Saturday, December 23, 2006

Finally getting settled

Well, the last time I wrote this was the night before we were due to move - or so we thought. We did not in the end get into the new house into the following day though - Thursday 14th rather than Wednesday 13th. The move itself went very well - the men - three of them were there bright and early, the new sofa was delivered and put straight on the van, and the old one taken away, and we were ready to go by a quarter to 12. The men though went for lunch first, so said there was no need for us to rush there following them. I left around 12.30 then while Coran stayed in the house tidying up and waiting for the new owners to hand over the keys etc and do the meter readings.

When I got there around 1pm, the van had not yet arrived, but the previous owners were there, so we did the meter readings and I went and sat in my car eating the wheat free rolls I had brought with me. It was then that I heard the previous owner on the phone saying there was some sort of problem. It transpired that the solicitor, in their infinite stupidity had put all the money into Coran's account instead of paying the preious owner and Haulfryn, the park owners. Under the law, when you sell a mobile home, the park owner is allowed to take a commission of up to 10 percent of the sale value. Until Haulfryn got their share, they would not sign the papers to say that we were the new owners, and we could not therefore take possession. So there was I stuck at the new house, trying to explain to three removal men why they could not unload the van, while Coran was back at the old one, trying to work out what the solicitor had done and get the money sorted out.

Unfortunately, because the funds had been transferred into a postal account rather than a branch based one, he could not do the transfers required, he also did not have the right ID on him, as it had all gone to the new house. So by 3.30 or so, when it became clear we would not be able to organise anything, he had to go and meet me at the new property. Luckily, the park owners did allow us to put the furniture into the house, but they could not allow us to stay there overnight, so we had to go and find a hotel. What really bugged me about this whole thing though was that the solicitors realised the day BEFORE we moved that they had made this mistake, but did not see fit to tell us. If they had then we would have time to sort things out and get the money transferred into the right accounts.

On top of all this though, we then found that our mobile phones did not work, as about the only network that does work up there is Vodafone. So, we had to then get new mobile phones, which cost us around £80 a piece. Then the Royal Mail did not start the redirect when they should have done. The biggest bigbear though that we were without a landline telephone, email or internet until this afternoon, and it took BT a total of 10 days to get this sorted out.

I do not know what this has all been about - but to say it has been annoying is an understatement of the grandest proportions. Still, it all came out in the end, and we are now finally beginning to settle in and actually feel like we are home. The boxes were collected yesterday, so we have our living room back, and all that now remains to be done is to giobe the place a good clean, get some bedroom curtains and organise the network cables.

On the writing front, then things are pretty much as they were before we left the old house. The last week has been spent concentrating on unpacking and getting settled in rather than worrying about writing. When I checked the emails erlier t today though no books appear to have been sold during my time offline, there was however an email from Claire at Borders asking me to confirm the date for my talk there in January, which I have done. So that, as they say is that.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Moving tomorrow

I didn't realise it had been nearly a week since I wrote this. It has been one hell of a week one way or another, not just on the writing front but all round. I am having a few legal problems at the moment that I have to deal with - nothing to do with me, or anything I have written, but more to do with what someone else has written about me.

We are also of course moving house tomorrow - at long last. It has been a fairly smooth process by any reckoning - opur house was sold within 8 days of coming on to the market, and there was no chain at either end, but it has still been stressful - especially the last of packing everything away. Tonight though 99 percent of it has been done - all that remains is the bowls for tomorrows breakfast, plus of course the cereal, wash things and towels that we will also need to use tomorrow morning, a few cleaning products, the kettle and the bed linen. All being well we should be out of here by 12.30 to 1pm and unloaded at the other end before 3pm.

On the writing front though Borders has as good as been confirmed for 16th January. I had an email this afternoon as well from the lady who runs the Heart and Mind group at Horsham, West Sussex. I approoached her some time ago with a view to doing a talk. She is now booking for January to March anyway, so I telephoned her and I have been booked in for February 6th. Have to email her to confirm what to put in her leaflets and go along to the group as well sometime between now and then to see how it is run and also how to get there ! The second writers circle is also next week, on 21st. Haven't managed to get my own homework done yet though - naughty, naughty - writing your autobigorapy on one A4 page - will have to get cracking then over the weekend amidst all the unpacking....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Borders part 3

Continuing on from yesteday, it just goes to show that no does not necessarily mean no. I approached the Borders head office some time ago, sending them a copy, as per the Store Manager's suggestion, and about two days later I got a polite letter back saying they would not be stocking it. I then remembered the MBS group at the Kingston branch and contacted them again, got booked in and before I know what is happening they have ordered 20 copies and have put it on the company's orering system, so that any branch in the UK can now order them and it is actually a stocked title ! Richard will be delighted no doubt when Paul and I both speak to him later on today.

I forgot to mention as well that I had a reading with a friend on Monday and one of the questions I asked was re the book cover and does it need to be changed. I had already spoken to Martin on friday, who is the partner of Marion who runs the Journey group at St Michaels. He is very artistic I have recently discovered (see some of his work here) and I thought he may be ideal to do a new cover for me. He jumped at the chance and has asked me to ring him when I have some more ideas and information. Paul's son is also an artist and has offered to help.

Anyway, though Diana, the lady who did my reading suggested that a few minor changes will be needed probably in the New Year, possibly around spring time, once the new energies come in. Nothing major just to simplify things really though. She suggested that the idea I had re the couple walking out of the sea may be too muchd detail, but not to worry or think about this too much, because like before, the details will be shown to me. This is not a reflection either on the first cover and the fact that this too was shown to me by spirit, as what was right then is not necessarily right now or in the future. I need to work on energising the book a little more and really empowering it Diana said, to get it out there and seen and recognised for what it is, and also so that I, as the author will be seen and ackknowledged as an authority on the subjects that it contains. I must say though that the news from Borders last night is very encouraging and an excellent first step on the road towards achieving those things. Will have to ring Richard later on then and add the details to both of my websites.

In the meantime, must get some breakfast, my belly is rumbling like mad .....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Borders Part 2

The Borders mind, body and spirit group was tonight with Andrew and Helen Hain, self published friends of mine from the Kingston area, whom I met at the St Michaels mind, body and spirit festival in october. Went along then to support them and also see Claire, the organiser. I almost didn't recognise her, as she has dyed her hair bright red ! Anyway, the good news is that they have ordered 20 copies of my book and they arrived today ! 5 of them were on display which Claire asked me to sign so they can put them on sale with flyers re my talk in January to drum up some early interest. She also said that the book has now been added to the Borders orderiny system so any Borders shop in the country can now order a copy ! Brilliant news then !

When I got home I rang Paul and gave him the good news. He is every bit as pleased as I am, and will let Richartd know in the morning. I need to ring Richard as well and let him know about our move and a few other things, so will ring him as well. Paul mentioned that he is also trying to put together a book sgning with 6 or so of Richard's authors in Foyles, Charing Cross and my name has been put forward, so watch this space .....

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Under the cover .....

I have just got off the phone from Paul, the publicist from Authors OnLine. He has submitted the book to quite a few people now, including The Times, Borders and Bertrams, one of the two largest distributors here in the UK. Two out of three of The Times reviewers love it, and the third is reading it at the moment. As to whether they will print a review though remains to be seen, as they do get around 200 submissions a week. Paul was lucky then to persuade them to look at my book at all. Even so, the fact that they do like it means that they will hopefully tell other people and they in turn will tell other people and so it goes on. You only have to get one good review in the right place and you are off and running ....

A lot of them have though commented that although they love the book, there is something about the cover that does not say 'pick me up and read me'. Paul himself said that he felt this too, but he did not know exactly what it was that was wrong. The two people from The Times though, and also Borders in Birmingham have said that they think it would be better if the cover was along the lines of the X Files or ET, where the cover comes towards you from a light in the background, a bit like some of the books on NDE's maybe. I need them to give this some serious thought, as these people carry considerable clout in the industry and their opinions matter. The book can still do well, but with the right cover it could do even better. Paul's son is an artist so if and when I come up with any more ideas then he may be able to do something for me at hopefully reasonable cost. In the meantime though I will start by having a look at my own library for some inspiration. Of course any ideas that anyone on here has will also be appreciated ....

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Editing local newsletters

The talk at Tranquility went well - I spoke for about 45 minutes or so, and there were some interesting questions afterwards - didn't sell any books though! Nor sure what is going on here, as this is the second time this seems to have happened now (the other being the well publicised Questing Conference). I have a reading booked with my friend Diana in December, so that will be one the questions I shall ask, along with the reasons behind the aforementioned other site going up the swanny. I feel there is much to be learnt from both experiences, so it will be interesting to get spirit's take on such matters.

No news the move yet either. The buyers seem to be dragging their heels a bit, which is frustrating to say the least. We signed the contract at this end some 3 weeks ago, and theoretically there is nothing to hold things up at their end now the second survey has been done, so it is just wait and hope, wait and hope. It will happen though when it is meant to happen. I suspect actually that it is all to do with not just setting up the forum, but also the new writers group that I am starting tomorrow. If we were packing up ready to move then Coran and I would not have had the time to do either of these vitally important things.

The first writers group then is tomorrow night. I have to have four people come along to cover the cost of the rent, and so far it looks good. I have three people who definately want to come, and all the flyers I put out have gone, so it should be an interesting evening. The first meeting will be mostly to discuss what everyone wants from the group anyway, and what type of writing they all do. I will also though ask them to write their life story on one A4 sheet for homework. That will certainly be a challenge, and might also make an interesting post on the forum when I think about it. Will have to write mine first though ...

In the meantime though, it looks as if I may be the next editor of our village newsletter! This is a local A5 size pamphlet that is distributed for the princely sum of 30p per issue to around 2000 residents around the village that we are moving to. I had a meeting with the current Editor this afternoon, and have agreed to try out the role for a couple of months after we move, sharing it with him, with a view to taking over completely in May when he wants to step down. It will be great for my writng credentials and a fabulous way of getting to know my new neighbours so watch this space ....

More rabbit than Sainsbury's ...

3 November 2006

Apart from that though, I have been booked to do a talk at my local Borders in January ! When I signed the contract, back in April, one of the first things I did was visualse myself standing in that store, doing a tlak and signing copies, with a big poster in the window with my name on it, and now it is going to happen ! The talk has been tentatively booked for January 16 next year, and I can talk for as long as I need to. It will be in the mind, body and spirit section of the store, as part of the mind, body and spirit group that they have recently set up. Best of all, they have already bought one copy of the book (direct from me at full cover price) to put on display and for the staff to read through, and plan to order ip to 20 more so they can make a big display of books prior to the talk going ahead. They have even agreed to help me promote my writers circle which starts next week, by displaying flyers in the shop.

I have also been asked to do a talk at the Tranquility Awareness group next Friday as well! The speaker that threy had booked for next week has pulled out at the last moment, and so they asked me to step in. I will share the spot with Gina, who is one of the organisers, so will talk maybe for around 30 or 45 minutes, but I can easily do that, as I have the basis for a talk already that I did back in August, when it was first launched at St Michaels. It's all happening then !

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Picture this - I am doing a talk in Borders

After Saturday's disappointment, today I am once again celebrating, with the best news since my book first hit the stands. When I got home yesterday, from the healing day at St Michaels, there was a message on the answerphone from Borders in Kingston, asking me to call the organizer, Clare if I was still interested in doing a talk at their Mind, Body and Spirit group. Was I interested - what do you think ! When I signed the contract to get the book published, one the first things I did was visualise myself standing in Borders signing copies of my book, and walking past seeing flyers in the window with my name on it. Well now it is about to come true.

I rang Claire back then first thing this morning, and she the rest of the Managers are extremely keen for me to do a talk, and very impressed from what they have seen of my book. The December slot is now taken, but January is fine by me - and what a start to the New Year that will be ! They have a special meeting tonight on Halloween, so i said I would do along to see how the group is run, and she asked me to bring a copy of the book with me, which they will then buy from their petty cash and place on display to see what the interest is ! This just gets better and better though, wait for this ....

She then said that they will order a load of copies, today, and do a special dsiplay of my books by the mind, body and spirit section during the lead up to Christmas, and she even said that I can display some flyers re the writers circle I am starting ! What a difference between Borders and Waterstones.

I was so excited about the whole thing, I couldn't stop jumping up and down for about half an hour. I don' remember feeling this excited since I first opened that very first sample copy, all those months ago.

And who says dreams don't come true !

Sunday, October 29, 2006

good news and bad - depending on how you loook at it

Yesterday, the day of the Questing Conference turned out to be an experience, if nothing else. The day was shorter than previous years, with a lot less talks, at just 6 and seemed less well attended also. Last year the talks went on until 8.30 pm, but this time the last one finished at 6pm, with the opening address at 10am.

I did not sell nearly as many books as I hoped, so will not be doing it again. I did better at St Michaels in fact, a few weeks ago, as I sold just 5 of my own one and about half the second hand ones. I took around £125 in all, £87 of which is profit, making a loss of £3 for the day, not including food and petrol.

There seemed to be 3 main problems - firstly people do not books from unknown authors unless they are endorsed by someone big, or they are doing a talk there. Secondly, they didn't show up very well against the white cloth I used as a table covering. Thirdly, the space they had reserved for me was at the side of the hall, oposite the busiest area where most people were congregating. I could have chosen the other side of the hall, but it is always difficult. Do you go to the busy areas, where it is so busy in fact that people can't move round to your stall and therefore don't try, or do you choose a quieter area. I chose the quieter area in the end and am sitll not sure whether this was the right thing or not. Still the good news is that 2 of this years speakers got one - John Reid (his partner actually, but he will read it also) who did an excellent talk on the use of sound in ancient Egypt, and Greg Little, a lovely man from Memphis, Tennessee who did an equally good talk on the Bimini Roads.

I have to then be philosophical and put it down to experience - it was an interesting day, and I got to talk to some nice people. One other lady who bought a copy, Janet said she will pass it on to a friend of hers, who writes reviews for a well known magazine, and used to work for the Times, plus I sold those 2 copies to the speakers, who may love it so much that they write reviews as well. Thank goodness my web address is in the back !

It was though a very long and very tiring day. Coran I think was if anything, more tired than I was, as he had to drive me all the way up there and back again, and then return to pick me up afterwards - a total of 80 miles. We were so tired on the way back, and the trafffic was so bad, that we stopped in Chiswick for a Mcdonalds - something I would never normally do. Desperate times though call for desperate measures. I will proably spend the next 3 or 4 days regretting that bread roll though.

The conference though is really though a labour of love for Andy and hs wife Sue who organise it. I think about the only people who do make money from it are the speakers in terms of book sales, and of course Atlantis Book shop, who sell most of them. I saw some people with bags full of about 6 books that they bought from that stall, and consequently, although they liked mine, they had non money left to buy a copy. Maybe if I had taken credit cards, but I don't really think this would have made a difference either. A lof of them did though take postcards, so maybe will order through Amazon or my site. Will keep a careful eye on the number of hits next week then.

To sum up though, it was useful experience, but not one that I shall repeat. If I wanted to sell my books there again, then the best way I think would be to get Atlantis to stock it and then offer to sign some copies. I have to though be philosophical, It was a good day out, and I would have done along to listen anyway, so in some ways, the stall did not really cost me £90, but £60. It is all about raising your profile anyway, and I guess I did manage to do that, so it was really more a learning experience than a failure.

This afternoon then I have just got off the phone from a long conversation with Paul Ricks, the publicist for Authors OnLine, who rang yesterday while I was out. He has now read my book, and is very impressed and has several ideas of poeple to contact. The first one is Waterstones, more specifically, the Manager at Epsom who already stocks it, with a view to arranging a book signing or something. He is also though going to approach them at national level. He also has contacts at WH Smith that he will try and also at Bertrams, one of the largest wholesalers (who the book is registered with) as they supply most of the independent shops.

The last idea though was the Daily Express Book Club and also the Daily Mail, although he has not had success there with other books. They did though print a feature on Ian Lawton's book, Genesis Unveiled, and have also featured the works of Zecharia Sitchin, so I would say that they may well be interested in mine.

He will contact all thse poeple this week then, and I will hopefully hear back from him by the end of the week. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Final preparations

It has been a quiet week this week then book wise. I have still managed to sell 2 copies though - one on Sunday to a friend, Jenny from Leicester, who came down for the day to do a one day workshop at the nearby Kosmon Sanctuary on the cosmic dragon. It was an interesting day.

The second copy was sold on Monday at a talk on Rennes le Chateaux by our other friend, Maybel Hopcroft. Maybel recently took a small group of 8 women to Rennes le Chateau and Montsegur to do some clearing work.

Today then I have busy making sure I have everything ready for the Questing Conference this weekend. Better after all to be prepared, so as to avoid any last minute panics. I have priced up a large box of second hand books, and of course 30 of my own ones. May decide to take a few more, as the conference looks likely to be a full house - last I heard they had sold 450 tickets. They are usually a few people who turn up to buy them on the day as well, plus the speakers and other stall holders. So likely to be around 480 people in total. Might be best then to take a few extra books, just in case, judging by how well I did at the St Michaels Mind, Body and Spirit festival three weeks ago.

I went to the Post Office as well this morning and got £100 in £5 notes. Still have £40 of £1 coins to get as well, which I shall have to do tomorrow, as I can only withdraw £100 a day. I have also filled a big box with the various other things I will need - a large tablecloth, postcards and other promotional materials and a few of the books information sheets, plus pens, pencil, carrier bags, receipt book in case anyone wants one, my cash tin and keys, and a small notebook in which to record all my sales. Think that is about it then, apart from the £1 coins, and of course something to eat. Will pop to M&S in Surbiton later on or maybe tomorrow, and see what I can get.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Waiting Game

Didn't hear from Claire who is taking over the group, so I went in to the store again on Thursday to see if I could see her. I had to go into Kingston anyway. Apparently they are having a big meeting re the group next week, or possibly on Monday week, so once they have all sat around talking, I should hear from her then. She has my contact details anyway, and an information sheet on the book, so hopefully it wil be good news.

Heard from Ricky James, the Manager of Watkins in London as well, he is still up to his ears with books to consider, but shouldn't be long before he makes a decision as to whether to stock mine. Can't see why not myself.

Only one week then to go to the Questing Conference. This time next week I shall no doubt be sitting there surrounded by people admiring my wears and hopefully buying books. Have a lot to sort out though - getting a float of change, hoping my cash box is big enough, not to mention the table cloth I have bought. Deciding which promotional materials to use and how to display them, which articles etc to print out and maybe offer as freebies. Would have liked to have got some free pens or something, but probably left it too late now.

We are still waiting for the contracts for the house as well - were supposed to arrive a couple of days ago, but so far, nothing. We spoke to the solicitor yesterday and they have posted another copy out to us, so hopefully will arrive on Monday, and then I suppose it will all go. The house we are buying is already empty, so in theory we can move whenever the removal people can fit us in.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The power of positive thought

The meeting at Borders went very well - Linda is leaving the store though to start a new job (she only found out today) so someone else called Clare will be taking over the group. She has given my details to Clare though, who will be in touch within the next 24 hours to hopefully organise something and get me booked in. So this means that my books will be in at least one branch of Borders, and my name will also be on flyers etc all round the store. It a long held dream of mine to do a talk and book signing in Borders, so on this cosmic trigger day, dreams can and do come true. The power of positive thought in action.

Sainbsury's - groan !

The main news this week then is re Sainsbury's - groan, my ex employer. When I left their employ in August 2005, I led a lot of them to believe that the reason was to finish my book, although there were actually many other reasons as well, which I won't go into there. Suffice to say though, that I would not recommend them as an employer.

When I left though, and told them about the book, a lot of poeple said to let them when it was published, as they would like to have a copy of it. So, around one month ago, I telephoned the Personnel Dept (against my better judgement I might add) with a view to seeing if they would be prepated to let me place a copy in the staff canteen with an order form.

I spoke to a lady called Donna, who in turn spoke to the Personnel Manager, Sarah. Donna then came back to me to say that Sarah would like to see a copy of the book. So I took a cooy in for her to see, on the undersstanding that she would get back to me in 2-3 weeks with an answer as to whether they were prepared to let me put one in the canteen.

One month went by and I heard nothing, so last Monday, I telepehoned the store again. I was told that Sarah was in a Managers meeting and would call me back. She didn't, so I called the following day, and was told that they were all busy doing payroll and would call me tomorrow. I waited until Thursday afternoon before ringing the store again and telling them that I would be coming in after the Journey group on Friday afternoon. They then said that they would leave a message for me at the Customer Service desk.

When I got there, there was no message, so I signed in and went upstairs to see Personnel. Sarah was in yet another meeting. I was then told though, by another lady in Personnel, that Sarah had put my book in the canteen, after it was delivered, and surprise, surprise - it had gone missing. To say that I was unhappy about this is an understatement. I did NOT give them permission to do this - they were supposed to ciontact me first, and anyway, what is the point in putting a book on display to gauge interest with no information as to how people can order a copy.

After I got home, Sarah finally did ring, and gave me a load of old waffle about how she though they were doing me a favour by doing this, as I used to work there. If this is a favour - allowing someone to steal my book, then I dread to think how they treat their enemies.

The long and the short of it is that I have fired off a letter to the Store Manager, telling him what I think and asking for an apology. Technically they owe me £15 for that missing book, but I know I don't have a hope in hell of getting it. They do though owe me an apology though at the very least. We shall see. In some strange way though ,this has helped me to see that actually I don't need Sainsbury's anymore and helped me to out the whole thing to bed, or at least to start tucking it in .....

The Tranquility Awareness meeting on Friday though was good. They have invited me to bring some books along to the next meeting in November, which will be good. I have finally sent a flyer as well to Linda, the lady at Borders who organises the mind, body and spirit group, and am going in to Kingston to see her this afternoon, to discuss the group in more detail and share some ideas.

I have also done the flyer for my Writers Circle and Support group, which I have been talking about for so long. No more excuses now then. The first meeting will be on November 16th. Must send an email out to everyone then to let them know.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My 50th copy was sold today

I don't know where the time seems to go, looking at the calendar, I can't believe we are already nearly halfway through this week - Wednesday tomorrow, and I really can't believe we are a third of the way into October either, the dark nights will soon be upon us. Bearing that in mind, when it came to choosing the subject of tonights service at St Michaels, I decided to do it on the subject of the darkness. This is something that I probably know a little bit about, since I have been exploring my own dark side in quite some depth this past year or so. Telling Sainsburys where they can stick their job, then wriitng all those angry letters to the Job Centre and my MP, letting go of a lot of other stuff too from childhood, plus my fear of public speaking and also dogs - I am still working on that one, but am slowly getting there.

The talk though was a real success and the best I have done yet. Only 3 people turned up, but that is fine, as you get the people you need. One of them was a regular, Isabel, who comes to all of them, but the other 2 ladies I hadn't seen before. One of them I think I may have seen at one of the Sunday services, and I seemed to recall that she was one of the organisers for the Tranquility Awareness group that meet at St Michaels once a month, and whom I have been talking to on the phone about me coming along to their group to do a talk. This group has three organisers - Gina, Fran and Louise. I met Gina at the mind, body and spirit festival this weekend, and we had a long chat and she bought a book, and said that she thought I really needed to come along and do a talk. I suspect then that she sent the other two along tonight to check me out! One of them tonight also bought a book, and when I asked her what name she wanted me to write in it, she said, rather tentatively, Francoise ! I think then she is the same Fran that I spoke to on the phone. I will find out on Friday anyway though, as they have their next meeting, that they asked me to go to. So if it is her then I will feign ignorance and pretend to be terribly surprised.

The other news is that I have been given approval to finally start the writers circle and support group that I have been talking about for so long. I actually got approval for this back in May, but what with the house, and the book, and my habit of procrastination, it got put to one side. I really feel though that now I am ready to be doing so much more than just services - it is time to start leading my own groups. Over the coming months then I shall also be putting together a one day workshop on self publishing for spiritual writers. The first writers group though is booked in for November 16th from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. It will cost me £10 an hour to hire the sanctuary, plus another £10 if I use the kitchen, which I will try then to avoid. If I charge £10 a session then, which seems reasonable and on a par with other groups, then I only have to get 2 people per session to cover my costs. I have to get working then on my flyer tomorrow then so that it can go up on the notice board next time I go to the sanctuary on Friday.

I was hoping that there may be some news from Sainsburys by now re selling the book in their staff canteen where I used to work. They were supposed to ring me today to let me know what is happening, but so far, nothing. Will have to give them another call then tomorrow, and it that fails, then go in there to see the Personnel Dept. Don't really want to do this for obvious reasons, as I used to work there, but I suppose I shall have to when I deliver the books, assuming they are interested. Sales figures for September were in today as well - these are the figures for sales via book shops and internet retailers, amazon etc, so are in adidition to the sales I have made direct. I sold 1 copy in the UK and also 1 in the US - with the one that I sold tonight then that now makes a total of 50 copies in the 11 weeks since I got back from Lundy in July - is that all it is ? So that means around 4.5 copies a week, not bad at all for a self published author. It is only 2 1/2 weeks to the Questing Conference as well, so hopefully I will sell a lot more there. Things then are finally beginning to happen. I knew they would.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Any publicity is good publicity .....

Well, the Epsom Post printed a wonderful piece about me in this weeks edition. The write up was very good, it is justa shame there was a mix up with the picture, and they printed one of June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton in EastEnders, rather than me. A few weeks ago I would have been absolutely fuming about this, but I took it in my stride. I think in fact it was one big cosmic joke, and a reminder from spirit not to take it all quite to seriously. I do have a teensy tendency to do that at times.....

Here then is what they wrote:

Launch of book on spirituality

A well-known speaker at St Michael's Sanctuary, In Ewell, is launching her new book at the Sanctuary's Mind, Body and Spirit Festival.
The festival, on Saturday at St Michael's, in Church Street, will feature stalls including a book-signing by June Austin. She is celebrating the publication of Genesis of Man.
This is a book of spiritual history and the origins of mankind from 35 million years ago to the crucifixion of Jesus.
June said, 'the main theme, however, is the need to integrate and maintain the balance between our own light and dark sides and use both aspects of ourselves to help us grow. 'It is a book that will help a great deal of people and is already attracting some interesting reviews', she added. Various complementary therapies will also be on offer, throughout the day, as well as clairvoyance and astrology readings.
The festival is open from 10am to 5pm, with plenty of parking available nearby.
St Michaels' is a non denominational centre of healing and spiritual knowledge lcoated in the centre of Ewell. The sanctuary offers healing and teaching of a universal nature to encourage individuals to find their own spiritual path to peace.
Services take place on Sundays at 6pm, and Wednesdays at 8pm.
The sanctuary also offers various other events and workshops, such as meditation groups and Tai Chi.

It was a good write up then apart from that picture. I think I will have trouble living this one down for quite some time yet... I contacted the paper of course as soon as I realised what had happened, and they will be printing an apoplogy in next weeks edition, which means of course that I will now be in there for 2 weeks running. Perhaps I should drum up some more publicity by contacting June Brown and offering her a copy of this famous book written by her almost namesake. You never know, it could end up being circulated to all her colleagues and other cast members and be featured in Hello or one of those other glossy magazines....

The day itself though went very well. Overall the sanctuary raised about £1000, which will pay for the supports needed for the downstairs ceiling. They found recently that some clown in the dim and distant past had drilled through some of the joists that hold the ceiling up, so until they had the money to get it fixed, they have had 2 large metal poles supporting it all. We have been thinking of setting up a St Michaels Pole dancers troupe as an (almost) Full Monty....

It was busy downstairs, where the therapists were as soon as they opened the doors, but upstairs where I was, it was a very quiet morning. Then about 2.30 pm, everyone seemed to pile upstairs for late lunches and early afternoon teas, and within the space of an hour I had sold 6 books ! I also exchanged one for a book that was written by an old friend, who was there doing flower essence readings, and who I hadn't seen for over 10 years. I worked briefly as a receptionist at the clinic that she used to run, and was actually the tester for the first ever essence that she made. She now has a whole series of 52 of them and is teaching other people.

I also managed to sell a few second hand books and tapes, which was good, and a small crystal skull. All in all then I took about £110 for day, which is not too bad. It was good experience though for the Questing Conference at the end of the month, which will of course be the big one, with between 4 and 500 people expected, plus the speakers and other stall holders. If I managed to sell 7 books yesterday with maybe 100 people visiting, I can multiply 7 by at least 4 or 5, which means I can expect to sell up to 35 books, which roughly translated means about £275 profit. That will be without the second hand books I shall also take with me, so could easily top £300, maybe £350 for a days work, which will not be too bad at all.

All in all though I was quite pleased with what I achieved. Apparently Paul Burrell, who was Princess Diana's Butler, did a book signing yesterday for his new book, and only 4 people turned up, so I am doing better than he is then. Loads of people took postcards as well, and were making jokes about Dot Cotton, which I admit did get a bit wearing, but they meant well. I also made some useful contacts, as there was another couple there selling their books as well, which they self published, and they gave me several names and numbers to try. Another lady said that she would be interersted in selling my book via her website, and one of those that bought it runs a discussion group and would be interested in me doing a talk. Her group though is fully booked though until June, but I can wait.

Overall it was a very good day though, and a very useful experience, but very tiring. Goodness knows how I will manage at the Questcon then, when I have to drive all the way to London and home again as well, after a 9 hour day. It will be an experience if nothing else.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Life, the universe and everything in between .....

Have been feeling a bit strange and out of sorts again these past few days - all the doubts and that nagging voice of the ego has been creeping in again, comparing myself to other more 'successful' self published authors, which is always a futile exercise. I mean, why would I want to be like anyone else, when I can wonderful old me. In church tonight, Margaret, who did the service, was saying that this has been a horrible old year for most of us, since all those things that we thought we had dealt with have been coming up to bite us on the bum - she wasn't joking. It has certianly been the most difficult and challenging year that I remember - one of intense joy, but also the most intense pain.

I managed to sell another copy though on Friday, which is good, and now makes a total of 39 of them. This one went to a lady called Jane, who was visiting the Journey group for the first time. She is an author herself as it happens, on interior design and soft furnishings, and also works for a conference organiser, so has lots of nedia contacts. Might then be a useful person to know. I do get the strong impression, with being introduced to both her and Paul in the space of a week, that something interesting is in store. I have had my first taste of dealing with local media as well this week, with the local papers. I spoke to the lady at the Epsom Post at the beginning of the week, and it looks like they will definately be running a piece. Will have to cut it out and keep it for my portfolio then and also to pin up on the noticeboard that the Sanctuary have set aside for my stall for next weekend.

Yesterday I also had an email from Nadine, a very good friend of mine from Arizona, whom I got to know via one of the writers sites I post on - My Writers Circle, to say that that she had mentioned my book to the Grumpy old man - he is one of those blog book reviewers, based in the UK, who review the best self published books. His site is frequently visited by agents and editors, so you never know. If he shows an interest, then I would certainly be willing to send him a copy and maybe even organise an interview to go on his site. Must remember to add a link to Nadine's site next time I do some updates.

I also had the idea to try and order a copy from both Borders and Waterstones in Kingston to see what happened. I had been told by Paul that many of Richard's authors seem to have problems with prospective buyers trying to get their books from shops, as shops only order books that show as being in stock on their ordering system. With POD of course, the books are printed to order, so are not kept in stock, as it is the act of ordering a copy that causes them to be printed in the first place. I have notified everyone on my mailing list then just to make sure, and also added a note to the ordering page on both websites. While I was in Borders, I happened to notice a flyer for their new mind, body and spirit group, which one of their managers, Charlotte told me some time ago. She was supposed to get back to me with a view to doing a talk, but I never did hear from her. The sales assistant though called her over to the information desk and we had a chat. It sounds like she is definately interested in me doing a talk for the group, possibly in december. This is great, since the store will be packed at this time of year. She asked me to email her colleague, the organiser, Linda with details of the book and the suggested theme for the evening. If they do book me, then they will order 20 copies of the book to try and sell on the night. I didn't tell them that their Head Office had turned it down !

Coran suggested the slogan Genesis of Man, life, the universe, and everything in between, which actually I really like. It is a play on Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but I think it works really well, as my book is about life, the universe and pretty much everything in between. The everything in between also pertains to the need to balance the light and the dark, becoming, grey, like the space in between, and at the same time, using our own grey matter, by thinking for ourselves. I have then ordered some more postcards with this new slogan on them as VistaPrint have some good offers at the moment. With luck they will arrive in time for the weekend. The last lot was here within about 3 days, even with the slow delivery.

That's it for today then, will post some more as and when I have something to report.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Local media

What a morning it has been - yet again. I managed to get those news releases written yesterday and sent them out to three local papers newspapers. The Epsom Post sounded interested, and asked me to send a picture of myself. The library across the road from the church are going to display some flyers on their noticeboard. I will try the libraries around here as well.

I sent the cheque yesterday for the balance for the Questing Conference. I will have to think carefully about how many copies I will need to order, as this is a BIG event. I will see how I do next weekend first, as I should be able to order more copies after that if I need to.

This morning then I have emailed IndePublishing to get a copy of their contract re selling my book on their site. The owner Jo Anthony said she could give me some useful suggestions re improving my information sheet, which may be helpful. I also Emailed the organisers from Friends in Focus whose meeting I went to last week to confirm that I was definately interested in doing a talk there. I allso emailed Heart and Mind, as I had not heard from them.

I then booked a place for Edwin's next talk. There were several people at the Esher group last week whom I hadn't see for a while, who asked if I was going and could I bring a copy along, so I Emailed Edwin as well to let him I would be doing that. It is only courtesy after all, as it's his event. I rang Richard to see if there was any news from West Country Books - he doesn't think it will go anywhere as he hasn't heard back from them. I might chase them up myself later on, to see what's what.

I also rang Gaynor to order some more books - 14 copies this time, just to make sure I have enough for next weekend, in case the local press do run some articles. They can be taken along to the Questing Conference if I don't sell them all. Gaynor has passed my details on to an amateur publicist that they use, one of Richards more succesful authors, who may be able to help organise further talks and book signings and even radio interviews. He will probably contact me in the next day or so, so watch this space ...

Last but no means least, I Emailed the Manager at Waterstones in Epsom to let him know about next weekend and that there may be some articles in the local press, as I mentioned that the book is availble from them, just in case he wants to order some more copies. It is time for lunch now and a quiet afternoon in the park - the sun is out and the sky is blue, so a nice long walk to blow away the cobwebs is in order, followed by a cup of tea and some mushroom picking.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Contacting Local Groups

I have been busy contacting more groups this past week or so, and have done five so far - Tranquility Awareness, Surrey Dowsers, Friends in Focus, Dorking Awareness and Heart and Mind. Tranquility Awareness have invited me to their next meeting in October, Surrey Dowsers are fully booked until 2008, Friends in Focus invited me also to their next meeting, Dorking Awareness are keeping me on file for future reference, and Heart and Mind are yet to reply. I will chase them up in the next day or so to make sure they received my Email.

The Friends in Focus meeting was last Thursday, and they seem very promising. It is a friendly group, run by the same lady who used to run Kingston Positive Living. There about 60 people there last week, so they seem to have a good turn out every month. If I do get booked I should get some good sales. I have not heard from my local Waterstones as yet, so will give them another week or so and chase them up. I am still awaiting confirmation from Cygnus Book Club as well, but they did say that this would take a few weeks.

My review was posted on the Internet forum I used to moderate. I was a bit surprised by it, as it seemed more of a criticism than a review. The new moderators Emailed to invite me back on to the site, much to my surprise. I managed to post some comments of my own and start a few more threads, before someone we have not been able to identify posted some less than positive comments on the site that I am now moderator on. I resigned from the review site in protest. It is best not to give this any more energy that I need to, but rather learn from the experience and move on.

This week has been rather quiet on the sales front. I managed to sell one copy at the Journey group on Friday, and one in Church tonight, and I still have those 2 stalls coming up. I must send the balance for the Questing Conference tomorrow, as it is due one month before the conference which is on 27 October. It will soon come round.

Today I Emailed a couple of organisations with a view to reviews - Atlantis Rising magazine, whose name speaks for itself, and a company called IndePublishing. This is run by Jo Anthony, a successful self published author and Manager for Pen Press, one of the largest short print run companies in the UK. She runs a consultancy business for self published authors, helping them with marketing plans, and sells various self published books via her website. I must sit down tomorrow and draft some letters to the local papers throughout the area, letting them know about the Mind, Body and Spirit Festival at our local church, and that I shall be there with some signed copies for sale. I also have some more websites to approach that sell and review self published books.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Trying to organise some talks

I am trying to get back into the swing of the publishing world, having neglected things for a few weeks while we were dealing with the house. I have had a busy morning ringing round some local groups trying to arange some talks. I spoke to the Tranquility Awareness people some time ago, who meet monthly at our local church, and sent them some information by post. They invited me along to their September meeting, telling me that it was on the 15th, and that they had no bookings at all for speakers past December. I was disappointed to find that the meeting had actually been on 8th, and they had not let me know, and also that they have now booked a speaker for January. I tried to ring them again last night, but it was not a good time, and when I called back, I got the answerphone. I am wondering if I am meant to do a talk with these people, and need to branch out into other parts of Surrey, and further afield.

This morning I have rung three more groups - Friends in Focus, Dorking Awareness and Surrey Dowsers. I did a talk for Surrey Dowsers a few years ago on crystal skulls, which went down very well, so they should be interested. They do however arrange their programme well in advance so may be fully booked for 2007 already. I left a message with their organiser for her to get back to me. I Emailed the organiser from Dorking Awareness also, and spoke to the organiser of Friends in Focus. She has invited me to their next meeting and we can talk more then.

I then rang my ex employer to see if I could leave some copies for my former collagues to order! If you don't ask you don't get, and a lot of the people there would be interested if they knew who I was, and that I used to work there! They rang back and asked if could let them have a copy. They will approve it and then get back to me. That should be interesting.
I spoke to Richard as well about West Country Books who contacted me on Friday. He has things well in hand, and is trying to sort out terms and conditions to see if it is viable, what discount they buy for, whether it is sale and return, the quantities involved, how they promote the books, do they expect him to pay for postage, all that stuff. I should hear within a couple of weeks.

It is already 4.40pm. I don't know where the time goes, or how on earth I used to have time to go to work!

We have just returned from our site interview at the park home site. It was a formality to get to know us and make sure that we are aware of the pitch fees, park rules etc, and also for us to ask any questions. The main point concerned working from home, which they assure us is not a problem, as long as we are not bringing lorries and trucks on to the park with heavy loads and dust and grime. No problem there then!

I got home to find that no one had rung, so logged on to check my messages, and will probably chill out for the rest of the day. Coran has his first trustees meeting tonight, so I expect he will fill me in on all the details later on.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The house is sold ....

It feels like a quiet week, when not much has happened, yet when I look back on it, a gerat deal has happened.

We have accepted an offer on our house, so it looks like the move will be going ahead. It is a first time buyer with no chain, and she seems as keen to get in as we are to get out. The park home site that we are moving to is the most sought after in the whole country, so we are very lucky that it has fallen into place. The house we are buying has been on the market for nine months, and we sold ours within a week! It was obviously waiting for us ...

The Journey group started back on Friday. I didn't sell any copies, as they all left their money at home - doh! I ordered 20 more this week, which should arrive soon, to replenish stocks, and so that I have some more review copies to send out. I sent two this morning - one to a magazine called Readers Reviews and one to Borders Head Office for their consideraton. Readers Reviews is a magazine published by POD publisher Troubadour, where they review and sell self published books, kind of like a POD book club. It is worth considering I feel. Borders have not replied to any of my answerphone messages, and their website says they need to see a copy for consideration, so I have bitten the bullet and sent it through. I will see what happens. I am still waiting on Watkins and Waterstones in Kingston and will have to chase them up in the week.

I went into Waterstones in Epsom on the way home to see if my books were on the shelf. I couldn't see them, so asked. They have 2 in stock and another one on order. The girl thought that they were probably upstairs waiting to be put out, as they only arrived a week ago, so they should be there next time I go in. Apparently they took a week to arrive, so at least I know the time frame involved if anyone else wants to order one ...

The sales figures for August went live on Richard's site yesterday. I sold 3 UK copies and 2 US. The UK ones are probably the 3 that Waterstones ordered, which means that the Chalice Well have not ordered any more, and also that that shop in Stockport haven't. I wonder why? I have Emailed twice but heard nothing. I chased up Cygnus yesterday, since Richard hadn't heard from them. I spoke to Jackie Hollingsworth who deals with their submissions. She has been on holiday, and only works part time, so has a lot to catch up on. They get 200 submissions a month, and have a circulation of 60,000 people! She hopes to get back to me with an acknowledgement within the next 2 weeks and appreciated my patience and understanding. These Editors have a lot on their plates after all. If she likes it, she will pass it to their Editor who will contact Richard to negoitatate terms. It may be in their catalogue in time for Christmas. Richard being the cynic that he is, asked me which Christmas they meant!

Yesterday I also had an Email from West Country Books, a small wholesaler/distributor based in - you guessed it, the West Country. Would I be interested in signing up with them? One of the ladies on my mailing list told them about my book and suggested they get in touch. I already have the two distributors, Bertrams and Gardners, whom Richard has accounts with, but another is always worth looking at, especially since they specialise in Mind, Body and Spirit books and supply a lot of the smaller, New Age type shores. I forwarded their email to Richard so he can get in touch and see what they have to offer, and Emailed them to let them know.

The review which has gone up on the Internet forum I used to moderate has caused a bit of a stir. It was touch and go whether the current mods would allow it, but in the end they did, after the ordering information was removed! It is more a critique than a review, which took me slightly by surprise ... I have had several messages from people in response, so it must be causing some ripples.

Oh well, time for tea ...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Catching up

I haven't written for a while, as I have been busy trying to sort out the house. With a bit of luck we may be moving in a few weeks time, if all goes according to plan ...

Following Edwin's talk last Monday, he Emailed to say thank you, and that he had enjoyed my references to him in the book, which made him laugh. He is also adding a link to my site from his, when his partner next updates it. That should help a great deal, since his site gets a lot of visits, especially since he began work at the College of Psychic Studies in London. His third book is due out sometime this month.

Last Wednesday I had Emails from 2 friends - one of whom I know from the Atlantean Archives course I did last year, and one whom I was introduced to by Joshua Shapiro, the American crystal skull researcher. They both wanted my address so they could send me cheques for signed copies. The first arrived yesterday, but I am still waiting for the second one. I expect she has been busy over the Bank Holiday, as she does work full time. I also heard from my Reiki Master who lives just round the corner from the Chalice Well. She is going there to buy a copy, and wants me to sign it next time I visit. I Emailed her back to say thank you.

There is not much to repor apart from that. The house seems to be taking up most of our time. I went into Kingston yesterday to get some stationary and various bits, and went into Waterstones to see if the Manager had had a chance to look at the copy I delivered to them 2 weeks ago. He hadn't even seen it, and there did not seem to be any trace of it in the Assistant Managers office. I can only conclude that he must have taken it home to read. I gave him a postcard, and he loved the cover, and said he would definately remember if he had seen anything like that. I took his Email address and said I would send him the information sheet again, which I did. I also told him that Epsom have agreed to stock it. I will hopefully hear from him soon.

Coran spoke to one of his clients last night, and she has asked that he bring a copy to Church on Saturday, as he is doing a Pilates workshop with her. That will leave 11 copies that I have from the 50 I ordered, 10 if my friends hceque arrives. I will have to think about ordering some more, sending out some review copies and ringing a few more groups. Edwin suggested a few that I could try in his Email last week that I need to get in touch with.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Bringing things up to date

I have had enquiry from an esoteric bookstore in Cheshire run by one of the ladies on my mailing list. They wish to order 2 copies to begin with, one for people to look through, and one for sale. If things go well, there is a possibility of my going up there in a couple of months time to do a talk. I am not sure how that will pan out, with the cost of travel and accomodation. I have Emailed the proprieter with a copy of my information sheet and will take it from there. She can hopefully order copies from one of the distributors.

It has been a very eventful week. Friday in particular was most strange. It was one of those days when both of us felt like we just had to get out of the house ... So, we agreed to go to our local Church for some more decorating. We got halfway there only to find the roads were closed due to an accident. We navigated our way past that, and then found that we had left the keys at home ... Off to Sainsbury's we went to get some lunch, which we took up to the Downs to eat. Sitting in the car park we were watching the clouds roll in, one minute we were in brilliant sunshine, and the next it was peeing down.

We have been thinking of moving for a while now, considering downsizing and getting out of London altogether. We are not strictly in in London, but near enough, as it is only an hour by car. Our friend, who is one of the Church trustees, lives on a mobile home park, and has been saying for some time that we should go and see her. On the spur of the moment we decided to do just that. The moment we walked into her house, both of us fell in love, and knew that we had found the place that we wanted to move to. Don't get me wrong, Our friend's house is not for sale, but there are 250 other homes on the park that she lives on. Luckily, one of them was for sale, so we went straight home to ring the Agent and made an appointment to view it on Saturday. We ended up offerng the asking price.
It is a beautiful property and very light and spacious - a luxury detached bungalow, with a huge garden and plenty of parking.

All we have to do is sell our own property and therein lies the problem, for we are not the only ones who are inteersted in this house. A Spanish couple have also put an offer in. They cannot leave Spain for legal reasons until the end of October, so if we want to get in then we have to act fast. We have been in touch with a company with a view to doing a part exchange on our house, which would mean that we could move in as little as 6 weeks time, fingers crossed.

In the meantime we have been busy cleaning and tidying the house so that it looks as good as possible, and so that we can get the best possible price. The part exchange people take 10 percent of the sale value, so we need to make sure we get a good price. The living room floor is littered with bags full of shredded paper and unwanted books and CD's.

With all this going on the book has taken a bit of a back seat. I managed to sell 2 copies on Monday night when I went to see a talk by Edwin Courtenay. Edwin Emailed this morning to say he will put a link to my site on his own, and made some helpful suggestions with regard to possible venues for talks and other retail outlets that I need to follow up.

For the moment though it is back to the cleaning ...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A book shop is willing to stock my book - yeh !!!

Today the postman bought a lovely present in the form of a letter from the Chalice Well to say that they will put the copy of the book I sent them in their shop for 3 months. If it sells within that time, they will order some more via one of their two main suppliers. This is brilliant news, and exactly what I have been waiitng for. I know the Chalice Well is only a small shop, but it is also one of the biggest, in fact, the biggest (after the Tor) tourist attractions in Glastonbury, with visitors from all over the world. I will be very surprised if it doesn't sell within a few weeks. If for some reason it doesn't, I have asked them to donate it to the library at the Little St Michaels retreat house, so that visitors people can see it there. There are other shops in the town as well, like Growing Needs and Gothic Image, who may be interested ...

I was so pleased at this news that I decided to take the bull by the horns and ring Waterstones in Piccadilly and Oxford Street, Piccadilly being the largest book shop in Europe. They asked me to Email the buyers from the Mind, Body and Spirit departments respectively with my information sheet, which I have done. Coran and I then walked into Kingston for a celebratory lunch (nothing exotic, only Pizza Hut salad) and I delivered a copy to the Manager of Waterstones. I did not get to see him personally as he was having his own lunch, and was due at the University store across town carry out some interviews, but the girl on the information desk delivered it to him in the staff room while I browsed the writers section.

Reading the new edition of the Writers and Artists Yearbook, there seem to be a real explosion of self publishing as more and more writers get fed up with endless rejections and Editors who never get back to them, earning a pittance if and when they do secure a mainstream contract, and having virtually NO control over their own creation, as Editors change the book title and do cover designs without asking the author his or her own views. I predict that in the years to come this will lead to a wholescale revolution in the publishing industry, where writers take back control of their work and pull the strings, where the practise of heavy discounting becomes a thing of the past, and booksellers no longer take bribes from the large publishers who pay them huge amounts to put their books on prominent display. At the moment the booksellers have all the power, and that needs to change, so that writers, the people who create these works get adequately compensated for their work.

The only way to do this at present is self publishing, or being one of these mindless celebrities (most of whose books are incidentally ghost written - do you honestly think the likes of Daniella Westbrooke for example can write!?). The only way to effect change is for more and more writers to self publish, but to do so professionally and in the right way.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Another update

I can't remember all that has happened, or what I have done since Friday, which is why I decided to buy an exercise book (recycled of course) to write it down, as that way I can remind myself of who needs chasing up and when ...

Things will quieten down for a few weeks now our Church is closed for the summer break. Coran and I have been busy yesterday and today helping them clean and redecorate. Coran has also helped with some minor DIY problems - sorting out the speakers for the hi fi system and clearing out the gutters, that sort of thing.

I have only sold one copy this week, and unless some cheques arrive in the post, do not expect to sell any more. That is fine as I can use the time to do other things like ringing round some more groups and book shops. Yesterday was a busy day for me. I rang the Chalice Well to see if the copy I sent them had arrived. The lady I needed to speak to wasn't available, so I emailed instead. It was the same with Watkins, so I emailed them as well, and said, very boldly than I will be in London on Friday (Coran has a hospital apppointment), so will drop into the shop with a copy of the book and some information to try and see the Manager then! I will see if he is available, and if not, I am sure the book will be passed on. It will be worth it for the price of a free copy (£7.17 to me).

I slso phoned Waterstones in Kingston. Buying decisions for Waterstones are made on a local rather than national level, so they asked me to send them a copy. I said I will drop in to see them next time I go town, which will be tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed then. I said I am more than willing to help with publicity by doing a talk, book signing or both, so that should help. I will try and ring Epsom as well this week, and see what they say. I expect they will want another free copy. All these free copies are beginning to add up, but it will be worth it if they decide to go with the book.
I Rang Borders again and left another message on their anwerphone. They have not rung me back, so I will have to take the bull by the horns and send them - you guessed it - another free copy! Phew, I hope this is all worth it.

I was just getting in from shopping when I heard the phone ringing. It was a friend from Church, who bought a copy last week, to tell me that she had shown it to a friend who is doing a course with Diana Summer, who is mentioned in the acknowledgements. She took the book to the latest course meeting, and now they all want one. Several of them said that they would contact me. So far there is nothing, but I can wait. Another lady who bought a copy, has shown it to her friend, who also wants her own one. Another friend from the nearby Kosmon sanctuary made some lovely comments when we went there for healing on Monday - she said that my sense of humour really comes through, and it is like having a proper conversation with me rather than reading a book.

My friend from Church suggested that I try Cygnus book club (she is the third person to have mentioned this now). I did contact them a few months ago, while it was at the proof reading stage, and they said they would need to see an information sheet. I telephoned Richard to run it past him, and he said that some of his authors have had success with book clubs, but that Cygnus would need to negotiate the discount (probably around 65 percent!) with him, so I sent them the information sheet, front and back cover proofs and chapter by chapter outline by email, with a copy to Richard so that he knows what is going on. If they do buy them at 65 percent discount that will leave me with a royalty of only £1.09 a copy, but it will get my name out there, and once the book is on their list, it will stay there, so it will be worth it.
The other thing I have done is contact some of the websites I have already linked to and asked them to link back. Some of these are well known, like the Nibiruan Council, which could drive a lot of traffic to my site, and boost sales no end. Finally, I registered the new site with Yahoo. Other crawlers also use this engine, so I will get listed on Lycos and others.
Tomorrow I shall deliver the copy to Waterstones in Kingston and ring some more groups re giving talks.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Had a nice surprise yesterday

I have not heard back from Borders, after leaving a message on their answerphone, and there is nothing from Watkins either, so I will chase them up after the weekend, knowing that these things take time. I checked the Borders website, and it says you have to send your book to their Buying Department in London for consideration, together with information sheet, so I will do that in the next day or so.

I had a nice surprise yesterday. It got to mid afternoon and Coran wanted me to get out of the house, as I was distracting him from his work, as tends to happen, so I went to the park for a cup of tea. On the way out, I had the thought that I ought to take a copy of the book with me, just in case, as one of the men who works there clearing tables has been saying for some time that he would like a copy. I dismissed this thought and jumped in the car. I bought my pot of tea and was just finding a table when who should walk over to me but him. He asked that if he gave me the money, could I bring a copy in for him tomorrow. What a nice surprise that was. It was lucky I had a £5 note for change (I have to always make sure I have them now, since the book costs £14.99 - luckily most poeple don't seem to bother with the penny). I finished my tea and raced straight home to get a copy and bring it back, which I think he appreciated.

Things will be quieter from next week as our Church is shut for their annual spring, or should I say, summer clean. Coran and I will be helping with painting etc, but there will be no services or workshops, the last one being this Sunday, until the Sanctuary re-opens in September. I need to think more long term about what will happen once everyone I know has bought a copy, or at least everyone who wants to, because as I am finding out, people often say they want a copy, and then don't buy one, at least not straight away ... Such is life ...

I will use this time to post on all the websites I can find (I joined another writers one yesterday, and already have one member who is interested) but I have to be careful as not all of them like advertising, and I don't want to get blacklisted or banned. I will also start to ring round some local groups, such as the one that meets at our Church once a month, Surrey Dowsers, etc and maybe try some further afield, like Brighton, or even Glastonbury. We haven't been to Glastonbury for a while, so maybe I will think about booking a weekend. I will have to see if there are vacancies, but will wait until the 15th after the credit card statement is due!

I am going to one of Edwin (Courtenay's) talks on 21st, and plan to give him a free copy in return for all the help he gave me during the writing process, allowing me to use his material without course to copyright. Quite a few others will be there, some from further afield, as he has quite a following, so this may be an opportuntity to sell as well. Some of the Bulgarians from my Paneurhythmy group have expressed an interest, so I will take some copies with me on Sunday.

I have 19 copies left from the 50 I ordered (some have gone out as review copies etc), so I will have to order some more on 15th, as they take around 10 days to arrive and I don't want to be caught without any.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This then is what I have done since my return from Lundy

Monday 24 July - no sign of the books I ordered while away, and which should have been here on my return. Rang Gaynor at Authors OnLine to find out where they are. They are being printed today, and should be with me tomorrow or wednesday. Checked emails from when I was away - at least 1 person has ordered copy from publisher, and one also via

Tuesday 25 July - still no books! Spent day updating my website, opened nochex account so people can order signed copies, and added necessary links. Sent email to all those on my mailing list to let them know. Phone call from Jane at St Michaels - would I like to do a wednesday gathering on 9th August - said yes, if I can talk about the book. No problem, so all booked in. Emailed reviewer at Paradigm Shift magazine to see if she is interested. Wait to hear back.

Wednesday 26 July - books finally arrived - 50 lovely copies. Went to St Michaels in the evening (our local non denominational church) and sold first 2 copies. Another one has been sold direct via the publisher. It arrives while the recipiant was on holiday unfortunately and got sent back to the printer, as he did not ring them to collect it. Richard at AOL is trying to sort it out for him!
Thursday 27 July - sent out review copy to a friend, who promised to write a review on a website that I used to moderate, until I was banned from it that is! There were loads of people on there that will remember me and would I am sure love to buy a copy, once they know it out there, but since I was banned, I can't contact them myself. Also sent copy to HarperCollins in accordance with copyright requirements, and copy to another friend, who sent me his own book in part exchange. Got my first order from the Nochex link - Nightingale (Gillyann) from Stairway of Life. Sent her copy as well - all by first class post. Also sent copy to Peter and Pat, friends that I know from Lundy, as per their request. They will send cheque by return.

Friday 28 July - last Journey group at St Michaels until September. Sold another 5 copies.

Saturday 29 July - last day of Earth's Cycles course at the nearby Kosmon Sanctuary - sold 4 copies, one to each group member, plus one to the facilitator. Received cheque from Peter and Pat.

Sunday 30 July - Went to St Michaels evening service and sold 3 more copies. Sold 20 copies this week already!

Monday 31 July - healing day at St Michaels - acting as receptionist in the morning. Didn't sell any copies, but shown to several people there.

Tuesday 1 August - Set up Paypal account so that people overseas can also order signed copies. Added link to website and updated a few more pages. Sent email to everyone on mailing list to them know.

Wednesday 2 August - appointment with my friend Julie Ann for cranial sacral therapy. Sold copy of the book in part exchange for treatment.

Thursday 3 August - received cheque in post for a signed copy (one of Coran's clients). Sent by first class post.

Friday 4 August - checked - sold my first US copy. Nightingale posted review on - added to my own website - thank you!

Saturday 5 August - sent postcards to various friends who do not have email/internet - including one in Amsterdam - hopefully they will write back reqeusting books.

Sunday 6 August - Went to Park for Paneurhythmy (Bulgarian dancing) - distributed postcards to several of them. Did some more website updates. Sold 3 copies this week. A lot of people are on holiday though.

Monday 7 August - rang Chalice Well and Watkins Books in London about stocking my book. Sent copy to Chalice Well as per theire request. Sent review copies to Nexus magazine and Writers Forum. Went to St Michaels in the afternoon and sold 2 copies. Kosmon Sanctuary this evening and sold 2 more.

Tuesday 8 august - a quiet day at home, doing other things and not really concentrating on the book. Sunny afternoon in the park, talking to Coran

Wednesday 9 August (today) - I have today taken the very bold step of phoning my local Borders to see if they would be prepared to stock my book. I spoke a very nice lady called Charlotte, one of several of their managers, and she has directed me to the buying department at their head office, since apparently decisions are made on a national rather than branch level. I will then get on to them as soon as I have stopped hyper ventilating ! What she also said though was that they are setting up a mind body and spirit group in the store, and looking for speakers, so they have taken my contact details as a possible speaker, and will get back to me in due course. This would be a great opportunity to get much better known in the local community and spread the word.

Have also received my first order via Paypal this morning, to a lady in Arizona whom I got to know via another writers site (Writers Net for those who are interested). She said that as soon as she heard about my book, she knew she had to get a copy, so I am very happy and honoured that she spent nearly double what charge to get signed one. I think when the prices were being set, the exchange rates must have been more favourable to Americans, and so the price in the US is therefore less then than the UK equivilant. I have tried to keep the cost of these signed copies down, but with the amount that Paypal charge, plus the fact that the exchange rates they use are 2.5 percent less than the published ones, and nearly £5 postage to countries outside Europe means that there is little I can do. I have though advertised the signed copies on the books page on as collectable signed copies, which may be a little cheaper to buy that way. Amazon issue me with a credit for postage, which is not quite as high as the actual cost of sending them out, so I end up earning less, but it should hopefully help to get some more interest.

Didn't sell any tonight, which I am very disappointed at if I am honest. Everyone said that I enjoyed the talk, and did very well, but I felt like a bumbling idiot. Will defiantely have to get some more practise then and prepare a bit better as well next time. It is very hard though not to get disheartened, when you have so much invested in making this a success. Maybe I am just trying too hard and I need to, as Coran suggests, step back a bit and let spirit help me rather than trying to control the outome. Very difficult to do though when there is so much at stake.

Rang the Buying Department at Borders anyway, five minutes after ringing Kingston. Think they must have still been at lunch though as got the answerphone, so left a message explaining who I am, and asking to contact me and then went into Kingston to get some more padded envelopes etc. Got back around 5.30 to find no one had rang. Such is life. Will try again tomorrow then. Ii guess they are busy people who must get quite a lot of requests.

Also need to contact Richard tomorrow, to let him know about Borders and everything else I am doing, as he may need to deal with these big chains himself. will also ask him about Waterstones though, although I think buying decisions there are made on a branch level, at least that is what one of my writers books says. Will check their website tomorrow and see if there is any information on there. Also need to get my login for the authors area on Richard's site to see how many have sold that way. Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

where has the time gone?

It seems like forever since I got back from Lundy, yet is only 2 weeks.
Since I got back I have been busy selling books. I had hoped that the 50 copies I ordered would be here waiting for me when I got back, but no. I rang Gaynor who takes care of ordering, and then I realised that when she said it takes 3-5 days to get the books, what she meant was it takes 3-5 days for the books to be printed. You still have to wait for delivery after they are printed, meaning that I could double that time to around 10 days. The books finally arrived the Wednesday after I got back, within 12 days of ordering. I will have to remember this when it comes to do the Questing Conference and any talks that I organise ...

Talking of which, I have arranged the closest thing I can to a book launch, at our local church on 9th August. I should have enough copies to go round, as I still have 28 left. 20 have been sold direct, mostly to friends at the church, but also 4 to the various members of the Earth's Cycles course that I completed last weekend. One copy has also gone via my own website.

I decided to add the link to my own website so that people can order signed copies from other areas of the country, as several people on my own mailing list have asked. Several in America and Canada have also expressed an interest in signed copies, so they can also get them using the Paypal account I set up. My first American copy was sold this week, and I am sure there will be many more to follow. So far, within just 10 days of returning home I have managed to recoup around 13 percent of my publishing costs. Just over £1000 to go and I have broken even. This does not include the cost of writing the book which runs into several thousand pounds more. This is though a long term thing, and I would rather go for slow, steady sales than have a sudden flash in the pan and then nothing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How the time has flown

Since writing this blog it seems that so much has happened, yet at the same time, nothing has happened. The book finally went to print about a week ago, and I am waiting for my own sample copy to arrive, which I was told would take 7 - 10 days. I was hoping it might arrive today, which is my birthday, but the postman did not bring anything (except a copy of a friend's book whom I have arranged to do a swap with). Once it does arrive, assuming all is okay and nothing has gone horribly wrong, people will be able to order their own copies. This may be tomorrow, or it may be next week. It will though be within the next week, that much I can say with 100 percent certainty.

It is just under a week until I go to Lundy for my 21st visit. This time I be gone for three whole weeks, the longest I have ever been away from home, before or after I met Coran. He is very good not to make a fuss about this, as I know some men who throw a wobbly if their girlfriend so much as goes shopping on her own - they would get very short shrift from me. Coran knew that I was going to Lundy long before I got involved with him. I always imvite him along, but he doesn't like boats and helicopters and has never been much of a traveller. Truth be known, I am not sure if I would want him to go with me anyway, since I need the time on my own, and feel that it does us both the world of good to spend time apart every so often. Absense makes the heart grow fonder ...