Archive for June, 2008

Selling more books

I have to face it: my marketing campaign for the book I launched last January has run out of steam. I did, I thought, all the right things: put out a press release, wrote to retailers, visited local shops, tried (and failed) to set up some ‘signings’, did some talks to local reading clubs – and, of course, set up my own website (see right). I even started this blog in the hope that it might generate some interest.

But the fact remains that sales have remained pitifully low. And the total number of visitors to my website, in five months, has been 506.

I was intrigued, therefore, to read an advert for a company that offers a complete book promotion package, using every available aspect of the Internet – from tag-words to Adwords – and guarantees to achieve at least 5,000 visits in three months from launching the tailor-made website they construct for you. The all-in price is £396, or US$789.

This, I thought, is worth looking into. So I went to their website, at www.book-promotion.com, and read all about the techniques they employ to maximize one’s online exposure. It looked impressive, especially given that money-back guarantee (though, naturally enough, they make no promises about the sales you will achieve). I began to realise some of the shortcomings of my own DIY website. A site is, after all, like a book: it can be the best in the world, but if nobody reads it . . .

On the margins I work on, I would have to sell an extra 250 copies to offset the cost of this package; but if it gets the book more widely known and talked about, that figure might be achievable. I’m sorely tempted to give it a go. If I do, I will report back here, in due course.

Meanwhile, I would welcome any comments on my current website, at www.pedlarpress.co.uk.

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Taking issue

There is a matter I would like to discuss – a subject near to my heart – which concerns the problem I have in accepting the over-use of a certain word. This difficulty arises from the fact that most people, these days, seem to know no alternatives to this word. Whether it’s a fault in my hardware or a defect in my software, or a question raised in parliament, or a dispute between neighbours, it’s all covered by the same word: ISSUE.

In fact, I could (and many people would) re-write the preceding paragraph as follows:

There is an issue I would like to discuss – an issue near to my heart – which concerns the issue I have in accepting the over-use of a certain word. My issue issues from the fact that many people, these days, seem to know no alternatives to this word. Whether it’s an issue in my hardware or an issue in my software, or an issue raised in parliament, or an issue between neighbours, it’s all covered by the same word: ISSUE.

Not that I have anything against the word itself. It’s a fine word, with a respectable history. It’s just that it is used so much now that many other, equally respectable, words – such as those I used in my first paragraph – are now unemployed; on the dole. Which seems a pity.

Listen to any newscast, or read any newspaper column, and I can pretty well guarantee that you will find ‘issue’ used at least once, and often many times over. Why? What have those other words done, to be consigned to the linguistic scrap-heap?

I’m going to issue (it’s a valid use, and ‘promulgate’ is so ugly) a challenge to all journalists: see if you can go a whole week without using that word. I am sure you will feel better for it, and your vocabulary will be distinctly healthier.

Anyone got an issue with that?