The New Richard & Judy Show
Nearly every fiction author I know (and I suspect those I don’t), have wished to appear on the Richard & Judy show because of the huge boost to sales of their books and a vastly expanded readership this brings. Now with Cactus TV, the production company behind Richard & Judy, moving the programme to UKTV this autumn writers and publishers are wondering if the programme will have the same impact as when it was on mainstream TV. Managing Director of Cactus, Amanda Ross, obviously believes it will.
In a recent gathering of publishers and retailers to the Cactus studios last week she unveiled her grand plans. Obviously I wasn’t invited to the party being a writer, but I have cribbed some interesting figures from the Bookseller Magazine article about viewing and buying patterns as a result of R&J according to research conducted by BML.
41% of people buying R&J titles did so because they saw them in shops, which means the books were stickered as a R&J choice and displayed in all their R&J glory. 23% quoted "recommendation" as the deciding factor.
In fiction, however, only 28% chose a title because of shop browsing and only 9% bought on recommendation. The majority (30%) said they had bought a title because they had read a previous one by the author, whereas only 5% of R&J buyers quoted that as the main reason, and only 6% of R&J titles were bought because they had been mentioned on TV. So there is hope for fiction writers not featured on R&J.
It takes a while for a new writer to get established and build readership and many well known authors did not become that until book number six, seven, eight or ten. The Suffocating Sea is the third Inspector Horton marine mystery, but my fifth novel so I'm getting there.
But to return to the new "Richard & Judy" show. It will, according to Amanda Ross, be prime-time and accompanied by high-profile poster, print, and TV advertising campaigns when it is launched in October. There will also be three repeats during the week, and a possible deal with an Australian broadcaster. Plus a brand new book club with the Daily Mail.
So publishers are now getting in their submissions for inclusion on the programme (although I don’t think my publisher will go for this) and retailers (the big ones) will be planning their R&J promotions but the jury is still out on whether this will be as successful as their forerunner.
And just in case Amanda, Richard or Judy or anyone else from the programme stumbles across my blog, I thought I'd showcase my books. Well, you never know...
Perhaps I could nobble Amanda Ross, bribe or cajole her? But in the meantime, for many writers, like me, I am pleased to say that my books sell steadily through word-of-mouth recommendation, online marketing and recommendation, talks, book signings, press coverage in local and regional newspapers and national magazines, and through building new readers from library borrowing. Which reminds me it’s time to visit my local library - no, not to check the shelves to see how many people are borrowing my books, but to return those novels I've just finished reading.