Last weekend saw my first attendance at Witney in Oxfordshire promoting my books. The footfall was great with over a thousand people through the door, which is almost double that of many of the previous events. Accordingly, the day went well and I took an above average profit, plus I got a lot of sales from Amazon which I can only attribute to this event, all this despite there being another author with a stall.
Witney was my first push of the three short stories in a bundle for £1.99, and this worked well both as an upsell and for those people who wouldn’t commit to a full book. I was careful not to push them toward the short stories until it was clear they weren’t going to buy a novel.
In total I sold 15 short story sets, which I believe is where the double figure additional online book sales came from. I will make sure I have plenty of these available for every future event. If I didn’t have such a big queue of content I wanted to write, I would perhaps consider creating a short story set for the zombie series too. That said, if people like zombies, they generally buy the books, which is not the case for Carrie’s series.
Again the star of the show was Carrie Harris but IN THE END faired okay too. People loved the addition of the ‘dispose by incineration’ bag and when I remembered, I put the IN THE END books in the bags with each sale.
At the event I also met a lovely young couple who were in the RAF and said they would invite me to attend their family’s day to promote my books. I mentioned my family history with the RAF and they seemed delighted.
I have quite a lot of ‘I’ll contact you later’ conversations at these events, generally from schools or libraries and never hear from them again, but to my surprise she followed up that evening, and even waived the stall fee because of my connections to the service. So I’m now all set up and ready to attend RAF Halton’s family’s day on 11th June, where I’ll not only be able to immerse myself back into base life for a few hours, I’ll also have the chance to sell to the over 2,000 base personnel and their families. It should be fun!
Each time I go to these events I strike up conversations with all sorts of people. There are those that want to talk about their favourite book, and a couple of times I have taken up their recommendations, to those who just want to talk. One that stood out this time was a guy from a writer’s group that were struggling to format their short story collection. He asked loads of questions about KDP but after realising he was taking up a load of my time, he went off, but then came back, seeming enamoured with my A6 booklets. I gave him a copy of OUT OF THE BLUE for free and seeming delighted, he headed off.
There was a possibility of attending FantasyCon 2022 and having a table in their author room, but alas I have a family wedding to go to. Perhaps I will look at next year.
With my packed schedule for the year, often with not enough time between events to order and receive new stock, on return I completed a stock check, then with a huge lump in my throat at the expense, ordered all the possible books I would need until the end of the year based on average sales so far. I also had to order more bookmarks, and A6 copies of HARM’S WAY (having to order 1,000 copies to get a good price!)
Unfortunately a strange rise in printing prices that only seems to effect A5 stapled booklets, means that it’s no longer affordable to get my two novellas reprinted at the moment. I still have around 50 of the first edition covers of CAPITAL ACTION available, much less of BEGINNING OF THE END, and soon I might stop giving them away for free with every purchase. I’ll keep an occasional eye on the prices to see if they head in the right direction, but at the moment they’re four times the price I paid eighteen months ago!
I’m also checking out other printers and seeing if can squeeze them down to the acceptable level.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Scarlet Rain Series – Book One – This is still on hold whilst I outline each of the episodes of the follow on to STOPPING POWER. I do feel a bit of guilt for pausing this, but the enjoyment of producing the other work is keeping it at bay.
Agent Carrie Harris – Undead Series – I’ve nearly completed the outline of the episodes that will eventually form the novel, but I’m now writing the first episode in detail to get a feel of whether the outline is sufficient to create each of the 6,000 work episodes. I have one day of writing, plus what I can squeeze in at the weekend (including a ninety minutes ‘whilst I wait’ in the garage for my car to be serviced) to see where I can get to. From Monday I will force myself to get back to the Scarlet Rain series, but I can already feel myself wavering on that decision.
When I can I’m also binge listening to a podcast from the SpyScape network called True Spies. It is packed full of real world inspiration for Carrie’s adventures!
I’ll leave you with a bench update. It’s pretty much completed with two coats of wax all over the visible surfaces and the underside is also treated. The cushions arrived this week, so at the weekend I’ll be able to try them out for size and grab a load of photos. All that will be left is to find a cover that fits perfectly to keep it protected. Then I’ve decided I’m going to make a matching footstool with the rest of the wood I have leftover!
That’s it for this week. Comments and suggestions welcomed as always.