My Publishing Journey: Progress, Progress, Progress

This week Bracknell nearly took Staines’ Zombie Town title, but not quite. Reviews have been steady and much writing progress has been made.

Store Appearances

Saturday was my fifth WHSmith signing event and I arrived at 10am in the Bracknell store, pleased to see my new posters adorning the front of the shop and the checkout. The lovely store manager presented me with a chair and table and was very quick to explain that the author the previous weekend only sold two books. I asked her to take the chair away and I set up the table with an excitement to at least outdo that record.

The table was in the best spot in the store. Although there were two entrances at the front of the shop, I was in the path of the one most people would use, the other being by the checkouts.

By midday I’d sold five books and quickly climbed to double figures just after lunch. At one point I had a queue (two is a queue right?) and much like Staines, the manager was messaging the other store managers to tell them how great it was going.

By the time the day had run out of steam, I’d sold 16 copies and had 9 signups for the mailing list, which by any measure is a great result. I only needed four more sales to match Zombie Town, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The bookmarks did a lot of the heavy lifting with well over half the people who bought coming back (some from outside of the store) after being given it as they entered. I also came up with a great line to make people laugh. As I handed out the bookmark I would say, “Would you like a bookmark? It works with all major books, even mine.” Most people would say thank you, pause and then laugh as they got the joke. A great ice breaker.

At the end of the day the store manager read out congratulation messages from the Staines store manager, who also reminded me to contact him about another store he manages, plus I had another store manager ask if I would like to come and meet the people of Fleet, which I booked a few days later!

This Saturday I’ll be in the WHSmith in Kingston Upon Thames. It’s a big store in a nice area inside a busy shopping centre. Let’s see how much fun I can have!

Marketing & Promotion

I’ve decided to concentrate all paid advertising on getting mailing list signups and with my current mailing list ad it seems to be going pretty well.

Here’s the current ad I’m using on Facebook.

So far it is costing around 33p per subscriber, which is lower than using the combined promotion service I did with other authors, however those results are not completed settled.

I have three horror websites reviewing IN THE END. Two are reviewing the ebook and one has requested a paperback which I arranged to be shipped via amazon.com.

My focus on reviews, both with the price promotion last month and my narrative on social media etc has brought my total reviews to 10 for the UK and 5 for the US. On the flip side, I got my first one star rating on Goodreads, but they didn’t leave a review so I can’t say what they didn’t like. The rating doesn’t phase me as I can’t and don’t want to try and please everyone.

As a bonus to what I’ve been doing, one of my fellow PA authors, Baileigh Higgins has included me and SURVIVOR on her new website. You can check it out here.

Mailing List

On Wednesday I treated my mailing list to a snippet from the world of IN THE END. It’s a piece I initially wrote on the train to the London Book Fair back in March and will not appear in any of the novels. It’s aimed at giving an insight into the experiences of people I haven’t focused in the main story. Although I included a link to the store for IN THE END, I otherwise kept any advertising or any other hint of trying to sell something, away from the post. If you want to check it out then sign up to the mailing list and I’ll be sending it out again in a week to new subscribers.

The opening rate was pretty high, currently standing at 50%, with a click-through of the book link of 6%. The aim of the post was mainly to give something to the subscribers.

Before The End

The first 50 pages are back from my beta-reader and despite the ribbing she’s been giving me, I’m really pleased with the results. Laura has been able to give me the first hand experience of a new reader that I just cannot get having read the words so many times. There’s plenty of work to be done, but I’m happy to put the effort in to get it to be the best it can be!

Book Three Progress

I have great ideas coming through in my re-write of the beginning of the third book and it’s a shame that I have to jump back on BEFORE THE END, however, publishing comes first!

SURVIVOR VOLUME 2

This week I’ve written half a section on how to catch rabbits and other small game using simple traps made from Paracord. Next week I’ll be looking at how to prepare them for the pot. I might be vegetarian by the time I’ve finished! I’ve also written a comparison between duct tape and paracord.

Another week and it’s another sign off for me. Next week I’ll be back! Comments and questions always welcome!

GJ Stevens

I am a Writer. I am many other things too, but I love to write. On 30th November 2018 I released my debut novel, In The End, a compelling apocalyptic thriller that will leave you breathless, immersing you in a fight for survival. Available to buy now from Amazon and receiving rave reviews!

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