Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Archive for the ‘book marketing’ Category

A Crystal Meth True Story.

I have often wondered over the past few months if any of the 400+ books published by YouWriteOn so far would break away from the pack and achieve high sales and sustained Amazon rankings.

This week, I heard that ‘Tweaking the Dream’ by Clea Myers was starting to do exactly that. Since the book was featured in The Sun newspaper it has maintained a consistent position within the top 10,000 books on When I researched the Amazon rankings earlier this year I discovered that a book that could do that would be considered a success by any small publisher.

My first reaction upon hearing about Clea Myers’ success was that it was a cause for celebration for all of us in the YouWriteOn stable. Having said this, any celebration of  ‘Tweaking the Dream’ as a triumph for POD publishing must come second to a far more important triumph: this book is getting the truth out there about the evils of Crystal Meth. It is Clea Myers’ own story about her descent into Hell through her use of the drug, and if any of the YWO books go on to greater things it would be good to know that it is one with such an important message.

You can read the Sun interview here:

Visit Clea’s website here:

I’ve not been able to spend much time blogging recently. In the real world I manage a service for people with profound learning disabilities and am a foster carer. Regardless of how ‘worthy’ that all sounds, I’m actually more of a Homer Simpson than a Ned Flanders, and the idea of lying in a hammock drinking ‘Duff’ beer is most appealing.

So where is all of this leading to… oh yes, I’m short- staffed, over-worked and knackered, so I’m taking a break from my cyberspace activities for the rest of the summer.

(Having said that, in a week or two I may just have to mention my review in the August edition of ‘Lancashire Life’ magazine (circulation 50,000, don’t ya know?))

Until then, I have done a series of  author interviews which you can find on my website at .

I am also reposting on this page my list of ideas for marketing your book, with links to several useful sites. So….



I have spent the last twelve months researching ideas about book promotion.

The fruits of my labours (and advice gratefully received from other writers) can be found below.


The number of ideas and links below may look overwhelming, so before you start to use them you need to formulate a structured marketing campaign. To help you do this I have created a free PDF of useful planning tools which can be downloaded from my website by clicking HERE.    

(Much of the content below has already been included in previous blog posts. New additions are marked with a  )

Another important tip before you set off is to identify your target audience or audiences  . Often in marketing this will refer to such things as age or social class. Another way of finding where your book will be best received is to make a list of the themes of your book, and work out to whom these will appeal. For instance- if you have written a children’s book starring an animal, how about approaching a zoo or wildlife sanctuary to see if it is the sort of thing they sell in their shop. Does your book have geographical settings or themes which would be of interest to people of a particular area?

Once you have planned your strategy and identified your target audience, try some of the ideas below:

1- Not using the internet…

●Contact local bookshops. They may have a policy or even a budget dedicated to supporting local authors. But remember to avoid visiting on Saturdays or at lunchtimes .

● Investigate local groups who may want you to go along as a speaker.

 Make some promotional bookmarks or cards- hand them out, leave them around, always carry a few in your wallet or purse for when someone asks so what are you up to at the moment? I made my own on my computer, with a picture of the book cover on the front, and the details of where to buy it and my website on the reverse.

 Link up with a charity- this is a win-win situation. Offer the charity a cut of your royalties for inclusion in their magazine or newsletter.

● Always have a copy of your book handy- you’d be surprised how many people will ask if they can buy a ‘signed copy.’

Read books on marketing.

 Send a press release to local newspaper(s). Make this about yourself- not your book. This may sound like contrary advice, but you are more likely to get your press release published if it has a human interest angle. (One editor told me that the best press release for a new book is something like: local boy, dyslexic, written off by his school, has now published a book.)

●Contact local radio stations. Like your local paper, they are always looking for content- I know several writers who have done this, and they have never been refused.

● Approach your local library and ask them if they will stock/ help promote your work. Get your friends to request it.

● Approach local book clubs, offer them a chance to ‘Ask the Author.’ 

2- Using the Internet…

There is a wealth of information and lists of sites that you can use on a range of Websites and Blogs. Just Google ‘book marketing’ and ‘book promotion’ and you will come up with enough ideas to last a lifetime.

Visit these sites and get advice from authors who have already been down the same route. Some have newsletters which you can subscribe to.

Contribute to writers’ forums– don’t go on there to announce that you have a book to sell- this will just put people off. Go on to ask questions or contribute, and if you have a blog or website then you will get visits from other forum members.

How about making an audio book on YouTube? This is easily done- all you need is a webcam and microphone (I used a Skype set which only cost me £20.) Just follow the upload instructions on YouTube, and leave details of where your book can be bought. Again, you are guaranteed hits from anywhere on the globe, and if people like what they hear this could even lead to sales.

Have you got a blog? This is free and easy to set up. Write about how you wrote your book, your quest to publish and what has happened since. And don’t forget to Ping! Use a service like ‘Ping My Blog’ or ‘Ping 45’ every time you blog.

Put out an online press release. There are sites where you can do this such as the one set up by wordpress.  Write quality articles for ezine articles and leave links to your other sites. If people like what you have to say they will look you up and maybe even buy your book. 

  E-mail all of your friends and colleagues with information about your book, and get them to email theirs (Keep it with friends and friends of friends to avoid SPAM!)

 Talk about your book on social networking sites such as FaceBook and Twitter. These sites also have groups that might be relevant to what you have written.

And don’t forget the importance of finding your target audience or audiences.  Find groups on social networking sites and elsewhere on the internet that might have an interest in the themes of your book.  This could include interests and hobbies, but it may also be the case that you have written about a geographical area. Does that area have community pages or a FaceBook group?

And what about  business networking sites such as Ecademy and Naymz? As a writer it may come as a surprise to think of yourself as a business- but you have got a product to sell now, haven’t you? So look up some of these sites, get advice from established members who are in PR, and put details about your book and where to find it in your profile.


3-An alphabetical list of places to market your book, to showcase it or to get ideas on book promotion.

I have tried some but not all of these links- so be discerning, especially if any of them ask you for money, and please let me know if you have any bad, or good, experiences.






Is for Confidence coaching…  Work on having a positive mental attitude. Marketing your book will need perseverence- how about getting a confidence coach? I can recommend:



















V          Added 27th April 09





I’m sure that this list is not exhaustive, and new marketing opportunities are emerging on the internet all of the time. I will be updating this from timw to time and would be grateful for any more ideas. So go for it- put yourself out there, have fun… and maybe sell a few books. 

coverChristmas Eve, 1976: a man dies, tied to his bed in a Victorian Mental Institution… Andrew saw what happened. Eddie saw what happened. But their severe learning disabilities prevent them from communicating what they have seen. There is an answer… but it can only be found in fragmented clues about the men’s pasts. Can these clues be put together before one of them becomes the next victim?       
 Tasting the Wind…  Available NOW on Amazon  or for
                                               free delivery worldwide go to: Book Depository





Just as a matter of Interest…

I’ve recently been corresponding with an Australian reader of  Tasting the Wind, who has generously offered to write a review for a periodical which she edits.

She clearly enjoyed reading the book, but was disappointed with one of the twists about 3/4 into the book, which she feels changes the whole nature of the piece, and has wondered how to present this in her review.

The twist is that a character who appears to have a profound learning disability turns out to be not quite what he seems. As the reviewer writes for a periodical which specialises in profound learning disability, she felt that Tasting the Wind was no longer about that subject but, eager to write a review, asked for my advice on how she could get round that problem.

The fact that I am revealing this information here indicates that to my mind that the ‘spoiler’ does not give enough away to ruin the reader’s enjoyment of the book, and in no way does it give a clue to the eventual outcome. The denouement has in fact come as a shock to all who have read it, although its seeds are scattered throughout.

I did admit in my correspondence that although I had set out to present a person with a profound disability in a major role I may have sacrificed this to the thriller form- but this does not take away from the fact that several characters have severe/profound disabilities and the lead character without a disability comes to value them despite his preconceptions.

So hopefully this has not told you too much if you are half way through!

I would still welcome reviews- I believe in the message of ‘Tasting the Wind’ and want to get it out to as many people as possible. Please put a review on Amazon, or if you write for a periodical please contact me (with evidence that you can publish a review!) and I will gladly send you a review copy.


Just to update blogreaders on the Author Interview feature on my website

I am pleased to report that it is beginning to help new writers reach wider audiences, as evidenced by this e-mail which I received recently from Matt Arnold:

Allan, Of the books listed on your Author’s Interview page, This Time Around definitely seemed like something I’d enjoy. Ordered it on Amazon; just received it today and have begun reading it. It is clearly going to be a great read. Let J.P. Ledwon know that his listing on your website resulted in a book sale, and since I’m in the US he can now refer to himself as an ‘International Author’ if he has not been able to claim that mantle yet. regards….m

Take a look at it- you might find something new, or if you are an author you may wish to take part.

This is perhaps one of the frustrating periods in my book marketing campaign so far…

I am waiting for the next phase of marketing for Tasting the Wind to kick off. I’ve explored so many avenues with varying degrees of success. Of over four hundred books rerleased by my publisher I have been up as far as second place on Amazon, and have held first place on Book Depository (on and off) for some time.

Now I am waiting for reviews. This is one of those areas over which a writer has no control. I have been offered reviews in all sorts of places, sent off free copies, and as yet not one view has appeared. The problem mis that these editors will have their own priorities and schedules, and I will just have to waitpatiently until the reviewer has read Tasting the Wind, written the review, and submitted it to an editor who will have their own priorities.

So far I have made an appearance in the British Institute of Learning Disabilities ‘Current Awareness Service.’ I am waiting for reviews in a national periodical, a regional periodical, from an American academic, from an Australian periodical, a charity magazine, and from a high-ranking celebrity.

And all I can do is wait. These people have their own lives.

In the meantime, if you have read Tasting the Wind I would welcome your review on Amazon. So far there are six (5 on Amazon UK and one on only 2 of which are from people who know me, and I would be happy for you to read any of them (and maybe buy a copy if you haven’t already.)

As for the professional reviews- I’ll keep you posted.

Congratulations to Adam Lotun and his team at a company called ‘Workplace Disability Adjustments,’  ( ) which has just celebrated its first anniversary. Long may you continue to provide this invaluable service.

I mention WDA here because I was flattered that as part of their celebrations the staff were all presented with a copy, signed by yours truly, of  Tasting the Wind.

Here is an e-mail that I received from Adam:

Hello Allan,   I wanted to drop a quick note to thank you for your dedications in the books and for the poster.   I am very touched.   Everyone commented on what a wonderful idea it was and Lindsay has already got through the first 2 chapters and said that it reminded her of Scallygrig.   It has been a hit and I am looking forward to starting it.   It has already taken priority position on the pile of books that I have promised myself to read and it will not be too long before I begin turning the pages.   Best Regards   Adam Lotun Workplace Disability Adjustments.

I feel very honoured that my book has been used in this way. It is a good feeling to know that a group of people now have copies in their possession, and has made the time I spent on targeted marketing worthwhile.

Serendipity, as any fan of Arthur C. Clarke will tell you, is the act of finding something while looking for something else.

A couple of things have happened over the past fortnight which tell me that my marketing campaign for Tasting the Wind is taking a new direction.

One of the joys of being published through a small press is the often obvious relationship between marketing initiatives and online sales. At first, I would do a promotion- a press release or a post on a forum, and later that day my Amazon rankings would climb. Recently there have been times when the rankings have altered significantly when I haven’t been doing any direct marketing. Maybe, I thought, it was people coming across something a little later than most, or probably word of mouth. Then I received two very interesting communications which highlighted the fact that there is more to marketing than I had thus far imagined.

The first was a text from an ex-member of staff who is now studying in the Social Sciences department at the University of Manchester.

She had walked into her tutors office and was totally spooked when she saw my book on her desk. She asked if I had sent it as a review copy, but it turned out that her tutor had discovered it through searching for books about learning disability on Amazon.

So… if you are promoting a book, remember to add carefully chosen tags to your Amazon page, so that your  target audience can find it.

The second thing was a contact through my website from somone I had worked with over twenty years ago. In fact she was someone who had influenced parts of my book. She had been looking for a book in Waterstone’s by someone whose name began with ‘M.’ When she saw my name she went home and googled it and discovered that it was me.

So there you go. I could never have guessed when I wrote my lists of book marketing tips for this blog that by this stage other, unexpected features would come into play.

So what happens next… someone sitting reading Tasting the Wind in the Big Brother House? *



*Yes, I do know that’s a bit far fetched… someone who can read in the Big Brother House?

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