The day for the first proof-read arrived. With Rebecca’s beautiful illustrations and Andy’s careful editing it looked amazing. To be honest there was not a lot to alter. A few tweaks and suggestions from each of us and Andy went to work completing the changes.
Andy had already discussed paper options, size of book and the font. Which had been a little difficult to research as the shops were closed. My nephews and nieces have small children and I constantly kept asking what their favourite books were, why they liked them. Size and feel were considered important alongside the story and illustrations. Armed with the feedback it was decided that a glossy cover and the book being big enough to read alongside the child.
Andy sent off the book to several printers to check any variation. Surprisingly there were quite a few differences. As the spine was to be glued, there were sometimes gaps in print when you looked at the margins. Andy quickly offered solutions and the reprint from one company was perfect.
In my previous blog, I mentioned that in order to get the best return, we would aim to sell the glossy version on the website, like a special addition. The reason being, we did not have control of the “print on demand” which larger retailers use. Initially the larger online sellers would not have availability until we could work out demand.
The button was pressed and the book went to print. Two weeks later boxes of books arrived. Rebecca was in another part of the country on a new contract. So was not there the day they arrived. I was so emotional opening the boxes, as it felt very unreal to see all our hard work physically there in my hand. FaceTiming Rebecca did not seem quite the same. However a few days later, we could socially distance celebrate as she happened to be passing through. We had a few tears and big party poppers, and a video to capture the moment for social media. We have still not been together properly, one day that will be a great party!
Now the hard work would begin. Initially we had quite a few pre orders, a quarter of the print run went into the post that first few days. My initial campaign was getting huge interest and as the books went out, the reviews started to come back. It was overwhelming and such a pleasure to hear the feedback. How could I sustain this? I had very little knowledge of marketing a book. The original plan was to get it into bookstores for signing days. Get into schools and libraries, any outlet that may be interested, especially locally. Lockdown made that impossible. The plans would be paused until the following year.
I began to try and think how the book could be useful on a daily basis. Looking back to the original concept modules I had started developing in the early part of the year, I began to ask teachers and educational providers how I could help them. The general request was for an education pack that would give additional suggestions on how to use the book daily.
The first educational pack was written and is now a downloadable version for teachers to obtain when buying the book. A leaflet was also created as a home version for parents. This will be updated in the new year once feedback is obtained.
My confidence is growing on the social media side. It is time consuming, especially finding new interesting content to keep people engaged. However the feedback and increased followers keeps me going!
To date the first print run is nearly sold with less than a quarter of the books left. There are some interesting suggestions and feedback I am working on for the new year.
2021 looks to be equally exciting. We are starting to draft book two and some interesting propositions explored to advertise the books. Watch this space as they say!