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Updating (2012) "Marketing My Book"

Updated on November 24, 2012

New Readers Start Here

In two earlier pieces. "Marketing My Book" and "Lessons From My Book" I discussed why I had decided to write a book, how the book turned out to become a four hundred page meaty volume, why I decided to self publish, and the practical problems I as a novice kept hitting.

How The First Edition Went - Preparation

I had a bad experience with createspace where they charged $40 to send me a proof copy of my book. The US Postage was less than $5.00. I complained to createspace who agreed to give me a credit note for the $35.00. Then when I had made a lot of corrections and was ready to upload again they played what I felt was a blackmail game with me where if I wanted the book quickly I had to pay ridiculously high freight charges. Or wait about two months!

I decided createspace were not wicked, but were more used to dealing with USA aiuthors where the freight charges structure would be different.

I contacted about six possible printers in England. Some offered a cheap headline price but then stuck "add-ons" everywhere to bump the price up. I finally went with "Author 19" who were very good. None of the printers held my hand. They expected me to provide perfect PDF material and cover/spine exactly perfect ready to load into their machines. My DTP friend was a real star in this process.

With all the delays at my end it was mid June 2011 before I had the books to sell.

How The First Edition Went - Marketing

The title was "Guide To Packaging and Labelling Law 2011". One of my friends told me it sounded like a book about marketing law firms, whereas it is about the law of packaging and labelling.

The reviews were really excellent, but I sold virtually no copies. I think the "2011" in the title put people off because the reviews came out in September, October and November by which time 2011 was nearly over.

I prepared a flyer and sent out a hundred of them in November. No sales. Overall the sales of the first edition were embarrassingly small. Fortunately I had only printed fifty. So overall I had lost money.

Preparing The Second Edition

I was heartened by the excellent reviews. I knew I had no competition in the market. There were quite a few important pieces of legislation during 2011 and the book was now out of date. My choices were whether to give up or to prepare a second edition.

I had of course saved the first edition. I saved again as "Second Edition" and made many changes. Roughly a quarter of the book changed. I dropped the UK food labelling regulations and put in the new EU food labelling regulations. There had been legislation about plastic materials and articles in contact with food which had just missed the first edition. And now there were three amending regulations which had come out, one as late as December 2011. In response to a reviewer I put in a chapter on "The Regulatory Environment". I also had a new chapter on Packaging Materials.

I dropped the "2011" and put in "2nd Edition". I also did a really really thorough proof read. On the fifth trawl I replaced "2.1(c )" with "2.1(c)".

And it is a really good book. I am proud of it.

Conference Call

I was contacted by a company who arrange conferences with a request I speak at an industry conference they were holding in Amsterdam in February 2012. I had no idea what "Global Release Liners" were, but I was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. It turned out not to be such a gift, because I had to pay all my own expenses - but in return I had a free stand from which to sell the book, and a 30 minute conference slot speaking to the entire conference.

When I got there I learned what the conference was about. Essentially the industry makes sticky labels. The printing takes place on paper which is stuck onto the roll of siliconised paper, printed on, pulled off the roll, and then stuck onto the product. The roll of siliconised paper is "the release liner". Almost everyone at the conference was selling raw materials - paper, silicon, ink, and the like. They were very happy when I explained that the new EU Regulations required manufacturers to supply more information but specified a minimum type size. So manufacturers would need bigger labels.

I gave four books to journalists and I sold one copy after the conference to a company in Slovenia. I had a couple of conversations that might have turned into consultancies but didn't. Overall I was pleased with the conference. I also learned about some new technologies.

Latest Developments

I had intended to make the "Guide" the industry standard book. I have had some success with this.

(1) The Packaging Institute is the umbrella organisation for packaging in the UK and is part of the prestigious Institute of Mining, Minerals and Materials "IM3". They run courses for people in the packaging industry for packaging industry qualifications. The next edition of the textbook they produce for all their students will carry a plug for the "Guide".

(2) The British Retail Consortium has an accreditation scheme run jointly with the Institute of Packaging. There are already 800 retailers accredited, and miore apply every year. The combination of book and updating web site http://contentpublications.com means that one of the requirements - access to ongoing legal information - can be had cheaply. The next edition of the auditors manual will refer to the Guide. So on every accreditation review or new application my book will be brought to the attention of the retailer with a strong steer to buy the Guide.

So watch this space! And you can purchase the book from content publications for a mere £40 plus £6 postage and packing.

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