Had a lovely welcome at a school in Salisbury today. It's always a pleasure going to small schools and this one only had 63 children across the year groups. The welcome you always get is warm and friendly and the close knit community is evident in abundance. Teachers too, although rushed off their feet have smiles on their faces and clearly enjoy the bond with all the children they have. It's the third smallest school I've been to so far and they didn't disappoint with their enthusiasm for the writing activities i give them. I also had a special treat of story time with reception class as well. I can't believe that they got me to sing the song version of the ugly duckling. All in good fun though. A big thanks to all at West Tytherley.
For a change the drive home didn't have speed restrictions on the motorways but still took two and a half hours to get back to Kent. The amount of time I spend driving now is huge and sometimes I spend longer on the road in a day that I do in class during the school day. I could take some time to moan about some of the stupidity I see with drivers on the motorways, virtually every day, but I don't want too spoil what was a good day, so i'll leave it. One of the things that motorways have developed over the years is a whole new environment for plants and animals alike and you never quite know what you might see. It's a way to pass the time when you're stuck in traffic jams for hours at a time.
So I have just 28 days left to decide where I am going to launch my new book and I have been thinking about doing it in America through the social media in Arizona. It's a challenge but very appropriate. Can I do it successfully, I'm not yet sure but I'll give it my best shot. Otherwise I'll have to book a few secondary schools since they are young adult books. perhaps the only other way would be to target certain groups in this country that would find the material interesting. If the story had been set in this country it wouldn't present a problem but since its not I'll use it as a learning strategy and see what I can achieve. I'm looking forward to this one, the story is strong, sensitive and has some very emotional scenes amongst the action and adventure.
Anyway until then, Happy Reading
The publishing industry is a mess in this country and probably globally too. Every where you go to promote your book it seems that the piece of the pie they want to take from you is huge. Few publishers take on authors directly now as they cash in on the rise of celebrity authors who are already household names and will sell books on the strength of that alone. You can't blame the publishers really, they are fighting for survival along with every other business. When it comes to agents, these too vary in approach. With their hands full already few are interested in taking on more new authors and yet this is probably the best approach at the moment as they do have access to the publishing houses.
Perhaps the way forward is self-publishing but be warned that the quality of work out there is not always good. Don't sell yourself short when it comes to editing or choosing a cover design. It does matter, especially when you are trying to get shops to stock your books. Most shops will take between 35% and 40% of your retail price and will only take on a sell or return basis. It's the norm so don't fight it try and embrace it. Cut costs by buying bigger print runs, promote the hec out of your book, advertise it wherever you can, do it yourself and do it where it's free. There are plenty of unscrupulous advertisers out there that will charge the earth for their services. Social Media is still free so exploit that. Make appearances, signings wherever you get an opportunity promote, locally or further afield. Every book sold represents an opportunity for many other people to see it and the word of mouth can be your best friend.
So having said all this, you might be wondering why I've shared all of this. You can see that new authors are up against it. Well once in a blue moon, somebody offers an opportunity to promote and sell for nothing. There are still people who are prepared to help locals as they start to develop their business and I was pleasantly surprised twice this weekend.
Firstly an author friend of mine was given a chance to give a talk and sell a few books for free in a tea rooms in Dymchurch. The shop is run by a lovely lady called Mary who opened her doors one evening to whoever was interested in coming and even supplied tea for free. I don't have any reservation in promoting Mary's Tea Rooms in my blog, her cakes are amazing. Thanks for helping and wanting to support Mary, it means a lot.
The second generous offer came from Sarah and Clive at Dymchurch Chocolate shop. They too offered their support, of me this time, by allowing me to put a few books on their shelves alongside all thee amazing chocolates they have their. Again, it was a free offer and again it means a lot. Two offers of help from one village can only mean that there are some really good people in Dymchurch and is probably the reason I like the place so much.
happy Reading Steve