Sunday, January 13, 2008

Good can come from bad

I am still trying to be positive about what has happened, and am pleased to report that I woke up this morning minus the sick feeling in my stomach that accompanied yesterday. It is strange how nervous I seemed to be at the prospect of ringing book stores again after a month long hiatus, but it is like riding a bike really - you just get straight back on again. Securing orders from the first two stores that I got through to certainly helped.

Today was not as successful however - largely because book stores open that much later and there are always other things that need doing - like my weekly trip to the gym. I did manage to get through to Waterstones in Truro, and was promised a call back. It did not materialise but undeterred, I shall try again tomorrow. I do not give up that easily.

I have been doing the sums today though and have tentatively worked out what I can and cannot afford to offer in terms of discount. I won't publish the full details here, as it is subject to confirmation of shipping costs, which still have to be taken into account, but it looks very much as if I will be able to equal what Gardners offer (40 percent discount), or maybe even more as a sweetener for firm sale. Some stores would at least be willing to discuss this I feel, especially given that I am now beginning to chalk up quite a healthy sales history - for a book of this nature that lacks professional sales representation anyway.

I will not start to do deals like this until the books are actually back in my possession, but for the moment at least, I have compiled a list of over 30 stores that I plan to ring tomorrow. Most of these are Waterstones that I did not manage to get through to prior to Christmas (some of whom I wrote to a month ago or more), but also some independents, and at least two branches of Same Day Books. I also plan to ring the national newspapers that I sent review copies to at the end of October and have not got round to ringing back, to see what if any progress they are making and whether or not they are likely to be printing reviews. I shall keep a sharp eye on my inbox to see if I receive an email back from the Manager of Staines.

Sometime in between all of this I need to post some letters to three branches that I spoke to yesterday and also enter The Self Publishing Awards competition hosted by the David St John Thomas Charitable Trust. There are substantial prizes up for grabs and I should stand a very good chance in the non fiction category. The entry fee is only £5 per category and they need 2 copies of your book - I have them in stock so can afford to do this, knowing that I will soon have box loads of them to sell! I won't have to order any more for a while then!

I was pleasantly surprised by the Manager of my local Waterstones I have to say, as I found that contrary to my impression, she is actually very nice and approachable. I wandered in there yesterday lunchtime to see if I could persuade her to order some more. Sadly I did not succeed, since she still has stock, but she did agree (and I saw her do this) to place the copy she does have on a Waterstones recommends stand by the front door with a hand written review. I said that she could use one of the ones which is printed inside the book, or otherwise look on That way the book that she does have has a better chance of selling much more quickly, and once it does, then she is more than willing to re-order now she knows who I am.

I also had the idea to try and get the local newspaper involved by letting them write a piece about me perhaps and run a competition where the first person to write in wins a free copy and everyone else gets to order from me at discount. Hopefully they will be interested in this when I explain. I can walk up there perhaps one lunchtime as they are only a 5 minute walk from where I work.

At the moment then I have all these ideas floating around in my head and can see that in some ways this is helping me to approach marketing in a new and exciting way - interesting how what seems an awful situation can be turned round with the right attitude, to ones advantage.

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