October 2020 - The good, the bad and the almost ugly
Updated: Nov 15
I wrote the following article for the Indie Authors World website. Indie Authors World helped me publish my book and are simply wonderful people. If you are thinking of publishing a book they are definitely worth a conversation. I have their details around here somewhere. Oh yes, here it is, in the back pocket alongside the facemask - https://www.indieauthorsworld.com
However, without further ado, I shall hand you over to my article which I was kindly allowed to reproduce for you. Um, I seem to be adding extra ado - sorry about that, I'll press the button to start the article now:
I am the author with no name.
Oh, go on then, you can call me Jeff. My book has just passed its first birthday and I feel in a melancholy mood of reflection. What went well? What went badly? And if I cross your palm with silver, can you tell me my book’s future?
So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you ………. ‘The good, the bad and the possibly ugly’.
Proper book - the £1.27 million in royalties, superstar author status and the film discussions with Danny Boyle were good. However, when I woke up my bank account was empty, nobody had heard of me and Danny Boyle threatened an injunction unless I stopped trying to contact him. So, I’ll start with the simple fact that I wrote a book. I actually produced a proper book. You know what, even if nobody bought a single bloody copy, it would still have been worth it. You see that book on the shelf, I wrote that. No, not Trainspotting, the one next to it. No, not Fifty Shades of Grey, um, that is my wife’s, honest. The other side. An Ordinary Man’s Travels In An Extraordinary World. Yep, that is mine and it still puts a smile on my face.
Charity – before I published my book, I decided to pass on part of my book royalties to the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF). I think this has led to:
A warm inner glow from raising money for MRF that provides a strangely similar feeling to the inner heat created by a Chicken Vindaloo
More opportunities for MRF, and myself, to promote meningitis awareness alongside my book. It has helped provide newspaper articles, radio interviews and even a review in the village magazine – let’s face it, given half a chance I turn into a media tart
People being more prepared to buy the book and easier for me to shamelessly mention it
Friends - I let friends know about the book several weeks before its release and their support, through proof-reading and pre-sales orders, gave me a huge boost. Not only that, some of them were more excited about the book than me. Not only, not only that (I love a double ‘not only’), but I even got in touch with friends that I hadn’t been in contact with for years. Somehow the book became a good excuse to re-connect with people – I don’t care if you don’t buy the book but it is just nice to be back in touch.
Social media – it has only been recently that I have made an effort to build up more contacts on Twitter and Goodreads. I wonder what would have happened if I had built this up before I launched my book?
Reviews – oh why, oh why, didn’t I organise more reviews early on. I do now have quite a few reviews on Amazon, but it seems a bit daft that I was in the newspapers and on radio with just two reviews at the time. I wouldn’t buy a book with only two reviews, but maybe tempted if there were 10. Alas, another ‘what if?’ Alas, I was so busy finishing the book, creating a website and contacting people that I didn’t focus on getting early reviews.
Author central – after being surprised with the initial high number of book sales on Amazon, there was then nothing. I couldn’t work it out and found it hugely frustrating. People said they bought a book from Amazon, but nothing showed up on the printer’s figures. It was only when I signed up to Amazon’s free author central service that it helped to show me that Amazon were selling copies of my book. I then realised they must have built up stock in the big Amazon garage. My printers then spoke to Amazon and confirmed how many they held.
THE POSSIBLY UGLY
So, what do the next 12 months hold for my book? Well, sales have gradually reduced. However, I’m going to take another roll of the book marketing dice to see if my book can get a lucky break and strike gold. So back to the newspapers, radio, contacting people, engaging with people and working out social media.
Queue spaghetti western music and the credits:
Tom, tom, tom, tom, wah, wah………………………
Author with no name rides off into the horizon (bump…ahh!).