Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘selling

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.

So, you have published your book, got your ISBN and a link to Amazon. And that’s where it ends if nobody knows a thing about it. So what happens next?

This is new territory to me, and I am not venturing into it from any position of expertise, but as one who is learning. But one thing I do know from other areas of my life experience is that the old cliche is true: ‘fail to plan… and you plan to fail.’

It is essential that you have some sort of goal and a plan of how you are going to reach it. Everest was climbed in stages- so set up your base camp, plan your route and make sure you have the best sherpas (to use an analogy from and about the ‘Writers’ and artists’ yearbook,’) before you begin your ascent.

I know of three methods of planning which I have found useful for various projects in the past, both personally and professionally.

The first is the ‘web’ or ‘spider’ diagram.

Take a large piece of paper, draw a circle in the middle and write in it what it is you want to achieve. For example: ‘sell x number of books.’ Next you brainstorm on all of the ways in which you can make it known that you have a book for sale. Draw lines from the central circle and at the end of them write words such as ‘local papers,’ ‘websites.’ ’email contacts,’ etc.

Once you have thought of all of the general groups, go to each one in turn and develop it. For instance, from ‘websites’ you could draw a line which says ‘design own website,’ another which says ‘friends’ websites’ and a further one to ‘social networking sites.’

Break those down even further. For instance, you can draw lines from ‘social networking sites’ to ‘MySpace,’ ‘Facebook,’ Bebo, etc.

If you develop each line you will soon have a plan of all of the places where you can promote your book.

The second method I have used is the PATH. In my profession, which is working with people with learning disabilities,  the ‘Path’ method has been developed from Strategic Path Analysis to help  people to have better lives. I won’t describe the method here, as I have already written about how I applied the ‘Path’ method to writing at : .

 I think that the method would be equally applicable to promoting your novel. For those of you who like to set deadlines to your work it is useful, because you set your goal for, say, one year from now, then work back, asking yourself ‘if I am to achieve my goal in twelve months, where should I be after nine months? To get to that stage, where should I be in six months… in three months, then what do I need to do now? 

My third, and favoured planning method is one that I was shown recently in a course on confidence coaching: the pyramid. It is similar to the web method, but visually more goal-oriented and a good way of viewing your progress.

Q: How do you eat an elephant?

A: One piece at a time.

That is what the pyramid is about.

Draw the final stone on the top of the pyramid and write in it your goal. You can’t achive that goal in one fell swoop. You need to break it down into small, easily achievable ‘bricks.’ So at the base of your pyramid draw in bricks and put in the first things that you need to achieve. Above these add the tasks you need to do- the contacts you need to make, the places where you can leave a link to you book on Amazon- linking them together if you need to with arrows. (You can draw this, or create it on your computer using text boxes.)

Always have more bricks than you need, because later in the process other things will come to you.

Then  make sure that you do one thing each day. That one thing could just be a phonecall, or a piece of research, but that one thing is one step toward your goal. Every time you achieve a step, cross it off, or fill the brick in with highlighter pen: you are progressing toward your goal.

I have added a sample pyramid here:


In later blogs I will be looking closer at some of the things on those bricks.

Hope you find this useful,


4-week old bunnies

4-week old bunnies

 Glascot asked:

 Any good sites on book promotion for our YWO books? I read somewhere that flyers and approaching local bookstores would be a good idea. I did not design my own cover so that might be a problem.

I have come across a site that helps published authors set up websites to promote their work:

They ask you to supply your ISBN number, which you will have if you have taken that option at YouWriteOn.

I will be trying authortree, but if you get there before I do you will need to check out the following:

1) the site talks about providing a ‘cost effective’ service, so find out where the cost comes in, and

2) One of their conditions says: 

From time to time, you may be required to agree to additional terms and conditions governing certain services or certain portions of the Site. To the extent there is a conflict between the provisions of this Agreement and the terms and conditions posted for a specific service or portion of the Site, the latter will govern, but only with respect to your use of that particular service or portion of the Site.


Presumably this means that certain areas of the site are free, others are not. I will be checking it out further when I’ve got my ISBN. For now it looks like there may be costs, so be careful when investigating and if you find out more please report back.

Flyers- where are you going to distribute them?

Bookstores- the word is that you will get nowhere with your local Waterstones. Having said that, a couple of years ago a local author had a stand in Smiths. I think they had help from the town’s newspaper.

It should be OK to contact independent bookshops.

Cover design- I would not think that this would be a problem. Do youwriteon have copywrite over these? May be worth checking out with them or, when you get your first copy, inside will be the copyright notice.

I’ll be blogging soon on my own ideas about how to get your book noticed, but from the comments that are coming in I’ll probably find that I’ve already been anticipated on most of them.

Watch this space,

Best wishes,


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