It’s been a great year for us, our first proper year trading and sales of Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures have been better than expected, considering we didn’t crank up the on-line promotion until late in the year, when I learnt how to use Twitter. I’m still learning. As well as helping promote the book, an unexpected bonus has been talking to some great supportive people, some of whom have become friends in the “real” world at a local book group filled with diverse funny intelligent people, all passionate about books.
We had our first two book signings in Waterstone’s, which was a real eye opener, one being a bit quiet, the other seeing us sell all but one book. The best bit was being able to chat to parents and kids about the books and get immediate feedback.
We got some great reviews of the book from various book bloggers, but failed to break the “industry” websites and papers, finding out the not very shocking truth that most publishers pay to get their books reviewed. We did get out book stocked in some other independent book shops, galleries and tourist information centres, and seeing it on the shelves gave us a boost. Many thanks to all.
We made a quick film of the book to help promote it, but mainly to entertain our kids, which helped spread the word and was great fun to make ( if you listen until the bloopers at the end!)
We took time to judge our own book by its cover, so next year we are going to give all future Jack and Boo’s a bit of a makeover, taking on board feedback we’ve had from both public and industry. Never stop learning.
During the recent snow we got inspired after a family walk out with the camera and made Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day eBook in a day. Well, we failed to make it in a real day, but we did get it all done – written, illustrated, published – in 24 hours, which was a great challenge and got us seriously thinking about exploring digital content further in the new year, including eBook versions of all future picture books and mobile phone Apps. That is, if I can still remember how to code!
So, what next for 2011? We hope to create a proper eBook release of Bucket of Treasures and special educational versions, such as Braille and large print. We are very near completion on our spring release with Jack & Boo’s Wild Wood and are also creating a summer adventure all set on the Isle of Wight. As I look to to my right, I also see the initial ideas for next year’s winter book. And it has nothing to do with Jack & Boo either, so watch this space.
Of course, all of the above could change. Best thing about independently publishing is we can change plans, react to demands, produce books for smaller niche markets. I believe real books will continue alongside eBooks, and interactive books will really start to grow, converging with the games market. I think we’ve only just started to exploit social media for promotion and as a tool to engage directly with readers. The publishing industry is slowly getting there, however most barely engage or only push their own promotional messages. Bloggers hold much of the power of book buying with word of mouth reviewers and this seems to be growing as more people now buy books on-line, which I hope will reduce the power that big bookshops and supermarkets have, without killing independent bookshops. It’s a noisy world to try and be heard in, but it truly is the digital revolution, and the creative power has thankfully returned to the people.
We would like to thank everybody who has supported us and bought the book. We hope you and your children have many happy reads to come!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2010 from Beachy Books!