Friday, August 24, 2007

As one door opens, another one closes

I will be glad in many ways when this week is over, as it has been such a strange one in many ways, and although there have been many successes and things to celebrate, I end it on a not so good note.

I started the day well enough, and had a very productive morning in fact. The first thing I did was ring Southern Counties radio, which is my local BBC station, to ask how I would go about getting on to one of their shows as a guest. They explained that I would have to send them a copy of the book and gave me the relevant address, so that was good. I then decided to start contacting some local papers, and so made a start with the one in my nearest town. I spoke to a very nice man there who sounded interested and asked me to email him all the details, which I did. I then remembered Patsy at who last year mentioned my book launch, and so emailed her. Following that I emailed The Surrey Mirror. I will follow them all up after the Bank Holiday to make sure they were received and see what the interest is.

Brian then called round to collect the September newsletter, and after he had gone, I set to work ringing more branches of Waterstones, managing to get through the rest of the C's and most of the D's. I was lucky in that I managed to secure orders from four of them - Coventry, Dorchester, Derby and my own local branch as well. My local one is only a small shop, and they have proven extremely diffcult to crack, which given my local connections, I find somewhat puzzling. I do realise that they do not have a large Mind, Body and Spirit section, but my friend Ann Davies recently had her book launch there (Ann writes poetry, which is, if anything, even more difficult to market, especially for POD) and did very well. I managed to cajole the Assistant Manager into ordering one copy, by telling her that I had contacted the local paper and they looked likely to give the book some coverage. Now I have to hope that they follow through!

By then it was lunch time so I had a break and made a list of all the stores that I needed to follow up during the afternoon. It was a long list of almost a dozen of them. Most of them are what I call 'fence sitters', i.e. those who say that they are interested, and may order some copies, after conferring with the MBS Manager etc, but will not seem to commit themselves. This is most frustrating, and I would really much rather the just came out and said that they were not interested, since I could then concentrate on those that were instead of wasting theirs and my time. Oh well, such is life.

I suppose though it was a conversation with the Manager at Aylesbury that has led to my somewhat black and melancholy mood. She was very helpful and polite, so it was not her manner, it was more what she had to tell me about Waterstones buying policies. It seems that all the Store Managers had a memo today from Head Office, saying that a lot of the stores were to be rearranged in order to give more space to the genres that sold well, and less to those that don't. In a lot of the smaller stores then this means that the MBS section will be cut right back to minimal shelf space. It seems that Managers have also been told not to order any books unless they absolutely have to. This is not good news for me at all, especially at the moment, since the autumn seems to be the main book buying period for book stores.

It seems then that as soon as one door swings open, it comes back to hit me in the face. I was feeling so fed up and angry after being told this, that I went to the gym and took it out on the exercise bike to work off all my frustrations.

It is though a Bank Holiday weekend, so I am going to concentrate on getting my website finished, and then I am going to go out and buy the richest, fattiest cream cake I can find !

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Did Oxford Street do me a favour in saying no ?

I have good news and bad news today. The bad news is that Borders in Oxford Street will not be stocking my book. The goods news though is that they have sent the copy that I sent them to their Buying Department near Charing Cross to look at, together with a copy of my press release. Paul is of course already talking to them anyway, so this might help clinch the deal. Oxford Street have in some ways then done me a favour in saying no.

The other good news is that I am mentioned in the weekly newsletter by Jerry Simmons (who runs the US based Nothing Binding Project). I emailed him just over a week ago with my news and he has put it in his newsletter. Not sure how many people get this, but quite a few, so it may result in some more US sales.

This morning as well I went to Waterstones in Redhill to sign those 5 copies that they ordered. They have a real nice and POD friendly manager, Kate if anyone else lives near here... She has though placed the 5 copies on a stand with Waterstones recommends written on it right by the front door. I am then feeling very happy. Back to the website then ....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Richard and Judy

Spoke to Richard earlier today at Authors OnLine and he told me that he had just had an email from Gardners. The book has only been a stocked title for just over a week, but they have already sold out of the 30 copies they initially ordered. They have increased the next order to 50 copies !

I rang a few more Waterstones today then and managed to secure orders from 3 more shops - Belfast, Chesham and Covent Garden - another flagship. Still no letter from Adam at Oxford Street though ...

When I rang Richard later on to give him the news, he told me that he had had a call from Paul asking him to write a press release to send to Richard and Judy. Richard though had brain fog and so asked me to write it. Have just sent him a copy ...

Redhill also received their copies today, so will be going there in the morning to sign them. Apparently one of the staff members commented that it looks like a really interesting book and has asked to review it. It will go on a little card in the local authors area - Waterstones recommends ....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Still Plugging Away ....

I have decided that since the book seems to be getting so much publicity of late, it is time to revamp my website, and so these past few days have been busy having a total redesign. It is not the first time I have done this, of course, but this time my partner Coran, who is himself a website designer has been able to help. A year ago he was only just starting this business and did not have that much experience (he has had to learn as he went along). I could have asked him to do the site for me, but being the control freak that I am, and also knowing that the more of my own energy is in there the better it will be, thought it was best that I did most of the work. The Genesis of Man and Genesis Files sections are then nearly complete, and I am the moment halfway through the Egyptian section. Some of the old files will go, and a lot of the pictures with them, and the site will have a brand new and much more professional feel, to go with the brand new and more professional me !

I emailed Michael Allen, aka Grumpy Old Bookman a few days ago, since he mentioned me on his blog a few months back, and I was delighted in that he gave me a wondeful write up over the weekend, which seems to have resulted in several more visits to the site. His blog was listed as one of the top writers blog sites in the Guardian newspaper in 2005, so quite a few industry insiders do visit from time to time.

Talking of industry insiders, I am pleased to report that Paul has also been very active today. He has contacted an online book store called Methuens, who from what I gather are based in Guildford, which is only up the road from me. He has also contacted Virgin Books, Publishing News (I actually emailed their news editor myself last week, and also posted a press release on their forum), the Daily Express book club and Richard and Judy. They are coming to the end o their current season, but that is not such a bad thing, since it means they will be looking for more books to publicise, and although they do mostly feature fiction, they have been known to plug non fiction books as well, so you never know. He also contacted Writers News again and filled them in on what has been happening, and it looks as if they will expand the feature that they had already been planning to run.

For my part I rung around 20 or so more Waterstones today - only secured one definate order from Brighton, but several more stores sound more than interesting and requested further information. I finally managed to get back through to Borders in Oxford Street as well, although Adam Hughes, the MBS Buyer was in a Buyers meeting ! Apparently he has written to me. I will be watching for the postman tomorrow then with bated breath. I wonder if he was presenting my book at the very same Buyers meeting that he was in when I rang .....