Thursday, May 11, 2006

Enough of the sales pitch

April 6

It has been a busy and productive day. This morning I rang Authorhouse and had a long chat with them and asked them loads of questions about their service - what is included, what isn't, all about royalty payments, author discounts etc. They are supposed to be emailing me this afternoon with more details, but so far nothing. I am going to their seminar next week anyway, so any more questions I have can be asked there. The woman I spoke to will there so I can meet her in person.

Something they do is called the 'Waterstones package'. For a fee of around £700 your book can be added to the Authorhouse stand in Waterstones, Oxford Street. 3 copies will be on display for a period of 90 days (3 months). With Waterstones, decision making is done on a branch rather than national level anyway, so theoretically I could persuade the Manager of any branch to stock my book, if I offered a big enough discount and they thought they could sell it. I will certainly be approaching my two nearest ones, and may even try and do some talks and signings there. I will do the same with Borders, which I know are very local author friendly. The book though would so I am told, be given prime placement right by the door on the Authorhouse stand. Next week when I go to their seminar I will try and go via Oxford Circus so I can see for myself what this stand looks like and have a flick through some of their books to check the quality and what sort of prices they go for.

One thing this woman did suggest was getting an art student from the local university to design the cover, for maybe a small fee, or even free, in exchange for putting their name in the book. It may be useful publicity for them, and help them get work by adding to their portfolio. This afternoon with this in mind, I rang Kingston University Art department and had a chat. The students are all on holiday at the moment, and not due back until April 24, but she gave me the email address for the head of the art faculty and I can have a think over the next few weeks about what the spec will be, how I would want the work submitted, what payment (if any) would be offered etc.

I had the idea last night for setting up a Writers Circle at our local church, so knowing there is a trustees meeting tomorrow night, gave one of them a ring to see what she thought of the idea. She liked it, and is going to bring it up at the meeting tomorrow night to see what the others think. She mentioned that Cygnus book club are now doing publishing, so I gave them a ring. It seems that they have published 3 titles, all of which have been previously published, and are not not issuing new books. I also asked them about POD and whether they would stock self published titles. They asked me to email them with more details re the book etc, and the names of the publishers I am considering. It would be good if I could get my book into their catalogue, as I think it would sell really well. It depends what discount they buy them for - less than 50 percent and it would probably not be viable. I can only see what they say when they get back to me. Most book sellers would buy it for between 40 and 50 percent discount anyway (including Waterstones I presume), so you would have to sell an awful lot of books to make that Waterstones package worthwhile. I think I would sell more through Cygnus than Waterstones, since the catalogue is specifically aimed at mind body and spirit titles, and they have a huge circulation. All in all then an interesting and productive day. I am feeling knackered now though.

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