Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Time to step back

I have noticed these last few days that certain things have been pressing my buttons like mad. The biggest of these by far has been a spiritual novel, whose name I won't mention directly which has been doing the rounds. The author of this book, who according to her website, worked in the city before having children is putting out the intent to sell 1 million books by December, when her book is presumably self published, and 100 million by the end of next year (I think I got that right). In order to do this, she placed full page advertisements in last weekend's London, New York and Sydney Times. I have no idea what the response to this has been, since last time I looked there was no mention on her website.

The thing that is pressing my buttons more than anything though is not the fact the she is doing this, but the fact that she can afford to do this, because in my mind it does reinforce the idea of there being a very uneven playing field when it comes to the whole publishing business. Money does definitely talk, and it is not what you have written that counts, but who you know and how many you can sell, for this you can also read those who can afford to pay. It is bit like Random House or one of the other large publishers paying book stores for prime space.

The other thing that has been annoying me is the fact that this book seems to be being endorsed by a lot of well known people within the spiritual community and circulated around the Internet. A lot of these same people promised to do the same with my own book but didn't. I suppose it goes back to the same old thing though - why were they not honest enough to tell me that they were unable to keep those promises, and why did they feel they had to fob me off in this way by making promises they have not been able to keep.

Having thought about this in detail though yesterday, and discussed it at length with Coran, it is almost as if seeing all the things that this woman is going and the successes that she appears to be enjoying (although I don't actually know if she is, or whether it may turn out to be nothing but hype), it makes me feel that the things that I am doing are not enough and are not good enough. This is of course total rubbish. I have put an extraordinary amount of my own time, energy, and yes, money into this project and I know that the universe will respond. Slowly at first to begin, but then things will get bigger and bigger until they snowball.

My own goals are if anything far more realistic, as hardly any books in all of history have sold 100 million copies in one year - if she is self published, imagine stuffing all those envelopes - this is a sure fire way to get RSI and never write a book again ! I have learnt the industry inside out though from the bottom up (quite literally) so although i may be aiming lower at asking for 1000 sales by the end of the tax year, this is far more realistic and achievable.

It seems at the moment though that I am trying almost too hard and pushing things to happen before they and I are ready for things to happen. I bumped into my friend Soraya yesterday on the way home from the gym yesterday and was talking about this with her. She mentioned that there was an interesting article re this on Jelaila Starr's website (Jelaila being spokesperson for the Nibiruan Council). I had a read of that last night then and digested what she had to say. That was basically then when things get like this, where it feels like you are continually hitting a brick wall then you need to step back and analyse. So that is what I have done.

I went back to the drawing board and thought about how much better I could sound when ringing book stores if I had some answers prepared, kind of like the sales spiel that cold callers use, but less rehearsed. I have written some ideas down and am keeping it in front of me each time I call. Having spoken to half a dozen or so stores today, the results have been a bit more encouraging. I have secured 2 more orders from stores in London - Leadenhall and Kensington. A member of the public actually went into the Kensington store it seems and asked to order a copy - maybe then they will order some more in response to this ? I will have to email the MBS Manager and let them have some information .....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Head Banging Time

I can't even remember what we did this weekend - I have vague recollections of having lunch somewhere and a trip to Polesden Lacey, a nearby National Trust property, but it just seems to have passed in a blur. Must be a symptom of me getting old - or perhaps I should say middle aged. The term middle aged seems to change anyway as people live longer, so by the time I am ready to kick the bucket it may well mean someone in their 50's rather than 40's. Now I have given my age away - oh well, who cares ! I have never been one of these flimsy, floaty females who has to lie about her age, and see nothing shameful in the fact that I have reached the grand old age of 42. This is quite appropriate actually given the subtitle of my book - the answer to life, the universe and everything in between. Mind you, if I am supposed to have sussed aout what it all means, I think my computer must have crashed, either that or I asked it the wrong question, but then again, most of is do don't we!

Enough of my rambling then and on with the serious stuff. I don't know what it is about Mondays, but I never seem to really get anywhere with the ringing book shops thing. Maybe it is just not a good day to be doing this, as everyone feels depressed about returning to work, but then again, these days most of them are open on the weekends anyway. So, no it can't be them, it has to be me. It certainly feels like them sometimes though. It got to the point yesterday when I actually said to one of them that I was going to go and buy some aspirin in preparation for the fact that I was about to go and bang my head rhythmically against the wall ...

So what caused me to feel like this - apart from me of course, because it as always my stuff. Well, it was mostly a very strange chap at Books Etc in Finchley Road. Mind you, the Manager at Waterstones in Bolton didn't exaclty help either. 'Like I said to you last time, if he is interested the buyer will order some copies'. Well, pardon me, but if they don't bother to tell me when or even if he has, how am I supposed to know that ! You would think they would welcome an author who is proactive and enquiring enough to want to help herself by finding these things out, but apparently I am being a nuisance. What the hell do these people work in book shops for then, if they don't people like me ringing them up then he has 2 options (other than the one he exercised, ie. telling me to sod off, in not so many words). He can either go and live in a field all on his own, or he can get off his backside, stop wingeing and recommend my book to some of those fancy and overpaid sales reps that keep visiting .... Oh well, in my dreams. I tell you this much, he was not in mine last night !

The only reason I rang Books Etc at Finchley Road though was because one of their other branches indicated that they had some copies in stock, presumably as a result of the stuff that I sent to them last month. So, I rang them up, and they checked the system and didn't find any. So I asked them who would be the right person to speak to re getting some ordered - answer our Head Office. 'Well, actually my book has already been accepted by the Borders/Books Etc Head Office' was my reply'. His reply was in not so polite terms 'Books Etc is seperate to Borders and you have to go back to the Head Office'. I reached for the aspirin at this point ....

No, actually I rang Paul and got him to sort it out. Basically, as I suspected, this member of staff (member being the operative word) was as usual talking out of a certain part of his anatomy (that would be the one that he sits on). Borders and Books Etc are the same company, and if you are accepted by one, then you are accepted by the other as well, and can approach whatever of their stores you want to - same as Waterstones then (tell that to Bolton). Furthermore, the Head Office Buying Department are aware of my book, but somewhat confusingly requested another copy of it. Well, I am loathe to send that when I happen to know that Adam Hughes from their Oxford Street branch recently sent them the copy that I in turn sent to him. So, I have sent them a pile of promotional materials with a note to that effect, and we will see what happens.

On the bright side, I did discover that 2 more shops ordered that I was not aware of - Basildon and Bournemouth. Cheltenham unfortunately though will not be, since in the Managers words 'we do not have the time or the budget to experiment with this kind of backlist'. Oh well, their loss is Bournemouth and Basildon's gain ... I know that it is only a matter of time before both they and Bolton are sent them anyway, as like it or not this will happen. Those books will be rolled out company wide before this tax year is out. Back to the telephone then ....