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.