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.