Thanks, first of all, for clicking on whatever link brought you here. The quest for the perfect book marketing strategy goes on, and now that I’m five books in to a so-far prolific writing career, I am almost convinced that attracting people to read your literary genius is virtually impossible. Of the five Unashamed Football Novels I have now had published via Fair Play Publishing, only one of those is a storyline based upon women’s football. And, despite that book being a rollicking read about a female player who makes it to the Matildas team for the World Cup in our own country, a book packed with excitement and surprises, a ground-breaking insight into the women’s game that is the number one topic in Australia in 2023, that book remains the lowest-selling book of them all. I just don’t understand.
Anna Black – This Girl Can Play is something different. It is a storyline for adults, it discusses topics that would normally be off-limits, and, while there is time taken to set the scene and make sure the reader has at least an idea of how women’s football works, when the action gets underway, this is a book that will take the reader on a fantastic journey, and you will not want to put the book down.
Don’t take my word for it. There are reviews out there, and they are unfaltering in their positivity. Women’s football aficionado Kieran Yap writes for Edge of the Crowd in a fantastic piece here, and the novel is in good company. Freelance football journalist Sha Nen, writing for Front Page Football here, gives a thumbs up for the short, intense chapters and the interactive QR codes throughout the book. Sports journalist Stuart Thomas enjoys the fact that the story has not steered away from some sensitive topics and meets them head on. Read his article here at Sporting News. There are reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and on Football Book Reviews here. The feedback is so positive that work is underway on a second women’s football novel, and if there is demand, a follow-up to This Girl Can Play to see what happens to our hero next.
However, the uptake so far is minimal. As a fledgling author, any book sale is a bonus and is not an expectation. Positive (or even critical) feedback for the book is worth so much more than a sale, and any income from book sales goes straight out of the door anyway, sending copies to key members of the women’s football community in the hope that one of them will take the time to read the story and get excited. Receiving a royalty statement from Fair Play Publishing continues to demonstrate that the stories about men’s football (there are now four Jarrod Black novels) are where the interest remains. How I would love to change that, especially with the FIFA Women’s World Cup just around the corner.
I have often wondered too whether the general public actually read books these days. I have a pile of football books on my bedside table that continues to grow, and it is rare that I will get time to consume a book before I hit the hay. When I do, I always wonder why I don’t do it more. The message from your mobile phone telling you how much time you’ve spent on it on a daily basis is quite telling. That’s why we have eBooks, and there are those who would prefer to read their books on a device instead of in paperback form. I understand that, and the book has always been available in that format. What is more, Anna Black – This Girl Can Play also comes in AudioBook form here. Kate Bright, herself involved in the world of high-performance athletes, narrates the book on Audible, almost eight hours of storyline that would get you through any car trip and some more. As the first Fair Play Publishing book to make it to audiobook format, that demonstrates the faith that the publisher has in the story, and I would love to see more uptake there too.
You will quite possibly have noticed quite an aggressive campaign on social media to get the word out. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have had very frequent posts regarding the Anna Black book, to the detriment of all the other books I have written. As a member, Sydney FC gave me exclusive access to the women’s squad to promote the book when it first came out two years ago, Matildas superstars such as Sam Kerr and Alex Chidiac have taken the time to pose for photographs, a number of people in the national squad set-up have received copies as have various members of the media. Football Australia have not acknowledged it yet, nor have FIFA. Whilst I don’t expect any of them to read the book, I just want it to be in their consciousness. One day, one of the Matildas players will find the book when they’re packing, take it on one of their numerous long-haul flights and will demolish it in the time it takes to get from Sydney to Singapore. They will love it so much that they’ll not stop talking about it, they’ll recommend it to their teammates and that will be how it kicks off. See, I’m a fiction writer. Until then, I’d love a like and a share on any of the posts I put on social media, and give me a follow.
I’ll be seeing you all at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in July. Look out for the Anna Black shirt that I’ve worn religiously for the last two years at Matildas games, if it is still in one piece by then. I’ll be in the active area for the Matildas games as always, come and say hello. The book is at it’s peak relevance right now, and right up to the end of the tournament. Stay tuned as I try my best to promote this game-changing women’s football novel, and I welcome any feedback or suggestions on how the book could be promoted in a more effective way, as well as any positive input you can give on social media. Thanks for reading, I’d love your help!