Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Philosopher's Stone

A few more bruises have been added to my collection, but my son and I received our Taekwondo blue belts on Monday.

For those who have been following news about The Kult film, the director Kip Shelton has been posting a journal about the progress, which makes for eye-opening reading. You can read it here, and then click the other links that continue the journey:

And for anyone in the Nantwich area of Cheshire, the Nantwich Bookshop now has copies of my books with my spidery scrawl inside, so you can check out the book that the film’s based on.

Now as a small press author, promotion and the selling of books is one of the hardest things. I’m competing against thousands of other authors. To give an idea of how vast the market is, I recently read that in 1975 there were 3,000 publishers in the United States. Today that number has grown to 200,000 publishers made up of large, medium, small, as well as print on demand companies. Together, they put out 560,000 books a year of which approximately 295,000 are self-published. So as you can see, competition is fierce. But what’s the best way to reach your target audience?

Of course having books in shops helps, but that’s not always possible with small press books as the shops won’t stock them, preferring to stick with the major publishers with whom they have a tried and tested relationship.

Now I’ve tried most things that I can think of to promote my work, from adverts to message boards, and I’ve had numerous good reviews, but I just haven’t hit upon what I call ‘quantity x’. Now ‘quantity x’ is a magic formula, a metaphorical philosopher’s stone that occurs when there’s an increased awareness in an authors work, and everything seems to fall into place. Like the alchemists of old, I’m still searching for it, but if anyone can give me some clues …


Bruce Boston said...

There is no quantity x if you are starting from the small press. You just have to slog away selling one or two copies at a time. And often you spend more money selling the books than you make from them.

Even with a major commerical publisher, unless they put a huge publicity campaign behind you, it's the same story.

Shaun said...

I know all about the slogging away, and I'm not against that - I don't think any author should begrudge spending time promoting. It's my book after all, and so of course I want it to do well. But for want of a better word, I'll call quantity x 'luck', which some people seem to have more of :)