Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘book


 Well, it’s actually the Chorley Guardian, but I’ve been working on creating eye-catching headlines.

The best thing about this is that the picture used in this press release was taken by my 13 year old foster-son, and I’m really proud that he has had a photo published in a newspaper. I went to his school yesterday, and they had been looking at my page on Amazon- I’m thinking of employing him as my marketing manager.





 For some reason I’m having a problem making the scan legible, so here is the text:


 A Chorley author whose first novel  had still not appeared two months after the promised launch date is now celebrating.

When his book Tasting the Wind failed to appear at Christmas, Allan Mayer, 48, contacted his publisher YouWriteOn to find that difficulties with reproducing the book’s cover were jeopardising its publication.


‘I was really disappointed,’ said Allan, ‘as my wife and I had designed the cover ourselves. I was offered another one, but I wasn’t very impressed with it. It was also starting to get embarrassing, as people who had seen the Guardian article in December had started to go into W.H. Smiths only to be told that the book wasn’t on their system.’


In the meantime Allan, who is a manager for Brothers of Charity Services, began to submit articles to an online ‘collaborative fiction’ experiment called Greyling Bay.

‘I wasn’t too optimistic about getting my work accepted there,’ said the writer. ‘Many of the contributors are well established novelists with a string of published works.’


But in an upturn of fortunes, Allan received an e-mail saying that his work had been accepted- the same week that he found that Tasting the Wind had surfaced on the Amazon book selling site. And thanks to the painstaking work of YouWriteOn director, Edward Smith, the book now displays the original cover.


Tasting the Wind is  available on, and can be ordered from W.H. Smiths and Waterstone’s bookshops. 50% of the author’s royalties will be donated to Derian House Children’s Hospice.


For further details please visit


When writing a press release it is advisable to keep away from the subject of your book altogether. Talk about yourself, the troubles you have had in trying to get your work published. That way you will have more of a chance of getting press coverage- it’s how newspapers work.

This is the previous press release:


Does it Work?

Well, since my latest press release appeared my rankings on Amazon have shot up from 125,000 to 16,000, so thanks very much to readers of the Chorley Guardian- please let me know what you think, and if you see me round town say hello.

Well I  just had to do it. On Thursday I looked on Amazon and the ranking of  ‘Tasting the Wind’ had soared to 17,000 and something. People were buying it.

My order from Legend Press still hadn’t arrived and it occurred to me that other people would see the book before I had.

So I ordered an Express Delivery. It was 11a.m., and I was assured that I would receive a copy by 1p.m. the next day. So I went for it.

The following day it arrived. It had been ordered, printed and posted within twenty- four hours.

I opened the package, and as I did the horror stories started to go through my mind: Some people have received POD books which have fallen apart in their hands. One person who used YouWriteOn received copies of their book with a blue line across the cover…

Then there it was, in my hand. It was a sturdy, solid tome- all  408 pages of it.

I flicked through it- it looked like any book from the shelves at Smiths or Waterstones. But 408 pages?  Surely Tasting the Wind is 364 pages.

Well it was. Originally I had just run one chapter on from another to keep the length and the price down. Tom Chalmers of Legend Press had worked on the manuscript to make every chapter start on a new page. And you know what- it looks far more professional for it. And the price is still comparable with any other 408 page book, at £8.99.

So I have a hard copy novel. Now I have to sell it. Last night I set up a group on FaceBook, and I have been receiving enquiries from all corners of the globe. Now I will be learning  just how effective are the marketing strategies that I have been learning about over the last few months. 

The real fun is just beginning…

Have you ever watched one of those TV programmes which presents the top 50 or one hundred something-or-others in a countdown? You know, 100 best comedy moments, 50 best snogs… that sort of thing.

They may be just another excuse to show repeats, but some of them can be quite entertaining. One thing I can guarantee is that whatever the subject there will come some point in the programme where either my wife or I will question the order of the clips. For instance, ‘how can ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ possibly come in at number 55 in a list of best Sci-Fi films when ‘Bladerunner’ was 83?

I can’t believe that most of them are in any particular order. Which brings me to my contribution to the great listings scandal:

When I put together my 50 Tips for book marketing, their order was random, which is why, tucked away at number 50, is the ‘Bauu institute.’ I am currently trawling through its vast array of information on how to market your book and attract more traffic to your blog and website, and have realised that I have committed a grave injustice in placing that site at the end.

It is an absolute mine of information which will be of great use to anyone with a book to market.

Take a look at:


In recommending this site, however, I am very aware of one of the problems a writer will encounter when faced with such a vast array of information. You could find the marketing side of things taking over and never have time to write another line. The Bauu Institute site does recognise this and stresses the importance of being methodical and doing something every day. That something could be one submission of your book details to a site, and may only take five minutes, but it is ‘something.’

This week I have added a PDF to my website of simple tools for planning your book marketing strategy. I am using these tools, and hopefully you will find them useful when faced with a list of tasks and websites. You don’t want to be wasting time loading information onto sites that you have already dealt with. You DO need a strategy. You can download these tools at: . I am also going to add a Word.Doc version for anyone who wishes to use them on their PC.

Let me know if you find this useful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wish you could know Jennifer Abel, says Carolyn Ferrante at newbornbooks.  At first introduction you would see a quiet, unassuming woman. Soon, you would be charmed by her lush English accent and soft-spoken way.   

Well I did know Jennifer Abel, or Jenny Short, as she was then. We were students at Chester College about… well, some years ago now. I tracked Jenny down recently and found that she looks no different and, it would seem, is as engaging as ever. Jenny is also a self-published author, and has agreed to share some of her marketing experience…


 Jennifer Abel


Successful marketing originates the moment an author is inspired to create, carrying his work almost involuntarily over myriad struggles to become an expression in words or images. It is a beautiful gift, this compulsive desire to produce, knowing that our message is somehow mandatory – that the world needs our perspective or story! And it is this audacious passion that will birth resolve in us to pursue what might become thankless years of marketing. Yes, for there is, realistically, no easy way through marketing for most of us! Besides enthralled commitment to our task, any marketing strategy must equally be based on our confidence that we have guarded the integrity of the published word through precise editing, arriving at a polished end product. Our work has to be the best it can be if we are to be authentic and maintain self-directed momentum for the process. If we have the fervor of these convictions, we may launch a disciplined business plan and push through our writing adventure, embracing the rewards and challenges, step by intentional step.


Thankfully, we live at a pivotal point in the publishing industry. The marketplace is more accessible than ever before, through necessity. Thousands of people are writing books today and the bottleneck of previous years in traditional publishing houses has caused the entrepreneur spirit to rise up and challenge! I steered through mazes of agents receiving nods of approval but not able to hit the all-important and very narrow niche that would grab a manuscript sale. So, with writer’s compulsion and in order not to waste years, I opened my own publishing house by buying a small number of ISBNs. For independent spirits or control freaks, this is our wonderful modern alternative! But with this move, I also consciously entered a lower key realm of marketing. Therefore, I am sharing a smaller scale approach here. Of course, it can be challenging for artists, who may not be predominantly business minded, to run their whole show, but unless one has floating cash readily available, there’s no real need to pay expensive consulting fees. There is a wealth of free information online and in libraries as we search for it. We need to escape the idea that if we don’t make a big splash with our work within the first two months, we have not or cannot succeed. There is not the same huge rush for independent authors to make a mark as for big-time marketing firms with narrow deadlines and limited shelf space – we have time on our side as the smaller people, we have the personal touch, and our walk is only limited by the degree of our resourcefulness over years. Yes, we want to take every opportunity, and success is measured in quantity and publicity, but the quality impact and effect of a work on each life is perhaps more important in the long run.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



Here are several practical steps I took to gain exposure for my books. After buying my ISBN’s, I applied to become a business and purchased a domain name and website ( There is credibility in a professional look and the Internet is also our lead into global networking. Furthermore, anything sold automatically needs to be reported for sales and tax. But a business doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive – if a private site is not an affordable option and if side advertising isn’t too much of an issue, there are free pages available for the starting up phase. Leave your URL everywhere, on emails and on networking sites, anywhere that isn’t spamming! Print business cards through one of the online outlets. In the States, Vista Print has good prices and great sales. Create an image or idea on your site to wrap around your books to enhance their reach, thus creating your niche or identity. For example, I interview inspiring people, and post international ministry profiles on my website whose work I actively support. Those who interview also help to spread the word to their colleagues and that engenders further interest. Usually, these people will put an image of your work on their own site – this is meaningful collaboration. Likewise, writing articles for other websites is another way for exposure. Keep your tone honest and accurate – there’s nothing worse than a shallow sales pitch. Appreciate each opportunity and learn from it. Other ideas on my site include running a small poll, keeping content and gadgets interesting, and I have sent out monthly and annual newsletters to buyers and friends. I have also linked a blog to my site, have a guest book for feedback, and I have excerpts of my books available – and lots of photos: People love images! Continuously gage what is working for you and what can be dropped. Either sell your book from your website through a portal like Paypal, or link into It is nice having the shipping and handling taken care of by another company. In the past year, Amazon has opened a brilliant sister-site called Create Space ( expressly for independent authors. For free, authors may upload their polished .PDF and cover, and Amazon will advertise a listing with print-on-demand available through their normal site, putting each book on a level with any other book on the market. It is not the most lucrative sales point but the potential exposure is valuable.


By far the most effective ways to sales and profit for me have been through an established community of support and through speaking engagements. I spoke very briefly at my church to people who had known I was writing, and who had been waiting for publication day with me. Friends were delighted that I autographed their copies, and I had no overhead fees there. Depending on the size of congregation, this can make an excellent foundation. This model can be transferred to any venue where you relate with a group. Print up as many books as needed to obtain the best bulk price, but without going overboard. You don’t want 2000 books in your basement for years, but you will need copies on hand for each opportunity. I spoke at another meeting completely unrelated to my book but it validated me as someone to be listened to in that circle, the effect of which cannot be underestimated. Every time there is a function, I have books available, every time I interact with people, they ask what I write – it’s a lifestyle. I carry those business cards and books in my car, and I give discounts generously to friends. I give a gift copy to any speaker that talks near my topic or who has influence in any greater sphere. I want to bless with my work and I also want to spread the word freely in appropriate directions. Each book is a potential seed.51izrzzxa8l__ss500_


It’s also good to know that trying out ideas and making mistakes or losing a few books to error, just goes with the territory. For example, I took a few books to a local bookstore but found that the stocking charge was 25%, which, after my printing charges, really made little sense considering the effort involved – this was a low-traffic store. One also has little control where a book is placed for visibility within stores, whether Barnes and Noble or a small outlet. I returned weeks later to one store to find my volumes lying on a shelf where few would happen to look! I also phoned a local radio show, which is a great idea, and I met with enthusiasm, but the same week the show stopped interviewing authors! Chalk up such events to experience and move on with a smile. Some people will love our work quickly, others will be apathetic, and it may have nothing to do with how good or bad our product is! Enthusiastic, energetic friends are a huge help, though. Not only do they give vital encouragement, but a couple such friends have been champions of sales for me, too, even refusing a commission. I was able to bag-mail a crate of books to a significant contact in the UK, where they are now advertised on a respected website, and also to send books to Australia for my highly sociable friend to eagerly distribute for me! It’s not a matter of forcing attention everywhere but of following to the max any honest interest that comes. I calculate that I have fifty more years to talk on my subject, and I have books to back me up! It is very easy these days to update content via .PDF, too. My next project will be to write a study guide and hold a local book study group, and perhaps to present on the wildly popular YouTube to see where that may lead. The ideas need never stop!


In the end, we must simply keep going and marvel at the path. Ultimately, we pursue this passion for the love of the work, not for the notoriety we must derive from it. Let’s continue till that famous day when others may catch the strain crying out from our pages and our readership may indeed break through to the thousands upon enthralled thousands! Until then, I feel successful every time readers spontaneously approach me and, sometimes with tears in their eyes, tell me from their deepest parts how much my books have meant to them. If the work says yes, the process says yes, and so we must write our passion, push on, and we will never be defeated!


To learn more about Jen and her work go to







One of the best things about blogging is that you meet so many interesting like-minded people. One of these is Whitney Keyes.  Amongst other things, Whitney writes a business blog for the Seattle Post Intelligencer and has worked as a senior marketing manager for Microsoft…

I’m sorry… I think I understated that. Let me quote from the CV on Whitney Keyes’ Website:

She eventually made her way to Microsoft where she worked directly with executives including Bill Gates. She helped create many of the company’s global initiatives, managed the launch of Office 2000 which at the time was an $8 billion dollar business, and led some of Microsoft’s first viral and social marketing campaigns.

(So yes, I think we could say she’s a ‘big hitter.’)

Some weeks ago Whitney asked if  I would like a copy of  her guide book: Media Tips for Authors: How to get Free Publicity for Your Book, and would I mention it on my blog.

 Would I?

 At the moment the words ‘free’ ‘publicity,’ and ‘book’ mentioned in the same sentence are guaranteed to get my attention.

Media Tips is a well-presented and easy to read guide to one specific area of book marketing. I have blogged previously about press releases from the point of view of someone who is learning the ropes. Whitney Keyes has been there and writes from the position of someone who has tried and tested the techniques and can vouch for their success.

What I hear from a lot of authors is We are writers, we are creative, we are artistic: the business and marketing side to publishing is alien to us. Unfortunately, the reality is that if you publish through POD, self-publishing or a small publisher, then you have to market or you aint gonna sell a thing. If you are one of those people who is put off by technical, stuffy, formal marketing advice, you will find  that Media Tips will utilise your creativity and not turn you into book marketing’s version of Gordon Gecko.

Whitney Keyes’ advice is presented in small, easily digestible sections and provides you with exercises to create such things as your own ‘news hooks’ to get the attention of newspaper editors.

At a compact twenty pages, the booklet provides an antidote for the information overload you can experience when researching book marketing ideas. It also contains a resource guide of books, experts, organisations and websites.

For more information, to sign up for her free weekly marketing tips, and to buy Media Tips (Also available as a download) go to     

She is also a host on Web.TV site:  and can be found at:  Seattle Post-Intelligencer articles

… ’nuff said?’

I’ve noticed an increase over the last few days in the number of links clicked on the site, so here are some more sites about promoting your book. I haven’t had a chance to check  them all out, but have asterisked those that look most useful. If you find any of the sites useful, please let me know through comments.












12)   *****




16)  *****



19) *****

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25)  *****









34) *****










44)  *****







… By which I mean the one thing that just about every website, book or marketing professional I have consulted  agree upon: 


Many of the ideas that I have put forward previously will perhaps find the odd sale here and there- they are a bit like buckshot: scattered randomly they will (hopefully) hit something.

The most effective forms of promotion are targeted- the audience is identified and marketing is specifically aimed in their direction.

This will be easier if your book has a particular slant. On one website I came across a children’s author was asking how he/she could promote a new book. The main character of the book was a squirrel, which brought out a suggestion that a good place to sell the book would be through the giftshop at a squirrel sanctuary.

My book, ‘Tasting the Wind’ has several central characters who have severe learning disabilities, and is set against a background of transition from institutional life to ‘Care in the Community.’ When I originally put chapters onto YouTube I mentioned this on a learning disabilities forum called ‘PMLD Network.’ I realised that my submission to the forum had been accepted when there was a sudden leap in the numbere of viewers of the YouTube channel, and I got e-mails from forum members saying that they would like to read the book.

 I will be contacting the PMLD network when my book is available, as well as Learning Disability jounals and websites.

So look at your book and ask if there are any groups of people or obvious outlets where it would be welcome. Does it have links to an area, to a profession or pastime?

Do an internet trawl, and make some contacts. Brainstorm with friends or fellow writers- what are the themes of your book and which groups may want to read it?

Then go for it- give it your best shot.

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