Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘5000

A lot has happened since I started my blog one year ago this month…

This time last year I was still sending out the letters and submissions to agents and publishers and getting them returned (or not) with the standard rejection letters. Each manuscript provided exactly what each agent or publisher asked for, not a chapter more or less, an introductory letter, a synopsis and stamped addressed envelope. I never compromised on presentation, even when a friend of mine who has published a series of bestselling books told me that his break came when a publisher dished his submission out to a student, who just happened to enjoy reading it on a tube journey.

It was  advice from published writers that made me think that perhaps I was looking in the wrong place with ‘Tasting the Wind.’ One of them said that a writer’s first novel was more likely to succeed it it was ‘high concept.’ Another suggested that publishers were put off by mixed genre. A novel can be well written, but if a publisher perceives that it will not sell in large numbers it will not be taken on.

It was then that I decided to try a different route.

I had started my marketing early- about nine months before I had a published book- and that preparing of the ground proved invaluable. In August I was invited to speak at Stafford University, and it was there that a lady who later turned out to be a publishing consultant asked me who my book was aimed at, and by what time was I hoping  to get it published. For some reason I said ‘Christmas.’

It wasn’t long after this that I got an e-mail from my friend, Dominic Took, informing me that a publisher, YouWriteOn, were offering free POD publication,  before Christmas to 5000 writers .

There was never a chance that they would get 5000 books out in that time, and I wasn’t surprised when ‘Tasting the Wind’ didn’t appear until well into the New Year. So to fill the gap I carried on marketing, and through the process have met some great people. Some of them are writers who are only too happy to share ideas. Others are people who have contacted me from all corners of the globe to express interest in my work.

If you are planning to self-publish or POD publish a book, you will probably be told that it will only be bought by friends and family. I can assess this assertion in one word: WRONG. This may have been true in the days before the internet, but not now. Of course you won’t make the sales of a mainstream book- that’s a given- but if you put the work into marketing (and no one else is going to do it for you) you will find that people you have never met will buy your book, and even write reviews on it.

So, as things stand, one year on ‘Tasting the Wind’ is making modest global sales. Of over 400 YouWriteOn published books it is number one on the Book Depository chart and number two on Amazon. The immediate future is looking hopeful, as some of my biggest marketing initiatives are now in the pipeline- they include two reviews, one  in a regional magazine and another in a national.

Do I regret going down the POD route? Not at all. People are reading my story, so I consider that I have achieved what I set out to do.

Anyone who is considering POD or self-publishing must go into it with their eyes open. The chances of being ‘discovered’ by a major publisher are almost non-existent.  You will not make enormous sales, but if you work hard on promotion and find a niche market your book will not be read only by people who know you and your work will not languish on your hard drive.

So let’s see what the next twelve months bring.

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I am publishing the correspondence below with the permission of Ted Smith, Director of YouWriteon.

(I had previously written about the mix up of book covers on Amazon, and Ted had replied that the cover and interior at Lightning Source matched, so the problem must have occured at Amazon…)

I wrote:

Thanks Ted,
I’ve just sent my press release to Derian House, the Children’s hospice I am giving half of my royalties to, so thanks for keeping me informed.

I have been, and will continue, collecting ideas for marketing on my blog. I am doing this because you were clear from the start that YWO would not be marketing the books. I would be interested, however, to know if you yourself have any ideas about the best ways to market a POD book. I am sure that you are very busy at the moment but if you do have time I would welcome, if you feel it is appropriate, a few words for the readers of my blog, which has been attracting over 300 readers a day, many of them YWO members.
Best Wishes,
Allan

 

Ted wrote:
 
‘ To try to get interest from a local store, it can help to also contact your local press and if they show interest in covering your book release, then contact your local store and try and tie up the article so that it appears if/when the local store has stocked you as a local author. Ideally an article might mention the local store for advantage to you both and to encourage visitors in general. This may not always work out depending on the newspaper, or store and demand on their floor space, but it can be worth a try.
 
The charity aspect may help with this, or it may be an idea to see if local press interested without, as then a few months later you could try to revisit the same press with the charity aspect and perhaps achieve further signing or stocking as well as supporting a good cause. It is always advisable to contact charities first to discuss your aims and see what the response is and whether they approve the fundraising aims.
 
Also on site, in a few weeks time members will be able to add a link on YouWriteOn for those  who enjoy your sample writing to buy your book at booksellers such as Amazon, Waterstones, etc. Part of our aim to make this a more interesting process alongside getting reviews for feedback. For each review completed of another members opening chapters, you will be assigned to be reviewed by a fellow writer/reader in return, and we hope this proactive system will help to spread the word about good writing, increase book sales for writers, as well as helping writers to develop further through feedback. Very frequently over the site’s history we have seen readers writing ‘I would buy the book’ so we hope this may prove the case for some writers.’

Thanks Ted. I know that there has been a lot of debate on some of the other blogs and forums about what direction YWO will take, so hopefully that will be of help, straight from the horse’s mouth.

 

Well this is the eve of the day that the first batch of YouWriteOn authors will be told when their books are ready.

But already some have been filtering onto Amazon and Barnes and Noble over the weekend. You can see the first 115 on Barnes and Noble here:

http://books.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?WRD=youwriteon

 Amazon have 111- many with no covers yet, and saying ‘unavailable,’  but word is that it takes some time for all of the details to get onto Amazon.

We can, however, get some idea of pricing if we look at the following random sample from B&N:

 John Rigby’s ‘The Blackshirt’   is 216  pages at $10.99.

‘Battlestone ,’ by David Bradley is  360 pages at $11.99

‘Day in the Sun,’ Jamie Wright -132 pages costs $8.99

The Frog and the Scorpion Steevan Glover 388 pages is $11.99.

‘Tasting the Wind’ isn’t there yet, but at 364 pages I can now guess the price band. All that we need to know now is the author discounts.

Or: how to breed emails like rabbits.

last-night-004

Some of our litter of nine, the night before they went to the pet shop

(thought you’d like this one Gwenda- how’s it going?)

 

There is a theory that we are separated from every other human being by only six steps. That is to say that I have a friend who has a friend who has a friend who has a friend who has a friend who knows Barack Obama, or Osama Bin Laden, or whoever.

 

Using this theory, you could have an amazing piece of free marketing technology at your fingertips.

If, like me, you have a modest number of contacts in your email inbox (mine is about 30) you could soon be reaching thousands. Send a message to everyone in your inbox, and ask them to pass it on to everyone in theirs. supposing they have 30 contacts you will soon have advertised to 30×30 people, and so on. It is what is known as a ‘viral email.’

Of course not everyone will pass it on, but some will, so it is worth trying. I did it earlier this year to tell people about my YouTube channel, and my viewings soared.

A month or so later, follow it up- this will remind some of those who forgot to forward the first one.

 

click here: 6degrees to see an example.

OK, it’s a bit hyped up, but you’ve got to dream big to get there!  And if it only gets you one sale (it should get you at least 30 if they think anything of you!) it will be a good return for a small investment of time.

In addition, do you work for an organisation which uses internal email? Send it out to everyone in your address book. There are bound to be some people who will be so curious about that shy little wallflower on floor 5 who has written a novel about rampant nymphomaniac zombies.

Go on- be a little bit cheeky- you won’t get if you don’t ask.

Good luck, and let me know how you go on.

Visit my Website at: www.allanmayer.com

al1

This is me with authors Lynn Grocott and Dominic Took at ‘Meeting of Minds.’

So you’re trying to promote your book? Make some bookmarks!

All you need is a computer, Printer, coloured ink cartridge, and some photographic paper.

I got a pack of value paper- it goes through my printer more easily.

It’s handy if, at this point, you’ve got a book cover- if not, design one or put something on the shiny side of your paper that represents your book. You will need a program which lets you manipulate photos- I use Ulead PhotoImpact.

Put five copies of your cover/ picture with your book title on one A-4 sheet, and cut them out. (Alternatively you could pay a printer to do it.)

On the back, put the link to your publisher, Amazon, your website, or anywhere else where your book can be found.

Carry your bookmarks with you. If you get speaking appointments, radio interviews,etc., you can give these out if you don’t have any/enough books to hand, and anyone who is interested can track you down… or at least they have got a free bookmark.

I spoke recently at ‘A Meeting of MInds,’ a writers’ forum at Staffordshire university. I left a bookmark on every seat, and noticed the next day that the hits on my YouTube site had risen considerably.

Visit my new website at:  www.allanmayer.com

 AAAGGGGHHHH!!!!

It must be getting to me: the waiting, the constant search for new marketing ideas, the doubts about the quality of POD published books on some of the other blogs.

Last night I had a dream that my book had arrived. It had cost me about £20. The publisher (YWO) had not used my book cover but some insipid torquoise creation, and pages were falling out.

Even worse than that: the title had been changed. Instead of ‘Tasting the Wind’ it was now ‘Tasting the Christmas Carols.’ (OK you Freudians out there, if it had been ‘Tasting the Christmas Parsnips’ fair enough, but ‘Christmas Carols?’)

 But there was still worse to come: When I looked at the back cover I soon realised that it was someone else’s front cover, and that they had bound two books together…

I woke up in a sweat. So I’m taking a day off the usual subject, and today will mainly be blogging about…

                                                                      CUDDLY BUNNIES…

                  

                           introducing-smudge-june-4th-07-3

Now if Dean Koontz can write books in the name of his dog, I’m sure I can take time out to tell you about my furry friends.

Unfortunately Tilly (front right) and Snowy (back right) are no longer with us. To my great disappointment neither of them has yet done a Trixie Koontz and written a novel from beyond the grave. (OK, if you don’t believe me check it out at: http://www.deankoontz.com/trixie/ )

The little one, smudge, is now eighteen months old and has already fathered twenty little smudges- most of them with the nose markings which gave him his name. We decided to draw the line at twenty- or rather the vet did- a sharp line in a very tender place. Since then, Smudge seems to have lost his competitive edge when it comes to priority at the food bowl, but he seems happy enough.

Fact is, when we bought smudge we were told he was a girl. We had bought her/him to provide a friend for snowy when our first rabbit, Bonnie, died from a tumour. Then Snowy went the same way.

One day I looked into the hutch. Smudge was lying on ‘her’ side, and I was shocked at what I saw. Surely we weren’t going to lose a third rabbit to a tumour in such a short time. Then I looked closer, the cogs in my brain began to turn, and I realised that a long fleshy object between a rabbit’s hind legs is not necessarily a tumour.

Next thing, Tilly was pregnant. Unfortunately she died giving birth, and left two babies. The success rate of hand-rearing is miniscule. We tried, but they only lasted a week.

We missed having Tilly in the house, as she was one of the most ‘spirited’ rabbits we had ever known. The house is ‘rabbit proofed’ but one day when Tilly was in the kitchen we heard a large crash. Tilly had jumped onto a chair, from the chair to the table then onto the top of the hutch- where the treats were kept. We got to the kitchen to see a guilty looking Tilly scampering across the table, and a very happy Snowy helping herself to the contents of a packet of bunny-chocs which were scattered across the kitchen floor.

Keeping a succession of house rabbits has taught me that each one has its own distinctive character. We now have Smudge, Dusty, and their baby, Brandy. Each one is  totally unique in character, but as yet not one of them has demonstrated a talent for novel writing.

I live in hope.

Just a quickie to update on my marketing campaign.

I emailed the local newspaper during my lunchbreak. I had hardly pressed ‘send’ when my phone rang. It was a very interested editor. He’s asked me to send in a press release with photos. The fact that I was supporting a local charity seemed to go down well. He said it would be even better if I had gone to a local school where I struggled with dyslexia… I have done neither of those, but it does give an idea of the sort of thing that is considered newsworthy.


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