My book, Grandma’s Poetry Book, self published by Matador came out in November. Officially the publication date was 28th November but the books arrived a month early and I began doing signings and taking it around to outlets and cafes to rustle up interest in signings.
I had 500 copies printed, 300 for the publisher and 200 for myself. Five hundred is a cost effective number as the unit cost of the book is lower, the more copies that are printed. If the publisher holds more than 300 copies some shelf storage costs are incurred so it makes sense to have some come to me. Around mid November I was running short so I asked for another 100 to be sent to me and then at the beginning of December I requested a further 50.
That is when I realised how successful my book had been. The head of the warehouse told me they were running short of copies so I deferred on the 50 I had requested and, as he suggested, arranged for a further print run of 500 copies. There is still considerable interest in the book and it makes an ideal gift for birthdays and Mother’s Day as well as Christmas. Also many purchases have been for ‘new grandparents’ and these are popping up all the time. However, I am aware that at the moment I have about £800 of expenditure sitting doing not much. There has not been the opportunity to do much promotion and signing at the beginning of the year and there is a lot of illness about.
When I tell people I am on a second print run they assume that I made 500 sales which is not entirely true. A few were sent out for review by the publisher, I gave complimentary copies to each of my seven grandchildren and to my two step grandchildren, the twins in the book, as well as a couple of complimentary copies to my illustrator and one to my partner. As our local adventure farm is featured in the book, I took one complimentary copy to them and gave a few cafes and our local dentist copies for display with their reading material. I sent out some books for review and when I asked outlets to stock the book I always left a copy so about ten copies have been left in shops and stores with the order information. The National Trust have responded by sending me forms to complete so hopefully sales there will follow.
Another route I took was to leave ten copies in local bookshops on a sale or return basis. Our local bookshop has sold almost twenty copies that way but I am not sure she will stock now that the Christmas season is over and the first flurry of sales has passed, especially as shelf space is short. An idea to donate free copies for local charity raffle prizes was welcomed in my home town and about eight found their way to the table of raffle prizes for all to see before the raffle was drawn. This has generated interest wider afield.
I attended a few of the larger Christmas fairs and local Christmas lunches and usually sold between 8 and 10 at each event. It is surprising how this mounts up over a period of a week or two.
The remainder have been sold at signings and through the post. My illustrator has a wide network of fans. They have bought the book because they know the illustrator and want a copy of her work in print which I now see has opened up the market.
Obviously friends and family have been the main purchasers but the field has widened since the book came out with Amazon orders doing well and reviews on Amazon and Goodreads showing five stars with a couple only giving 4. One or two of the comments, while giving praise in part, make points which, if the whole book had been read, they would see do not apply. One comment was that it is too personal to my family and yet this is what other readers love. Also I make it clear that the book is inspired by my love of A A Milne and his Christopher Robin series was based on his own family.
An unexpected outcome has been that the book is being bought in twos: one for each grandmother. This was not something I had anticipated. Of course, I am delighted.
I have not calculated my takings as yet but I pay in money about twice a week to my ‘writing’ account. I always have two or three books on my person and can sell if they ask. I am still getting requests on email and as a result of my Christmas round robin letter which included details.
The promotion of the book has brought much work and takes time but we are looking forward to brisk sales in 2015 and by next Christmas I hope the book will be well known.
We press on!
Signed copies of Grandma’s Poetry Book are available from the author by post. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions. I can post to America, Canada and Australia and other destinations overseas.
My website gives more information www.dicastle.co.uk