Finally …

I have at long last managed to get to grips with the very odd Nielsen BookData website and entered the details of ALOES, END OF THE TRAIL and SEA CHANGE into the ISBN database. Honestly, the way Nielsen do things is strange … there’s one system for people with a physical book and another entirely for the e-book community, and while I can understand the logic of that I don’t quite see why there’s no crossover. ‘Physical’ people might want to enter their details online, ‘virtual’ people might prefer to use a piece of paper and a pen – but they’re not allowed to, which seems arbitrary to me.

I will say that, having cracked the code and worked out how to do it, it was relatively simple in the end. Not as simple as it might have been, however, and not intuitive by a very long way. You virtually need a degree in computer science just to do the “paperwork”.

Next hurdle is the equally Byzantine bureaucracy of the British Library deposit system. I expect it to take several attempts to get to grips with that, too. I must keep reminding myself that we’re on a learning curve here …

Eighth week’s sales figure

WEEK EIGHT – to 0700 GMT 26 June 2010

In the past week we have sold the following:

ALOES – 1 copy
DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT – 1 copy
END OF THE TRAIL – 1 copy
SEA CHANGE – 1 copy

Response times were correspondingly quicker, with an average of only 43 minutes  – best 10 minutes, worst 99 minutes – although with such a small sample the value of this information must be open to question.

Needless to say there has been no movement from Astatalk following our takedown request.  Nor have we been reviewed again this week; there must be a limited number of reviewers operating and it’s beginning to look as if we’ve run through them all!

It would be foolish to deny that we’ve hit a bit of a slump in the past couple of weeks, but whether or not this is likely to be the future pattern of our sales we’re unable to say at the moment.  It would be nice to have more titles available, but our intention has always been to concentrate on quality – and we’re not, of course, in this to make money.  Just as well, really, because it doesn’t look as if we will!  Maybe I’ll put the gold-plated Lamborghini on hold for a little while …

Are you interested in Blurb?

We’ve recently been looking at Blurb to see whether there’s anything they can offer us that we’d be interested in. Their prices seem a bit steep, but it would be rather nice to have actual physical copies of our books – and at the same time it could solve some of our distribution problems. The only question, however, is whether people who primarily buy e-books would actually want to own something of this nature, and whether they would consider it a viable alternative way of offering the books in view of the fact that they would be a lot more expensive than the PDFs or EPUBs we are currently offering. (NB: it would also mean spending some time reformatting text etc. to meet their page size standards.)

So, over to you, readers – your opinions on this subject would be very welcome. We’re distracted by ‘the shiny’ and would love to plunge in and experiment, but we don’t have so much money to spare that we feel we can waste it at this stage. Please let us know what you think – is this the sort of idea you might be interested in pursuing? Or is it a blind alley? We look forward to your replies.

Copyright theft

To the person who knowingly and cheerfully stole copyrighted material from us and posted it to various download sites – you, sir or madam, are a crook, but presumably you don’t care about that. You could also put us out of business, but I suppose you don’t care about that either. You’re not skimming exorbitant profits from ‘The Man’ here, you’re screwing a couple of small business-people trying to produce and share good quality fiction and to raise just enough money from it to cover the endless hours of hitherto unrewarded labour that they put in. But never mind, your needs are far more important, you should feel free to take all our hard work and dedication and throw it to the wolves; naturally we don’t care at all, and we’ll be only too delighted to write and publish more fiction for you to steal.

See, world, this is why you can’t have nice things.

Seventh week’s sales figures

WEEK SEVEN – to 0700 GMT 19 June 2010

In the past week we have sold the following:

ALOES – 1 copy
DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT – 3 copies
END OF THE TRAIL – 1 copy
SEA CHANGE – 1 copy

I must admit I find that a little depressing, especially as this was a week when we had several outstanding reviews.  Is everybody watching the World Cup rather than reading?

However – the average response time was two hours 24 minutes, the fastest being 20 minutes and the slowest four hours and sixteen minutes.