Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Book Marketing Tips From Published Authors (2)

Posted on: November 12, 2008

Thanks to Lucy Fox for this contribution. I’ve included it in the ‘Tips From Published Authors’ series as next month she will be one, thanks to YWO. 


Hi Allan, Just popped in to add a couple of things I found to help market our books.

Before I add them, with regards to the article asking why we don’t ‘cut out the middle man’ and go direct to Lightning Source, I have this to say. From what I can gather, only publishers, NOT authors are allowed to sign into their site, let alone try and get anything published off their own bat, and, as authors,not publishers, we most certainly aren’t allowed to buy an ISBN.

Legend will be doing a great deal more than ‘just getting an ISBN’ for us. There is masses of work to be done before Lighting gets hold of our precious babies. Especially with regard to word submissions, as Lightning do not accept books in this format. There are also many different covers to be generated for those who haven’t submitted their own.

Also getting back to cost. £39.99 is nothing when you consider that YWO/Legend will be supplying the obligatory library copies. Other companies charge £50 just for that service. If we were eligible publishers and bought our own single ISBN it would cost over £100!

Anyhoo, that’s my ha’pence worth. Here are a couple of things that may be of interest:
Quite a lot of info links from this page.

One way to promote your writing is through book signings. Here are some suggestions:

– Develop a strategy.

 – Collect reviews,blurbs and reader comments.   These may get the interest of some bookshop managers.

–  Gather names, addresses, and phone numbers From the Internet of stores you think would be interested in your book . 

 – Speak to the  bookstore managers by telephone. Tell them that you are local author, and that your book is in their system.
– Ask if you can arrange a book signing. Have your  ISBN ready, and your diary- the manager or their in-house worker will organise the event.

As my book is for children, I will be approaching schools. I have the invaluable help of a teacher who is going to give me instuctions on how to go about it. I’ll pass it on when I know.

Also, try this link- 
I’m still looking for ways to get noticed.  I have lived in quite a few places, so I will see if I can plug it there.  I’m even having my sis promote it in the States.  She works for one of the biggest law firms in Chicago and is going to put it on their network that goes around the world.  I’m going to send a copy to the truck stop Dysarts in Maine and the motel in Prince Edward Island where I wrote a load of it before I got on the plane home.  Also, I must fish out the example press release I found on Dan Poynter’s website.  Maybe you could go and look at his site yourself.

and this blog

Toodle Pip and keep up the good workxx

Good luck to all in your endeavours.


17 Responses to "Book Marketing Tips From Published Authors (2)"

I’ve no idea on the contract but you CAN buy an ISBN number. That’s exactly what I did, otherwise I’d never have got into Waterstones. If you want to know more about this, read my post on publishing tips for authors (1).



(Allan, my computer appears to have mangled my two other attempts to post this, as sections of my text are missing: I’d appreciate it if you’d delete the two above, and just leave this one standing as with any luck it should be mostly accurate, unlike the other two! Thank you.)

There are a couple of misconceptions in the above post which I’ll address, if I may.

“only publishers, NOT authors are allowed to sign into [Lightning Source’s ] site, let alone try and get anything published off their own bat”

That’s just not true. Anyone can publish through Lightning Source: I know of many people who have done so.

“and, as authors,not publishers, we most certainly aren’t allowed to buy an ISBN.”

Again, not true. Even my cat could buy a block if ISBNs and her writing is abysmal. It is true that you can’t buy them singly, though: the smallest number you can buy is a block of ten, which costs about £106.

“YWO/Legend will be supplying the obligatory library copies. Other companies charge £50 just for that service. ”

That’s good. I’ve seen the contracts involved in this deal and nowhere was any mention of author copies made. If what you say is true, it appears that they’ve now improved at least part of their contract.

As for that £50 charge for author copies: I’ve not heard of ANY decent publisher making any charge at all for the intial set of author copies. Most supply between 10 and 50 copies on publication AT NO COST to the author (my latest contract gives me 15, I think). The only companies which charge are vanity presses, who make their money out of their authors, not from selling to readers.

As for Parapublishing: yes, there’s some useful information there but there’s also a lot of misinformation. Many of the people who are listed there as having initially self-published did no such thing; and much of the information it provides about commercial or mainstream publishing is off, too. Just be careful with it.

‘Library copies – 1 copy must be sent to the British Library and 5 to The copyright Libraries Agency – This is a legal requirement under British Law- £50’

I cannot quote my source in case of law probs but this is copied from a prominent company offering POD publishing.

In fact, this company have their facts slightly wrong as the British library is the only one you are legally obliged to send a copy, but you must send to the other five if they ask for them as it says in the official leaflet, and I quote-

‘Publishers are obliged to send one copy of each of their
publications to the British Library within one month of
publication. The other five libraries have the right to claim
items. In practice many publishers deposit their publications
with all six libraries without waiting for a claim to be made.

As for Lightning source I am going by what happens when I try to register. This is what I get-

Thank you for your interest in Lightning Source.

If you are a publisher…

… and want to become a customer please proceed to our New Account page.

Please note that Lightning Source does not provide design, file work, editorial, promotional or marketing services. These are solely the responsibility of the publisher.

If you are not a publisher…

… and require publisher services, like design, editorial and marketing services, please contact an author services company

Ergo, I took this to mean that I can not register to publish my own work as an author. So what’s the secret? Is there a back door? Not being ockard just genuine puzzlement. It’s frustrating to think one is finding useful info only to realise one is on the wrong tack.

With regard to ISBN, I have taken another look at Neilson Agency and it mentions nothing about authors, only publishers. I have sent an email to ask them. I can’t find Dominic’s tips. Help Dom!

Quick! Someone give me a mine detector for this field I have entered!

Well, folks, I had a very quick reply from a lovely lady at Neilsons about ISBNs and this is the answer-

Anyone that is paying for a publication to be produced is classed as the publisher, even if this is the author themselves.

This leaves one slightly less confused writer. So if at some future date I want to buy ten, I know what to do! That day will never come. 😉

There is a lesson to be learned here. Don’t waste time searching for stuff that someone (ie Jane, ta luv) has already told you the answer to! But, if I didn’t question things I’d be a sheep, I guess. Or a Jehovas witness or Mormon! Many have tried…

Know what you mean about wasting time Gwenda, and I think that that is the key as to why so many of us have gone for the YouWriteOn offer- we could probably have found other ways in which to publish and keep more of the money, but it’s a case of having the time to trawl through all of the information now available.

I just googled ‘ISBN cost’. There are 50,100,000 answers to that. One of them gives the following address:

The UK ISBN Agency
12 Dyott Street
London WC1A 1DF
Phone:(+44 )0207420 6008

The ISBNs are in a block of ten, and as you say, we don’t want ten. Am I being simple, or is it better to pay over £100 for ten ISBNs when you may not use nine of them, or £40 for one and allow YouWriteOn to make a profit?

At you can get a single ISBN and digital barcode for $55.00.

Which leads me to ask… does anyone know if YouWriteOn also provide the barcode?

Allan, the posts by Glenda and the comments are very useful.It would help if YWO give us – the 5000 free book authors a clear summary of their process. Maybe they are working it all out as this is a new venture.

I did not send mine by PDF format or design my cover should I start worrying now?Bit late I guess.

I loved your plan for marketing.Will start the work on it. Thanks for such a useful blog.

Thanks for your encouragement glascot. I don’t think you should have any worries- it sounds like the transfer from my computer to theirs caused my page order to change, which they spotted and alerted me to, so I would assume that if they are working on your book and haven’t contacted you that everything is OK. Anyone who hasn’t designed their own cover will have one provided. If you are asked for PDF and haven’t used it before just follow the suggestions on my blog- I hadn’t a clue what PDF was until this year, and if I can use it anyone can.
As an aside, Huw Langridge has made an interesting observation about YWO contacting authors which can be found on my ‘Latest News Post.’ Let me know how your planning goes, and if anything comes out of it that you could share,

I can’t prepare any publicity material unless I see the cover, price and get an ISBN number. Ted in the YWO site says that some have had advance orders of 100- 200.Is that in bookshops, local radio I wonder?

Is it wise to send a press release without knowing the details of the book? Iam waiting till I see the finished product.

I did read Huw ‘s L’s post. Interesting.

Your blog is alwys enlighteneing.Keep up the good work.

I feel the same about not being quite ready to market. My main tasks at the moment are mustering as many social networking sites, blogs, websites etc. as possible, then when I get the link it will be added to all of those- hence the usefulness of the marketing pyramid.

£50 to send the books? Blimey, daylight robbery. No offence but I did that for free, postage was what, £3? At the time…

Don’t forget the internet is good, but word of mouth and using your imagination to think of marketing ideas is what you MUST do. The real world can be harnessed effectively, but remember to know your market. GP Taylor went into schools, he focussed purely on the kids and won them over by being funny and also scary. That doesn’t mean to say you have to do that, play to your strengths, we all have them.

I used the dyslexic tac and I used my age, plus teaching as a means to get more PR. But my primary forms of marketing were library book signings, now that wasn’t really an effective use of imagination, it was just a brute force approach, which did work.

One other thing to say, is if like me you are not an ideas person, find someone who is and become there friend, get them to work with you and you’ll soon have tons of ideas.



Gwenda, thanks for clearing up my confusion about library copies and author copies–I should have realised what you meant, sorry. Can you tell me where you got this quote from:

“Library copies – 1 copy must be sent to the British Library and 5 to The copyright Libraries Agency – This is a legal requirement under British Law- £50”

Because if I’ve got it right, it implies that YWO is making its writers fund its own obligations as a publisher, to the tune of £50 a book. Even Publish America doesn’t do that. I do hope I’m wrong.

As for ISBNs: you might only want one, but there is nothing to stop you buying ten and selling nine to your writing friends, so you can all get your ISBNs for a tenner each.

I’ll be blogging about press releases soon (I have a book to finish first), but I’d advise against sending any out until you know all the details about your books, because you can’t publicise something that you don’t know. If that makes any sense!

Ooops. My lack of reading comprehension is racing away with me today: it’s not YWO Glenda’s talking about but another anonymous POD publisher. Lord, I’m doing badly lately!

Thanks Jane, will find the info on press releases most useful. I can’t understand how people have got upto 200 pre-orders when no one knows how much the books will cost yet- have they put orders in to YWO (if so I haven’t seen anything about how to do this) or are they buying the books themselves? If any of these people are reading this I would like to hear from them. I am taking no such steps until I get the green light from Ted, then it will be all systems go.

Hi Allan;

A very happy New Year, 2009, to you and your family, especially the new additional member.

I believe my book is about 1/2 published, no image on yet. How’s your’s coming along?

One additional tip you might mention is Amazon’s great free offer to have our books available in digital format for use on their ever becoming popular Kindle Reader.

Best Regards;


Hi Wally,
good to hear from you, and a Happy New Year to you and yours too!
I think my book is at about the same stage. Amazon Kindle- that’s interesting- where did you get that info? I’ve been a bit of a sceptic about e-books, etc. but I do hear that kindle and similar readers are catching on. Have you seen one? I haven’t- they are supposed to be a lot easier on the eye than a PC screen.
I was told that ‘Tasting the Wind’ would be available first or second week in January. Was e-mailed by Paul Ekert today, who has been quite critical of YWO, but is very pleased with the quality of his book, which he says looks just like something from the shelf of a bookstore.
So fingers crossed,
best wishes,

Hi Allan;

Re Amazon Kindle, please visit, for all the ‘bumpf’ on it. No, I haven’t used it and only seen it in pictures. But you are right, it seems to be catching on. The good thing about it is that, unlike a laptop PC, it’s a small device that one can read on planes, trains and busses and in bed too. Also (and why not?) readers may use it while sitting on the John as well, just like a paperback.

I have ordered my book from Amazon, at the premium shipping cost via a courier! I must say that the YWO/Legend prices are very competitive when compared to other self published PODs. That was one reason why I went for their deal, and am glad/relieved that the prices are low enough for us ‘commoners’ to be able to afford it.

I am waiting to hear when we would be able to order books at our author’s discount. Looks like Ted’s having an extended Xmas/New Year break? God knows he deserves it.

Looking forward to ordering your book soon.

Good luck in your ‘joint-venture’ with HPRW!


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