My head is still spinning from discovering My book Killer's Craft, was sitting at number 3 on the bestseller shelf in Waterstones. This was alongside some highly respected writers. How did I find myself there is a question I am still asking. The answer is, I am not entirely sure. However, in the interests of helping others I will try and work it out. Join me in my quest.
I think the answer partly lies In the fact that I am quite a social person, and fairly confident. The story starts about 10 months ago when I went into my local Waterstones bookshop. For those outwith the UK, this is a large bookshop chain. I asked if I could hold a book launch for my first book, Killer's Countdown. This was despite the fact that I had nothing to show them other than a photo of the cover on my mobile phone. I must have been persuasive because the manager agreed to take a risk on a debut author and agreed. I then invited people to come along to the launch. Over a hundred people came on the night and we had a blast. Waterstones then continued to promote the book giving it space in the window, on crime tables, and at the front of the store. The book caught readers attention and imagination and continued to sell well.
Other Waterstones in Scotland then stocked the book. I spent a few heady days going to local branches and taking photos of my book on the shelves. Exciting times for a new author.
These were shared on social media and my friends and followers enjoyed seeing them. They were shared by others and the book sold well. The Dundee branch of Waterstones were delighted with the way sales were going, as was I.
By the time the second book Killer's Craft came out there were many people waiting for it. Again the book launch was packed, with standing room only. Karen Wilson of GingerSnaps Images took professional photos. Again I shared them on social media and they were in turn shared by others. Waterstones continued to give the book exposure with my own table at the front of the store and in areas with high footfall. I have built up a good relationship with the staff in Waterstones and they have been supportive and helpful every step of the way.
I have also done a lot of visits to local libraries and to fetes and fairs. Of course you sell books at these events but it is also about reaching out to the community. It is about interacting with others in a real way. Those attending may not buy your book on the day but they know about it and may buy in the future. You cannot underestimate the power of exposure. It is said that someone has to see a product at least six times before they buy into it.
However, everything I did was not about promoting the book. Social media is called that for a reason. It. Is about building up relationships. It is about being friendly and encouraging to others. It is about sharing something of yourself and allowing people to get to know you. It is also about supporting other authors, celebrating their successes and supporting them when things are not going well.
I think the covers have also helped to sell the books. These were professionally designed by Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics. I am sure you will agree, Cathy has got the branding spot on. The covers are striking and stand out on any shelf. Many people have commented on the fact that they wanted to read the book just by seeing the cover alone.
My advice to all authors is to give it a go. Approach a bookshop and ask them if they would like you to do a book launch or a book signing. Build up relationships with them. Be friendly and talk to people but not just about books. In other words be yourself but at the same time be passionate about what you do.
I hope following my journey has helped you today, or will help you in the future. Believe in yourself and what you do. Follow your dreams as you never know where they may lead.