Regular readers (if there are any of you out there) might have noticed by now that I’m a bit reluctant to take my ‘sales campaign’ all that seriously. I kind of enjoyed talking about the genesis of the book and its (ahem) consciousness changing properties in the first 6 entries, but since then I have in what I hope is an entertaining way been avoiding heavy promo.
‘Wilful Misunderstandings’ falls somewhere between being a book that has been accepted by a commercial publisher and one that I have self-published. Jamie Delano, who runs it, describes Lepus Books as a ‘publishing co-operative’. What that means for me as a writer is that I’ve had to shell out for the print copies I’ll be selling personally and through the Lepus website, while a distribution/print on demand company takes care of e-books, sales through Amazon and any orders that come through bookshops. Lepus is not set up to promote its publications, it just exists to get them into print and sell them. Check out the website if you want to know more about that. Jamie has to concentrate on selling his own books, as do Deborah Delano and Alistair Fruish.
That’s why the selling of ‘Wilful Misunderstandings’ is mainly up to me. Late last year I started researching how I might go about it. There is a lot of advice out there, especially on the internet. After a while, I came to the conclusion that most of it wasn’t worth shit.
The once well-ordered world of publishing has been upended by the media revolutions of our times. Self-publishing is accessible to anyone, regardless of quality. Wherever there are opportunities to exploit, there will be those who jump in and exploit them. And hey, there’s money to be made out of all these self-publishers who aren’t too sure how to sell their product. You set up a website and present yourself as a successful writer who just wants to offer help to other writers. You offer a few tit-bits of standard advice, which can just be lifted from any other websites that are doing the same. You then promise much more info that can be obtained by subscription to your site, or purchase of your series of ‘how to’ books. Or you offer reviews for a price. Etc.
Disregarding most of that crap, on the whole, I’ve done what I can. I’ve sent out copies of the book to newspapers and magazines, without any serious hope of getting a review – but if you don’t try, you don’t know. There was just the possibility that maybe the somewhat peculiar nature of what I’ve written might strike a chord with someone. I’ve set up a launch event (Shaftesbury Arts Centre, April 2nd, 2.00-4.30 – be there or be square) and got some local publicity. That’s about my biggest hope for shifting a few copies. I’ve put some stuff on Facebook, but don’t want to lay it on too thick. I’ve buffed up my website and I reckon its worth a look if you haven’t been there - http://richeff.moonfruit.com/. . Twitter holds no appeal for me, so I continue to avoid it.
I’ve created this blog and I am committed to continuing it – but have no idea whether it will result in any sales. Starting it was the result of a bit of advice I picked up early on. The only positive effect I can say it’s had so far has been on Google page ratings. If you Google my name only the ratings are swamped by Richard Foreman, the New York ‘Ontological-Hysteric’ playwright. I don’t crop up til you’ve clicked through to page 14, by which time you’ll have spotted the 2 other writers who share my name and a fair number of obits for dead Richard Foremans. But if you Google ‘wilful misunderstandings’, with or without my name, you sure get a lot of me.
So there we are. Some campaign, huh?
Here’s what I hope. I reckon I’ve written a pretty decent book of short stories, and there’s enough quality there to make it a more enjoyable and more interesting read than a good many self-published books, probably even some commercially published ones. I hope that a few people will pick it up – starting with folk who know me and maybe going a little further (the words that Alan Moore and Sally Spedding kindly wrote to endorse the book might help somewhat). I hope that some of them will enjoy it enough to recommend it and that word-of-mouth will result in more sales. I hope that maybe some people will give me a good review on Amazon or Goodreads and the like, and that would help too. I’m aiming to see if I can get myself some public readings of the stories and sell on the back of those. Beyond that, who knows?
I don’t expect to make back what I’ve invested, but it would be desireable to reduce the number of book boxes currently stacked under a big table in my living room. Above all it would be nice to think that a few people have enjoyed my stories. It may not be the most riveting book you’ll read this year, but you’ll find some interesting characters, a few good laughs, some interesting situations, some thought provoking stuff and some strong emotional resonance. That’s my pitch. Be one of the discerning few. Buy now from http://lepusbooks.co.uk/wilful-misunderstandings/
I’d like to think you won’t regret it.