Monday, 9 January 2012

An Olive Update

Image by jurvetson via Flickr
I had an argument with uber-geek Gerald Donovan when I told him I was planning to launch Beirut, my second serious novel, at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in March. He exploded with indignation at the very suggestion, waving his hands around and emphatically repeating, 'No, it's too early' in the face of my earnest assertions that this was publishing at internet speed and the new paradigm didn't wait around for months like old fashioned publishing used to.

It hurts me inestimably to say this, but Gerald was right and I was wrong. There. Got that out of the way.

Beirut will be lucky to see a September launch at this rate - it needs a great deal more time than I had anticipated to get the ball rolling as it is a very big and heavy ball indeed - although we can only hope it has commensurate momentum.

It's been nearly a month since Olives was launched at TwingeDXB and a great deal has been happening in that time, I can tell you. If you're considering self publishing, let me tell you this for a start - it's a hell of an amount of hard work. Distribution channels take a great deal of time to kick into place and bookshops have been taking their sweet time ordering copies from distributor Jashanmals, although the hard copies have been available all along in Jashanmals and Spinneys outlets. But it's really down, at this stage, to promotion, promotion, promotion. I'm trying to strike a balance between getting word out and annoying people with relentless promotion but, of course, you find yourself a little too close to it to be objective. That's why people need great communications agencies... :)

Reviews are important in this age of self-publishing. The recommendation of other readers can be key to people's buying decisions, so reviews on Amazon, GoodReads and blogs are gold dust. The first reviews are just now coming through and they're looking positive, which is something of a relief as well as a joy to behold - Big Dave's early review on Amazon was a grin-inducer and people have found it useful - particularly as said Mr Dave is, although a reader of this blog, unknown to me. My first blog review, cheating a bit as she saw the book before it ever got printed, was my censor's daughter, which was fun. It was also a sigh of relief as the book passed the critical test of a pair of young and culturally alert Palestinian eyes - again, a reader of the blog but otherwise unknown to me. Other reviews have followed, although they're not terribly objective as both authors are very well known to me - the lovely Sara Refai and scurrilous cut-purse Simon Forward.

The tweets have started to come in from people who've read and liked the book, which has been a daily treat, I can tell you. I'm giving a talk to my first book club later this month and Olives is on the reading list of other book clubs, too. There's a rumbling building up in them thar hills - a great deal more slowly than my deeply impatient personality would ideally like, but that's momentum for you.

So the million dollar question - how many have I sold? I haven't got the foggiest. It's too early to see a sales report for the print edition yet, but the online edition has probably sold something in the region of fifty copies, the majority on Kindle.

Which is fifty more readers than Olives would have had if I hadn't decided to do this - something that I stop and consider every day and which still brings a silly smile to my face. It's also, as I have now learned, very early days indeed.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just finished it ten minutes ago. Still a bit shaky - not saying anything else as I don't want to give anything away but its a long time since a book has done that to me!

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