Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book merchandising, sheep and knitting patterns...how's that for diversification!

Diversification seems to be the buzz word for keeping business moving along - so when I was looking for a fun addition to my table at book signings, sheep sprang to mind... in fact they seem to have been springing up everywhere ever since...

The sheep were a great hit, but they did seem to take up every evening during the Christmas fair season, just to keep up with demand. So now you can buy your own knitting pattern from my online bookshop - then you can knit as many sheep as you want, and count them along with the story...  zzzz

...how's that for diversification!

It all started with the book - then the sheep came along...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book signings and Christmas fair

It's that time of year again, I'm busy booking up my weekends in November and December to do book signings at Christmas fairs...

I've got some exciting venues lined up this year, from the Tithe Barn in Poppleton to Yorkshire Heart Vineyard - yes a vineyard in Yorkshire - what an exciting new venue for a Christmas fair! I love the Christmas fair season as everyone gets ready for the festive season, and it's good to know that my books will be part of so many people's Christmas' as they emerge from the wrapping paper  - I wonder which book will be this year's bestseller...?

People like to meet a real live author, parents like to show their children the face to the name on the front cover on the books - but it's a two way thing, as an author it's great to meet my readers - as time goes on there's more and more who've already read my books, and give me feedback and which ones they liked best. The Monster Under The Bed is always a big taking point, everyone has a story to tell about the monster under their beds, and But I'm Not Sleepy is still my bestseller - it seems everyone has a Lucy...

Reading, writing and birthdays...

Well as it turns out my memory isn't quite as good as I thought, and I don't remember what happens in my current read - though that  may change as I get further into the book. But for now I am enjoying rereading a book off my bookshelf, which is nice to know as what other excuse do I have for keeping all these books - apart from maybe that it's quite nice to be surrounded by books...

And talking of being surrounded by books - I do have some stock to sell in my cyber bookshop... can I interest anyone in a beautiful cat book...? It's a true story and full of colour photos - and what's more the characters from the book are 3 years old today!! So what do you buy for 3 year olds on their birthday...? Cat treats, gourmet food and a new biscuit ball, as one isn't really enough for 6 cats to gather round without a bit of friction setting in...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Going cold turkey on buying new books online...

So - after pondering about books being tactile, and it being a better experience to go into an actual bookshop than ordering online, I thought I would go and buy a book from a bookshop. But I always seem to plan more for my week than I can ever get through, and constantly line up things that I'm going to do on that mythical day when I have more time... So now I'm re-reading some books off my bookshelves, which is all very well, but I already know what happens in those books.

Which brings me to the conclusion that, yes it is nice to visit a bookshop and pick up books, and if you're lucky, go and have a coffee in their coffee shop - but if time is short, isn't it one of modern life's little luxuries that we can go online and choose a book, and have it delivered into our home...? 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Books are tactile, would you rather pick up a book or order online?

Books are tactile - it's the reason so many readers resist the cheap ebooks in favour of sitting down with a physical book - ink on paper, it's what we're used to. The feel and smell of a new book, or for some, the feel and smell of an old book, the familiar feel of turning the pages.

So is the same true of the buying experience? Do people prefer to go into an actual bookshop and pick up books, to going online and ordering a book?  Now I know book sales online are massive, brought about by bargain prices, so it seems clear that people will change their shopping habits to save money, but isn't it supposed to be about convenience too - why then is it so hard for the small online bookshops to get a toe in the door of online book sales? Maybe readers do still prefer to pick up a book before they buy it, this certainly seems the case with my books, where I can sell easily to customers at craft fairs and book signings, where they can pick up a book, and talk to the author, and will even seek me out again at future events to buy more books, but still seem reluctant to buy from my website...

Or maybe I'm just missing something, and online sales are just another of my many learning curves that I need to get beat...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book signings and Christmas fairs... and sheep

It's that time of year again, and dates for Christmas fairs are filling up, mostly in November and into December, I probably should get back into sheep production to save a last minute rush - last year I seemed to spend every night in November knitting extra sheep to keep up with demand, and this year I have a few other hand made items in mind...

Sheep on the loose... this is what happens when Downboy the sheepdog isn't around

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Author rambling on...

So what does a quiet / busy book have in common with a regular book...?

  • Both need a heap of imagination to write
  • Both will entertain 
  • Both have pages to turn
So how are they different...?

Quiet / busy books:

  • Must be strong enough to withstand a baby, and never underestimate that...
  • Can have all kinds of stuff stitched into them to stimulate a baby
  • Must be chewable and washable
  • A very tactile way of creating a book, by rummaging through fabrics and objects
  • Not as easy to mass produce
Regular books:

  • Must be strong enough to withstand reasonable use
  • The content relies on words and pictures to entertain
  • Will not take kindly to being chewed or washed
  • An equally creative process needed to create, but less to do with things you can touch, more rummaging around in the imagination and daydreaming...
  • Easily mass produced

Monday, September 22, 2014

Quiet / Busy Book

 Ok here you are as promised - pics of my first ever quiet/busy book:

I emptied a heap of ransom stuff onto the table, and got creative...

The cover of the book was from fabric I bought specially, as was the wadding, the cord to tie it with was from my sewing box.

Babies love to pull at random things - including zips.

I bought the giraffe motif, but the favourite page was the mad collection of a cords from my sewing box .

I bought the hippo motif and big buttons, the other fabrics came form my sewing box.

Back cover, with cord to tie, or just hold and wave about in excited manner  :)

So there we have it, my first busy book - and will there be more? Well I'd love to hear your views - if I made a few of these and took them along to book signings, would you be interested in buying one? and what do you think would be a fare price for a hand made one-off such as this, where every one would be different?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Quiet books

How have I never heard of these before...?

Of course a book, by it's very nature is quiet, so maybe it's other name of busy book is more appropriate. Now this whole concept is new to me, and nothing like the old style cloth / rag books.

For anyone else who hasn't heard of this wonderful invention, a quiet book is a cloth book with a riot of fun stuff stitched into it for a baby to pull at and play with, anything from buttons and zips, to string puzzles and things in pockets. So, I've been out to buy a selection of fun fabric and wadding, and I'm going to stitch the contents of my sewing box into it - OK so maybe that would be a bit over the top - but I'm sure I can find some fun stuff in there...

I'll add a photo to my blog of the finished book.
Why do I do this to myself...? Now I'm under pressure to do the project - and it's got to be good, not only to show you lot, but to withstand the excited hands of my grandson...

Friday, September 12, 2014

The secret to selling books...?

So what is the secret to selling books...?

The point of a secret is that it's kept quiet, so of course that very fact makes people want to know the secret.

So the secret to selling books is probably to reveal a secret, but doesn't every books reveal a secret...? That secret may be in a factual book imparting knowledge, or it may be a story, letting us into a secret world that we would never have imagined for ourselves, where someone has opened up their imagination , captured it in print and set it free into the world for others to enjoy.

So I put it to you that there is no hard and fast secret to selling books, and books that advertise that they show you how to write a bestseller, or sell millions of copies of your books will probably just waste valuable reading time that could have been spent reading a book for entertainment, that might well have left you inspired and in the right frame of mind to set your imagination free and come up with a new and inspired way to write and sell your book..

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Everyone has a book inside them...?

They say that everyone has a book inside them, but not everyone has the passion to cultivate that book and release it into printed form...

Ideas and inspiration spring up at the most unexpected times, but not every flash of inspiration has enough momentum to become a book. That's why I don't write down everything that pops into my head - if it's meant to be it's going to stick around anyway - some characters simply won't go away, so they're not going to be forgotten just because I didn't make a note of them the first time they popped up...

Some characters will have so much to say for themselves that they become a series of books - yes I have such a character, Iver NO-Idea sprang up as if from nowhere when I was reading an article about how to write - now I'm not sure that anyone can tell you how to write. You can be taught the rules of grammar and the structure of a story, but the fun really starts when you start playing with the rules, and just let your imagination run riot...

Doodle Mayhem was born out of the idea that you shouldn't let a character take control and do their own thing - whoever thought up that rule certainly hadn't met Iver No-Idea, born out of a simple doodle drawn by Eric in class, when he couldn't think of what to write... the character really took off when he started to talk to Eric, and he literally got his voice...

Buy now
 First in the Doodle series
Eric would rather doodle than write a story, but when the words start to disappear off the page in front of him, and his doodle starts talking to him, he thinks he must be dreaming.

Eric's doodle has come to life, and he's getting bored; he jumps into Miranda's story, where he gets attacked by a rubber, then he's blown off his feet when Natasha sneezes. Miss Roper is getting angrier by the second. How will Eric ever finish his story, when his doodle just wants to have fun, and create havoc?

Step into a world where drawings come alive, meet Eric's doodles Iver No-Idea and his dog HB as they cause their own brand of trouble.
46 page paperback
Black & white line drawings
ISBN 978-0-9560232-4-7

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

So what do authors do when they're not writing...?

The wonderful thing about being a writer, is that I don't feel like I'm expected to be a certain way - I refuse to be put in a box... so what was I doing this weekend while I was away from my computer and neglecting my blog...?

I was at a family party where I found myself having a bucket of water poured over me soon after arrival, as part of the ice bucket challenge, then after drying off and having a hot cup of tea, I had a go with a JCB - as you do, on a Saturday afternoon...

Yesterday I realised that fabric shops are just as dangerous as bookshops when it comes to buying more than I went in for... I only went in for a real of thread, but then I saw some amazing fabric with sheep - knitting sheep at that - OK, I admit it, I'm easily distracted, but I think that's what makes life more interesting - I just never know where my day is going to take me - in reality or my imagination...

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The secret to selling lots books,..

The secret to selling lots of books is to write the book that everyone wants to read - but what subject does everyone want to read about?

It seems that everyone wants to be told how to do something, mostly how to achieve massive sales and success. But what they don't realise is that just because one person has achieved massive sales, copying their formula won't necessarily do the same for someone else...

And who knows what the next best selling genre is going to be...? A reader doesn't always know what they want to read until they start reading, and get totally caught up in a new story. If all books were written to the formula of the current best seller, we'd never have anything new to read...

So what should you write...?

  • Something amazing
  • Something new
  • Something that you love - others will love it too
  • Something, anything... just write...