Roadside Daffodils

Roadside daffodils
deliberately snapped and scattered.
I gather them, fill my vases, so I at least
can enjoy their fleeting beauty.

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We have some wonderful grassy areas on the corner of our road, in front of our house. At the moment these are full of daffodils. But some low-life yobs seem to take great pleasure in breaking off the flower heads, some just buds, and scattering them. I can’t bear to see them lying on the ground unable to fulfil their potential so I pick them up and put them in vases. Fortunately there are still plenty growing, but everyday more have been scattered.

Cover Draft

I posted a preview of my cover draft on Simply Elfje today.

Simply Elfje

Simply Elfje Book Cover Draft

So here it is at last – the draft cover for my Simply Elfje book, I hope you like it. It is not fully finalised yet and I may play with the colour scheme a bit – my aim is to reflect the theme of the blog and now I see it here this is a bit too blue at the top!

The book itself is also progressing well and will soon be somewhere near ready to submit for printing. As I mentioned before, this is a whole new learning process as I have never used CreateSpace before. There have been a few glitches along the way but I am getting to grips with it now so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly from here on. It won’t be long now!

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Book Progress Report

Sharing this progress report from Simply Elfje. I am off-line this week. See you again next week!

Simply Elfje

I just thought I would drop in to let you know how the Simply Elfje book is coming along. The good news if that it is almost ready!

I now have all the permissions I need from the guest contributors and will soon be confirming with them which of their Elfje I have included. All that is needed then is to proof read the whole thing and upload it to Createspace. As this is the first time I have produced a book in this way it is something of a learning process but I am hoping it will all go smoothly.

The book cover design is also nearly ready, though I have yet to do the final complete version, but  I hope to be able to share this with you towards the end of next week so watch this space!

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Today’s Lesson

When cycling out on windy days it pays
to check the wind speed, and indeed
the wind direction before you go
then plan your route to avoid
that long,
………..slog
……………uphill
with a strong headwind!

Outside

A lovely warm spring day.
I’m off outside
without my coat today!

Book Launch Day

On Saturday 11th March  I held the official Book Launch for my new children’s story book “The Thirsty Flowers” although the book has been available since just before Christmas. This launch event was in two parts.

First I held an on-line launch on my Facebook Author’s Page, with a week of promoting the launch beforehand to encourage people to support the event. I also held a Free Giveaway competition. This sadly didn’t attract quite as many entrants as I had hoped – maybe because the book was  for children and not many children are on my email list! This is the first time I have done a ‘virtual event’ and hopefully I will do it better next time. Perhaps two weeks of publicity would have been better and probably I also need to find a way to reach more people. My main reason for doing it though was simply to feel that the arrival of the book had been celebrated in some way and in that I guess it served its purpose.

Outside the children's shopI also held a book signing session in my local High Street. A local children’s clothing shop kindly stocks my book along with my children’s poetry book “Barking At Nothing” so I arranged to hold my signing session there. The shop is on the corner of a small arcade, with the door just inside the arcade and we had agreed that if it was a nice day I would set-up my stall in the arcade just outside the shop but I could be inside the shop if it was cold. It was a nice day so I set-up in the arcade as planned.

After a while it was obvious that I was not really all that visible so I moved to a position at the entrance to the arcade and this proved to be much better, though it was not quite so sheltered and I did begin to feel cold towards the end of my time there.

With a young customerOne thing that I did notice during the two hours I sat there was how few people were walking up and down our High Street on what you would think would be a busy Saturday morning. High Streets are generally reported to be in decline and it seems ours is no exception despite the many interesting buildings.

However, like so many now, our High Street is full of places to eat, hairdressers and gift shops with not a lot else and these types of shops do not cater to everyday needs (how many times a week do you need a hair cut?). The Post Office, Newsagents, main Supermarket and the Chippy are all on a different street. Consequently the footfall was low and I gather it has been a problem since the last bank closed its doors.

There were times when none of the passers-by seemed at all interested in what I was doing there and I regretted not taking a book to read, but despite the low footfall I did manage to sell several copies of my book and was also given a few donations for the charity I support. Overall it was an enjoyable morning and at least I feel as if the book has now been launched in style.

A Perfect Silhouette

The morning sun picks out
a perfect silhouette —
wing raised, tail fanned,
plump body, small head, sharp beak —
of a pigeon that struck the glass
of the window pane.

Endless Line

Heavy traffic through the town;
an endless line of heavy lorries
moving like snails.
The motorway must be closed.

Not On Amazon

Many of you will know that I have to date published three books. Two of these are poetry collections, “Barking At Nothing” which was published in 2010 and “Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles”, which includes poems by my late uncle, in 2011. The first of these is verse for children. My third book was published at the end of last year and is an illustrated story for young children called “The Thirsty Flowers”.

Three book covers

These books are listed on Amazon but it states that they are unavailable. In fact the books are available to purchase from my own website at http://www.silverburnpublishing.co.uk they just aren’t available on Amazon. Well that’s not entirely true; you can, at the time of writing, buy a couple of copies of “Barking At Nothing” from other suppliers on Amazon where I have seen them listed for £22.60 and £19.80 – remarkable when you consider that the face value is only £4.99 and of that £3 will be donated to a children’s charity – in this case The Donna Louise Hospice Trust (when bought direct from me). Forgive me for feeling a little angry that people should wish to make a killing to line their own pockets and that none of this extra money will go to the charity I aim to support.

The problem here is that I am an Indie publisher, I publish all my own books at my own expense and I do my best to keep my expenses as low as possible, doing all the work myself except for paying for printing. I then do my own marketing and distributing, again on a shoestring. This is what enables me to keep the price reasonable and yet also to raise money for the charity. All I hope to do is to recoup my expenditure so that I have the money to pay for the next project.

I would love to make my books available on Amazon, to reach a wider audience, to sell more and so raise more money for my charity. However, in order for Amazon to sell my books I have to provide them with stock – they will only sell from stock that they  hold. I have to send the stock to them at my own expense and I have to pay an annual fee for the privilege of having them hold the stock. It is considerably more than likely that my sales will not cover the expense of doing this so not only will there be no profits for me to donate to the charity but I will probably not even recoup my initial expenditure and quite frankly, I can’t afford to do this.

To a lesser degree there is a similar problem when selling through bookshops. My books are registered with Nielsen’s Book Agency and have ISBN numbers so they can be ordered through bookshops. However when a book is ordered the book shop contacts Nielsen’s who then notify me, I have to post the book to the bookshop at my own expense and sell to the shop at a discount so that the shop can have their mark-up. Again this results in no profit and barely covers my expenses.

So the only realistic option for me is to just  sell the books directly from my website and I have to constantly be on the look-out for other selling opportunities – stalls at local events etc. and thinking up new ways to attract customers. (I’m not good at this!) When a new book comes out this gives a boost because you can draw people’s attention to the previous books on the back of the publicity for the new one but, as any Indie writer/publisher will tell you, all this is hard work and eats into writing time!

I have a new book that I am working on, it will be called “Simply Elfje” and is based on my currently dormant blog of the same name. This time I am trying a different approach. I plan to produce it through Amazon’s self-publishing platform Createspace, together with an e-book version produced on Kindle Direct Publishing. Createspace produces Print-on-Demand paperback books and both this and the e-book should be available on Amazon at no expense to me. I will receive a Royalty for the books sold which I can then donate to charity if I wish.

Now all I am struggling with is that I have the option of using one of my own ISBNs or I can have a free one from Createspace – but what I can’t seem to find out before I commit myself is what the advantages or disadvantages of these options are. If I use their ISBN it will be listed as published by Createspace, but if I use my own it will be published by Silverburn Publishing, my own imprint. Fair enough, but how does that affect my representation on Amazon? Do I get the same free distribution using my own ISBN as I would using one of their’s? If anyone knows the answer to this from their own experience a comment would be appreciated.

March Chills

Defiantly facing March chills,
like women gathering
in bright Spring bonnets
nodding and smiling;
daffodils.

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