Allan Mayer’s Weblog

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I try not to blow my own trumpet- I know where it’s been!

Thanks to Simon Jarrett for doing it for me in my latest review on Amazon:

Tasting the Wind by Allan Mayer.

 I read this book after hearing Allan Mayer read some extracts from it at a conference – and I’m so glad that I did. Anyone who was around during the ‘big resttlement’ of the 1980s will cringe as they recognise many of the absurdities and contradictions of the time. These are beautifully captured by Mayer in the debates about language and ‘real choice’, the early experiments at social integration ending in tragi-comic farcical outcomes in pubs and shops and his hilarious minutes of residential home staff meetings. He also gives a riveting portrayal of the utterly, bizarre, other-planetary world of the long-stay hospital: that asylum where people were anything but safe, the hospital were people weren’t ill and didn’t get treated, the NHS facility where most of the staff were more institutionalised than the patients. If you weren’t around at that time then this book will give you a searingly honest portrayal of what it was like, including the mistakes and the new absurdities perpetrated by some of the well-meaning but at times over-zealous ‘liberators’ who supported people out of the hospitals. However the book is much more than this. At different times it had me shaking with laughter, welling up with tears and consumed by rage – sometimes within the space of one or two pages. He is a gifted comic writer, but never at the expense of the people of he is writing about and has created a world of believable, rounded people, including the people with severe learning disabilities who are the stars of the novel. Although very, very funny at times this is not a comic novel – it has very serious themes and an underlying poignancy. To have created a thriller in which the stars are two people with severe learning disabilities, one of whom can’t talk and the other seems to chant nonsense, is some achievement and gives an identity to people which no amount of worthy ‘values’ training could ever achieve. Allan Mayer captures something very important about the post-hospital experience of people with learning disabilities and the people who work with them. However progressive and ‘person centred’ the thinking, we seem to find ever more ingenious ways of not listening to what people with learning disabilities are trying to tell us, even the most progressive amongst us. Some would say especially the most progressive amongst us. I share other reviewers experience of the at times bizarre layout of this novel, with strange gaps and rogue paragraphs floating up or down to where they shouldn’t be. I believe it arises from this being printed to order rather than in bulk. However for me it somehow reflected the world it was written about – it’s the sort of book layout you’d expect to come out of the strange world of the mental handicap hospital.

Thanks Simon, Much appreciated.

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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.

BUT BE WARNED:

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  8))

Another important tip before you set off is to identify your target audience or audiences  8). 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 . 8)

● 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.’ 8)

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.8)

● Approach local book clubs, offer them a chance to ‘Ask the Author.’  8)

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. 8)

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? 8)

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.

 A

http://www.absolutewrite.com/novels/book_promotion.htm 

https://allanmayer.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/planning-for-success/  

https://allanmayer.wordpress.com/2008/12/07/blogging/

AllThat.tv

http://alphainventions.com/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0713659653/ref=sr_1_olp_7?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229895322&sr=1-7

http://www.anniejenningspr.com/pages/bookpromotion.htm

http://authorchats.gather.com/

http://www.author-promotion.com/index.html

 http://www.authorsonthenet.com/

http://www.authortree.com/About%20AuthorTree

 

B

http://www.bauuinstitute.com/Marketing/Marketing.html

http://www.behindthebuzz.com/book-promotion-through-blogs/

http://biblioscribe.com/  8)

http://www.binnaclepress.com/

http://www.blogtopsites.com/tag/book+promotion

 http://www.bookarmy.com/   8)

 

http://www.bookmarket.com/bookpromotion.htm

 

 http://books.google.com/googlebooks/book_search_tour/

http://www.bookmarket.com/bookpromotion.

http://www.bookpromotionnewsletter.com/

http://whttp://websrvr40nj.audiovideoweb.com/avwebdsnjwebsrvr4436/bonus/BookPromotionNOTforSissies.pdf

www.book-promotion.com/press.phphttp://pumpupyourbookpromotion.ning.com/

 http://bookpromotion.wetpaint.com/?t=anon 

http://www.bookpromonetwork.com/

http://www.booksurge.com/content/Google_WordsWorth.htm?cid=Wordsworth_ebook

C

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: lynn@lynngrocott.com

D

 http://www.davidlouisedelman.com/book-promotion/ethical-self-promotion/

www.deankoontz.com 

E

http://www.ecademy.com/ 

http://www.editred.com/Book_Promotion.php

www.ezinearticles.com 

http://ezinearticles.com/?Book-Promotion-Woes?&id=71585

F

 

www.facebook.com 

http://www.fictionfactor.com/promo.html

 http://www.fonerbooks.com/market.htm

http://foremostpress.com/authors/articles/promotion.html

www.friendsreunited.com 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Frugal-Book-Promoter-What-Publisher/dp/193299310X/ref=pd_sim_b_5 

G

http://www.geoffthompson.com/

 http://gwendafox.web.officelive.com/bookshop.aspx 

H

http://www.howpublishingreallyworks.blogspot.com/

I

http://inotauthor.blogspot.com/  8)

http://www.inspiredauthor.com/promotion/node/46

http://www.iuniverse.com/ExpertAdvice/MarketingYourBook.aspx

J

http://jockstewart.typepad.com/writers_notebook/book_promotion/

http://www.juliamccutchen.com

L

htthttp://www.linkedin.com/ 

p://www.lookuppage.com

M

http://www.managementconsultingnews.com/interviews/poynter_interview.php

http://www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/advice/introver.htm

http://www.milesburke.com.au/blog/2008/11/27/book-promotion-on-the-web/#comment-332792

www.myspace.com

N

http://www.naymz.com/  

 

http://nomediakings.org/doityourself/doityourself_book_promotion.html

http://novelspot.net/Book_Promo

O

www.offtopic.com

http://www.oksana.com.au/book_shop.htm

P

www.ping45.com 8)

www.pingmyblog.com

www.pingoat.com  

www.ping-o-matic.com  

http://www.pressreleasehome.com/   

http://www.pubmatch.org/   8)

Q

http://www.queensofbookmarketing.com/ 

R

http://www.readerscircle.org/   8)

http://www.ryze.com/  

S

www.secondlife.com  8)

http://selfpublishing.lifetips.com/cat/59136/promotion-ideas/index.html

http://www.aboutus.org/Soflow.com 

http://www.spawn.org/marketing/bookpromotionmistakes.htm

http://www.spawn.org/editing/bookpromotionwell.htm

http://sta.rtup.biz/

http://www.stealthpublicity.com/books.htm

T

http://www.talkink.com/promotion.html

http://thewriterslife.homestead.com/

www.twitter.com   8)

V http://vistanow.net/ 8)         Added 27th April 09

W

www.wayn.com

http://www.weberbooks.com/2006/11/using-myspace-for-book-promotion-and.html

http://websavvywriter.com/

http://websitemakeoverworkshop.com/  

http://www.writeandpublishyourbook.com/marketing/book-promotion/7-book-promotion-methods-for-your-nonfiction-book/

http://www.writeanygenre.com/book-promotion.html

 http://www.writerfind.com/resources/bookpromotion.htm

http://www.writerswrite.com/bookpromotion/

X

http://www2.xlibris.com/authors_lounge_QA_howto_onlinebookpromotion.htm

Y

http://www.youtube.com

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 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.

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’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.

Tasting the Wind on Amazon and Book Depository.

Wow, I’m suddenly in the middle of a price war…

I checked my pages on Amazon and Book Depository on Friday to discover that not only had I now been given a Book Depository sales ranking, but that ‘Tasting the Wind’ had now been reduced in price on there and is 50p cheaper than Amazon! (To check this out click on the link which appears above this posting.)

I also found that if I searched for books published by YouWriteOn on Amazon, ‘Tasting the Wind’ is now at sixth place. Thanks to everyone who is buying it. Hope you enjoy it and hopefully feel moved to write a review on Amazon.

Tasting the Wind on FaceBook

As I mentioned before I have set up a FaceBook group. This weekend I set my mind to other ways in which FaceBook can be used.

An interesting spin-off has been finding other writers on there, and inbetween marketing forays communicating with them about what we are up to and swapping marketing ideas. It’s been a bit like being in a virtual office with Wally Rabbani, Gwenda Fox and Leela Soma… I’m doing this… what do you think about… how do I…

I’ve also put Tasting the Wind onto FaceBook marketplace. It appeared at first not to accept my ad. but I then got a confirmation e-mail saying that it had.

And I’ve been trying some targeted marketing. It occurred to me that there are themes in the book which certain groups on FaceBook might find interesting. So I went into the ‘Groups’ function and searched for ‘Learning Disabilities.’ This came up with 500 groups, some of them with several hundred members.

I also found a group with over a thousand members, devoted to the delights of the Staffordshire Oatcake. I have left a message on there because  when we first meet Martin, our hero in Tasting the Wind, he is living in a flat above an oatcake shop- based on the one in my birthplace, Kidsgrove.

The one thing not to do is to paste the same message onto several sites- FaceBook won’t let you- so you need to write an individual message each time.

It’s a bit like doing a leaflet drop, without leaving your home, and targeted at people you know may already have some interest.

 


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