So I come back from the London book fair licking my chops and expecting to have an instant best seller-which in South Africa is 4000 copies sold. I’m reckoning that now I’m the author of 2 books I’m sure to rise straight to the top. Hmmm a bit of disappointed coming my way.
The stats going around is that in South Africa with a population of about 50 000 000 only 1% or 50 000 people are regular book buyers. We have an illiteracy rate of about 17%. 60% of all schools don’t have adequate libraries and according to Pirls our grade 5 learners literacy levels are on par with grade 3 learners in developed countries.
Since writing and publishing my books I realised that this is what I wanted to do and earn my living but with the stats mentioned I felt that this was going to be a bit taxing. But I still wanted to do it anyway so i realised that I had to find out a way to market my books. I also realised that I had to promote reading as the figures quoted were not only scary but also weren’t going to sustain my lifestyle-which at the time was still pretty bleak and consisting of rice 3 times a day.
As it so happens a friend of mine told me about an upcoming book launch by an author Peggy McColl who was out here launching her book Destiny Switch. What made her different is that she’d reached the top of the New York bestsellers list by using internet marketing- and this is what I wanted to hear about.
Her succesful idea is -using the internet- to link up with someone who has a massive data base. They send out a marketing blurb and attach details about your book and where it can be bought. I’m not going to go into too much detail as I didn’t feel the system could work for me as I wasn’t too technically capable. But, what I did pick up was that I needed to find a way that was in line with my personality on how to market my books.
My thoghts on this were confirmed when I received a sales report back from my distributor for the sales for the month which were only at about 1% of what a bestselling book usually is in South Africa.