The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy VS. The Green Bogey has been on sale from amazon for almost three weeks now and sold 54 copies – along with 5 I bought myself.

I am just under £70 better off. At this stage it seems unlikely that self publishing will make me richer than Croesus.

However, I like to think my publicity campaign, such as it is, has barely left the launchpad.

An appearance on local BBC radio lead to the undignified audio spectacle of my begging listeners to buy my book – please!

You can listen by clicking or tapping here: between 2.01:35 – 2:09:30.

Deb James my PR friend who sent the release to Radio Merseyside emailed me afterwards to say that 8 minutes of airtime would be deemed to have a media value of £24,000, but sadly there seems no way of cashing it in.

Deb also scores with the Wirral Globe, the peninsula’s local weekly paper. There’s a decent mention along with an author photo that some alleged friends claim was taken years ago. Not true! Fake news! Sad!

My social media operation has expanded into Instagram where I am having fun with images, taglines and hashtags. However, with just 80 followers it is unlikely this will generate a Burj Khalifa size spike on the sales graph.

I resolve to use the kindle direct promotional tools and schedule a Countdown deal, which basically offers the eBook at a discount for a fortnight before raising it back to its list price. This arrangement doesn’t seem to be available for the paperback version for reasons I don’t understand, though it’s not the end of the world inasmuch as the eBook royalty is higher than that of the hard copy due to the cost of printing.

It’s also time to spend on advertising and reinvest some or all of my 70 quid earned thus far. A sponsored campaign will rely on the amazon algorithm to reach potentially interested readers and this seems infinitely simpler than the manual campaign which requires a lot of thought coming up with keywords that might seduce customers. I can specify what I want to spend so there is no danger of a runaway budget. I set my ceiling at £75 and decide to launch on March 15 and wipe out my profits at the same time.

One thing that my activities to date have achieved is the increased visibility of The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy as far as search engines are concerned. It’s an illusion but, to my mind at least, there is encouragment from the impression that his story is being talked about. If someone goes in search of him the results are many and hint at something good natured and good fun.

So far my novel has attracted no reader ratings or reviews – which are clearly important. I could write one myself under my amazon buyer’s pseudonym but the idea nibbles at my conscience. Encouraging people to review also has an unethical whiff about it, but I know of readers who claim to have enjoyed the adventure and should have no qualms about posting. In truth I dread the completely unsolicited, one star review that, who knows, might be coming my way. A sudden epiphany of questionable morality points out to me that I have no idea if reader comments can be censored.

Self publishing is not for everyone but I predict that most serious writers who try it will find the experience fun and illuminating.

The process obliges intense editorial scrutiny of the manuscript prior to publication.

  • The urge to avoid embarrassment, from the smallest typo to stick out like a sore thumb plot malfunction, turns out to be powerful and useful.
  • The duty to market the book demands thought about what exactly it is and why you believe people can be persuaded to buy and read it.
  • The need to keep its profile as high as possible, no matter how invisible it feels, has to become an appetite that needs satisfying.
  • The interaction with digital publishing in general makes you au fait with technology that will have an ever increasingly important role in the future of the content industry and the ownership and exploitation of intellectual property.

The Kindle Direct print on demand paperback service is in Beta testing right now. In future the company aims to offer writers the chance to buy and sell wholesale copies. This kind of rules out mass distribution of review copies, but this week I’m going to research how likely coverage might be if I go down the route of buying 10 copies at full price, mail them out…

And plunge further into negative cash flow.

Let’s get ready to Grumble…