Monday, December 17, 2007

I am it seems being re-ordered after all!

I feel like I have been running round like a tit in a trance all day long (what a strange expression that is). Mind you, it is my own fault really, since I couldn't be bothered to get out of bed until 9am - it was just too cosy and warm. I have been having really strange dreams for these last couple of nights, but last night I was in some kind of Egyptian temple being initiated into a healing system called Sekkem in what looked like a symbolic womb of some kind. No doubt as it has some kind of obscure meaning, but I am buggered if I know what it is!

Today though I have been to Sainsbury's to get some bits and bobs, had lunch in Starbucks (a big wheaty sandwich which I will no doubt regret for the next three days, since I am supposed to be wheat free, with a cup of tea), taken my sisters Christmas presents round to her flat (thankfully she was not in), been on to the cemetery to see Mum and Dad's grave, and then been to our church to collect and deliver Christmas cards.

Somewhere in between that lot I have also made 2 trips to the Post Office to pay in my royalty cheque, get some cash and post my brother and his fiance's Christmas presents, had a chat with various residents who were in the Post Office queue, and answered an email from Justin Hutchinson, independent author advisor for Waterstones.

What he had to say was not earth shattering, but interesting nevertheless. It seems that I may have been mistaken when I thought that Waterstones branches were not re-ordering, for he says that the vast majority of stores who have sold copies do in fact still have stock. He did not say which branches have sold copies, which I would not expect him to when there are so many of them (I hope). He did though say that there were 173 copies in circulation throughout the company. Having done a quick count of all those who told me they have ordered copies, and a rough estimate of how many they ordered apiece, I estimate that around 240 copies in total have been circulated company wide since this whole thing started in August. This means that I have sold around 67 copies then through the tills, or just over a quarter of copies distributed. This is not a hugely fantastic figure, but a very good start. Once it goes to 100 copies which I am confident it will do in the next couple of months, then I will be off and running.

Of course this figure does not include copies sold through Borders and other sources such as Amazon, which I estimate to be another 50 or so by now. Then there are the 100 odd copies that I have hand sold, bringing the total sales now to well in excess of 200. Only sales through the tills though count as far as sales compilation charts go, more's the pity, because although I do my best to keep records regarding hand selling, according to the powers that be, these cannot be proven, and could be made up. Not in my case though as I have bank statements to prove it.

Here though is what Justin had to say:

"Dear June

I have just checked and I can confirm that a vast majority of stores who have sold copies still have stock. It may be that the other stores have opted not to replenish stock of this, which they are free to do. There certainly does not seem to be any issue with this stock and I do feel that stores would probably not wish to be called to see if they have reordered a title and I agree that your time would be better spend promoting this title. As a company we have 173 copies in stock which is more that enough given the sale at present.



There you have it then, I am still no closer to discovering what the optimum number of copies is for it to be re-ordered as stock. I guess this depends then on the individual store and what space they have available. As Justin says, they are free to make such decisions, and at the end of the day there is not a lot I can do about this. I am better off continuing to contact other stores and outlets and gather publicity. In January then this is exactly what I will do.

The business account has another £210 in it thanks to the royalty cheque that I have just paid in, so I will send out some more review copies, enter a few competitions that I have recently come across, get some articles published in magazines, work on this blog and my main website and basically do what I need to do.

As far as book stores go, I will ring the Waterstones I did not manage to get through prior to Christmas, and then start on Borders. Following that I shall start with the independents, beginning with having another crack at Same Day Books (all three branches) and Mysteries and Watkins in London. The MBS manager at Waterstones in Maidstone Fremlin Walk used to work for Watkins and has provided me with one or two names who may be able to help, since the Manager does not return my emails. I guess like the rest of us he is just too busy - I know the feeling.

Still, if I get nowhere I will just move on and concentrate on those who are going to help me. It's no skin off my nose after all - there are plenty of other stores to contact - 3500 independents in fact in the UK alone and this does not include the smaller new age type stores who have one or two shelves of this type of book, and which ultimately might provide a much better outlet since they are likely to be firm sale. The list which my friend who runs an unnamed spiritual magazine provides will be very useful in this regard. I also need to to order though a directory of independent book sellers from the Independent Booksellers Association. Let's get Christmas out of the way first though.

What is happening then in the book world at large? Remarkably little it seems, as very few news articles or even blog updates seem to have been added to The Bookseller today. Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion has won yet another accolade, this time as audio book of the year via website He received just over 3000 votes from those who downloaded copies via said website, seeing off competition from a shortlist that included Ian Rankin's The Naming of the Dead, Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader and Andrew Marr's A History of Modern Britain. I must try and find out what is happening to his Turkish publisher and whether the unfortunate chap will be spending the festive season (to Christians anyway) in jail. As an atheist I wonder what Mr Dawkins makes of the PC brigade telling us not to display Christmas cards etc on our desks. Decency prevents me from saying what I think, and you can draw your own conclusions from that ...

1 comment:

Simon Key said...

Hello June,
having worked at the W for 17 years (until I left to start the BIg Green Bookshop), i have a bit of knowledge about their buying policies and reordering etc.
Firstly, well done for getting 240 copies in Waterstone's, you've done some hard work there!
If a copy sells in the shop, the following day it will come up on a report. It's the buyer's decision whether to reorder it. If the book has been on the shelves for less than 3 months, in 90% of cases it'll be reordered. If between 3 and 6 months, the buyer has to decide whether it deserves it's space on the shelves. A book ideally should sell at least 3-4 times a year to stay in stock.
There's also something called 'core stock'.If you can persuade the core stock team at head office to make your book part of the MBS/religion core stock then certain stores will by default have to stock the book. The core stock is on a scale (a-g I think) and A means all branches must stock the book, B means 90% must stock it and so forth.
Something else you can try is to get a particular Waterstone's that sells your book best to 'champion' it. If they see it doing really well, thay should e-mail the core stock team, or e-amil the region their branch is in to recommend that more shops stock the book.
I've got lots more of this kind of stuff if you're interested, but I hope this kind of helps.
We'll stock your book by the way...