Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Magic in Self-Publishing

According to Wicked Local, a local Sandwich (that’s a town) author is about to come out with her fourth children’s book. The Little Cape Cod Witch Cookbook was the first, followed by The Cape Cod Witch and the Legend of the Pirate. The author, J. Bean Palmer (Annie to her friends), wrote the series for her granddaughter.

She decided that no first-time author would get published by a big house, so she did it herself, hiring an illustrator to do the pictures. The books feature easy, healthy recipes. She’s now thinking of a series for her new grandson “about an orphaned boy on a distant planet who’s kidnapped by a group of space pirates.” No mention of recipes for him.

So far she’s sold 3,000 copies of her books.

The part that surprised me? Her books are available at bookstores throughout the Cape.

That’s it. No Amazon. No B&N.com. No website URL. Just bookstores and tea shops and a museum and an inn and “other bookstores throughout the Cape.” Unless the article just failed to mention all the online places the books are for sale, she’s missing a huge audience.

The moral of this story is, if you’re gonna cook up a book, make it easy to buy. Don't y'all agree?
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32 comments:

  1. I love hearing stories like this, just because it's a nice reminder that success can come in unexpected ways, and we shouldn't be afraid to try.

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  2. I think it's great that she's avoiding all this internet mumbo jumbo.

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  3. That's great! And without Paul's "internet mumbo jumbo" she has time to cook up memories with her grandkids--priceless.
    (oh it's way too early for this. sorry.)
    Mary
    Giggles and Guns

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  4. If that's all she's doing, then that's pretty amazing.

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  5. I'm with India. I love hearing these kinds of stories, too. It's a tough market but you can succeed!

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  6. Very interesting. Why not have a website? Why not get it on Amazon etc.? Does she have a reason?

    If she's savvy enough to get the book self-published, she must know about the the big wide web and its possibilities. Unless someone else took care of publishing it.

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  7. I liked the name of the town: Sandwich >:)

    Close to where I'm living, there is a town named Hell, apparently a nice place (the way I see it), but it's not >:)))

    Cold As Heaven

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  8. Pretty good figures. She's either a dedicated door knocker or she knows someone who knows someone. I'm surprised she's not online. If she's savy enough to do this well, online makes sense.

    Have you thought about contacting her for an interview? I'd be interested.

    Peace, Simon.

    "Where do you live?"
    "Sandwich."
    "No thanks. I've had lunch."

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  9. Hopefully she has a website or blog where they books can be purchased online. They sound like an cute series.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  10. You're right, maybe she doesn't want to go online. Perhaps she just wants the stories to be for her grandkids and visitors to the area. If so, that's fine.

    Thanks for the mini story, Simon!

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  11. There's a certain charm to this story, bringing us back to those pre-internet days.

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  12. I'm wondering how she got it in so many shops! Distribution is the big negative factor for self-pubbing...unless it's a Kindle book, etc.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  13. It strikes me that she may not know that there are larger options out there...but it may not matter. I agree...her whole concept is priceless...and I live close enough that I might be able to pick up copy some where1

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  14. Absolutely. It isn't hard to get it set up on Amazon. Especially, if someone saw it while on vacation and decided to get it when they got home....

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  15. I can only imagine what that 3,000 figure might be if the book was available in other places and online. Maybe she's working up to it.

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  16. Elizabeth, it depends how you self-publish. Mine has a distributor and got my memoir everyplace it needed to be. I bet this author is doing it exactly as she wants and needs to do it, and I am quite impressed. Good for her!
    karen

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  17. I know authors here in NC that have done this and my hat's off to them - it's a lot of work to do it all in the physical.

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  18. ...inspiring:) goes to show that if you want it bad enough, it can happen. Magic indeed!

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  19. "Don't y'all agree?"

    I most certainly DO agree, Ma'am!

    The Old Silly

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  20. Agreed! When I first self-published my book, I went hard cover only and forsook soft bound and e-book. However, I'm having iUniverse make it available in soft bound and ebook this month. Like you said, make it easy for people to buy.

    Stephen Tremp

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  21. She has certainly worked hard to get those sales. I googled J Bean Palmer and found her on Amazon. Not sure if it the same person.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&sort=relevancerank&search-alias=books&field-author=J%20Bean%20Palmer

    Interesting post, thanks Helen.

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  22. It is charming and she has sold quite a few books. I'm guessing this is a tourist destination and having it in local shops is a draw to visitors. Plus, it's a cute series.

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  23. Thanks Glynis. I'm glad she's on Amazon. That probably accounts for the number of sales.

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  24. That is an encouraging story for writers who want to zero in on a specific type of book. I'm sure her success has as much to do with the unusual concept as with marketing,etc. How many other people are doing witch books with recipes? LOL What a clever idea.

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  25. 3K is a respectable number for not being on the big name sites. She should take a ride along the coast and get in all those little bookshops along the beach fronts and see what her little book can do.

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  26. Especially, Maryann, when you add it that she's doing witch books with recipes for kids!

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  27. I'd love to know how she got beyond the unreturned phonecalls and you'll have to speak to someone elses at those stores. Maybe she should write a book about it.

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  28. What a great story! I'm impressed. I bet she'd sell a lot more with a few easy access links!

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  29. Sheila, since she lives in the area, she probably did in-person visits with the store owners.

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  30. The sales are impressive but if she is a well known local that might encourage storeowners to carry her books and tourists to buy them. Whatever you are doing there is a lot to be said for being in the right place at the right time. This must be her place and her time.
    Ann

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  31. Nice story, and good for that author.

    And yeah, I could see how all of the one-on-one marketing would get old quickly when there was no web presence to support the effort.

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  32. Could it be the title that sells the book?

    Really Angelic

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