Archive for October, 2009


October 31, 2009

I am using booksurge to publish my book. They are a Print-On-Demand publisher. They are not really a publisher at all in the traditional sense like Faber & Faber or Bloomsbury because they’ll publish anything. Copies of the book are created as they are ordered – on demand. It is a kind of “vanity publishing”, but it is a much better deal for the author because of the distribution potential. Booksurge just happens to be owned by Amazon and all booksurge books automatically get an Amazon listing with the “look inside” feature enabled.

I liked the idea of skipping all the rejection letters that I would inevitably get from the “real” publishers. If I went down that route I think I would never be able to get any closure on the project. After many rejections you could be pretty sure that your project is worthless but there would always be a niggling doubt that maybe they never really read it, and maybe they just give contracts to their mates or maybe their criteria for what’s good or bad does not match what sells/bombs. Harry Potter got rejected several times before finding a publisher and sold millions of copies – so something must be wrong with publishing. Going the self publish route feels like it should be fairer, like an IPO – Let the market decide the value.

I’m a bit worried about the price of the book, which is not yet set, that they will charge too much. The booksurge business model is based upon the idea of the “long tail”, i.e. selling small numbers of thousands of different books. They don’t care about keeping the price low because they know only friends and family will buy the book, but at any price.

The POD books that have done best so far are the niche non-fiction books like “The History of Wavlerly Road, Scunthorpe” or “Fly Fishing” by JRR Hartley. Obviously because when people are looking for a book on a very particular subject they will be less hung up about the quality of the writing.

So, the odds are against me because I got a very mainstream fiction book to sell. The kind of book that conventional wisdom says needs a massive marketing budget or a lot of luck. But we’ll see, maybe it’s about time there was POD bestseller in the mainstream fiction category. If it’s not my book, it’ll be some else’s. Traditional publishing is dead!!

The Product

October 30, 2009

My product is a book called Oom. This is the blurb I am putting on the back:

Joe lives on a farm in Australia where months of drought are taking their toll on the sheep and his weary parents. Oom, an alien, knows how to help them but there are so many reasons why he shouldn’t.

Here is the cover:


My target audience are readers of ten years plus. Probably the most difficult part of writing the book was keeping the tone at a level that kids could understand and enjoy.  I have no idea yet if I have succeeded in this, but I eagerly await the reaction by my ten-year old nephew. If he even gets to the final page then I’ll be happy. When I was ten I was easily bored by reading books. I only managed about 2 pages of Lord of the Rings before I started drawing little pictures in the corners of the pages and to make a flickbook.

My favourite author was Roald Dahl. The only book of his that ever caused my mind to wander was Danny The Champion of the World, and the short “A Piece of Cake” from The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. “A Piece of Cake” was his first ever attempt at writing and one of the only non-fiction pieces he did. I read it recently and enjoyed it. It simply wasn’t aimed at children.

I hope that adults would also enjoy my book (yes because I want to make more money). It has themes that adults (like myself) are interested in so maybe they will. So I need to somehow market the book both to adults and children, although it is probably only the adults that would buy it. When was the last time a kid spent their pocket-money on a book? I’m sure that some do but I never did. I was always disappointed when I got books as presents when I was ten. It felt like homework. Like most kids I was lazy, but it takes effort to get the most out of a book.

Next time I’m going to write about POD publishing.

Hello world!

October 30, 2009

This is the blog of DJ Webber, the author of Oom. For my family’s personal blog go here. This blog is my homepage for all my books. So far I have written one book called Oom. There’s a fair chance I’ll never write another one because:

1. It took me 6 years to write this one
2. The plot was my dad’s idea, so I’m not even sure I could think of my own.
3. I am lucky enough to have a family and a full-time job so like most people I ain’t gonna have enough time to write another one.

Anyway, this blog is an attempt at creating a promotional tool for my book. If I can get people reading this, then perhaps I can get people to buy the book. I’ve got no idea how to do this online marketing thing, but I am going to try to learn, and this blog is going to be all about my progress.