Archive for December, 2008

Waterstone’s

December 30, 2008

I am now set up to supply Waterstone’s via the wholesaler Gardners Books, and am free to write to their stores to see if they would like to stock my titles. A store directory has been sent to me.

My first reaction?

Good!

My second reaction?

Phew! More work!

The truth is, I am weary of the whole business. All I want to do is write, not market books. But without a publisher for printed versions, I have no choice but to go it alone.

I can only hope that e-book versions will sell.

But how to package books to give them ‘reader appeal’? I seem to have made a bad job of that so far. Yes, I have good reviews and those who read my books thoroughly enjoy them (no doubt about that), but competition is fierce and attracting new readers difficult. The Richard and Judy book list (and others with publicity clout) that takes a huge chunk of the market makes it hard for the rest to survive.

But then came this lovely reader review by Andrew O’Hara (Powell’s books Awakening Love reader review) to cheer me up :

“Few are able to write romantic fiction with the skill, ardor and sensitivity of Gladys Hobson. Gladys lays out her characters in such vivid color and her plots with such perfect timing that one can’t help but be swept up and carried along in her delightful tales. This is the third book I have read by this author, and she never disappoints.”

Magic

December 21, 2008

 

Lighting up a dark morning

Lighting up a dark morning

What is magic?

 

Children are intrigued by ‘magic’. We too can be delightfully mystified by the very notion that some things can happen completely beyond expectations. We don’t understand what is happening, it is beyond reason, it may be beautiful and awesome, it is magical! 

I come downstairs on a cold dark morning and switch on the tree lights. Magical! No, not because electricity is beyond my comprehension but because it does something to ME… something to lift my mood, something to make me come alive to joy and beauty — dispelling gloom and welcoming a new day bright with promise. Outside is darkness, inside is joy and beauty. I am alive, to live, to hope and dream. Why? Because I can appreciate when light enters my heart and mind. Magical!

Of course, there are no end to things, especially within nature, that can have the same effect. A rainbow set against a slate-blue sky, sunlight on frozen drops of water like brilliant diamond necklaces, a blanket of sparkling frost, sunlight dancing on water…

Yesterday we walked back from town and passed by two young children sitting by the window of their cottage. One was dressed like a fairy and bobbing up and down. The other was sitting on his chair looking forlorn and eating a large potato crisp from a container.

“A fairy has flown off the Christmas tree,” I said as we were passing by.

The girl pointed to two notices in childlike writing. “We’re selling crisps for charity” she said.

The little boy looked up. “We’ve only got 6p,” he said sorrowfully.

I called my husband back and plundered his small change. I gave it to the girl and was offered the crisp container.

“No thanks,” I said.

A smile on their faces was all I wanted. Magical!

It took me back years ago when I was training for teaching. It was Christmas and our reception class, like the rest of the school, had a turn to put on for the school concert. I chose an action song where all the children could take part, singing and acting. The main characters were dressed up. I chose a girl who rarely spoke and never smiled. She was thin, pale, and her clothes often shabby and inappropriate for the cold weather. I dressed her up in frothy fine pink nylon to be the ‘sleeping princess’ who was to marry the handsome prince.

“Doesn’t Angela look lovely!” said one of the children, awe-struck .

Angela smiled. And so did everyone else. Angela WAS a beautiful princess that had slept for a long time but was now awake to her own beauty! The whole room lit up. MAGIC!

And that is the magic of Christmas. Not the eating and drinking. The extravagance and  false sentiment, but seeing the truth of what is already there if only we have eyes to see. God with us. Awesome.  Magic!

Marketing New Book…Still Waters Run Deep, stories of hidden depths

December 8, 2008
Still Waters Run Deep, stories of hidden depths

Still Waters Run Deep, stories of hidden depths

My new books arrived last week and straight away I set about getting them into the shops. Everyone so far is delighted in the glossy cover with its photograph of Bassenthwaite Lake. Some of the stories have settings of that area but most of them are in our own area of the Furness region of Cumbria.

Some of the stories have been posted on my various web sites and full details of the book, plus reviews are on the Magpies Nest Publishing website where books may be ordered, although Amazon and other on-line booksellers will have it for sale as well. Bookshops in my own area already stock it. I hope to get a mention in the local paper shortly and there is also a possibility of an interview on local radio.

So much for Still Waters. Concerning a different book —  Awakening Love E-book — a lovely thing happened this morning. After me think no one I know is likely to buy an e-book, I met someone I know who used to work in our local Building Society. She told me that she had bought the e-book and intended doing a reader review and star rating! She also said that the e-book was lovely. I think it is the first one she has bought. Golly, that made me feel better about e-books!

Ebook delight!

Ebook delight!

How far do I want to go? Time is precious.

December 2, 2008

I’m talking to myself really as I have a decision to make. But I am sharing it with anyone interested in this publishing game. The policy for Waterstones handling books of self-publishers is now clear. I have all the information, instructions and application form. It is true they only buy books through Gardner’s. I’m told that it is because it is not viable dealing with thousands of accounts. Waterstones do not have a central depot of stock and all managers order from Gardner’s what they think they can sell. So even if the manager would like to sell my (or your) book he can only order it through Gardner’s. Gardners will only stock a book if there is an on-going demand for it, otherwise they order from the publisher just the books requested. But for Waterstone’s to deal with self-publishers (like my Magpies Nest Publishing) it is necessary to apply for a Waterstone’s Trading Agreement with Gardner’s Books Ltd. You can get this from: Peter North Independent Publisher Co-Ordinator Waterstone’s, Capital Court, Capital Interchange Way, Brentford, Middlesex. TW8 0EX. Tel. 0208 9964388

You would think that local stores would have discretion about buying from local authors (as Ottakar’s did) but no, if the local store wanted a book or books, they would have to go through Gardners, I would get an order come to dispatch requested books to Gardner’s at East Sussex and they would send it to the store (likely with other books).

So I have this form and am wondering whether to fill it in or not! If accepted, I would get sent a list of all their stores so I could contact each individual manager/buyer. Maybe I could persuade one or two to try out a book or two and perhaps a book signing? But there is also a returns policy to consider and huge discounts as well as all the packing and posting, account keeping etc etc. should I be successful. If enough books were to be ordered then maybe Gardner’s would buy in bulk for stock. In which case I could get my books printed cheaper and maybe not lose out!

 Amazon and most booksellers automatically advertise a book that comes up on the Nielson list. And I do get a few orders from Gardner’s but I don’t know where the books go to from there. So I am looking at this form. Do I really want the bother? The local bookshop rang yesterday and asked for two more copies of Northern Lights. A customer had just bought the last one but wanted two more. Maybe better to relish being a little fish swimming around in my own little pond? Mmm… a lot to consider for an old biddie of a writer!

WELL it is now some time later and I decided to go ahead. But, unlike some keen types, I did not ring the managers of the stores. I found a web site with their Emails and used that method. The next day I received a couple of orders for each book I mentioned. Would I have done better by ringing? I do not have a gift for ‘selling’ so maybe not, and it would have cost quite a bit. Just might have a stab at it when I have nothing urgent to do. Or if I get a few more awards for Awakening Love or one of the others.