Jean Hannah Edelstein (part two): traditional media and marketing a book online

The second part of Write for Your Life’s chinwag with author, Jean Hannah Edelstein, where she talks about the trial and error process of marketing her book, Himglish and Femalese.

Back in May, Write for Your Life spoke to Jean Hannah Edelstein, author of Himglish and Femalese: Why Women Don’t Get Why Men Don’t Get Them, published by Preface, about the research process and putting a book proposal together.
Read the first part of the interview here.

This second interview was carried out a couple of weeks ago. While it’s not entirely intentional to post the second part so long after the first, it’s actually quite interesting to find out what’s happened in the intervening months.


So Himglish and Femalese has been out a few months now – how’s it going?

It’s going well, I think, but of course ‘well’ is quite relative. What I’ve found quite interesting is that everyone asks me how many copies I’ve sold, which is kind of a veiled way of saying, ‘how much money have you made?’

Hilarious. While it’s not on the bestseller list, I’ve gotten very warm feedback from many readers, developed a good blog following and had some good press, including internationally.

So overall, while I have not yet achieved my dream of retiring to a Mauritian beach village, I think this has been a very good experience for a first book.

How have you found the process of ‘marketing’ your work?

The marketing process has been interesting – to a large extent it’s been very personality-driven, and I think that’s interesting – the extent to which authors now have to be personable and approachable and selling themselves as well as the book, so to speak.

It all feels very personal, which I don’t mind because I’m quite extroverted, but I think it must be quite a challenge and a frustration for writers who aren’t.

Have your efforts to publicise the book generally been web-based?

My personal efforts have been very much web-based, particularly with my blog and Twitter, but also in terms of answering interviews via email (ha ha!) and direct emailing.

And of course my brilliant book trailers – we’re going to make another one for the paperback release and I am very excited to work with the actors and director again.

And traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing has also been important, particularly coverage in print and broadcast media.

The great thing about the internet, of course, is that people who read about the book in, say, the Sunday Times or heard me on the radio could promptly Google the title and order it on Amazon.

I imagine that in days of yore before this was possible, good intentions to buy a book might have fallen astray in the time between someone hearing about it through traditional media and then actually getting to a bookshop.

Basically, traditional media is still very important but it may well have met its match in the digital world.

Tell us more about what you’ve done to market your book online.

I think the thing that I have found most interesting has been establishing a web presence.

My book absolutely is targeted towards people who are heavy web users (e.g. women between the ages of 18 and 35, approximately) so it was very important to put myself out there.

It’s been trial and error as well, of course. One thing that I’ve found interesting is that my personal blog remains more popular than my Himglish and Femalese blog.

I think that this may be because it is a bit more natural and off-the-cuff and to whatever extent my readers are interested in finding out about me as a person, they get it there.

So though I temporarily shut that blog down when I launched the Himglish and Femalese one I think that was actually a mistake (which happily I quickly rectified).

What’s next for Himglish and Femalese?

Well, first of all I think it’s important to note what an excellent gift it makes for Christmas. And then the mass-market paperback edition will come out in early February, just in time for Valentine’s Day – which is handy, of course, because there’s no time like Valentine’s Day to highlight confusion between the sexes.

Hopefully we will be mounting a suitably romantic event to tie in with the launch of that edition – keep your eye on for details.

6 Comments 23 November 2009 Reply

Hey Iain,
Thanks for posting the interview. It’s always encouraging to get the inside scoop on the process from folks who have done or are doing it.


Anonymous 23 November 2009 Reply

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Iain Broome, Persia Walker. Persia Walker said: An interview with Jean Hannah Edelstein (Part two) | Write for …- His first novel is called A is for Angel… […] 23 November 2009 Reply

@George Absolutely I couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing like first-hand experience when it comes to working out what’s what. 24 November 2009 Reply

Good interview…I was particularly interested in the popularity of Jean’s personal blog compared to her Himglish one. I do generally prefer personal ones to those that are centred around a product because I guess writers tend to try and stick more faithfully to a particular subject whereas it is often the diversions that are the most interesting.
I’d be interested how much of the digital marketing Jean did by herself and to what degree she was helped out by the publisher/PR company. Did they help to drive traffic to the videos for example? My guess would be that Jean probably did pretty much everything on the digital side but may be wrong! 27 November 2009 Reply

Good interview!
I’ll definitely be getting a paperback copy for my ex for valentine’s day. 27 November 2009 Reply

@thesophie The perfect present for an ex, no doubt!

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