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Barbara’s Blog: Books printed but more hard work and challenges ahead

Barbara Murray - Friday, November 08, 2019

It was a great feeling to finally have the 1000 copies of each of the four books in hand, a process that took a further 18 months. In the meantime, I researched companies to get the boxes made that hold the four books.

Sarah Hardy, my illustrator, pointed me in the direction of a company in China who had a good reputation and they were employed to do the job. Again, there was quite a lot of communication with exchange of samples before the final product was ready.
 
Then they had to be shipped from China and I found myself paying for customs and transport from the port. Half came to me in Perth to fill west coast orders and half to my sister-in-law in Brisbane, for east coast orders. We then had to work out the best way economically, to post out the book orders. Our local post office staff were very helpful to us both.
 
Marketing came next. A website for advertising the books and the arrangement for receiving orders and payment had to be developed. This wasn’t as easy as you’d think with one person starting the job but unable to finish it. A photographer and a video producer helped create content but all this comes at a cost. The new web developer wanted to work with a different video producer and so this process took far longer than it should have and costs blew out as a result. But eventually a website was set up.
 
I provided sets of the books to my book distributor, Firefly Education, who kindly asked their reps in all states to show the books at workshops. I got some sales from this avenue.
 
Publisher, Little Steps, kept 200 sets of the books to sell through their catalogue and for their distributor to show to educational and regular bookstores, libraries and various other outlets. My return on books sold through these places is sadly quite small because the bookstore, the distributor and Little Steps all take a percentage of the retail price.
 
As any author will tell you, selling books through the author’s own website is the best way to recover costs.
 
Early in the Sound Stories process, my husband of nearly 50 years died unexpectedly. He was the greatest supporter of my work, my financial manager, my cook, grocery shopper, IT manager, general handyman... I miss him badly as he was my best friend too. Self-publishing became a whole lot harder on my own but having started I had to finish the job.
 
Marketing is my biggest challenge. Anyone who buys the books or sees them firsthand has nothing but praise, but it is hard work to get the books into the hands of teachers and parents.
 
I hired a PR/marketing consultant who has been very helpful and dedicated, and we are looking forward to success with the initiatives she is arranging. Wendy can be found at https://wmcpr.com.au
 
We are now offering a really great discounted price to schools and libraries with free PDFs for IWB use with the purchase of one set of the books.

I have come to realise with book promotion that many paths turn out to be dead ends but if you keep going and you find the right people to work with you then success and results will be achieved.

While it was never meant to be a money making venture, I would like this project to cover costs.
 
My aim in writing and publishing these books was to complete the Sound Waves program. Providing stories with amazing illustrations to introduce the 43 sounds to beginning readers and writers has always been my motivation for this project.

Throughout the process I’ve strongly felt the need to provide this last but very vital element to the phonemic approach to literacy.


 

 

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