Promoting my books

Writing is the easiest part

Like I said, there are 3 steps for your book: 1. writing 2. publishing 3. selling. The hardest is indeed SELLING and promoting the books. I am still battling with the issue. My weak point is the diversity of the subjects… not a single genre.

RIP The Bookworm

In Beijing I am also the victim as many others by the closing of The Bookworm where my books were being sold. As a result, I am now the only source for the printed version, here in Beijing.

Reports the SCMP:
The Bookworm, a center of literary life in Beijing, to close, unable to renew its lease amid crackdown on ‘illegal structures’. A cafe, a community center, a place for lively discussion and for authors to meet their readers, The Bookworm has survived for 17 years in the Chinese capital. Co-founder says it is a victim of clean-up by city planners, and won’t speculate on a political motive; patrons take to social media to voice their sadness,
Read: https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/article/3036439/bookworm-centre-literary-life-beijing-close-unable-renew-its

Friends and media don’t help

One disappointment is that people ask for help about many things but none help out for the promotion of the books. That is a fact.
Being on the media like Twitter, Facebook, name it: seems pretty useless. I don’t think I sold ANY book thanks to those media. Harsh reality.
Interviews in newspapers and TV also seem to be pretty useless. Actually David Caughran also brings this up in his books on publishing.
Of course I get mails about people who promise “to promote you book to become a bestseller”. Yeah, nice try, and they are not cheap (but mostly useless).
I found that personal contact and book talks help most.

Giving free copies

I often give free copies to “important people”, some actually insist on paying, being a nice gesture (e.g. our very Belgian ambassador).
Also at times frustrating as there is little or no feedback and some ambassadors even don’t invite me for any activity in their embassy despite my efforts.

Of course it looks nice to be able to officially hand over a copy. Some examples:

– former U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke, on 6 November 2012, see https://www.damulu.com/2012/11/14/polish-national-day-and-u-s-ambassador-gary-locke/

– former Israeli Ambassador Matan Vilnai, on 17 December 2012, see https://www.damulu.com/2012/12/20/book-presentation-to-ischam-beijing/

– former Canadian Ambassador Guy Saint-Jacques, on 18 March 2015, see https://blog.strategy4china.com/2015/03/embassy-of-canada-a-view-on-the-arctic/

– Jan Jambon, then former deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior and Security (Belgium), see: https://www.beijing1980.com/2019/12/14/meeting-jan-jambon/

– Belgian Ambassador Marc Vinck on 13 March 2019

– Luxembourg Ambassador Dr. Marc Hübsch, on 4 July 2019

– Irish Ambassador Eoin O’Leary, on 20 June 2018; later he also got a copy of my book Laugh and Get Wiser

– Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union, Nicolas Chapuis, on 4 March 2019

See the pictures:

Trafford Publishing

Going through old articles

I am in the difficult process of cleaning up mountains of old newspaper clippings and more. I discovered an advertisement for Trafford Publishing, see https://www.trafford.com/.

Trafford Publishing

Out of curiosity I did some research.

Member of the Author Solutions mafia

I soon discovered Trafford Publishing was purchased by Author Solutions, the biggest scammer in the publishing business as I commented earlier.

The story (and flood of complaints):
https://accrispin.blogspot.com/2009/04/victoria-strauss-author-solutions-buys.html

See here one of the sites where victims of their scam posted their story.

The choice is getting smaller

For new authors the choice to find a reliable publishing company is getting smaller as the monster of Author Solutions is buying up more and more similar companies, expanding their tentacles to catch naive authors.
I was a victim too. Then I went for the better option, see here the story of self-publishing my second book.

ABC of self-publishing

Overview and introduction

Here is my ABC of self-publishing.

It is my story on why and how I became an author, publishing two books: “Toxic Capitalism” and “Laugh And Get Wiser”.

ABC of self-publishing

late nights… trying hard…

The first book was done through a “Vanity Press Company”, a bad experience that led me to go “indie” and do self-publishing totally myself. That required mastering a software “SCRIVENER” and enrolling as an author with Amazon.

See the challenges I encountered and how I succeeded to publish on Kindle and in print. It took me three extended stays in a nice hotel in Phuket to find the right and motivating environment.

There are three very different roads to publishing: the traditional publishing companies, the vanity press and self-publishing (such as through Amazon, the giant in that field).

Read all details in these posts, as a guide to publish YOUR book. And learn the jargon of this business. Consider it your ABC of self-publishing.

Why self-publishing

See: https://www.damulu.com/2019/01/03/why-self-publishing/
Topics covered:
– Why I write;
– Why choose self-publishing;
– The 3 challenges when publishing your book;
– Some good books and websites to learn the details.

How to self-publish

See: https://www.damulu.com/2019/01/03/how-to-self-publish/
Topics covered:
– Why to become an “indie” and how;
– The three choices explained: traditional publishing houses; the vanity press; do it yourself (read: go the indie road).

The giant of self-publishing

See: https://www.damulu.com/2019/01/03/the-giant-of-self-publishing/
Topics covered:
– Why Amazon?
– The first step to publish on Amazon: you need to register as an author.
– The challenges I met to register as an author, being in China.
– Can you publish a book in Chinese on Amazon? Supported languages.
– Why not use Amazon China?
– Uploading my Kindle e-book on Amazon: challenges I met.
– My books are on Amazon!
– Does Amazon ship to China?

Using Scrivener

See: https://www.damulu.com/2019/01/06/using-scrivener/
Topics covered:
– What is Scrivener software?
– How to learn it, the way I did.
– Why a print version is the first step.
– Amazon Kindle: you need a Table of Content.
– How to get your book in print?

How I wrote my books

See: https://www.damulu.com/2019/01/06/how-i-wrote-my-books/
Topics covered:
– Everybody and every book is different
– My first book “Toxic Capitalism”: using MS Word and deliver the file to a “vanity press”.
– Running away from my normal environment.

Using external help when going indie

See: https://www.damulu.com/2019/01/09/using-external-help-when-going-indie/
Topics covered:
– Using external help when going indie is mandatory for two tasks: the cover design and professional editing.
– Why you need to finish first the format of the print version.
– How I did the cover page in two outsourcing steps.
– For my second book I did exceptionally not use an external editor: why?
– How much did my book cost to get it published in e-book and print?

More considerations on writing and Amazon

See: https://www.damulu.com/2019/01/10/more-considerations-on-writing-and-amazon/
Topics covered:
– Are you focused in your genre? Building a following.
– Amazon and shipping.
– Amazon world-wide shops are not connected.
– BISAC codes: what they are and why it did not help me with Amazon.
– Publishing in Chinese.

How to Write a Book in The Bookworm

Rotaract talk

This time I gave a talk on how to write a book in The Bookworm, on 11 March 2019.
We were far over twenty people, mostly Rotaractors but also one more Rotarian and others who were interested in the topic.
This time I had nearly one hour to cover the topic and to answer many questions. A longer version than the talk in Rotary.

The Bookworm

The well-known book shop, meeting spot and restaurant in Sanlitun is the center of literary and other events in Beijing. We were lucky to basically have the whole room for us.
Rotaract meetings are now mostly held there on Monday evenings, 8 pm.
See: http://beijingbookworm.com/

Self-publishing in Rotary Beijing

Rotary lunch 29 January 2019

As a Rotarian I told my story on self-publishing in Rotary Beijing on why and how I became an author, publishing two books: “Toxic Capitalism” and “Laugh And Get Wiser”.
The first book was done through a “Vanity Press Company”, a bad experience that led me to go “indie” and do self-publishing totally myself. That required mastering a software called “SCRIVENER” and enrolling as an author with Amazon. I shared the challenges I encountered and how I succeeded to self-publish on Kindle and in print.
It took me three extended stays in a nice hotel in Phuket to find the right and motivating environment. I explained the three very different roads to publishing: the traditional publishing companies, the vanity press and self-publishing (such as through Amazon, the giant in that field).

Our lunch

I am member of the Rotary Club of Beijing, the first club established in Beijing. Read here about its history. The language used is English.

As usual we had lunch in the Beijing Kempinski hotel. As I complained the December birthday members never get the birthday cake, I was asked to cut it also… As we had only one table I simply sat down to talk.

The full story

During the lunch I only gave a quick overview.

For a full overview and my version of the ABC of self-publishing see the overview here.where you also find the explanation of the jargon such as vanity press, indie, and Scrivener.