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 ...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A surprise present from the postman

I am enjoying an almost long weekend, having three days off work before I have to do five days full time on the trot from Tuesday to Saturday. I would really rather not have to do this, but beggars can't be choosers and although my newly arrived royalty cheque for just over £200 should in theory help, in practise it will go straight into my business bank account where it will be offset against other expenses - such as the large phone bill which has also just arrived.

It could be worse were it not for the fact that we have one of those very useful unlimited call packages courtesy of Virgin - something that I would advise any self published author to do if they wish to seriously promote their book(s). It is worth paying a little extra for this privilege, as otherwise I dread to think what the size of the bill would be.

As it stands, having printed out and gone through this months bill call by call, I am surprised to find that a full 74 percent of calls that were made last month were in some way related to my publishing business. Of course I can only claim 74 percent of my half of the bill, as opposed to 74 percent of the whole lot, since Coran also works from home and makes business calls as well -not nearly as many as myself though, and a few less now that he has resigned as a trustee of our local church. It was getting to the point for both of us that we were spending a ridiculous amount of time there, and although it has its rewards, one cannot continue to give ones time away for free, especially when one is not being listened to or heard, as neither of us have been for a while. This more than anything is the reason that I decided to stop going to the healing sessions on Monday where I used to work as a volunteer receptionist.

It just became clear that something had to give, and my time would be better spent promoting my book. As it turned out, that was the right decision, as it freed up another day of the week which was put to good use, as that phone bill proves.

Apart from going through phone bills, what else have I been up to this weekend? Yesterday we met our friend Julie Ann for lunch and to go and see The Golden Compass. Most of today has been spent cleaning the house, going to the gym and writing Christmas cards. It has to be done after all, as the last posting date is fast approaching. I have some parcels to send tomorrow to my brother and sister, and then a few more cards to hand deliver to friends and book shops around the area, and then once the weekly shop is done (courtesy of Coran this week, since I will be working full time) we will be all set.