Pages

Saturday, 12 November 2011

My interview on BBC's You and Yours

Last Friday You and Yours broadcast an item about Amazon and publishing, including a brief interview with a self-published author - me.

A month ago, the Daily Mail Online had an article about Hive, a website set up by Gardners to 'try and stop even more independent bookshops from having to close by allowing people to buy books, e-books and DVDs online put money towards a local bookshop at the same time.' Amazon is depicted as the baddie, responsible for closing bookshops; famously nice Michael Palin supports Hive. (Not a good name, Hive - try looking it up on Google.)

I commented on the article: Like every reader, I want bookshops to flourish. But I'm also a writer, and when I looked up my novels on Hive, they are there but 'not available'. Why? Because I'm a self-published author. My books are available on Amazon. Amazon has enabled me to sell 45,000 books, mostly ebooks, over the past year. But it's virtually impossible to persuade bookshops to stock indie books, even with the full trade discount. So my loyalty remains with Amazon, and that's where I'll continue to buy books.

I was somewhat staggered to see my comment voted the least popular. But then I got a phone call from a You and Yours researcher; they were going to do a piece on Amazon, had seen my comment and wanted me to record an interview.

The BBC is only a thirty minute bike ride from Hoxton. I was taken up in a lift to the fifth floor and a small, sound-proof studio with a window into the room next door where two women controlled the sound. They asked me to keep my hands off the table so the microphone didn't pick up stray noise. Peter White came in. It's strange meeting someone you've often heard on the radio - you feel you know him, but he doesn't know you. His pleasant, relaxed demeanour made me less nervous. He asked me questions, and I remembered to keep my hands in my lap while answering. Then I biked back, thinking of all the things I might have said and didn't.
I missed the programme, as my sister was in London that Friday and I met her for lunch, so I didn't hear it until it was available on BBC iPlayer. I got several emails from friends who'd heard it by chance, and a couple from writers asking my advice. I also sold half a dozen paperbacks of Remix and Replica on Amazon.

It was an interesting experience, and I now feel more confident about doing something similar another time.

23 comments:

  1. As you alreadyt know, I heard you. I thought you were brilliant!

    Best wishes and good luck with your books

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great interview, Lexi. Well done!
    K

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, J and K.

    Whenever I go anywhere I haven't been before, like the BBC, I catch myself thinking this might come in handy for my next novel... Do all writers?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interviews? BBC?

    WOW!!!

    Oooh I wish you'd have said before the event so I'd have tuned in (LOVE my iplayer - worth the licence - truly!!!) and heard you!!

    Well done Lexi!!! Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kitty, I wasn't quite sure they'd use my bit, so I didn't alert everyone. Then I waited until I'd heard it...

    ReplyDelete
  6. It was good to hear you and put a voice with the face. Nicely done. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Norm, that's amazing - I never thought you'd be able to hear it in America. I assumed copyright issues would block it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. As a working TV professional I can assure you it was an excellent interview; authoritive, informative and with not a sign of nerves. I purchased Remix immediately (the power of media publicity) and was encouraged by the programme to set about adapting my first novel ready for uploading. Will need to think seriously about how to market it and spread the word, but many thanks for an inspirational few minutes.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks, Bob, and I hope you enjoy Remix.

    Good luck with your novel. Promotion helps, of course, and the quality of the writing - but some books turn out to be covered in fairy dust, and that's what you really need :o)

    ReplyDelete
  10. It was you!!

    I didn't hear it, but a friend did and said I must find it on iPlayer as she was so impressed! Well done, Lexi.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks, Jo! I think any of us self-published authors could have done that interview. It's a subject we are all passionate about. I was just lucky to be happened upon by the You and Yours researcher.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow, very cool Lexi. I can imagine how nervous you must have been. I'm not sure I would have taken them up on the offer. I'm not very good under the spotlight. It's great that you found this opportunity and took advantage of it. Good for you and congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jamie, you never know till you try. A few years back I was told I'd be making a short speech at an Athenaeum dinner. If I'd been asked rather than told, I'd have refused. Like many people, I was frightened of public speaking. But I'm really pleased I did it, because it wasn't too bad at all, and I now know I can speak in public if anyone wants me to.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very, very cool. Especially as it has boosted paperback sales even a bit. There is something about having the actual book out there that just seems more substantial to me, more "free wandering billboard".

    Now, on to the issue of how I locate your interview. I'm having a terrible time trying to search the BBC iPlayer site. Where do I find your interview?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Alan, have you clicked the link in the first line of the post, 'item'? The Amazon bit is about 16.5 minutes in.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks, Lexi. As my wife will testify, one of the best ways to hide something from me is to make it obvious. You did a great job and I hope the sales impact is very, very good.

    ReplyDelete
  17. LEXI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm hearing your voice - you sound dead posh!! it's brilliant - great discussion - shame amazon didn't turn up to bulk up the discussion too! Yay!!

    Well done you!!

    Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  18. p.s. awww poor librarian is not happy with amazon! LOL! yes I am still listening!!
    x

    ReplyDelete
  19. Fantastic. Someone else emailed me the news. I can't seem to find it though. Do you have a link?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Never mind. You have the link under "item." I blame low blood sugar.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Kitty, I think my voice is normal until I hear it recorded, when I too think it's a bit posh.

    Marion, it's not just you, Alan had low blood sugar too :o)

    ReplyDelete
  22. That is a totally awesome story - going from having the least popular comment on an Internet site to being interviewed by the BBC! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks Marilyn - yes, it's often difficult to tell Triumph from Disaster :o)

    ReplyDelete