So many books are published every month that getting your book noticed by potential readers is a problem for any author. I have just managed to prise the sales figures out of my publisher, (why are they so reluctant to give them?) because I wanted to look at how sales had been effected by the publicity I have been given. I was rather disappointed with the overall figure of 190 to mid June. It is also quite difficult to analyse the figures in relation to the individual pieces of publicity I received, however I have tried to make some sense of it.
Crucial Evidence became available as a paperback on 14th February 2014, five copies were sold before that date which I think were probably review copies, although I was a guest on the blog CMashlovestoread on 29th January. Amazon ordered ten copies on 13th February again I assume to have some in stock, although to begin with they were showing a three week wait for the book to arrive. Between 14th February and 20th February Amazon bought twenty-three books. Again I have to make the assumption that these were sales to friends and family who bought the book as a result of my emailing them about its availability.
The Western Morning News, a regional newspaper in SW England with a distribution of over 20,000, did a two page spread in their Magazine section on 22nd February and on 28th February an on line magazine AfterNyne broadcast an interview with me. Sales during the last week of February were quite low; one through the distribution company Bertram Books, two through Amazon in the UK and two Amazon US. My ex sister-in-law I think.
I had a book launch at The White Hart in Moretonhampstead on 8th March for my friends in Devon- a fantastic cream tea – and sold 20 copies to the those who attended.
At the beginning of March the novel became available in the ebook formats and by March14th thirteen books had been sold by Amazon Kindle. During that period I did a Giveaway of two books on Goodreads, which finished on March10th. Over 100 people put it on their ‘ to read lists’ but it is my impression this has not resulted in many sales.
I had been asked to do an interview for TalkRadioEurope and that was recorded in February but not broadcast until 27th March and on 3rd April the Exeter Express and Echo which has a distribution of 20,000 had a two page spread about me and my novel. Between 14th March and 14th April two copies were sold through Bertram Books, sixteen were ordered by Books on Demand and eleven sold for Kindle.
Books on Demand are a German company who my publisher New Generation use for printing copies in Europe. I don’t know that many people living in Europe so I assume these sales were a direct result of the radio interview. TalkRadioEurope broadcasts to English speakers in Spain and Portugal. I guess sitting out in the sun by your pool means you read a lot- so quite a good market. Indeed sales in Europe continued with another sixteen being sold by Books on Demand on 16th April.
The novel is set in London and I wanted to have a launch party for people we knew who lived in the city and that was held on 10th April at the Slightly Foxed Bookshop on Gloucester Road. It was a lovely evening, there are some photographs on this blog at Celebration Party and Publication Party, and the shop sold twenty three copies.
I did a talk to a local Ladies Group and sold a further sixteen copies of the book.
So what conclusions can I draw from this. I think I can say the following
1. Doing talks is the best way of selling books.
2.Two books for a ‘giveaway’ on Goodreads is not enough.
3. Some publicity is better than no publicity but only just.
4.Your own email list is a good source of readers.
5. Launch parties are good fun but can be expensive – I did feel like a writer when I was reading excerpts from my book in a bookshop.
I reduced the price for the Kindle version as I felt having looked at the top 100 books the price was too high but as yet the sales figures since are not available. t may be that it’s too late but it was worth trying.
My next publicity stunt is booksontheundergound.tumblre.com who are placing ten books on tube lines. These are books I have bought and I think having some books available as giveaways should be part of any sales campaign. I would be interested in any ones opinions on marketing, giveaways and pricing.
Last Friday I had a meeting with the director of another company who provide publishing services to those wishing to publish their own books. The cost will be about the same as the first quote I received, but there are differences in the services they provide. If I went with the first company I would have to provide my own cover design, whereas if I chose the second, the cover will be designed for me. I think that is quite important as the cover has to look good for both the paperback book and the thumbnail size used by Amazon for sales purposes.
The cost with the first company would give me five hundred copies of my novel whilst the second company prefers a print on demand, so only a few copies. Both methods of printing have their advantages and disadvantages, which it seems to me probably balance each other out.
The big difference is in the approach to marketing the book. Whilst both provide marketing services, the second company provide a much longer and more intensive service and, I think a more personalised one than the other.
I think I’ve decided that the marketing is so important that if I want my book to have the best chance of success, I would be better with the second company, but I’ll wait for the paperwork before I make a final decision. After all, the lawyer in me says, the devil is in the detail.
And just so that I get an idea how the self publishing platform works on Kindle I have decided to publish a slim, in fact very slim volume of poems I wrote while I was doing my MA in Creative Writing. I’m really doing it for myself to try and learn if Kindle and CreateSpace is a good way to publish, rather than to attract any sales. But you never know!!
I have just received a quote from the publishing company for copy editing, preparing for printing as a paperback, proof reading, cover design, formatting as an e-book, distribution and marketing. The total cost is about £4000.
I would have five hundred copies of the paperback, which is the minimum number for having access to the distribution network the publishers use. I know there are cheaper ways of getting the book published-this is the de-luxe version, but they do a lot of the work and hopefully prevent the mistakes that mainstream publishers point to when they criticise self publishing. The question for me is how much faith do I have in my book to spend so much money on launching it? Still not sure, but it’s still cheaper than the mythical horse- the one I don’t have, can’t ride, don’t pay livery charges for etc. Anyway I’m off to see another company who offer the same sort of service at the end of the week.