August 2016 Update – Libraries and Secondhand Sales (Aaargh)

29th August 2016
I am feeling like bit of a plonka. Someone – a complete stranger, never met them before – asked me to sign their book, which I was very excited to do. So, they told me their name, I wrote a little message, then signed it “Love, Anne”. As you do. Except, when you are an author, signing a book, I imagine that you don’t write “Love, X” I bet JK Rowling doesn’t sign books for strangers “Love, Joanna”. Realised immediately it was an amateur mistake, but what could I do? I could hardly snatch it back and put a line through it.

Most authors have a ‘book launch’. I am not brave enough to do this. This was bit of a mistake. I hadn’t realised that local shops (possibly bigger ones too) are quite slow when restocking. They have lots of suppliers, there is no sense of urgency. So friends were going in to buy my book and being told it had sold out. I took a fresh supply, but was told by the shop that they couldn’t take them until they had done the paperwork and paid me for the books sold. There was no way round this system (I did try). The process took three days. I have no idea how many sales I lost in those few days – some people will go back, but not everyone will bother twice. Very frustrating. If I had organised a ‘book launch’, all my friends could have come in one go, seen the book, and if they liked it, they could have bought it then. This would leave the shops for the slower, less definite customers. Next time…

I also realise now how important it is to make sure my supply chain is working properly before I start advertising. (Hope you are noticing all the clever marketing phrases I have been learning.) I have now put it into more than one shop in each town, so if one sells out, the other will hopefully still have some.

Also this week I was interviewed by the local paper. This is so not me – I’m quite a private person really. Son came for support. The reporter was very nice, but he did tend to chat about me, and I just wanted to talk about the book. You can’t “not answer” when someone asks why you stopped teaching or where you lived and when. Of course, when the article appeared, it was more about me than the book. But it was nice of him to include something. He even took a photo (which is awful, I am wearing my “I feel really silly” face.) I hope it’s a good way to let people know about my book. I loved writing it, now I would like to hide under the bed and let people buy it and recommend it to others. But no one will buy it unless I advertise it a little, so I’m forcing myself to publicise it. I have to keep reminding myself, it’s not about me, it’s about the book. And it IS a good book. It has strong, realistic characters, so by the end you feel they are real people, and you might have met them, and you want to give them some advice about the terrible decisions they are making…