DECEMBER IS UPON US and the rush to Christmas has truly begun: how better to start the month than to join the celebrations with one of our smaller trade partners, Crafty Publishing, as their second book is released? Even better, both Young David titles are now available through CLC Wholesale. So without further ado, a warm UKCBD welcome back to Fiona Veitch Smith, author and publisher, who I’ve dragged kicking and screaming back to these hallowed pages…
IT’S BEEN THREE MONTHS since Phil found me in the gutter and elevated me to the dizzy heights of guest blogger for UKCBD [flattery will get you everywhere – Ed] (David and the Hairy Beast claws its way to market). Now in this second instalment of the trials and tribulations of a small start-up publisher trying to find space on the already overcrowded ladder, I can tell you that we’ve advanced at least one rung.
Young David Series
David and the Hairy Beast
A few more bookshops have agreed to stock David and the Hairy Beast (the first in a series of quirky picture books about the life of the Young King David) and we’ve even had some orders through Bertrams. Internet sales through our website from individuals are also ticking along.
We’ve taken on a sales agent for the London area and are considering taking on a US dispatch agent as postage costs from the UK are off-putting for customers there. The London agent has approached a couple of dozen shops and most are keen to stock but wanted to wait for the second book to come out before they ordered.
David and the Kingmaker
David and the Kingmaker was expected to be published by the mid-to-end of October, but a change of project manager at our printer delayed production and we only took delivery of the book on 23 November. This is leaving it very tight for Christmas stocking but all but one of our ‘old’ shops have taken orders (and two of them have restocked the first book too). I also had appointments with two more shop managers this week.
However, sales have been encouraging enough to tell us we have a marketable product and that enough retail outlets are prepared to take a risk on us to make it worth our while. So we have started work on our third title, David and the Giant, which we intend to bring out for Easter.
More Authors and eBooks
The Peace Garden: an ebook from Crafty Publishing
It was always our plan to start with a series of books I had written to test our business model. If we felt it was workable, we would take on other authors too. It’s early days yet in our print range, but we have signed two new authors for our ebook line. For ebooks we are publishing adult novels. Again we have brought out one of my novels as a ‘test case’. The Peace Garden is a romantic thriller set in England and Apartheid South Africa. We have put it up on Kindle to start with but are in the process of rolling it out to other e-platforms through Smashwords. We hope that it will go ‘live’ on all platforms next week.
Marketing in this area is primarily, of course, online. I am arranging book giveaways and competitions through Goodreads and using Twitter, Linked In, Facebook and other social networking platforms to promote it. I approached New York Times bestselling author Ruth Downie (the Ruso series of Roman mysteries) to review it. Sales are slow, but improving.
The other two authors are writing a fantasy trilogy and a thriller respectively. Our adult range is not specifically Christian (although one of the authors is a Christian and his books have Christian themes) and we are targeting the general market.
Phil asked me why we had decided to go the ebook route. A number of reasons: firstly, our capital is currently tied up in the picture book series. Ebooks are of course far cheaper to produce. But secondly, ebooks have already overtaken paperback novels in the US and it won’t be long until the same is true in the UK. As our experience with the picture books has shown us, a small publisher such as we are, has difficulty physically getting their books to the US market. We don’t have that problem with ebooks. Also, to be honest, I’ve heard from other writer friends who have tried to self-publish adult novels in the UK, it is immensely difficult to get them into indie bookshops (Christian or otherwise). Will we ever bring out print versions? Possibly, if and if we do, you’ll be the first to know.
Disclosure notice: the links to Crafty Publishing featured in this post are affiliate links. If you click through and then proceed to make a purchase, Crafty Publishing will pay a small commission to the UK Christian Bookshops Directory. This is at no extra cost to you. Thank you.