Book has been out on the market for a couple of weeks now. I haven’t written anything so far – not too much to write about. Been on holiday while waiting for my initial print run of books to come from the printer. Now I have them I can begin to try and create some activity to make sales. In the meantime, I’m relying on Amazon.
I was expecting a flood of sales. I think it’s more accurate to describe it as a trickle. But not a steady trickle. I trickle like you get from a broken tap with a faulty washer. Drip, drip, drip…and then a sudden splodge of water and then back to a drip again. Sometimes it dry’s up completely and you think its fixed, but then the bastard starts dripping again. In fact, its like the tap effect in reverse.
The first weekend was great, loads of sales. Accompanied by friends and neighbours sending messages of congratulations and telling me they had bought the book. And then the supply of friends and neighbours ran out and I was back to drip, drip, drip.
To be honest, I think I had set myself up for a fall. As someone who works in marketing , I have always had to get a feel for the size of the market, trying to get an idea of the number of sales. Its an easy process. Liverpool Football Club have about 35m followers on Facebook. I started there. What should I target. 1%? Maybe a bit ambitious. 0.1% – yes, that’s a bit more realistic. 35,000….that would be a good start. I had so many numbers swimming round in my head, anything was going to a be a disappointment.
So the friends and neighbours all had their books, I now had to convince people I didn’t know to buy my book – this is where it begins to get difficult. ‘Who the fuck is he’? Why on earth am I going to buy a book by someone I have never heard of at all?’
I think I’ve been spoiled. For the past twenty years I have worked for brands that are known nationally or internationally, brands that have been well established with a loyal audience – the last one had over 250 years history and was arguably the best known and most iconic brand in its category. And even then we had to work hard to get sales.
Due to Liverpool’s success last year, there are now five books on the market (including mine) all pretty much covering the same ground – Liverpool winning the Champions League – its a crowded market out there.
Lets look at it from a marketing perspective – anyone wanting to buy a book about last season has a wide choice of products. All fairly similar but with slightly different creative approach. The difference is who wrote it – and we can equate this to ‘the brand’. People are more likely going to go with a brand they have awareness of and a preference for. LFC have written a book – they have 130 years of history and 35m people following them. The Anfield Wrap have 200K followers on Twitter and a large subscription base. The other two books are from established writers and journalists with a portfolio of successful books behind them.
And then there’s me. Never written a book before, no following to speak of, and probably the least popular person in my own house. When those runners and riders are put in front you, who is going to win the race – and who is going to come in dead last – dragging their arse behind them.
I’m not complaining here. My initial goal was to write a book, which I’ve done. Then it was to publish the book, which I’ve also done. I now find myself competing in a crowded market and wondering why I’ve only got a drippy tap. I’m just trying to work out why.
When the other brands have all brought a new product onto the market, they can focus on promoting that product, safe in the knowledge their brand is established and trusted. When I have brought my product to market, the only people who have bought it are the people who know my own personal brand.
I was trying to come up with a comparison. I was going to say its like comparing Apple with Huawei (me being Huawei) but very quickly I can see that comparison is a pile of shit as I don’t have a totalitarian government and over a billion people in my corner. So I’ll leave the comparisons for a while.
Suffice to say, with no brand – and no budget to build a brand – the tap is not going to get fixed very quickly. I can’t afford a plumber. What I’m going to have to do is learn how to fix the tap myself – or find another of filling up my kettle. I’ve got my thinking cap on!!
Edit…hold on, I’ve just posted this and then put it all on social media, before it struck me that you might come away from reading this thinking my book isn’t as good as the others. That the other brands are better, because they are more established. Don’t think that. It’s a bloody good read. Its the book coming in from the outside that is going to surprise everyone – and you could be in on it from the start! And it’s now stocked in Waterstone’s, so it must be good!! Get on it.
And have a great weekend!!!