Colour Printing Options for Books

When I decided to publish my second parenting book in colour I knew that the colour printing costs with CreateSpace were extortionate. The same applies to Lulu. This basically relates to the fact that they charge for full colour even if only a small proportion of the book is in colour. So, that was the easy alternatives out of my reach. I therefore started to do some digging around in order to find more cost-effective solutions. I knew from reading Joanne Phillip’s marvellously informative blog (http://joannegphillips.wordpress.com/) that she had used various printing options so I asked her for some advice which she was more than happy to give – thanks again Joanne.

Becoming your own Publisher

Book PublishingBasically, because I had applied for my own ISBN numbers the first time round I was effectively acting as my own publisher. This meant that there were less restrictions and I could go direct to a printer. Lightning Source (LSI) are a good option in the UK because they will list your book with Amazon, Gardners wholesalers etc. for a fee of just £8.40 a year. However, it is possible to get your book listed yourself. To do so you have to register as the publisher with Nielsen’s PubWeb service.

I had listed my previous book on Nielsen’s BookNet so that I could receive any orders that came from wholesalers but I didn’t realise that I needed to register with PubWeb too. The link to PubWeb is http://www.nielsenbookdata.com/pubweb. If you click the ‘Not a registered user?’ link you will go through to a screen where there is a further link to a downloadable registration form. Once you have registered you can add your books and make updates to them such as adding the cover images etc. For BookNet the link is http://www.nielsenbooknet.co.uk. Select the Publishers & Distributors option from the menu and there are links further down the page for smaller self-distributing publishers. Self-distributing basically means that you hold your own stocks.

Once you have listed your book with PubWeb there is a good chance that booksellers will pick up your book details from the PubWeb records and list them on their own records. The PubWeb website warns you that it can take up to twenty weeks for this to happen but I found that the print version of my book was listed in the Amazon store within a week and with Waterstones online shortly after. One of my next tasks is to register as an Amazon seller so that I can receive orders directly from Amazon once the print version is available.

Staying Local

Joanne also kindly recommended a UK-based printer that would print in colour at reasonable cost. However, I also decided to shop around for others. There are now many printers offering a print on demand service for books and some will allow you to obtain an on-screen estimate. Just try entering ‘Book Printers UK’ into Google to see a good selection. I’m not sure what the position is in other countries but I have a feeling it will be similar because printers will want to cater to the demand prompted by the ‘Indie revolution’. As with CreateSpace, the charges per book usually become lower as the size of your order increases. Additionally, because I could obtain online quotes this enabled me to narrow down my options for orders of different sizes before making further enquiries.

Buying Local

One of the advantages of having a printer in your country of residence is that the staff are more accessible. That makes it easy to pick up the phone and address any concerns and get answers to your questions. I find that by speaking to the staff you can often get a feel for how efficient they are. The other advantage is in terms of postage and packing. Not only are the costs much cheaper but I’m not expecting the inevitable delays that I get with CreateSpace orders that are shipped from America.

I didn’t go for the lowest priced printer in the end. I chose Biddles because they were reasonably priced and Nigel Mitchell has been very efficient up to now as well as really helpful.

Typesetting

Joanne Phillips has previously written a blog about doing your own typesetting (gosh that lady should be wearing a halo by now). Seriously though, if you aren’t already reading Joanne’s blog, I can’t recommend it enough. I wasn’t brave enough to attempt the typesetting myself. As I want to place this book with book shops and gift shops it’s very important to me that it looks as professional as possible and I was frightened of making a complete hash of it. Nevertheless Joanne’s blog did come in extremely handy.

PrintingThe one drawback I found with a lot of printers was that they charge a lot for typesetting and as colour printing is still expensive (even if it’s only part colour), these additional costs would reduce my profit margins considerably. I therefore decided on a cheaper alternative by advertising the job on People per Hour and specifying my own budget. The guy I chose seemed to have good credentials, 30+ years’ experience in the printing industry etc. etc. However, it soon became evident that his experience was more with posters, brochures etc. rather than books. Some of his design features were great but he placed less emphasis on paragraph alignment, spacing, margin sizes etc.

I think I would go for a low cost option again but I would be sure to check that the person I employed had specific experience with typesetting books as this would have saved me a lot of time. Thankfully, I knew enough to point him in the right direction and my printer was very helpful and supportive. Eventually we got there and the finished document is now with the printer. It looks stunning, especially the images, and I can’t wait to see the book in print. The Kindle version also has colour pics and you can see an interior view at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00GXHQ02G.

It’s on with the promotion now while I wait for the print copies to arrive. I hope these tips have helped others. If you have any questions or any tips of your own to share, please feel free to comment in the box below.

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Publishing Kindle EBooks with Complex Layouts

There’s no doubt that being able to publish and sell your own books online is a great experience and one that many Independent authors are taking advantage of. When it comes to publishing eBooks with complex layouts though, things can get a little tricky. I encountered a few problems whilst publishing my second book so I’ve described these below together with details of how I tackled them.

Imagesparties
When I published my first parenting book some of the feedback suggested that it would have benefited from colour images. Therefore, as Great Places for Kids’ Parties (UK) is a similar type of book, I decided to include colour images throughout. As I wrote each chapter I collected photographs from the organisations featured in the chapters. I didn’t bother about the image format at that point as I decided to tackle that matter as and when I needed to. I only had a vague idea at the time of how many images I would include, and thought that perhaps I wouldn’t use them all, especially if some didn’t fit the required format.
In the end I decided to include a picture for each chapter as the photographs I received were so lovely. When I started to format the book for publication to the Kindle I found that the Amazon specifications were that no image should exceed 127KB. A quick check revealed that most of my picture files were several megabytes so I knew that I had a bit of a problem on my hands.
I set about converting the images on my software but it wasn’t sophisticated enough to change the picture quality as well as the picture size. Therefore, in order to reduce the file size sufficiently it resulted in images that were only about an inch in width. Fortunately, the wonderful Alice Huskisson stepped in and offered to convert the images using her Adobe Photoshop package. Alice managed to convert the images to as near to 127KB as possible without exceeding that file size. At the same time, the quality was still really good, so big, big thanks to Alice.

Bullets and Numbered Lists
Gymnastics picI knew from my previous publication that there would be a problem converting bullets for the Kindle. However, last time it was a bit hit and miss and I couldn’t really determine why it worked on some occasions but not others. As bullets and numbered lists form such an integral part of this book I decided to run with it and tackle whatever problems presented themselves once I had attempted the upload to Amazon.
This time, fortunately, I discovered the crux of the problem. Providing the text in your bullet points does not extend for more than one line on the Kindle, the bullets convert fine. However, if the text runs onto the following line the bullets will appear skew wift. This meant that I had to go through the entire book and reduce the bullet points to no more than four or five words. Where this wasn’t possible I got round the problem by putting N.B. at the end of the set of bullet points and adding any extra points that were necessary. With numbered lists I sometimes had to treat each numbered point as a separate paragraph without a number. Fortunately, it worked out well and hasn’t had a negative impact on the layout.

Hyperlinks
This is a problem that I didn’t encounter the first time round and one for which I had to involve my resident IT expert. This book actually has a lot less hyperlinks than the first book. Although I have tried to include references to further information I deliberately reduced the number of hyperlinks as these don’t work so well in a print version (which will follow soon). Despite this, I still encountered a problem when I converted the document from Word to HTML ready to upload into Amazon. Here’s what happened:
In Word, and in the converted HTML document, hyperlinks show as coloured and underlined. They are very useful because the Kindle allows the reader to follow the hyperlink in order to access further information. Unfortunately, when I converted to HTML there were a few areas of the document where the colour and underlined text extended beyond the hyperlink. In a couple of instances this meant that there were several paragraphs of text that were coloured and underlined. I played around with the document in Word but couldn’t find a solution.

Over to my resident IT expert.

The only way in which we could solve the problem was for my hubby to actually alter the HTML code. The book looks fine now but unfortunately it means that my Word document doesn’t reflect these amendments. So, if I want to make any Kids at Chester Zoochanges in the future I can’t do them myself as they will have to be carried out using the amended HTML document. Needless to say, I’ve given my hubby advance warning that I will be needing his help again when the special offers in the book expire. He’s asked me to point out that he isn’t taking on any assignments from other authors – ha ha! How lucky am I?

I’m pleased to say that despite these little niggles I got there in the end (with a little help from my friends/husband) and the pictures look great. I couldn’t resist including a few images from the book again with this blog – I’m so proud of them! You can have a look inside the book with Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00GXHQ02G. I also have to add that after experiencing all the intricacies of publishing this type of book, publishing a novel should be an absolute doddle.

No doubt these words will come back to haunt me. 

If you want to find out about my other books including future publications you can check out the book page of my website at: http://www.dianemannion.co.uk/books.html.

Cover Reveal – “Great Places for Kids’ Parties (UK)”

Here it is at last – the cover for my new book “Great Places for Kids’ Parties (UK)”. I’ve finally reached the formatting and proofreading stage so I should be publishing the Kindle version soon. Following that, I’ll be making arrangements to have a print version published. If you want to be informed of the launch dates you can subscribe to my mailing list. I promise not to divulge your details to any third parties and will only use your email address to send you updates regarding my books.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00023]

You may have noticed the starburst so I’ll tell you a little more:
There are 13 special offers in the back of the book from 11 organisations and they’re all exclusive to people buying the book. Some of the organisations are big, well-known companies so it’s well worth buying the book to save money on your children’s birthday parties. In my next blog post I’ll be listing the organisations that are featuring offers in the book. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.
The book has a similar cover to my first book, “Kids’ Clubs and Organisations” because they are part of a series of parenting books that I will be writing. However, each of these books can be read separately as well. There are 23 organisations featured in the book altogether. The three photographs shown on the cover were supplied by three of the organisations featured in the book: Wacky Warehouse, My Pamper Parties and Tameside Sports Trust. You’ll also find lots of lovely colour photographs throughout the book, which most of the organisations have kindly supplied. Co-ordinating all the information, photographs etc. was a challenge so it’s good to have reached this stage and I can’t wait to finally complete and publish the book.

Are Amazon Revealing too Much?

I’m referring specifically to Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature. “A great idea”, many may say, both from an author’s and a reader’s point of view. For novelists it gives them the opportunity to display the quality of their work. Hopefully they will also be able to hook the reader so that he or she will want to read more and will therefore purchase the book.

From the reader’s point of view this feature is also advantageous. Often readers can tell in the first few pages whether they will enjoy a book. So, this facility gives readers the chance to sample the product before making a purchasing decision.

A situation where everyone wins, you may think. But what if you are a non-fiction author?

Amazon Look Inside FeatureThe Disadvantage for Non-Fiction Authors

This feature can cause problems for non-fiction authors. I will cite my first book “Kids’ Clubs and Organisations” as a specific example to illustrate my point. I think that the ‘Look Inside’ feature was detrimental to my first book and I remember feeling displeased when Amazon automatically added it. Although I had a good look around the author area I couldn’t find a way to opt out of this, but I am a self-confessed technophobe so it may just be that I couldn’t find the instructions. If anyone knows how to remove the ‘Look Inside’ feature I would be eternally grateful for your guidance.

The reason why I feel that ‘Look Inside’ has been detrimental to my first book is because one of the book’s selling points is that it introduces parents to kids’ clubs that they may not have realised existed. The contents page describes exactly what type of clubs they are, so some people, having been given the idea for free, could decide to do their own research. Of course, there will be many details that they won’t find on the Internet as I gained a lot of input from the organisations involved with the book. However, this is something that people won’t realise when they view the contents page. I think this disadvantage may have influenced the fact that I sold far more books outside of Amazon than I sold through the site.

I am not saying that this is the only factor that influenced my Amazon sales. Another factor may be because the title is quite formal and may make the book appear more like a library reference book rather than a book that parents and children can read together. I have addressed this factor with my new book by making the title more parent and child friendly. I also hope to include lots of lovely colour images. There is no doubt that self-publishing teaches you a lot and I have taken on board all the lessons that I learnt during the publication and promotion of my first book.

How my Second Book will address the ‘Look Inside’ Issue

With my second book I am avoiding the above situation by making my chapter headings more cryptic, then putting a sub-heading inside the book, which expands on the main chapter heading. The cryptic headings are also intended to add to the fun factor so that the book will appeal to parents and their children.

I have noticed that some authors put the contents page at the back of their Kindle books and I wonder if they do this so that readers don’t see the contents until they buy the book. From a reader’s perspective, however, I prefer to see the contents page at the start of the book, and this is the reason why I have decided not to follow this path.

N.B. My second book is nearing completion and I will be sharing more information about the book on this blog and on the books page of my website in the coming weeks.

If you have a view regarding the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ feature, I would love to receive your feedback in the comments box below.

When the Going Gets Tough for Authors

It’s a fact that an author’s job is not an easy one. To start with you have to keep coming up with original ideas that will appeal to readers. You also have to make your books engaging so that people will want to keep reading them. Then there’s the research, outlining, drafting, re-drafting and endless edits. If you are an independent author then your job is even more demanding as there are so many other jobs to add to the list: proofreading, cover design, publication and promotion are all your responsibility.
While it’s possible to hire help for some of the work, the costs can soon add up so most Indies choose to do the bulk of the work themselves. With all that to consider, it’s not surprising that many of us get more than a bit disheartened from time to time. So I thought I would explore which elements of the job get to us and what we can do about them.

1) Writer’s Block

This is a common problem for many writers but it is often only temporary in nature and allowing yourself some time out can work wonders.

Plan of ActionOverworked Brain

My previous post on writer’s block included many tips so I won’t repeat the same points here. The important thing to bear in mind though is that it’s your brain’s way of letting you know that it’s tired and needs a rest. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel guilty if you take some time out to concentrate on other things, then return to your writing when you’re feeling refreshed.

2) Bad Reviews

Getting bad reviews is one thing, and I think that most of us can accept a little constructive criticism, but there certain reviews that can only be described as toxic. These can really shake your confidence and leave you asking yourself, ‘Is my work really that bad?’ However, it’s important to put things into perspective; the type of people that write ‘nasty’ reviews are probably ‘nasty’ people that are perpetually angry with the world, or prone to complaining – think ‘Victor Meldrew’. Unfortunately, people can be far more eager to leave a bad review than they are to leave a good one. This can be said of most of us; if we have a great holiday then we just accept it, but what if the hotel has poor service with faulty air conditioning and tasteless food?

Plan of Action

If your good reviews far outweigh the bad ones then I think you can safely assume that it’s a one off from someone who has a grudge against the world in general. Although it can be hurtful, potential readers will be far more likely to judge a book by the percentage of good reviews received. Therefore, if your book has dozens of glowing four and five star reviews then it’s highly unlikely that a reader will be swayed by one negative one.

What should you do though if you’re receiving a lot of bad reviews?

To start with try to look at the reviews dispassionately, perhaps when you’ve recovered from the initial shock. What are the readers criticising? Is there a common theme? Are there errors that you can put right? Whilst I would hesitate to make changes because of one poor review, I would certainly consider them if the same point is being made repeatedly.
Another way to counter the pain of a poor review is to think about your achievements so far and re-read your positive reviews. The fact that you have been able to self-publish is a feat in itself. Although it may seem like the world and his wife are self-publishing, especially if you spend time on social media, when taken as a percentage of the population, self-published authors actually make up a very small number.

3) Slow Sales

Slow SalesBuilding up a regular readership is something that the majority of Indie authors struggle with especially if you started out after the Amazon algorithms changed. When you see other authors having huge successes it’s important to bear in mind that there may be a number of reasons for this: they may have had to work at it for several years, they may have good contacts that can gain them a lot of publicity, or they may have done a free promo through Amazon before the algorithm changed. In the case of the latter, this propelled many authors to huge successes, but unfortunately it’s a little more difficult now.

Plan of Action

Although promotion takes up a lot of time, there are always other avenues that you can explore. Social media is a good promotional avenue in itself but it can also lead to contacts with book bloggers, reviewers and magazine editors. It pays to do a bit of lateral thinking as well when it comes to promotion; what is the topic of your book and could there be a promotional avenue that is linked to that topic? This is particularly advantageous for non-fiction authors but there can be outlets for fiction authors too. For example, if your book has a particular setting, could you contact the regional press in that area with a view to featuring either you or your book?
As you establish contact with other independent authors on social media, you could share ideas regarding promotion methods that have led to an increase in sales. Take a look at successful independent authors and find out what techniques they are using to promote their books; most of them will put links from Twitter or Facebook to any reviews, interviews, blogs etc. Another thing to bear in mind, however, is that different methods work for different genres. There is a wealth of information about book promotion on the Internet so do some research and find out what promotional avenues will work for you.
Going back to some of the points made in section two about bad reviews, it is also worth considering whether your book is doing enough to sell itself. Does the cover stand out and let readers know what the book is about? Will the book blurb draw readers in, and have you ensured that it is free of spelling and grammatical errors?

4) Volume of WorkVolume of Work

Yes, there’s no doubt about it, us Indies are a busy lot. One of my personal frustrations is that I spend too much time doing ‘other things’ and not enough time actually writing. To reiterate the points made in the introduction to this article, it is possible to hire help if you feel overwhelmed with the volume of work, but what if your budget won’t stretch to that?

Plan of Action

Prioritise – alright so it might seem a drag making a ‘to do’ list or putting notes in a diary but unless you set yourself targets, how can you hope to achieve them? Make sure that the daily list of tasks is achievable but don’t be too disappointed if you don’t finish everything on it. There are always other things that can crop up so it’s best to allow for contingencies. As well as daily lists you could also set yourself some long term goals, for example, you may aim to finish writing a specific chapter by a certain date. Again, there will be other tasks that will crop up but setting yourself a target will give you a focus and stop you spending too much time on worthless tasks. One of the things that writers find challenging is self-motivation, and setting yourself targets is one way of motivating yourself.

5) Social Media Addiction

Although social media is a very useful tool for independent writers it can also be time consuming. You can get so carried away with it that before you know it you’re halfway through the day and haven’t even begun to tackle your workload. I must confess to being guilty of this and I continually admonish myself.

Plan of Action

Social MediaAlthough I feel guilty if I feel that I’ve spent too long on social media, I really shouldn’t. As stated above, it’s an excellent promotional tool in itself and can also lead to establishing lots of valuable contacts. Aside from that, the life of a writer is a very solitary one and it can be good to have some online interaction with others. After all, you would expect to have a chat with your colleagues when you arrive at work, wouldn’t you? However, if you feel that you are getting too carried away you could always set yourself a time limit. A handy hint is to switch off your Internet while you’re writing unless you need to use it for research. I use ‘Outlook’ for email and it’s too tempting to react to the little yellow envelopes that appear at the bottom of the screen whenever I receive a new email. I therefore shut it down if I’m working on a piece of work with a tight deadline, to avoid temptation.

In terms of general tips to get you through the tough times, try thinking of all those famous authors that had multiple rejections prior to becoming successful. Additionally, as Indies we no longer have to rely on literary agents and publishers, and thankfully we have found a platform for our work to be published. The fact that our work is out there and being read by people is a wonderful achievement!

Thank you for reading this post. If there are any other tough elements of the job that you can think of, please feel free to share them. I also welcome your tips and suggestions for coping with the problems that authors encounter.

The Legal Deposit Scheme for UK Books

As I am nearing completion of the first draft of my second book I’m starting to think about all the little jobs that I will have to do. When I published my first book “Kids’ Clubs and Organizations” I chronicled all the jobs that I had to do and you can still find many articles in my Blog Archive relating to such matters as copyright notices, ISBN numbers, the publishing process and book promotion. If you page down to the blogs from September 2012 and October 2012 in particular, you will find lots of useful information.

Legal Deposit SchemeAs it is now a year since I published my first book I have forgotten a lot of the detail. I recently had a conversation on Twitter regarding the Legal Deposit Scheme and, unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information in my Blog Archive relating to it. Perhaps I’ve mentioned it as part of a more comprehensive blog, but just in case I missed this topic the first time round I thought I would recap on the process now. That way I can help other authors as well as refreshing my tired, middle-aged memory.

By law every publisher must send a copy of any printed material to the British Library. So, if you’re a self-published author, that responsibility falls on you. The law was extended this year to also include e-books. However, this extension is in the early stages so if you only publish books in digital format you will be contacted by the British library with instructions regarding the new procedure. The intention for the future is that authors who publish in both digital and print will be able to deposit their books digitally instead.

The law also now applies to other electronic media such as websites, but if the information is freely available then the British Library will attempt to collect the information itself. By freely available that means that it is not password protected and doesn’t require a subscription or any form of payment to obtain the information.

Print BooksPrint books

If you publish print versions of your books in the UK then you must submit a copy to the British Library within one month of publication. The purpose of the scheme is so that the British Library can keep a national archive of all published material. There are six Legal Deposit Libraries in the UK, which are:

  • The British Library
  • The National Library, Scotland
  • The National Library, Wales
  • The Library of Trinity College, Dublin
  • The Bodleian Libraries, Oxford
  • The University Library, Cambridge

PostageThe British Library is the only one that must receive a copy within a month of publication but the others can also request a copy. If they ask for a copy then you are also legally obliged to forward it to them. Unfortunately, you will not receive payment for these copies and will have to meet the postage costs yourself. However, on the plus side, most of the books will be listed in the British National Bibliography (BNB), which librarians and book traders often refer to when selecting book titles to stock. N.B. the scheme also applies to other printed material such as maps, sheet music, magazines etc. but this article focuses on books in particular.

If you publish further editions of your book then you will have to deposit each of the editions. Additionally, the scheme doesn’t only apply to books that have an ISBN number; it relates to all UK published books. You can find full details about the Legal Deposit Scheme including the 2013 updates at: http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit/index.html.

Book Promotion – My New Approach

Since I published my first book “Kids’ Clubs and Organizations” a year ago I have learnt a lot about book promotion. As an Independent author I have to learn as much as I can because it’s my job to market my books as well as to write and publish them. I had a marketing plan ready when I launched the book and I thought that I had tried just about everything I could to get the word out. How wrong I was! I realise now that all Indie authors are constantly learning and finding out new ways to promote their work.

Last week I had my first free eBook promotion, which I see as another step in my ongoing effort to promote my work. As well as propelling my book up various lists, I also learnt a lot from the experience, which I will put to good use with future books. So, I’ll start this article by taking a look at how it went before talking about other new approaches that I am taking in relation to my book promotion. At the bottom of this post I’ve also included a list of people that I want to thank for helping me to spread the word about my eBook promo.

The Free Promo Day

I had a key objective in mind when I decided to do a free eBook promo day, which was to get my book noticed in more competitive categories so that I could hopefully attract new buyers. A specific aim of this was to appear on the first page of the Amazon UK popularity list for the parenting category, which has over 17,000 books. So, before I listed the book as free I swapped my categories to others that were more competitive but where I could also expect to achieve a high rank in the popularity lists.

I wasn’t expecting the mammoth number of downloads that novelists receive because my book fits into a specific niche and its readership is predominantly UK based. Therefore, I will focus on the results that I achieved in accordance with my objectives as well as the positions achieved on the free eBook listings.

Free EBook Listings

The maximum positions that “Kids’ Clubs and Organizations” achieved were:

–        First in the UK list Parenting and Families>Family Activities, a category which has about 1000 books.Popularity Lists

–       Second in the UK list Parenting and Families>Parenting, a category which has about 17,000 books.

–       Tenth in the main UK category listing for Parenting and Families, a category which has over 61,000 books.

–       Second in the US list Parenting and Relationships>Reference.

N.B. The latter category only has about 300 or so books, but I was surprised to make the US listings at all as my book has a UK bias.

Popularity Lists

At the time of writing (Saturday lunchtime) “Kids’ Clubs and Organizations” achieved the following positions in the UK popularity lists for my chosen categories:

–       First in Parenting and Families>Family Activities, a category with about 1000 books.

–       Eleventh in Parenting and Families>Parenting, a category which has about 17,000 books.

–       Number 88 in the main category Parenting and Families, a category which has over 61,000 books.

That put me just one place behind Richard Madeley’s book “Fathers and Sons”, and seven places behind Paul O’Grady’s book “At My Mother’s Knee” on the Amazon popularity list for Parenting and Families. I must admit that I never envisaged a day when I would be running closely behind Richard Madeley in hot pursuit of Paul O’Grady. What diverse lives us Indie authors lead!

I am now waiting to find out what impact my position in the popularity lists will have on book sales – fingers crossed!

Shouting about It

ShoutingI must admit that shouting about my achievements is something that I am not comfortable with. I am naturally quite reserved and prefer not push myself forward. However, having a free promo day gave me a reason to shout about my work. Apart from the results described above, this enabled me to connect with more people on social media and by email. Having said that, I did feel guilty about directly approaching Twitter users who were involved in parenting, and asking them to RT my tweets. My direct approach paid off though because I had a couple of opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have come across.

The first was a request for help with the editing of a book and the second was a promotional opportunity. The latter consisted of an interview about me and my work, and the accompanying article will be published on a major UK website for mums later this week. I’m looking forward to seeing the article and will definitely be doing a bit more (online) shouting in the future.

Mailing List

My first eBook now has a mailing list in the back as well as details of my two forthcoming books and my social media URLs. The mailing list was something I hadn’t thought of until I read David Gaughran’s “Let’s Get Visible”, which is a really useful guide on how to get your books noticed online. Having all of these details in the back of “Kids’ Clubs and Organizations” means that, in effect, the book acts as an advertisement for future books.

Blog

For almost a year I pressed on with the blog that came as part of my website software package. There were a few problems associated with this. Firstly, the RSS feed didn’t work so people couldn’t follow my blog. Secondly, there were no statistics attached so I didn’t have a clue how many people were reading the blog.

Thankfully, I recently swapped to WordPress. I love the statistics that WordPress provides because I can see how many people are reading my blog posts. This enables me to assess which posts appeal to my readers the most. Additionally, because WordPress has its own community, it gives me another opportunity to connect with people online. That means I have more people to share my news with whenever I launch a book, run a promotion etc. I was also able to import it into my website so that you can still view it through www.dianemannion.co.uk as well as through my WordPress URL.

Future Promotional Ideas

All of the knowledge that I have gained over the last year should stand me in good stead for future books. When I release my second parenting book (hopefully in the next couple of months) I will do a few things differently, and I will give you details of any triumphs as I go along. However, there are some promotional measures that I would repeat for my second book. Basically, it means that I won’t waste time on promotional areas that haven’t worked in the past and I will focus more on those that have worked as well as trying out some new ideas.

Special Thanks

I am really grateful to all the people who helped to get the word out about my book promo by various means, as follows:

StarsAll Round Stars – These are the people that have gone the extra mile e.g. tweeting, retweeting, mentioning the book promo on their FB pages, websites or newsletters, or downloading a copy to add to the numbers (even if the book wasn’t in a genre that appealed to them). Here we go: Alice Huskisson, Guy Portman, Anne Coates, Terry Tyler, Charlie Plunkett, Jess Sturman-Coombes, Working Bees, Steve Hill, Mark Richards and Selva Sugunendran. You are all wonderful people and I’m very grateful for all your help and support.

Terrific Tweeters and Fabulous Facebookers – There are too many to list all of them, but a few people tweeted and RTd repeatedly about my book promo so I want to give them a special mention. They are: Lizzie Lamb, I C Camilleri, Rose Edmunds, Rachel Dove, Rosie Morgan, Clare Davidson, Bestiary Business and members of the #ukLL. Some of my Facebook friends were also willing to share my incessant postings about the promo so a big thank you to them as well.

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