To CreateSpace…or not to CreateSpace?

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hbrinkman bookseller

Over the past six months I have introduced ‘A Construct of Angels’ (using my bookmarks) to hundreds of people. In that time, a clear pattern of responses has emerged from my endeavours.

Pretty much everyone is initially startled by my ‘Do you read much?’ query, but they soon settle when I hand them a free bookmark and ask them if they’d care to try my book. Most stare at the bookmark, then at me and I can almost hear the penny drop as they say; ‘This is YOURS? You actually WROTE this?’

It always surprises me how people change when it dawns on them that they are standing next to someone who has (self) published a novel. Having had six months to get used to the idea, the shock and awe of finally completing a book has worn off, and I often forget how humbled I always felt in the presence of Jenna Burtenshaw, the author of Wintercraft and Blackwatch. Last year, I attended her book signing in Darlington and there she was – a published author and there I was, a newbie wannabe unpublished speck of nothing. I wasn’t fit to stand in her shadow…and so on.

It’s very strange hearing people using words like ‘honoured’ and ‘amazed’ when they talk to me – words that I try to shrug off. I’m not a movie star. I’m simply a writer who managed not to succumb to the depressing idea of never having a book see the light of day – nothing more.

Generally, the people I talk to are quite receptive to the idea of the bookmark and most will assure me that they will have a look at the free chapters available via Amazon. Of those who tell me that they don’t own eReaders, most are surprised that Amazon will offer them free software, ‘Kindle for PC’ that allows them to read Kindle books on their PC, Laptop, Netbook or Tablet. I’ve probably been responsible for a few dozen non-Kindle readers now being able to buy and read Kindle eBooks. 🙂

I also point them towards Smashwords, where ‘A Construct of Angels’ is listed in ePub, pdf and several other formats.

With the remainder, I have hit a stumbling block and I feel that the time has come to address that problem. Some readers, for various reasons, remain committed to paper books – something that I am currently unable to supply for sevral reasons. For one, I have been rejected by every genre-relevant agency in the UK, which is one of the reasons that I decided to self-publish. The other reason for my remaining entirely electronic is that the cost of a paper book was so far above that of an eBook, it seemed prudent to sell my work at the lower cost rather than try to push the more expensive paper version.

But I have seen so many faces registering disappointment when I admit that my book doesn’t exist in physical form, I am now reconsidering my decision to remain purely and unshakably twenty-first century electronic.

CreateSpace seems, for the moment, the best option for me. My book is already uploaded to Amazon, so having it available on the same site would appear to make sense. I’m currently using Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Scribd to shift copies (some with better success than others), so a fifth site would just complicate things – unless of course that new site was far better than CreateSpace.

If you’re also in the position of thinking about offering a paper book, Karen Inglis has posted a huge amount of information on the subject. As a UK-based children’s author, Karen is favour of using a combination of CreateSpace and UK print-on-demand company LightningSource to save on shipping costs and delays.

*One day later;*

A couple of my blogging friends (thanks guys) have advised me that CreateSpace may now be advanced enough to be able to use for distribution on both sides of the big pond.

Sounds like a plan…although the goalposts are constantly shifting.

Watch this space…I might be entering the twentieth century once again. 🙂

.

keep calm plus author inside

Bookmark – this page.

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bookmark

A little while ago, I was asked by Ryan Casey for feedback on how well my (home-made) bookmarks were being received.  Well, I can tell you that since November – a period of four and a half months – I’ve given out every one of the 500 I made in those first exciting days.

 Last Thursday I had to open up my next batch of 600, which I’d made back in January.  Five days later, I’ve already given out thirty or so.

I mentioned a while ago that my day job keeps me busy, sending me (randomly, it seems) to all parts of England, Scotland and Ireland.  This gives me the opportunity to meet a great many people, from engineers to office workers, and allows me to (tentatively) offer my book to those that seem receptive to the idea of a supernatural romance novel.

The conversation, always a work in progress, usually opens like this;

‘Do you read much?’

‘Me?  Yes.’

‘Well, can I give you one of these?’ *Hands over bookmark.*

‘Oh, what is it?’

‘Just my little contribution to literature.’

‘You wrote this?’

‘I did.’

‘What’s it about?’

And so the conversation begins.  For my thoughts on how to best describe a book, click here.

Today, I hit gold.  I asked one lady if she read supernatural romance and her reply was ‘My Kindle is absolutely stuffed with it!’  If I hadn’t intrigued her with a bookmark, she wouldn’t have gone on to BUY IT!!!  Woot, as so many people are fond of saying. 😀

My job also, as I circle the country and begin to pop up in places I haven’t visited for months (or even years),  allows me to chat to old friends who automatically ask me ‘what have you been doing?’  What a gift!  Immediately, I drop a bookmark onto the table and tell them that I’ve been writing a book.

‘You wrote this?’

‘I did.’

‘What’s it about?’

and so on…

The point of all this reminiscing is that swag – even home-made swag – is a conversation starter, an ice-breaker, a way of introducing the fact that the person opposite the conversationalistee (IS a word, so there!  And if it isn’t, it ought to be) is a bona-fide author and that the said conversationalistee (I’m not so sure it is a word now) ought to be bowing and scraping and muttering ‘I’m not worthy O Great One.’

Or at the very least, they should say ‘Sure, I’ll buy your book. I realise how difficult it must be to have applied that much dedication to your art and produce something of worth.’

‘Oh, thanks,’ is nice too, although not often productive in a salesy way.  I DID get my hand shaken in a congratulatory manner not so long ago (for getting published), so that was a boost for me and my oft-perforated ego.

Anyway, enough of the self-worship.  I’m not worthy of it.  But you are.  If you have spent a lot of time creating a complete story or poem and want to publish / have published it, then why on Terra shouldn’t you advertise?  There are other methods of introducing your work to people.  Mine is a simple free giveaway that starts a conversation.  It’s a must for me…someone who’s essentially a non-people person.

And it’s captured a few extra sales along the way.  The product of a bit of graphic manipulation, a colour printer, laminator and a cheap guillotine, it’s a low-budget method of shifting a few extra books. 

Don’t walk amongst potential punters in silence – be interesting, be something a little bit special.  One day you may just introduce yourself to a literary agent or publisher.  Or Steven Spielberg. 

Okay, that last one was a bit of a stretch, but you don’t know who his friends’ friends are, do you?

Tell the world that you’re out there – and write on!

untitled

P.S. In the interests of balance, I feel that I should say this;  I may have handed out over 500 bookmarks – but I have yet to sell 500 books.  Not every one strikes gold.  However, the bookmarks might lie around for months or even years before triggering someones curiosity – whereas a fleeting memory is pretty much gone for good and is very unlikely to result in a sale.

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