69. HOW CONVERTING TO KDP SELECT GAVE ME AN AMAZON BESTSELLER

JK ROWLING, Stephen King, James Patterson, Lee Childs… you guys have a new rival.

Yes, seriously. Better start upping your game, looking over your shoulder.

Who is it?

Well, little old me, of course. Rippington’s the name, gangster fiction the game.

And my Boxer Boys series is about to take the world by storm.

How? You may ask. You were selling 200 percent of nothing a short while ago.

Let me explain…

I’M not a great fan of exclusivity deals. I figure that if you aim to sell books you need to spread your wings as wide as possible.

When I released my first novel Crossing The Whitewash I made sure it was available with Amazon, Nook, Kobo, I-Books and sympathetic book stores all over the UK.

The results were disappointing. Though I had a few people begging me to make the book available on I-Books, for instance, no one else seemed to invest. In fact, having made only two sales, I haven’t even been paid as the accountants at Apple deem it below themselves to transfer cash unless you have earned more than $10.

What I did find, though, was I sold more books through Amazon than anywhere else. Perhaps it was because I often targeted my Facebook Ads towards them.

two-covers

Anyway, when I launched Spark Out on July 10 I bit the bullet and entered it into KDP Select – just to see how it would go. In return for exclusivity they offer you a number of marketing options, including a “countdown deal” where you set the book at a cheaper price for a few days.

The other option – and the one I chose – was to give the book away FREE for a short period. This week I was delighted I took the plunge.

Spark Out went to the top of an Amazon Bestseller chart.

Admittedly, it wasn’t one of the big categories like thriller or action – but even so to see your book sitting above everyone else and be able to marvel at the fact you have had more than 400 downloads in just over two days is a pretty heartwarming feeling.

Particularly after marketing the book relentlessly through a live launch, blog tour and everything else, only for sales to be so insignificant they weren’t worth talking about.

So what made the difference? The fact that the book was a freebie, of course,  but also some strategically targeted ads to ‘help’ with visibility.

By enrolling exclusively with KDP Select you have a five-day window where you can offer the Kindle version of your book in a free promotion. I chose to start on August 8 and run the free promotion in one block. You don’t have to do this: You can spread out those five days across the initial three-month contract period.

I also decided to try something else.

Having had hardly a sniff of sales in the United States I decided to advertise the book on Instagram. This form of social media seems to be taking off over the Pond and many people tell me it’s the next big thing.

So I ran a £5-a-day ad on Instagram over here and a similar one in the States. These can now be set up through the Facebook power editor by clicking a few boxes. I had some nicely designed images from my cover designer J-D Smith and used these.

Alongside it I ran a £10-a-day ad with Facebook, targeting lovers of Martina Cole, Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, Harlan Coben and Dennis Lehane. I rather cheekily pointed out it might be the best thriller they’ve never read!

Having done all that, I sat back in hope rather than expectation.

These were the results after a day (UK top, US below)…

FirstNo1acrosspond

Amazing. Not only did the downloads start pouring in, but also I noticed people were paying for things. I couldn’t work it out. Spark Out was free. There was no option to pay.

Then it hit me like being bashed on the bonce by Reggie – my protagonist Big Mo’s tough-as-teak enforcer in Spark Out: People were not only downloading the new novel for free, they were actually PAYING for the book that started it all, Crossing The Whitewash. Happy days.

numberone!

So I had nearly two days at No.1 in Contemporary Urban Fiction, and a spell at No.2 in Urban genre fiction, only being pipped to top spot by Roy and Garry Robson, fellow Londoners who have their own little police series called London Large which is going great guns.

Now I am a convert to KDP Select, but it will be interesting to see what sort of visibility my books have once the promotion period is over.

66. BUSKING FOR A BIG BREAK: ONE WEEK INTO KINDLE SCOUT

I FEEL like one of those lost souls wandering tube trains late at night, putting little packs of tissues on the seats with a short note to explain their dire circumstances.

When they return later asking for a donation in exchange for their kind gift, most of us pretend not to notice them, even though the strong smell is pretty hard to ignore.

Your heart tugs at you, telling you that to dip into your pocket and hand over the meagre change that lies there among the shredded tissues would be the humane thing to do and could make a world of difference to this person’s life.

Your head warns you that it’s the start of the slippery slope: TV programmes and newspaper articles have alerted you to being taken in by professional beggars. They dress down deliberately and even sit in a bath of urine before hitting the streets and robbing good, honest, hard-working people of their cash.

So you put your head down and pretend you are reading your Kindle while waiting for the scruffy oik to move on, which seems to take an age.

You hope that after his shift ends he won’t be returning to a rat-infested squat, but to his four-bedroomed country mansion in Epping, therefore fully justifying your ‘snub’.

OK, maybe that’s a bit over the top, but I don’t like begging for anything. This week, however, I have tried every far-fetched scheme in the book to garner support in my bid for a Kindle Scout contract.

I hadn’t attempted this route to publication before. With my first novel Crossing The Whitewash I took it all on myself – the writing, the research, the cover, the formatting, the uploading, the pre-publicity, post-publicity, the placement of the book, the emails alerting book shops to its availability, the launch: the whole kit and caboodle.

I’d heard about Kindle Scout, of course, but it seemed like just another popularity contest and I doubted many people actually succeeded in their task.

spark-out-cover-medium-web

Two years on, though, and I took the plunge. Having heard a bit more about it I decided I would enter Spark Out for a Scout deal. If it failed I was no worse off for the experience – If it succeeded? “Woohoo!” in the words of Homer Simpson. That’s a $1,500 advance that will immediately cover my costs of enlisting proof readers, editors, cover designers and all, even leaving me some money for social media adverts.

A week in and I am addicted, but as someone who just wants to write books and get them into the hands of as wide an audience as possible, I’ve started to scrape the bottom of the barrel in the search for support.

KSdayone

It began pretty well, my Facebook chums and Twitter acquaintances all weighing in during the first few days. I jumped straight into the Hot and Trending category and stayed there for four days.

Now, though, I’ve slipped out of it, and I am wondering how the hell I can revive the interest.

I have resorted to doing Periscope readings of parts of the book, the equivalent of the busker in the underground holding out a cap and hoping someone will show their appreciation when all they are interested in is getting from A to B.

Today I have even gone through my Goodreads list of friends, sending some of them personal messages and hoping that even though they don’t know me from Adam they will take pity on a poor writer and click the link to my Kindle Scout page.

scouting1stweek

Perhaps things will pick up as I get closer to the end. If they don’t, though, I will just have to throw myself on the mercy of those nice people at Kindle Direct Publishing and hope their editors believe Spark Out is worthy of their charity… together with a nice, juicy contract.

  • Sound familiar? Let me know your Kindle Scout experiences in the comments

 

51. To join KDP select or not join KDP select… that’s the big question

 

INDIE AUTHORS have a great deal to thank Amazon for – in many ways the revolution in writing has been led by them.

Createspace, Kindle and ACX are all valuable weapons in a writer’s armoury once they decide to self-publish.

Through Createspace you have the ability to produce a physical book, with a professional cover and quality printing, which can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with anything turned out by the traditional publishing giants.

Meanwhile, Kindle has led the way in the astonishing rise in digital books over the last few years while ACX is now allowing Indie Authors to bring their stories to life in the form of Audio Books. Once put together and produced with a narrator, they can then be distributed and sold through Amazon’s Audible branch.

In the past, sick of rejection slips or ignorant firms who refused to even answer our emails, potential authors no doubt put their hard work on the fire, admonished themselves for being such terrible writers and gone back to the day job.

Now there is an alternative – and it is something which is growing in popularity so much that even traditionally published authors are considering the alternatives: whether that means going the whole hog and doing everything off your own bat, or enlisting help through the “hybrid” companies. More of those in a future blog entry, though.

I spent a day at the London Book Fair a couple of weeks ago and found the Author Central section crammed with writers eager to learn more about this brave new world in which they have the power to publish in their own hands.

Perhaps their biggest problem now is getting their work “seen” – without the aid of the vast marketing machines the trad-pub companies can call upon.

It takes a lot of hard work and tinkering – trying to use Amazon’s algorithms to your best advantage – not to mention paying for advertising through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

And it is tempting at this early stage to find a method of giving away your book free so that you can get it into the hands of more people and rise up the book “charts”.

This is something that Amazon encourages, too. They invite authors producing eBooks to enlist in KDP select, which means you give them exclusive rights to sell your novel any way they want.

Join Kindle Unlimited, for instance, and the reader gets a whole library full of self-published books to delve into, picking and choosing, their subscription money going into a central pool, rather than payment for books going to individual authors.

The big advantage of KDP Select is that Amazon positively discriminate in favour of those that sign up, giving their books better visibility and special promotion. But at what price to Indie Authors in the long term?

To join Select or not join Select is now the big question, to misquote Shakespeare in the week of his 400th birthday.

It seems to me the more cards KDP Select holds, the more the writer’s work is being devalued.

cokerMark Coker, co-founder of Smashwords, gave his own thoughts on the matter in a video talk entitled 10 trends driving the future of publishing. It’s worth watching.

 

49. There is a snobbery barrier erected by traditional publishing industry

THERE is a lot of old rubbish out there – novels which should never have seen the light of day.

That’s certainly a view many take about self-publishing: that because the writer failed to interest an agent or one of the big publishing houses their work isn’t worth a cursory glance.

With the massive rise in self-publishing it shouldn’t be surprising that some of the fayre on offer is hard to stomach. But then again I’ve read plenty of bilge masquerading as literary genius churned out by traditional publishers, including novels by some of the industry’s biggest names.

On occasion I have taken the plunge and bought the next release from a best-selling author, only to consider it to be hugely disappointing, poorly written and badly researched.

I have even found myself questioning whether the author actually wrote the book, or whether a well-honed team of editors, plot developers, proof readers and researchers put together the new release by committee just to keep the cash rolling in.

Let’s be honest, it is hard enough to write one novel, let alone churn out one or two every year as some writers seem to do.

In my view, self-publishing at its finest is an antidote to this tunnel-vision way that the mainstream publishers view things. If you are looking for something bright, new and entirely original you are far more likely to find it if you wade through the lists of self-published authors out there. I grant you, though, finding the gems can be hard.

Someone has to break the mould some time, though, or we’ll be reading the same plot lines and ideas for time immemorial.

You could compare it to the indie music boom, when hard-working, original bands fought back and released their own records after being constantly ignored by the mainstream companies, who preferred talentless acts because they looked good and had a decent gimmick. To a certain extent the Indie labels won, and we have all reaped the benefits.

This week I attended a meeting of the admirable London Writers Cafe, a group organised by the dedicated Lisa Goll for people intent on seeing their work appear in print.

The guest was Louise Buckley, a former editor with one of the traditional publishing giants who has taken the leap to become a bigger fish in a smaller pond. In short, she is an agent with Zeno Agency and is keen to build her client list.

Louisebuckley

 

Louise’s main brief was to explain what she would look for in an author’s opening page, and there were some very useful hints and tips on covering letters, synopses and first chapters.

I did ask her whether she would consider taking on self-published authors, though, and her response was pretty emphatic. She said no traditional publisher would be interested in taking on a book which has already been published, so she would only consider a self-published author if they were offering up completely new material.

This surprised me seeing as the company she used to work for – Pan MacMillan – gave Kerry Wilkinson a nine-book deal on the back of his first three self-published novels and, no doubt, repackaged and promoted his original material, too.

Of course, Kerry was a No.1 Amazon bestseller so he is an exception to the rule, but surely an agent should be willing to take on a self-published author on the strength of what they have already achieved?

On that note, I see that Rachel Abbott – another self-publishing success story – does have an agent in the highly-regarded Lizzy Kremer.

rachelabbott

 

Rachel has done wonders off her own bat, and the fact she still seems to bump into this “snobbery” given her fantastic number of readers and followers is hard to credit. Her Guardian article this week is a real eye-opener…

47. Closing the Nook

 

Say it fast and a Nook eReader sounds like a person addicted to steamy romances.

To be perfectly honest, I’d never heard of one, never used one and never seen one before I decided to go into the publishing game. In fact, I had to google it to obtain this picture.nookereader

However, when I published my novel Crossing The Whitewash plenty of people suggested that I should make it available in this format for digital readers.

Barnes & Noble developed this particular eReader as their answer to Amazon’s Kindle and another device I’ve never seen, Kobo, which has being plugged quite ferociously in WH Smith’s lately.

So, of course, I loaded my novel to all these platforms and waited for the royalties to flood in.

Unfortunately, while Kindle sales have taken off and at the weekend I reached #12,600 in the “charts” and 52 in the Urban category – more successful than an All Saints reunion I might suggest – sales on Nook have been zero, zilch, nada.

Recently I wrote to them and suggested they might like to plug the book and they obliged. I was featured on new reads, but unfortunately they put the wrong blurb with the book which meant anyone buying it would be in for a shock.

The writing accompanying the book jacket suggested it was some sci-fi adventure, rather than a gritty UK gangland thriller. I made nine sales (a vast improvement on none), but wonder how many complained and got a refund.

nookcockup

To be fair, it seems to have pushed me up in the Nook First (the debut novel section) best-sellers list, anyhow.

Still, I mentioned the error to Nook and they graciously offered me another free promotion in the future, maybe to coincide with the Writer’s Digest Award announcement. Great!

Except now I read this… Barnes and Noble are pulling the plug on the Nook, cutting their losses. Oww!

I’m not quite sure what it means. After all, apparently Sainsbury’s are taking over sales in the UK. Confusing.

And there was I thinking it’s time for you Nook owners to put it up in the loft, next to your Betamax videoplayer, Sinclair C5, DeLorean sports car and complete collection of Robert Maxwell’s 24-hour newspaper.

Can anyone throw any more light on this?

 

 

 

43. Buy my Valentine

DAMN! No sooner has one “special day” disappeared than another is around the corner. I swear that card makers invent one every year just so that they can keep their industry thriving.

Last year, for instance, was the first time I had ever come across Grandmother’s Day. Their kidding, right?

Well, no, they are deadly serious and we all get “shamed” into turning the myth into reality. In a few years time it will be “What? You didn’t get your second cousin twice removed a present for ‘Second Cousin, Twice Removed Day’? You scoundrel!”

As a self-published author, though, I’m beginning to realise the more special days there are, the merrier. For instance, this week I have been putting out Valentine’s Day adverts for Crossing The Whitewash.

“What?” I hear my faithful reader say. “That book has as much in common with romance as it does with English basket-weaving in the 18th century”. And on the face of it you’re right.

But that’s where the creative juices come in – those same juices I used to think up the plot for Crossing and produce an “award-winning” (I love that phrase) novel in the first place.

I’m not a great fan of this lovey-dovey day of the year, and I suspect there are plenty of other blokes like me.

I can hear the collective muttering under breaths. “Oh bloody hell, Valentine’s Day is on Sunday. She’ll be expecting something. What do I buy? Chocolates? She goes to Weightwatchers, so she won’t be very impressed. A bottle of wine? She’s given up drinking. A slap up meal? Costs a fortune and I’m saving up for the footie next week.”

Of course, not a word of this can be whispered within half a block of the lucky lady, who will be telling her mates: “Oh he’s ever so thoughtful. Can’t wait to see what he gets me for Valentine’s Day.”

All the time she has her fingers crossed firmly behind her back, hoping he doesn’t produce something to match the scented coat-hanger thrust upon her last year… lovingly wrapped so there was NO WAY she could guess what it was!

Women like to compare lovers. It’s a bit like that Monty Python Four Yorkshireman sketch. “We used to get up in the morning and Dad would make us lick road clean wit’ tongue.”

“You were lucky, our dad would slice us in two wit’ bread knife.”

Anyway, I completely digress. I got to thinking, how can I relate Crossing The Whitewash to Valentine’s Day. So I had a little think, and the Eureka moment duly came. “That’s it!” I thought. “What if I make my novel the ANTIDOTE to Valentine’s Day” – a kind of double bluff. “Know someone who hates Valentine’s Day? Then get them this for Valentine’s Day.” Genius, right?

So I came up with a Facebook ad that I hoped would not only appeal to blokes, but would get their women-folk pressing the Shop Now button, too.

Well, for a £5 investment initially I got 21 Amazon clicks and enough sales to push me up to no 79 in the Kindle Urban chart. It seems to have worked.

What did the Ad say? See for yourself…

facebook valentines

Now, how do I turn Mother’s Day to my advantage? Gangsters love their mums, don’t they?

 

34. Swimming with sharks

I LOVED Jaws. It was one of the first books I read cover to cover in just over 24 hours. A fantastic feat by Peter Benchley and, yes, I didn’t go in the sea for quite some time.

More than 40 years later, though, here I am swimming in shark-infested waters. There are predators left, right and centre ready to take a bite out of me. This is the murky world of the Independent Author and, at the moment, I am just managing to keep my head above water.

Don’t get me wrong. I am enjoying the fact I can now call myself an author and I am immensely proud of having published my first novel Crossing The Whitewash.

I’ve really extended myself when it has come to marketing the book, too. I’ve done something that as a writer is a complete anathema to me – I’ve called in favours and pleaded for help.

And, for the most part, journalist mates have rallied around and come up trumps. I’ve appeared in newspaper and magazine articles and featured on websites and in blogs. I’ve been interviewed by the BBC and appeared on a podcast.

The result: Negligible sales.

I tried another tactic. I began using Facebook ads, first to send people to my website www.theripperfile.com and then straight to my Amazon page. The trouble is that without going through my website and getting something called a widget to record exactly how many people went the whole hog and bought the novel, I really don’t know how successful it’s been.

I get the odd nice comment and reviewers have been highly complementary in the main, with 11 five-star reviews as we speak – many from people who don’t know me but requested an e-copy of my book through Net Galley. It’s all been done completely above board, without enlisting the help of those dodgy people who charge for reviews.

My latest tactic is to sign up with a Book marketing group – Books Go Social – to push Crossing The Whitewash to their 50,000 followers on social media. I think it is starting to pay off, judging by some of the comments I see on Twitter.

But let’s get back to sharks. As soon as you announce you are an Indie Author there is no shortage of people offering to help you sell your book. The difficult thing is spotting the ones with big fins on their backs.

There are a few voices I know I can trust, people who have made writing their day job and given up everything else. I can only salute the likes of Nick Henderson, Mark Dawson, Joanna Penn and Kerry Wilkinson, who are extremely prolific. They’ve cracked it and can be justifiably proud.

The trick, I’m told by these successful independent authors, is to release more and more books, give your first few away free in return for people joining your mailing list and eventually, like a magician pulling a rabbit out of the hat, there you are at No. 1 in one of the Amazon bestseller categories with thousands waiting to buy your next release.

It sounds wonderful but my problem is it took five years to write Crossing The Whitewash, my first novel. I put my life and soul into it. It was a slog. It changed many times as you realise if you read the entries on this blog.

Give it away? Then write another and give that away too? And all that while still holding down a day job and acting daddy day care for my 5-year-old. What are you talking about?

There are simpler ways I’m told. And this is when you look straight into the glaring white teeth of some very fishy operators.

I simply can’t hack those people who offer you courses and insist that you can crack the Amazon charts if you follow their fullproof system and pay them a certain amount of money for the privilege.

Can’t write? Not a problem, you just get someone in who can.

Need to manipulate Amazon? We’ll talk you through ways of cheating the algorithms.

We’ll make you a best-selling author, you’ll be earning a five-figure salary in a month, giving up the day job and zipping around in your top-of-the-range sports car without a care in the world. So come on sign up, sign up, sign up and cheat the system.

So what’s the reaction you get when you don’t take up the offer? Your mailbox gets flooded with messages which sound like they come from a disappointed parent.

“We can’t believe that you aren’t taking up this chance of a lifetime? We thought you were one of the clever ones? We’re really disappointed in you.”

Well, sorry to hear that, but let me just say this.

I write because I want to be a writer. I want people to read my books, not books written by someone else with my name on. I want genuine reviews. I want them spreading the word saying: “Have you read this Rippington? He isn’t bad you know.”

Yes, I’d love to be successful, give up the day job and concentrate on this all year round. But if I get a handful of people giving me positive feedback it gives me an immense sense of pride.

What pride would I get from cheating my way to the top? Paying people to put together an eBook in a couple of weeks, then putting my name on it. None.

Sorry, I won’t be doing that, so you can just put those sharp teeth away.

I won’t be going swimming today.

26. It’s Show Time!

WELL, IT’S all been building up to this: September and the start of the Rugby World Cup.

And I have a confession. I am not a rugby man. No way. Never have been, never will be. Why a bunch of men want to spend 80 minutes or so with their head up other blokes’ backsides is beyond me, but when you’re a sports journalist in South Wales you have no option but to go with the flow.

In the pubs, cafes and at almost any social gathering I attended during my time in Cardiff and Swansea, I couldn’t help being drawn into a conversation about what was going on in the Six Nations, or at the Rugby World Cup. It was all my Welsh mates ever talked about, whether they were moaning about another loss to the English or gloating about an unexpected triumph.

That was why I found it such a refreshingly different environment when I moved to London. At the News of the World you barely heard the game mentioned. It was all about the Premier League and, though for a while it was nice to withdraw from the Welsh pressure cooker, it soon became equally boring – particularly to someone who has spent his entire life supporting a club languishing among the dregs of the Football League. (Bristol Rovers, for those who have been hiding in a cave for all these years and missed my overload of tweets, facebook rants and blogs on the Bristol Post website).

So why, you may ask, did I write a book with the Rugby World Cup as its backdrop? Well, four years ago when I started out on the project there was a World Cup taking place in the southern hemisphere. I wondered how one of my London colleagues, who had a complete apathy towards the sport and Wales in general, might cope being thrust into a newspaper environment across the Severn Bridge during such a tournament.

As time progressed, though, and the novel changed from its early origins as a comedy into a thriller, I began to consider how best to market it and make it more “topical”. It was when I’d finished the story and started considering covers it occurred to me the World Cup had come around again – and this time it was on these shores.

It seemed an opportunity not to be missed, so a tweak here and a rewrite there, a few “babies” bumped off, and I was in business with a contemporary, up-to-date novel that could be released just in time for the tournament.

It meant I could get publicity on the back of one of the biggest sporting shows on earth, securing me articles in Wales on Sunday, the South Wales Evening Post and the Bristol Post. Each paper has put the article on line, too, which gives it longevity.

Now the serious work starts. With 16 days to go I’m hoping to up the ante. I’ve been invited to write about my novel experience by the good people at Daily Express online and am also due to appear on the Radio Wales afternoon programme on September 17 – the day it all kicks off. BBC Bristol have been in touch, too, and I am busy negotiating with Kobo and Net Galley to promote the book in the lead up to the tournament.

It’s exciting times and I only have one major confusion at the moment. People keep asking me how sales are going and I honestly reply “I haven’t got a clue”.

I can get an overall impression of where I stand in the Amazon ratings for Kindle and paperback, but they changed every day. The book is also on sale with Kobo and Barnes and Noble and in selected bookshops but until I get some feedback (and some money, hopefully) I will remain in the dark.

22. Banging the Drum

WalesOnline

SORRY I haven’t been in touch but I’ve been very busy.

There are 11 days to go now before Crossing The Whitewash hits the streets and while I was keen to keep you updated I’ve been up to my neck in formatting, editing proofs, marketing and getting all my ducks in a row for launch day: Saturday, August 1.

I got the book formatted by a wonderful little operation called Bookow in the States and have found owner Steve Passiouras’ help invaluable. He may be a whole continent and several time zones away but he has always been ready to answer queries and help out generally. I can recommend his formatting tool, which will prepare your books for print, Kindle and other tablets. To me it was all done for the incredible giveaway price of $40 because as a NaNoWriMo winner back in November one of the prizes was a half-price discount from Bookow. Bargain.

If only everything was so easy, like proof-reading. Luckily a number of Beta Readers selected from my mailing list have stepped in to help, so thanks to Bridie, Mark, Laurie and Zoe for your expert analysis and eagle-eyed assistance.

Now onto the hard bit. By its very nature writing is a solitary business, and a lot of us like to shut out the real world when we are tapping away. But to self-publish a novel means you also have to do your own publicity and marketing.

Hopefully by picking a topical subject – the Rugby World Cup – and some memorable locations and strong characters the book will do a bit of the work itself, but if you don’t shout about it you won’t get very far.

Last week I spent much of my time putting together a press release. Of course, I am at a bit of an advantage having worked for various press organisations. Even so, I needed a story to tell rather than just “I’m writing a book and its setting is the Rugby World Cup”.

Here, too, by a cosy coincidence, the chance to make headlines fell into my lap. Four years ago this month I was made redundant by the News of the World, two years after taking up a dream job I thought would see me through to retirement. Writing the press release in the third person, providing pics of family, location, friends and the excellent book cover, I was then able to adapt the story so that it was relevant to the places in which I thought the book might sell well.

As it is based in Wales, for instance, I did one press release for all the Media outlets there about my time working in Cardiff and why I had left for the smoke to take up my dream job as Welsh Sports Editor on Europe’s largest paper. For Bristol outlets, my home town, I made great play of the fact I am from there and have written a regular blog about Bristol Rovers for the Bristol Post website.

Anyway, pleased to say my old paper and first journalistic love, Wales On Sunday, printed the tale at the weekend and it also made the WalesOnline website. You can view it here.

Meanwhile there are plenty of other avenues still to explore.

Here’s a plan:

1. Make a list of all the relevant media outlets you think might be interested. Try to find out to whom you should direct correspondence. It may be the news desk in some cases, features desk in others. Maybe they even have their own books department! A preliminary phone call might help.

2. Plan out your story, bringing all the information to the fore that will be particularly poignant to that newspaper, TV or radio station.

3. Do the hard work by virtually writing the piece yourself, and forwarding the pictures. Media groups are notoriously short-staffed these days with cutbacks and the like. We are writers. We should know how to tell a good tale, bringing all the juicy stuff to the top – like writing the first few paragraphs of a novel.

4. Make sure all your contact details are attached for anyone who wants to follow up.

5. Use any ‘ins’ you can: If you know any journalists they may be prepared to help you with publicity.

6. Sit back and hope someone takes notice. If they don’t why not try a follow up call.

There is a lot more that can be done but this blog post is already a bit long. Meanwhile, I’ve set up a pre-order for the Kindle version of the book with Amazon, hence why it’s all been a race against time these last few weeks.

Next time we speak I could be a published author!