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Robert New

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300 Sales! A Marketing and Promotion Update.

I recently entered Incite Insight into a competition. In order to enter, I had to list all the marketing for the book. When I wrote it all down, I was surprised at how much had been done:

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– Book launch at Readings Bookstore (+inclusion in their catalogue and display window at store).
– Paid inclusion in Ingram’s Advance Catalogue.
– Paid promotion of e-book through Book Gorilla, Booksends, eBook Lister, Fussy Librarian, and eReader News Today, in conjunction with KDP Select price promotion.
– Social Media Campaign (Facebook and Twitter).
– Panellist at Continuum (Science Fiction) Convention (additionally, bookmarks promoting the text were included in the gift bag given to all delegates.)
– Retail table at Continuum Convention.
– Free Bookmarks and book displays advertising the book at various retailers.
– Website of publisher.
– Website of author, including blog.
– Guest Speaking at Writers Groups.
– Amazon Marketing Service (paid advertisements on Amazon.com)
– Ditmar award entry.
– Book available for borrowing from 7 Libraries.
– Displays in 3 retailers.
– Emailed bloggers asking them to read and review the book.

All this has resulted in 300 sales. So not exactly setting the world on fire, but actually not too bad. As a comparison:

“The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, aka J K Rowling, could not have received better reviews. Yet before the secret broke, the Bookseller reported The Cuckoo’s Calling had sold a total of 449 copies through BookScan since its April release.” (SPN, 2013).

While I still have a long way to go before I reach 449 copies (and to be fair that was print copies – my total of 300 includes only 90 print copies), I am really happy with my progress to date. I’ll keep up the marketing and hopefully keep the sales coming while I work on my collection of short stories which should be out early next year.

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View from a Barred Window

Just under two years ago, I knew no one who had published a novel. I wanted to improve my writing and publishing contacts so I joined Writers Victoria and the Monash Writers’ Group. One of the Monash Writers, Katherina Fares had a book launch for her novel View from a Barred Window last weekend, which I enjoyed going to. The photo below was taken at the launch (I’m in the middle). What amazes me is that out of the seven people in the photo only one hasn’t published a story, at least not yet (they will likely publish their first story later this year). I’m proud to say that all these people have become my friends. Over the last two years they have been a great source of inspiration and advice, and have introduced me to my editor, helped me get my book into libraries, told me when I’ve headed down the wrong path and helped me get published. So my advice to people who want to write stories is to get involved in your writing community, you never know who you’ll meet or what opportunities it presents.

Photo 31-07-2016, 20 01 17

Un-Conventional

This weekend I will be on several panels at the Continuum Convention. This is a Science-Fiction specific convention that is fan run. There are many well known authors (Kylie Chan, Ian Irvine etc.) on the panels as well as lesser known and unknown ones like me. As this is my first convention I am not quite sure what to expect, but I think it will be a lot of fun having public discussions on topics that interest me (a not dissimilar thing to what I did with my first book – The Conversationist).

I will also have a table at their Sunday Market to sell copies of Incite Insight.

Details can be found here: Continuum.org.au

It’s not writer’s block. It’s not.

“So are you writing another one?”

I think about my latest novel, the one I’ve been working on since Christmas. The one I was so inspired to write that I wrote a whole chapter in a morning.

“Yes,” I reply as something knots inside me.

Did I keep the guilt out of my voice?

You see, that story, the one I was, and am, so enamoured with has not had a single word added to it for four months.

My reasons for not writing are myriad – editing someone else’s book, kids, renovations, work, needing a break, chronic fatigue (damn you Epstein-Barr virus), not having large enough blocks of time to make writing worthwhile, promoting Incite Insight.

I know I need to stop making these reasons equate to excuses. It’s not ok that I’m not writing. I need to make the time and I know I’ll be happier if I do. At the moment though, I can’t see that happening for another month and a half, when my home renovations are done, work has settled down and the editing is complete.

You’re doing it again.

*sigh*

Yes, yes I am.

You’re doing what now? Writing a children’s book…

My son Michael asked for a bedtime story the other night. We had just come back from Nanna Shan’s in Peterborough on the coast so I thought I’d set the story there. In the past we have seen all sorts of Australian wildlife at ‘the block,’ such as kangaroos, lizards and echidnas, so I started to make up a tale about Eddy the echidna.
As it turned out, Michael really liked the story and I thought it was pretty good too, so I told it to my wife who also enjoyed it. I’ve kept thinking about the story and have now written it down (one of the best things about children’s stories is that they are short, so can be written in a small amount of time). I’m even thinking about getting it illustrated and then maybe printing up a few copies for fun… So my next book (and I never thought I’d say this) might be for children!

Starting the Sales Slog (promotion, promotion, promotion)

Now that my novel Incite Insight is available to buy/order from all major retailers, I have started the long hard slog of trying to reach a sales target that I and my publisher have in our heads.

To this end we have organised a book launch in Readings Bookshop (Hawthorn) for the first week of February (see the Readings website for information).

Here are some photos of me with a couple of readers getting their copy to read before the launch.

I know some of you are interested in the marketing side of books, especially for those considering self-publishing, so here is some further information on promotion:

Other promotional things that are happening include a marketing campaign on Amazon for the e-book (at one point recently the book made the top 40 bestsellers list) and a spot in Ingram’s catalogue (Ingram are the distributors of the book). These are more about building awareness rather than generating actual sales, but hopefully we’ll get a few that way as well.

In modern publishing, the publisher does some promotion, but a lot of the onus falls on the writer, particularly as a new author. So in this vein, in the next two months I’m likely to run a session for the Monash Writers Group about the publishing process from a writer’s perspective and talk to a book reading group at my workplace. I’m also trying to get on a panel at an upcoming book festival. All of which will be used as marketing opportunities. The aim is to introduce my work (and name) to new groups of readers. This may only result in a handful of sales and take a lot of work, but every little bit helps. At this point in my career the focus is on building brand awareness – ie get people to know me as an author as opposed to my day job (being a teacher).

Will it pay off? We’ll have to wait and see…

 

At Long Last…

It is with much pleasure that I am able to announce that the E-book version of my novel Incite Insight is now available through Amazon – follow this link for details. Incite Insight

Just a reminder that you don’t need a kindle to read a kindle book – you can get  a free app for your phone, computer, tablet etc that will let you read the book (see the website for details).

My (hardcopy/printed) book is so close to publication which is very exciting, but at the same time knowing that it was originally going to be available a month ago means it is also very frustrating. My publisher changed who they print through (they are a publisher not a press) and the product produced by the new printer is not quite the same. The colours on the front cover appear quite different (for example), which means a number of revisions have had to be made, resulting in the delay. The advantage of the new printer is that they are local (rather than overseas) and can link in with the distributor Tale Publishing want to use.

So fingers crossed it will be available to order before the end of the year.

In other news the book launch for Incite Insight will be at Readings Bookshop (Hawthorn) in early February. Contact them (or me) for more details.

The Next Big Thing…

Now that Incite Insight is nearing publication, I am ready to move on to my next story. I have written plan for a novel (chapter outline and plot points) that is set in the same world as Incite Insight. It’s almost a sequel but focused on new characters. But that’s not what I’m going to write. I’ve written the first pages of two short stories – one is a heist/caper about the theft of a coat hanger and one is about a flirty phlebotomist. But I’m not writing them either.

Instead I’ve started another story. Why? You may well ask (and I’m asking myself the same thing), well the short answer is that this story interests me more than the others at the moment. Mostly it’s because it’s a way for me to combine a couple of ideas for short stories that I’ve had into a longer work – even though I am not sure if it will reach novel length or just be a novella. But ultimately it’s an easier story to write than the novel as it requires less research and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to work the coat hanger story into it, so that idea won’t be wasted, but as for the poor flirty phlebotomist well, she will have to wait a while…

Working with an Editor

Working with an editor on Incite Insight is an interesting experience. I had my previous novel and short stories read by up to a dozen or so people before I shared them more widely. Despite this many errors (typos, layout/formatting) still remained in what I was sending out to publishers or promoting to my friends and family. Most people would not notice or overlook some of the mistakes, but my editor is catching them and making practical suggestions for the text.

I had previously had a “manuscript assessment” done on Incite Insight, but all that did was say things like the dialogue needed work, without explaining exactly what was wrong with the dialogue or how to improve it. My editor picked up on the same issue right away (without knowing about the assessment), but then pointed out what was wrong – I did not use enough contractions in the speech (couldn’t, wouldn’t etc) and some of the language was too formal. Actual helpful advice! The conversations were good, but just needed a bit of a polish. No need to return to the dialogue drawing board (as implied by the manuscript assessment), just edit a few words here and there to give it more life.

Although we’re only a fifth of the way through the edit, I am enjoying the process and am taking the feedback well. I am really happy with the story, want people to read it and really want to get it published and out there. I am unlikely to make the same mistakes that I did with The Conversationist thanks to dealing with a publisher (Tale Publishing), but this also means that it won’t be published until it’s properly ready. Hopefully, this will be soon!

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