194 Radio City: The Heart of Liverpool

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Location: Denbighshire, United Kingdom

After deciding to resign from the Civil Service after 25 years, I am now free to pursue my dream of writing. My first book '194 Radio City - The Heart of Liverpool' was published through Lulu in April 2006, and is available from good bookshops and internet suppliers. If you have difficulty getting a copy, please contact me.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Google Book Search

My book has just appeared on Google Book Search, and it looks pretty good. Except, unfortunately, for the front cover which has not downloaded properly - I must get them to correct that. The back cover is clearer than any copy I've yet seen on the web. For those of you unfamiliar with Google Book Search it is like browsing around a virtual bookstore. You put in an author's name or a book title, and it comes up with hits (books) which you can then look inside. Only certain pages are allowed for everyone to see, some you have to sign in for and some you are not allowed to access at all. There are also links to bookshops that sell the book direct from Google's page. There is a clever little 'search in this book' box too where you could put in a name, say for example, Johnny Jason, and it will list all the pages he appears on. Very clever! I didn't bother registering for a while as I wondered whether this would be any good, and of course I thought having chunks of my book available to read on the web might be counter-productive, but really it's no different to popping into W H Smiths and leafing through a book. And I have to say, it certainly looks very impressive.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Strange Numbers

Now I know that Amazon sales ranking figures are notoriously difficult to understand, but a sudden change last Wednesday has made me curious to know exactly what they might mean in my case. Thankfully, because I have opted to be paid my royalties through Paypal, I only have to wait a month to find out what has sold recently. (If I'd opted for a cheque, payments would be quarterly.) As mentioned, I had placed an ad in Radiojam to start last week, with a link to Amazon. I have to admit here that most of my sales are not from Amazon. Radiojam went out on Wednesday and over the course of the day, my Amazon sales ranking rose steadily from somewhere in the region of 250,000 to 2,000. I'm not the brightest person when it comes to maths (as those who have already read my book will know) but it surely means I've sold one or two here, doesn't it? John Haines, another long-time Lulu writer, says somewhere that a sale of one book can mean a jump of a thousand places sometimes. Is there a science to it, or is it just complete chaos? Does the ranking include only sales, or hits as well? Does anyone know? Unfortunately, despite another advert in Radiojam this week (and it will appear there for another 4 weeks) my Amazon rating continues to fall once again, and currently stands at 128,487. Hey ho!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ideas in the Pipeline

Apologies for being so quiet here on the blog. That's not to say that nothing has been happening. Far from it. I've resigned from my job for one thing. Yes, after nearly 25 years as an employee of what is now The Department of Work and Pensions, I have resigned. Not, unfortunately, because I am making millions from a little book I wrote about Radio City, but more to do with family commitments. I am now looking for something that fits in better around my children's school day/year (ie part time/part year) and something closer to home.

I have also started working on ideas for my next book, for which I will begin research in September. No clues as to what this will be yet. I can confirm it won't be about radio this time, but it will be non-fiction, and music will definitely feature in it. That's all you're getting for now!

I spoke to Colette at Radio City the other day. They have a lot of commitments this year with events already arranged, so it looks as though any 194 nostalgia event won't take place until January or February 2007 at the earliest. I will be speaking with her again in December so should know a little more then.

In the meantime, with regard to plugging the book, I have plans to attend a book fair in November, and also hope to arrange a smaller "event" (not even sure that is the right word) for 194 Radio City fans sometime soon in Liverpool. As for what form this will take, you will have to watch this space. I will of course let you know as soon as I have details. Sales are still on the up, and the royalties are coming in steadily. I have also placed an advert in Radiojam for six weeks. Radiojam is an on-line "wireless weekly" which will appeal to anyone who works for, or who has an interest in radio. This is an experiment for me because I'll admit I don't know exactly what type of advertising will suit my needs best, but their rates were pretty reasonable so I thought it was worth a try.

You may also have noticed that the book is back on eBay, at least for the time being. I do sell quite steadily on there, so when I removed the listing, I became quite twitchy, so thought it was probably worth leaving on. The costs of listing aren't massive, after all.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mystery Shopping

Spent an 'undercover' morning on Saturday, ringing round a few shops to see whether or not they had stocked my book after my recent approach. For those stores that are stocking it - may I say THANK YOU VERY MUCH! They all admitted that it is in fact selling well, so that was good news for me. For those of you that have failed to take it on, well, maybe I will be able to convince you very soon. All of the latter did offer to order it for me though, which was good (remember, I didn't ring up as the author, but as a potential buyer!)

Had some intersting replies though, which should help me work out how best to market this book to bookstores in future. One major store said they didn't stock it because they don't make very much for themselves from that particular publisher, so they would usually only take it if it was a guaranteed seller. She did say though that she was surprised that they weren't stocking it, and would be having a word with their local interest buyer, because she was sure a book about Radio City would be popular (and this, remember, was unprompted by me).

As for the Welsh stores - well, they are just not taking it at all (except my own local bookstore, who even then would only take 3 copies on a sale or return basis - but I went for a sneaky look around on Saturday and they have sold one already!!) Maybe the Welsh have forgotten that 194 Radio City broadcast to both North Wales and the Great North West (as the famous jingle went). Never mind.

In the meantime, I have noticed that things have become a little better on the Lulu site, in that you can order books and have them sent via an international economy rate, which means the price for postage can now be as little as £3.41 (this will vary due to the exchange rate). This is much better than before, and even the cost of buying in bulk for my own sales has improved dramatically. This was always a major bugbear for the Lulu author in the past, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. If you wish to buy from Lulu or take a look at other print-on-demand books, or just wish to browse their site, you can click on here:
Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.