Why I’m withdrawing my Parenting Books

It’s been a difficult decision but one that I’ve thought long and hard about. At the end of the year I’ll be withdrawing my two parenting books from Amazon. These are “Kids’ Clubs and Organizations” and “Great Places for Kids’ Parties”. I still have a few print copies in my loft but, apart from that, they’ll cease to exist. There are several reasons for this but, before I go any further, I want to recap on what led me to publish them originally.

Front book cover final

My plan was always to publish novels eventually and I had SLUR on the backburner for many years. Prior to publishing Kids’ Clubs, I knew that the independent author market was taking off but didn’t know much about the promotional side of things. I therefore decided to test the market by starting off with something small. This would also give me an opportunity to learn as I went along. However, I underestimated how much work would be involved in the parenting books in terms of the amount of research and promotion.

As a new author I absorbed as much information as I could. Unfortunately not all of the information out there is good but as a newbie you have no way of filtering the good advice from the not so good advice. Somebody on a “Linked in” group advised that it was much easier to market non-fiction than fiction so I decided that I would start with a small non-fiction book. Perhaps the marketing advantage may apply for certain types of non-fiction but it didn’t prove to be the case for the type of non-fiction that I was producing.

Limited Market

I put myself at a disadvantage to start with as my market was limited to UK parents of mainly 1 – 12 year olds. Although this is still a sizeable group, I eventually concluded that parents of children in this age bracket are far too busy with the process of bringing up a family to spare the time to read about all the exciting opportunities that are available for their children.

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Both of my parenting books were well received by parenting magazines, mums’ blogs etc. (including a feature on the Netmums website) but very few parents actually bought the books. In fact, my biggest customer was UK libraries.

I had hoped that some of the organisations featured in the second book would help with sales by stocking the book in their gift shops. Had I gained their co-operation it could have made a huge difference as some of these attractions have vast numbers of visitors every day. Unfortunately this didn’t come to fruition, with the exception of one organisation who stocked a small number of books.

I was at a further disadvantage in running Amazon promotions because a lot of the free promotion sites were reluctant to feature the books. I presume it was because they weren’t targeted at the US market.

Input versus Rewards

I have now tried most avenues relating to promotion for these two books and feel that I have taken them about as far as I can. It’s a shame because the bulk of the feedback I have received has been positive. The only negative feedback suggested that the first book would work better as a website because the information could be more readily updated. This is something that I haven’t ruled out for the future but it would be a mammoth task and I would need input from various organisations.

When I produced the books I knew that the information was time sensitive and I therefore intended to update them every couple of years. As the first book has now been on the market for over two years and the special offers in the second book expire at the end of 2014, these factors have prompted me to make a decision. The amount of time that it would take to check all the factual information and make updates just isn’t worthwhile in terms of the potential gains. Therefore, rather than let the content become increasingly outdated I would rather take the books off the market.

Focus on Fiction

Having released my debut novel SLUR three and a half months ago, I know that I want to concentrate on fiction in the future. I already have a short story book planned for release early in the New Year and am currently carrying out the research for my second crime thriller. SLUR is a much more marketable product than the parenting books and, in fact, it has already sold more copies than both parenting books put together.


Another reason that the parenting books don’t quite work with my fiction books is because my novels contain a degree of violence, sexual references and bad language. Marketing these books alongside the parenting books doesn’t sit comfortably with me as the two aren’t really compatible. I could overcome this problem by writing under a different name for each genre but, in view of the other factors referred to above, I still prefer to withdraw the parenting books.

I am looking forward to releasing other fiction titles and getting involved in more promotional activities in the New Year. From all the marketing books and blog posts that I have read I believe that it is easier to sell more books if you have several for sale which fit into the same genre. I therefore feel that having more fiction books on the market should increase my chances of success.


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.


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.

As always I love to receive your feedback in the comments box below so if you have enjoyed this post please let me know by clicking the like button.

Free Book – Kids’ Clubs and Organizations

21st August is FREE PROMO day for “Kids’ Clubs and Organizations – A Comprehensive UK Guide”. It’s almost here so put the date in your diary and spread the word to anyone in the UK with childrenFree Book Promo from toddlers to teens. The book will be available to download FREE to the Kindle at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008IG41DU for ONE DAY ONLY so be sure not to miss it. It’s an invaluable guide for anyone with children. If you want to find out why, here are some details about the book:

“Kids’ Clubs and Organizations” introduces you to literally thousands of groups that provide children’s activities and events at little or no cost to families. You’d be surprised at the number of activities that you never even thought about for your children.

Children’s groups are available for all ages from babies to young adults, providing a broad range of enriching and educational experiences. Although the book is aimed primarily at UK parents, there are plenty of useful ideas for parents everywhere.

Here are some of the ways that you and your children can benefit through membership of a local kids’ club or organization:

Front book cover finalChildren can develop new skills

– It can prevent your children from becoming bored and disruptive

– Children can discover previously unknown talents

– You will be able to meet other parents with children of similar ages

– You can take pride in your children’s achievements

– Children will be able to make new friends

– You will get satisfaction from seeing your children happily engaged in worthwhile activities

We have divided the book into 24 chapters with each one focusing on a particular type of group. The chapters are then split into sections, starting with an overview and followed by sections about who can join, benefits, costs, how to find a group and how parents can get involved (where appropriate).

“Kids Clubs and Organizations” is the definitive guide to the wealth of groups in the UK that are devoted to children. Sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing where to find the right group and that’s where this book can help. Although each chapter gives a comprehensive guide to each type of club or organization, the last chapter provides even more sources of further information.

Great ideas to keep your children happy and fulfilled!

The free offer applies to the Kindle download only. If you prefer a printed copy you can purchase one using the same link at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008IG41DU.