Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Ready for launch

Finally, after much prevarication and other delays too tedious to mention, I’ve fixed up a time and place for my book launch. It’ll take place on Wednesday, February 24th at Charlotte Street Blues in central London. More details nearer the time.

I went to another London Writers’ Club event last night. The speaker, Will Atkins, is head of Macmillan New Writing, which specialises in publishing previously unpublished novelists, and accepts submissions directly (rather than via agents). It all sounded great – until we established that they’d received around 12,000 submissions to date, and plan to publish eight books a year. You do the math, as they say in the States.

I may yet give it a go, but I won’t be holding my breath. In the meantime, self-publishing seems like an even better idea than it did before.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

A site for sore eyes

Right, where were we?

Well, the big news is that my new website is finally starting to take shape. I got a first look at it at the weekend, and spent much of Sunday uploading the copy. It still needs a few tweaks (not least because formatting text in WordPress turned out not to be quite as straightforward as advertised), but the developer is working on it and I’m hoping to make it live in the next week or so.

In terms of marketing, the website is the biggest difference between my first and second forays into self-publishing. Back in 2002, I had a launch party for Grown-Up People, and I paid Xlibris for a selection of promotional materials (business cards, bookmarks and postcards) containing details of the book and how to order it, which I sent to anyone who I thought might be interested. I did the same via email, but the sum total of my efforts still came to fewer than 100 copies sold, and none to anyone I didn’t know personally.

Having a website to promote First Time I Met The Blues should, in theory, make it easier to market the book. For starters, I can send the link to anyone who I think might be interested – not just friends and acquaintances, but likely sources of publicity as well. Then there’s the possibility of people finding the site via a link from another site – assuming I can get anyone to create those links – or a search engine. (Type ‘first time i met the blues novel’ into Google and this blog comes up in second place on the listings, beaten only by my nemesis, David Williams.) And once they’re there, they can order the book and pay me using PayPal. Simples, as the meerkat says.

The website won’t just flog the book mercilessly, though: I am planning a couple of other features that readers, and potential readers, will hopefully enjoy. But more about that when it’s ready to unveil to the world.