Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Archive for March 2009

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 Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsTasting the WindProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

If you click Here you can see the  current top ten bestsellers from authors published by YouWriteon.

At the time of writing (Sunday 29th March 2009, 18.50pm) The list reads as follows:

A Dangerous Windfall by Thomas Dean

Safe by Kate Hanney

The Frog and the Scorpion by Steevan Glover

Great Short Stories by YouWriteOn.Com Writers by YouWriteOn.com Writers

Tasting the Wind by Allan Mayer

The Stone by Claire Nolan

Ordinary Monsters by Paul Ekert  

Chasing Dreams by Aaron Jennings

 The Chronicles of Joya by Liane Carter
 
Tuppenny Hat Detective by Brian Sellars
 
At present YouWriteOn have 375 books on Amazon. A Dangerous Windfall has held first place for some time now. Having been at number one, The Frog and the Scorpion stays firmly at number three.
So what have these authors done to get into the top ten?
 
Earlier this week I noticed that Aaron Jennings’ Chasing Dreams was rising quickly, and maintaining high rankings, so googled it, to see if the web held any clues. According to the tenets of neurolinguistics it is better not to look up  to successful people, but to look into them. So what has Aaron Jennings been up to?
The Google results demonstrated two things: the first of these was internet presence. Aaron has planted his book on so many sites, the trawl producing a long list of varied references to Chasing Dreams.
The second- and perhaps the most successful strategy, is that he has identified a niche audience. I haven’t read his book, but apparently there is a surfing theme, and it is clear from some of the sites where his book appears that he has directed his marketing at the surfing community.
 
Kate Hanney has featured on the YWO website- she has had copies stocked at Waterstone’s because the manager was impressed with the price of her book. This highlights the fact that the Amazon rankings only indicate online sales, and may be a hint that if we combine Kate’s success at Waterstone’s with her position on Amazon she is probably YWO’s top selling author. (That is if we discount one author who has bought 1000 copies of their book direct from the publisher.)
 
Liane Carter was one of the first (perhaps the first?) people to feature on the YWO website at a Waterstone’s book signing. She has also invested in her marketing, and is the only YWO author to have a ‘Meet the Author’ video, which appears on her Amazon page.
Thomas Dean, the current number one, also appears on various websites, and has been featured in the Northumberland Gazette.
I can also vouch for the usefulness of the press release. I had fallen to ninth place, and my Amazon ranking was 160,000th. Then my press release appeared in the local newspaper, my ranking shot up to about 11,000th and I went back up to number 5.
 
So how many have been sold?  No idea- the stratistics give no clue. Although I know it not to be the case, the YWO table would look the same if  Thomas Dean had sold only ten copies, Kate Hanney  nine and so on. 
 
I would be interested to hear from any other POD published/ self-published authors about which marketing strategies they have found most successful.
 
Meanwhile, I am expecting to be making a big announcement on this blog sometime soon… watch this space.

It went something like this…

Monday

Kathleen, a colleague of mine in another area said that she wanted to buy my book, but didn’t know how to use Amazon, so I offered to order her a copy.

The day it arrived, I signed it, and asked another colleague, Barbara, to pass it on to Kathleen. 

Tuesday

I was in a multi-agency meeting  at a local day centre. I gave my report, then Kevin, the convenor, asked me if there was anything else. Gripped by the madness that overtakes you when you have a book to sell, I asked if I could steal thirty seconds of the meeting to mention my book, did my ‘Elevator Speach’ and gave out the cards that I keep in my wallet.

Kevin asked if I had any copies of Tasting the Wind with me, because he would gladly buy one.

At that point I thought of the motto: never leave the house without one…

Wednesday

Barbara told me that she had passed the book on to Kathleen, but before doing so had read the prologue.

And she was hooked- could she buy one?

It just so happened that after missing the opportunity the day before I had one in my bag.

I had made a sale.

I was pleased.

But somewhere, deep down, I wonder about my sanity…

 

And thanks to readers of the Chorley Citizen- since appearing in this week’s edition my Amazon rankings have soared. Please drop me a line or say hello if you see me around town.

The Press Release can be seen HERE.

Although I am still waiting for the copies of my book that I ordered from the publisher, a box of ten arrived from Book Depository at the weekend. So now I have them, what am I doing with them?

This seems to be falling into clearly defined categories:

1) Gifts copies

I have written in and given copies to members of my family, and have put one aside for Peter who designed and runs my website. (What do you mean ‘cheapskate’- I’m talking about a signed first edition here!)

2) Technophobe copies

This may come as a shock to you, using the internet as you do, but  you will have among your friends and acquaintances some people who do not know how to buy from Amazon, and don’t want to wait the upto four weeks for W.H. Smiths to get hold of it. So I have sold a couple of copies this way.

3) Review Copies

Now although I come from Stoke-on-Trent and live in Lancashire, I must have a spot of Yorkshireman in me somewhere because parcelling up a book and sending it, free of charge, to a total stranger was not an easy thing to do. But you have to speculate to accumulate, because the generation of interest from one positive review should make the sacrifice more than worthwhile. I have sent a review copy to ‘Lancashire Life’ Magazine. When I spoke to the editor he was happy with the fact that although Tasting the Wind is not on a Lancashire theme, the fact that sales will help a Lancashire charity would qualify it for their interest.

4) Shop Copies

I say ‘shop’ rather than ‘bookshop’ because there is no reason why your book can’t be sold from any  venue- particularly if it is thematically linked. I spoke to the manager of my local W.H. Smiths the other day, who informed me that she has a budget for local authors- but that at the moment it is overspent. I’ll be going back there later in the year, but for now will be approaching the shop belonging to the charity which I support.

5) Cheeky copies

I call them that because I have noticed a tendency in myself recently (brought on by an obsessive compulsion to market my book) to be a little… cheekier than usual.

I can best describe this in an anecdote of my week so far….

Which I will tell in my next blog.

I Subscribe to a forum called the PMLD Network. In my work it is a very useful resource for ideas and issues affecting people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities.

A post appeared on there recently which made me want to smile and cheer. It is a celebration of… well I’ll let you make your own mind up: 

 

“Heavy Load are also releasing their first ever single on 16th March – hoping to be the first disabled punk band to make it into the top 40!!

Released on DVD 30th March 2009

HEAVY LOAD is East Sussex’s answer to the Ramones, a punk outfit subject to the inflammatory mix of ego, fantasy, and desire that fuels any emerging band. They’re also, uniquely, made up of musicians, of whom three of the five members have learning disabilities, which makes the band’s survival a precarious negotiation between two different worlds: on the one hand the institutional timetable of day centres, work placements and social workers; on the other the chaotic slacker life of rehearsal rooms, studios and gigs.

Specialising in thrash covers of late 70’s punk – or punk versions of recent pop, Heavy Load is unlikely to have a top ten hit. ‘We like to take a classic song’ says guitarist Mick, ‘and crucify it’. Their cacophonic reinterpretation of Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head possesses a frenzied anarchy that bears no resemblance to the disco original. Their howled version of the Troggs’ Wild Thing adds a psychotic menace that makes you forget that this was once a love song. On stage the band fizz with an energy that belies the expectations the world has of the ‘spaz’ or the ‘moron’ or the ‘idiot’. They survive through a combination of raucous energy, attitude and sheer volume.

Shot over two years, as their STAY UP LATE campaign begins to gain momentum, the film is a comedy of conflicting ambitions capturing the sweat and romance of playing in a band, as they move out of the ghetto of disability.”

To view press release please see  http://www.choiceforum.org/docs/heavyloadpr.pdf

 

How far things have come (not that this is always the case) in our view of people with learning disabilities and in how the aspirations of learning disabled people have changed since the bad old days of institutionalisation.

Or maybe it’s just that us ‘normal’ folk don’t get in the way as much as we used to…

I’d like to think that someone, somewhere in the world has said that recently…

(I’m talking about my book, what do you think I meant?)

I’m at the stage now as a newly published author where I’m starting to get feedback from people who have read my book- some of them friends, others people I have never met who are e-mailing or writing reviews on my Amazon page.

 

It’s a strange feeling. I had clear ideas when I wrote ‘Tasting the Wind’ of what I wanted to convey, and am pleased to say that for the most part that readers seem to be grasping that (which is probably more a statement about the intelligence of my readers than my writing skills.)

 What is amazing me are the themes that some readers are picking out that are clearly there but of which I wasn’t aware during the writing process. I’ve also had comments about scenes which I didn’t think the strongest of the piece, but which some readers found the most memorable.

 

It is also really flattering to hear people talking about my characters by name- characters I have lived with for over a decade- and to hear them referred to as if they actually exist: ‘When Eddie said this…’ ‘When Andrew did that…’ ‘That Martin’s a bit of a lad isn’t he?’

 

I have gone to great lengths to differentiate between myself and Martin, the major protagonist. He is thin and freckly with ginger hair. I am not. He comes from a broken home, I do not. The only comparisons are that in creating Martin I drew upon my experiences of moving to London in the mid- 80s to work in care. I did work in an electronics factory for a short time, but that was in gap years between school, college and university.

 

Writing about situations about which you are passionate is a little like exposing your soul to anyone who cares to look. When writing and publishing you do have to ask yourself if you are happy for absolutely anyone to be given a glimpse into your imagination, and if you can’t cope with that- don’t do it.

 

Similarly, in this world of instant and widespread communication via the internet, people have been finding out the hard way just how public and accessible their jottings are. One man made critical observations on Twitter about Memphis, after he had visited in a business capacity, and this was picked up by his hosts, who were far from impressed. Another man commented about his new job that he was having to balance the size of the pay cheque against hating the work, and the comment was seen by his new employer.

 

So if you are thinking about curling up with Allan Mayer tonight be careful how you phrase it. And don’t put it on Twitter- just send me a personal e-mail… and maybe your phone number….

I received a very apologetic letter from Legend Press yesterday. Apparently my order for ten books never went through (although the money was taken from my account) so it will be another seven days before I receive anything. So not happy- and I know that there are other authors who have experienced similar problems- but at least I got an apology and promise of action.

This means that I have been unable to send out any review copies, which is the next stage of my marketing plan.

Over the past couple of days my Amazon rankings have been falling,  then today they suddenly shot from 167,000th to 19,000th. Either my forage into facebook has worked, or there is a ‘word of mouth’ going on.

Thanks to everyone who has bought ‘Tasting the Wind’ so far (and that’s not just friends and family but people from the States, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.) And thanks for the positive feedback.

If  you go onto the Amazon or Book Depository sites and where you are asked for book title enter ‘YouWriteOn’ you will get a list of YWO published books in order of sales. At the moment ‘Tasting the Wind’ is at position 6 (out of about 350) in both.

Anyone wishing to track the progress of their (or anyone else’s) Amazon rankings can get them e-mailed every hour by going to : http://www.mcqn.com/weblog/are_you_author_want_follow_your_books_rank_amazon

BUT BE WARNED: it can brcome addictive.


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