Self-Publishing is very hard work. I reflected on this as I packed and labelled eighty individually ordered copies yesterday, lugged them to Shepherds Bush Post Office (approx 50kg!) and stood in line for 55 minutes to reach the counter at what I contend is the worst managed post office branch in the world. Today I was doing the same thing but ran out of books, which is something of a relief, albeit temporary.
I next have to start phoning up books section editors and persuading publications to review the book, then send out the review copies. That is for all the national and major regional press, political publications, international relations publications and Africa publications. Just finding the phone numbers will be a major task. I expect to spend most of next week on it.
(On Tuesday I am giving evidence to an Uzbek immigration asylum appeal, and on Thursday evening am speaking at the Oxford Union against Oliver Kamm and others, on the motion that “This House Believes that George Bush Has Made The World a Safer Place”. On Saturday I have a meeting in Copenhagen I’ll tell you more about later.)
But the biggest single task I have is getting the book into bookshops. As of today, to my knowledge not a single bookshop is selling it. The book is registered on the computer indexes that bookshops use for ordering, and I rather presumed that given all the publicity and the Mail on Sunday extracts, orders from bookshops would start to come in. But so far, nothing.
Again, this looks like it is going to have to be a question of somehow getting together a phone list and bashing the telephone. This is where help would be particularly welcome. If any readers know their local bookstores, I should be most grateful if you spoke to them and could suggest they stock The Catholic Orangemen. It should be available through their normal ordering method.
Any feedback you can give on the response, positive or negative, would be most welcome.
It could be that the association of the dread word “Schillings” with the book has scared off booksellers (who can also be sued). If the question is raised by the bookseller, it is worth refuting any question of a libel threat to the book. Catholic Orangemen is all over the web, the key bits were published by the Mail on Sunday, and it is happily being distributed by me and by Amazon. Nobody has heard anything from lawyers since a warning letter to Mainstream 18 months ago. Nobody has received any threat relating to libel since publication.
Similar conversations with libraries would also be helpful.
I have incidentally started the extraordinarily long-winded procedure used by Waterstones to qualify as a publisher for the book to be accepted in their branches.
I feel rather guilty; bloggers aren’t really supposed to keep urging their readers to do things for them!