Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘book depository

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 Amazon.com) 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.

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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.

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 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.

 

Well, I am hoping that I might be one day… because I’ve had a couple of people enquiring if Tasting the Wind is available in Australia.

Cate Thompson from Brisbane left a message on my Website guest book, and I also got a message from Jo Watson in my blog comments.

As yet there is no Australian Amazon. I managed to find an Australian supplier, but it would have cost more than double the Amazon price.

I was beginning to think that my Antipodean marketing campaign was never going to get off  the ground when in stepped my Canadian friend, Wally, with information that you can get Tasting the Wind Shipped free wherever you are from: the Book Depository .

So that’s a Canadian, helping an Australian to buy a book by an English author. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing!

I realised from Jo’s address that she worked for Scope . We have corresponded and it turns out that she is a speech pathologist (Over here we’re more familiar with the term speech therapist.)

She also said:

I can’t wait to get my copy in the mail.  I will review it and submit it to some of our publications here in Australia. I think AGOSCI would be a good one.  It is our national publication for people interested in the needs of people who don’t use speech to communicate.   

It is very gratifying to think that someone I have never met will be spreading the word about Tasting the Wind on the other side of the world.

Thanks Jo!


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