people who deserve a free copy for the help they gave me in writing it.

Launch days always turn out to have some unexpected features.  Looking back at this one, I had expected to be signing books between a couple of the early races and then maybe again between a later pair.  Instead I was on duty from half an hour before the first to half an hour after the last.  Happily for me Tom, a member of catering staff had been seconded to sit by me and take cash and give change while I signed the books.  We were also given one of those little machines that take card payments, which caused a little anxiety as neither of us knew how to operate it.  Fortunately everyone who wanted a book paid cash.  The first few people that came up to us said they were enjoying the book, which was a little puzzling until it became clear that they were racecourse staff who had already got hold of some copies.

Over three hours sitting at a table waiting for customers may sound dull, but the afternoon flew by, especially as Tom was interesting to talk to.  And we moved around a bit; we started and finished in a large room with a Christmas market.  Lots of stallholders were selling what I call Fancy Goods, a term which seems to have gone out of fashion.  Later we had half an hour in the annual members’ room, and then we popped up in the betting hall before returning to base camp.  A press photographer came and took dozens of pictures of me and the book for the local papers.  So tied was I to signing that I didn’t see a single race, apart from a very distant view of a TV screen in the indoor market.

Since that day I’ve dealt with other media enquiries, including an interview with a Racing Post journalist that I hoped would be included in today’s Sunday supplement, but there’s no sign of it.  Maybe it’ll appear midweek or in next Sunday’s paper.  The book review itself is still a few weeks away at best.

I have scoured my records to find about eighty people to write to or email alerting them to the existence of the book.  That may not sound very many, but when writing to previous customers about one of my earlier books I decided to strike people off the mailing list if they didn’t reply; we all get enough unwanted mail as it is.

I’m back at Uttoxeter on the 8th hoping a completely different set of racegoers to last time will attend, and that they will all want to buy the book.  With 197 pages and numerous photos, it is the perfect present for racing fan or those interested in Uttoxeter history.  It’s available for £15.45 including postage and packing from the racecourse, or £12.95 if buying in person.

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