Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘YWO

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 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,


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.


If you want to visit a top class writers’ site then you will do no better than ‘Absolute Write.’
AW covers every aspect of writing and is frequented by contributors from the entire spectrum of writing and publishing.
And yes, there is even a thread about YouWriteOn. Most of the contributors have a negative view of YWO ( at least of the latest publishing venture.) Some YWO members, including myself, have posted there with our reasons for choosing to publish as we have, but the dominant voices have been those of  experienced publishing types who have employed a vast arsenal of experience to attempt to discredit YWO, and young pretenders who, with somewhat less expertise and grace, are cutting their milk teeth on the subject.
Until now….
Enter (from stage right, or left, depending upon your perspective) champion of YWO, Kevin Crabbe.
Kevin has been putting up a staunch defence of Ted Smith which has created a very entertaining dialogue over several pages of AW.
I won’t give too much away, but contributors to the thread have had good reason to suspect that ‘Kevin Crabbe’ might even be Ted Smith himself.
In  my view, there are certain stylistic pointers in Kevin’s contributions which make his relationship to Ted quite clear- but look at the thread and decide for yourself.
I have been corresponding with Ted Smith this weekend about the wrong cover appearing on Amazon. He assures me that the right cover is with the right book at Lightning Source, and that the ISBN on Amazon is mine. I mentioned Kevin Crabbe, but he was typically ambiguous on this point.
He has my enquiry at the top of his ‘to do’ list for Monday.
So watch this space…




The title of yesterday’s post ‘sighting’ was quite appropriate, as today I have had a sighting of Ted Smith from YouWriteOn, back from his Christmas hols and working Sunday mornings. Ted E-mailed me a short time ago:

Hi Allan
A very happy New Year to you. I’ve sent a chase up to Lightning Source for your book which has been showing as in premedia status there (the first processing stage) for a little beyond the processing time since the revision cover was sent. I’ve found Lightning Source are very good overall though and have been impressed with their service, they print 14 million books per year.
I will update you as soon as I hear further.
best wishes
So things are looking up. In the absence of message boards at YWO I have e-mailed Ted back asking when they will be back up, and have asked if YWO will be providing any form of marketing such as a showcase or press release. 
I’ll keep you posted. 

Thanks to Lucy Fox for this contribution. I’ve included it in the ‘Tips From Published Authors’ series as next month she will be one, thanks to YWO. 


Hi Allan, Just popped in to add a couple of things I found to help market our books.

Before I add them, with regards to the article asking why we don’t ‘cut out the middle man’ and go direct to Lightning Source, I have this to say. From what I can gather, only publishers, NOT authors are allowed to sign into their site, let alone try and get anything published off their own bat, and, as authors,not publishers, we most certainly aren’t allowed to buy an ISBN.

Legend will be doing a great deal more than ‘just getting an ISBN’ for us. There is masses of work to be done before Lighting gets hold of our precious babies. Especially with regard to word submissions, as Lightning do not accept books in this format. There are also many different covers to be generated for those who haven’t submitted their own.

Also getting back to cost. £39.99 is nothing when you consider that YWO/Legend will be supplying the obligatory library copies. Other companies charge £50 just for that service. If we were eligible publishers and bought our own single ISBN it would cost over £100!

Anyhoo, that’s my ha’pence worth. Here are a couple of things that may be of interest:
Quite a lot of info links from this page.

One way to promote your writing is through book signings. Here are some suggestions:

– Develop a strategy.

 – Collect reviews,blurbs and reader comments.   These may get the interest of some bookshop managers.

–  Gather names, addresses, and phone numbers From the Internet of stores you think would be interested in your book . 

 – Speak to the  bookstore managers by telephone. Tell them that you are local author, and that your book is in their system.
– Ask if you can arrange a book signing. Have your  ISBN ready, and your diary- the manager or their in-house worker will organise the event.

As my book is for children, I will be approaching schools. I have the invaluable help of a teacher who is going to give me instuctions on how to go about it. I’ll pass it on when I know.

Also, try this link- 
I’m still looking for ways to get noticed.  I have lived in quite a few places, so I will see if I can plug it there.  I’m even having my sis promote it in the States.  She works for one of the biggest law firms in Chicago and is going to put it on their network that goes around the world.  I’m going to send a copy to the truck stop Dysarts in Maine and the motel in Prince Edward Island where I wrote a load of it before I got on the plane home.  Also, I must fish out the example press release I found on Dan Poynter’s website.  Maybe you could go and look at his site yourself.

and this blog

Toodle Pip and keep up the good workxx

Good luck to all in your endeavours.


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