New tool for bookbuyers

Our international distributor Ingram, has announced a new service for book stores which they are calling i-page. All our international titles will be visible on one page and I must say that it seems to be an easy to use tool. Titles, authors and ISBNs are also searchable and once a book is selected it is a simpler matter to compile an order, no matter where you are in the world. I invite you to have a look here. We are not given to bragging, but I have to admit that our list is quite impressive!

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Book Launch

Tanya de Villiers  will be hosting a fun book launch at Skoobs in Montecasino, near Fourways Johannesburg on Saturday Morning 25th. February at 10.00. She will be offering interactive readings for big or small kids, copies of her wonderful book for sale as well as snacks for the grown ups and cupcakes for the kids.

For those who cannot get there and would still like to order the book, please click here. Continue reading

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Exciting new titles

We are really happy to announce five new titles all published in the last couple of months.

Two titles by Belinda Bras-Nel complement each other very well.

Awakening to Angels – How the Angels saved my Life delivers solid and uplifting content about how the angelic realm can help you in your daily life. More here (SA) or from Amazon.

Although the Angel of Death sounds like a grim subject Belinda approaches it with a realness that is comforting to those of us who have lost someone dear to us (and who of us hasn’t?). She includes several true life stories of transitioning to the afterlife as experienced by family members, which gives the book an appealing human quality. More here (SA) or from Amazon.

Children’s books are a new departure for us, but we could just not resist this charming production by Tanya de Villiers with appealing art by Marilie Fouché, especially since it will lead to children leading happier lives. It contains the EFT basic recipe for parents to help their kids overcome issues of unhappiness by tapping out what’s bothering them. More here (SA) or from Amazon.

I am guessing that we all know that the existing system of Law and Life, so long  a system of vassaldom, has to change. Natural Law is a system of justice which works for everybody and this treatise on how it can gradually be introduced is a brilliant in its clarity and outright common sense. More here (SA) or from Amazon.

The words we speak (or even think) can, according to the author, make or break us. Mo is an expert in how language (the spoken or written word or even subconscious languages like hand writing) can influence and change our lives. This book will inspire you to look at how you really express yourself and thus to make fundamental improvements to your quality of life. More here (SA) or Amazon.

Black Friday Sale (which lasts until the 21st December) for South African customers.

We decided to hold a Black Friday Sale which (to be generous) will last right up to Christmas. Our whole Floris Book range became to expensive for our local customers, so we bought the whole stock from them at a much reduced price and can now offer these wonderful volumes at up to an 80% reduction. It includes a lovely range of full colour case bound children’s books, never before offered. To this we added overstock items of our own which we now offer at absurdly low prices. They make wonderful Festive Season presents for thinking people. They are too many to list here, but we invite you to visit our web site for more information.

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Mammoth Sale

We have some really great news for all you readers out there. We have just slashed prices in some cases by as much as 75% which means that bargains are to be had across most titles in our range. Exceptions are front list titles and those for which we hold minimal stocks.

I am sure you are aware of the bad exchange rate between British Pound and the Rand, which has put the wonderful books of Floris Books out of reach for many. I have just negotiated a deal with Floris to buy the balance of the stock at a much reduced price. To use one example, a book that used to cost R345.00, now costs only R86.00. We will hold these prices while stocks last. In some cases we only have four copies in stock, so if you want something it would be best to order now to avoid disappointment later.

Please have a look on our web site now for a feast of reading at prices we are likely to never repeat. At these prices the books also make wonderful gifts, especially if you are on a budget.

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The Passing View

It is a truism that everything is changing very rapidly these days and especially so in the world of books and content. The role and relevance of bricks and mortar bookstores has become outdated. The pressure has been mounting for some years now on the traditional bookstore model and on retail in general.

What have been the main driving factors? Firstly e-readers have taken a big slice out of bookstore turnover and who can blame the public what with instant delivery wherever you are, and a choice of millions of books, many of them free. Secondly the practice of Showrooming must have made a difference too. Amazon now has a free App which allows one to scan any barcode and immediately give you the Amazon price for it, which of course is always cheaper because they do not pay the high rentals that Malls demand. The customer can order the item right there and then from their phone and get prompt and reliable delivery usually within two days.

As publishers we have been itching to get away from the need to supply bookstores because of the Sale or Return requirement (they essentially borrow our books), the large trade discount of 47.5% (which means that 52.5% has to cover the cost of everything else – printing, advertising, plus the cost of the courier to get that one book to them plus author royalties) and the endless problems in actually getting paid (sometimes months later).  Now we are getting our wish because local (South African) bookstores have radically cut down on their approved vendors in an effort to cut costs. We and other small independent publishers are not on the list.

Authors and readers still want to know which bookstores will stock their book, but this is no longer happening. It is better by far for the author to sell their own book and make a profit at it by building up their own support base, both online and physically through workshops, lectures and other exposure. They are the trusted source for their specialty and who could be more passionate about their book?

 

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Mad March Hare Specials

We have been having a look at some of our older and under-appreciated titles and realise that we can offer incredible value on them, so in the next few days I will be posting these offers. They will be available until the end of March.

John Poynton writes exceptionally well, easy and flowing writing that carries you forward and telling an important story about the spiritually transformative effects of the Wilderness Experience.

So the first of the offers will be John Poynton’s Transformation Series where every buyer will get for books for the price of two when bought through us. Read more here.

This applies to our South African readers. Readers in the U.S.A., the U.K. or Australia will have to click on the appropriate flag and choose their currency.

Amazon customers will get a FREE Kindle edition when purchasing any of his books.John Poynton

 

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A new level of desperation in bookstores?

We have known for some time that bookstores are struggling, but the latest two developments at Exclusive Books (South Africa’s biggest and most prestigious book chain) smack of a new level of either desperation or at least a change of tack from selling books. Let me explain.

Firstly, an edict has gone out from the owner that all book purchases (even of one book) now have to be approved by head office. It seems like they no longer trust the managers to buy even on sale or return. This is likely to work out in practice that an approved list will be developed which will include only books from the most popular authors and the two or three biggest publishing houses. This will exclude orders to all the smaller and independent publishers like ourselves.

This sounds like the death knell to smaller publishers, but in fact we have been working on what are known as special sales (non book store sales) for some time now and have become less dependent on book shops. Our main motivation was the wafer thin or non-existent profit margin in bookstore sales what with the high discounts (47.5% + 2.5% payment discount) demanded, the costs of courier delivery and the returns. It is sad to see them go, but in the end no loss to us.

Secondly, the owner of Exclusive Books has (or will shortly) establish a Tapas Bar as part of his flagship store (Hyde Park in Johannesburg). A Tapas Bar to add food to the mix . Personally I can’t see how this will bring in readers. Still it may be a profit center which will compensate for the losses in the bookstore. Good luck to him!

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Getting Clever with Social Media

This weekend I went on a course with Les Squires on being social media savvy.  I was always active but felt that I was not good enough at it; too much time spent with too little results. I am sure that you know the feeling.

Grateful thanks to my friend Dawn Pilatowicz for arranging this. It was a somewhat different experience, at least to start with because Dawn is a part time fund raiser for the Guide and Service dogs, so in addition to the participants we had five dogs attending. Time had to be taken to keep them from attacking each other, but in the end they settled down.

At any rate I learned things I didn’t know, neat tricks to make your social media life more effective which I am happy to pass on here. Les tells us that it is all about curating the content, in other words selecting elements and puttign them together to get a “WOW” result. It is also about organisation vs fragmentation.

  • Google Alerts: Go to Alerts and submit some favorite topics. In our case this would be something like “Healing” or “Weight loss”.  Google will alert you via your gmail account everytime someone searches for your Alert. The double inverted commas are important because otherwise you will get all the alerts for ‘weight’ and ‘loss’ separately and thus get flooded with inappropriate results. Chose your alerts with care. You can elect to get them as thye happen, once a day or once a week.
  • Hashtags: are a device created by Twitterbut now also adopted by Facebook. They search all public groups for content appropriate to you hashtag such as #Weight Loss and report back to you.  You can make it more specific by adding a + in front e.g. +#weight loss. It is also a good idea to make your hashtags unique to you. For example we recently published a book called Aistiq Meditation so we will hashtag it +#aistiqkima.
  • Organizing your bookmarks: On the Firefox browser one can categorise bookmarks into folders, so it is a good idea to place all your social media pages in one folder (private Facebook, business Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google alerts etc.). You then have an option to ‘open all’ which makes it really easy when booting up in the morning. I believe the same can be done on Chrome.
  • Google Drive: is a good place to develop collaborative projects or documents. Everyone who is a member of the group may contribute, add or make changes. It makes for a much quicker process than emails going back and forth. Google Drive is also an excellent place to develop a “resumé”, by making a table of all the sites where you are active or are a part of your working life.

I hope that I was able to pass on some of Les’s wisdom and that you cabn use it to advantage inn your business life.

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Love based copywriting

I recently came across a system called Love Based Copywriting developed by Michele PW.

It is something I have been looking for for years and I am convinced that you as an author (or even not as an author) will find that this fresh approach just what you need to get away from fear based marketing and into a love based approach.

As she says, most traditional copywriting uses a fear based approach, emphasising that you are disempowered, sick, useless and socially unacceptable, and that is why it so often has a taste that is somewhat sleazy, slimy and second-hand-car-salesman-like, leaving a sour and bitter feeling behind. That, in essence, is why most people hate selling.

By contrast love-based copywriting gives one a feeling of joy in service and invites a positive response from your fans and customers.

I downloaded both the Kindle book and the workbook as a PDF and have been doing the exercises and developing new skills. The two books work together, with the text content in the book and the exercises in the work book. Fortunately I have a little tablet as well as a Kindle, so I can have them both open at the same time. I will gradually be re-writing our descriptions and our web site using this method.

Michele says that our first task is to get to know our ideal customer, what her (or his) needs are and what ‘keeps them awake at night’.  As part of this exercise, and to get to know you better I invite you to complete a quick eight question survey. We offer a FREE e-book (your choice from our web site) just for completing the easy questions. So how about giving it a go? Here is the link

Once again, grateful thanks to Michele PW for special gift of service. Highly recommended!

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Spreading the word

Nadine and I are constantly at work to spread the work of our authors as far and wide as we can. As you may know Nadine has been using the cover images to place on products on a whole range of shops, while I have been re-discovering Smashwords.

Smashwords has grown a lot in the last few years, with more options in terms of distribution and many more useful tools. I have to admit that in the early days it was not easy to get books accepted by Apple, mainly because of technical requirements for cross channel conversion, so I just gave up, using the excuse (partly true) that Apple e-book sales are only a small percentage of their business.

Getting e-books into acceptable shape for Apple is still complicated, but smashwords has provided all kinds of tips and tricks to get past the acceptance criteria. It has been a learning curve, but we now have a few books on Smashwords with a steady flow of more to follow. I started with authors that are most active in marketing.Here are some links for you to try:

Liesel Teversham

Nadine May

David Ash

Sharon Hamilton-Green

Smashwords also sells on the a number of other platforms including Flip Kart the biggest e-book retailer in India, which holds huge potential for our body, mind, spirit authors.

Baker & Taylor

gains access to libraries in the USA as well as their own selling platform.

Smashwords also has uselful tools to track the traffic on each book, views, sample downloads and actual purchases.

Please let me know if you would like your book enlisted in this program. It will require some support from you on the principle of “You help us. we help you”. We are excited about the prospects and hope that you are too.

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