My decision... and Howard Hughes
"Thank you for your email and explanation, both within here and on the forums.
Speaking purely for myself, I think what angered me most of all was the fact that this huge change was undertaken without any discussion with or notification given to the UK authors (and any other interested parties). I accept that as a pioneer in the print-on-demand market you are bound to make mistakes, but I am sure you can see that the strength of feeling on the forums reveals that we all feel let down. I really do hope this trust can be rebuilt because up until a few days ago, the partnership appeared to be a mutually supportive one, and one with which the authors felt secure and happy. I also sincerely hope you can do as you now state, ie to work with each case individually to achieve an amicable solution.
I feel, as we are all attempting to be honest and open here, I can't make any demands or suggestions to you at this time, purely because I don't yet know how this will affect my sales. Although selling through places such as Waterstones and Amazon was a significant portion of my overall sales, it wasn't necessarily the highest (although I cannot know this for certain for a few months because I believe sales figures can sometimes be slow coming in). I would prefer to wait a while to see what the outcome is, if that is acceptable to you. I trust there is not a time limit on questions relating to loss of sales with GD - I am only trying to be fair to you here. It could be that my sales aren't affected that much. I would also like the time to contact booksellers who already stock my book to see whether this will affect their decision to stock it in future. I did pay to place an advertisement within an online weekly radio magazine a couple of weeks ago. It still has 5 weeks to run. The banner ad has a direct link to my Amazon page. I did ask them whether it would be possible to change this to my Lulu page should the need arise, and they have said it will, however I am interested to see whether people are put off buying my book after a price increase which I feel is far too expensive for a book of this size. My sales have increased by 600% through Amazon since taking out the advert; a success, I am sure you will agree. But will your changes put a stop to all that? I don't know....
...For this reason, I will leave things as they are for this week and monitor this ad along with everything else related to my book....
...I really appreciate your honesty and openness since this mistake was revealed, and hope this will remain, as it seems to me to be an integral part of keeping this type of on-line business thriving.
Thank you for replying to all our concerns promptly.
So as you will see I have to take some time to observe what real effect this will have on my sales. Interestingly, Radiojam came out yesterday as usual, along with my ad, and once again my Amazon sales ranking jumped up, as has happened pretty much every week following its issue, so maybe I won't suffer too much after all. However, I do know of UK Lulu authors out there who, for many reasons, will definitely lose hundreds if not thousands of pounds in sales and marketing costs because of this change, and I hope Lulu will keep its promise to look at every case individually and find some way of offsetting the loss. I will be watching the forums with interest to see how this develops, and will help in any way I can.
To end on a lighter note - as stated above, Radiojam came out yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised to see an article there written by Radio City's very own schoolboy competition winner, Howard Hughes! He writes, amongst other things, about his memories of working with Chris Tarrant on Capital Radio. This is an extract:
"My first encounter with Chris was the 0730 headlines, read from the guest mic in front of him. I was terrified - we had 2.5 million listeners, so if you screwed up people would know. I knew CT had mercilessly teased previous newscasters so I thought attack was the best line of defence. My last quirky news story took a light-hearted dig at Chris. It was a gamble. He looked up from the desk, slightly smiling and said "you won't last!". That's how our on air relationship began.
But it was not easy at the start, not at all. I dropped more than my fair share of awful clangers trying to keep up with Chris. But after a rough few months the penny finally dropped and I realised I'd succeed if I stopped trying to compete and started trading on myself and my life. So I became the underdog, the guy who lived a life totally the opposite of CT's.
I cycled round the park, shopped at Tesco's and bought clothes from a charity shop. One day I got an old La Coste top from the Oxfam in Esher. It turned out, although I didn't know it, the shirt had been donated by Chris. The day I went into work wearing it started a story he still tells."
You can read the rest of Howard's story in this week's Radiojam. If you haven't subscribed yet, and you are a radio fan or work in radio, then I can only say you are missing out - it's an informative read, but amusing and quirky too... and it's free, so what have you got to lose?