Help Wanted 13

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!

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13 thoughts on “Help Wanted

  • MJ

    As someone who makes half his income selling books online (through Amazon Marketplace), may I offer a couple of small pieces of advice?

    Firstly, the bookseller you need to work on the hardest is WH Smith. They not only sell books in their own shops but are also a major distributor to other chains. Crack Smiths and the rest may soon follow.

    Secondly, if you're doing a lot of mailing yourself, you don't need to queue up at your local PO and get each item individually processed. Instead, go to the Royal Mail's web site and use their online service. You pay by credit card and then you get a limited time to print off the label. You can then either put the parcels in a letter box or, if you've got a lot, take a sackload to the PO and you should be able to queue-hop and hand them straight over at the parcel counter. Once they get to know you they'll be ready and waiting as soon as you appear through the door.

  • merkinonparis

    I just phoned the local bookshop here in the village.

    No copies at present – though the lady said to me 'I saw that book in the paper and should have remembered to order some'.

    I asked if she would have a copy in, soon, that I could browse and she said 'Yes, ASAP'.

    Step by step.

  • Ican'tsaymyname

    Mr Murray,

    Regarding your meeting at the Oxford Union, please mention about preparations by the US to go to war in Afghanistan long before 9/11, 2001. For instance, in early 2001 there were confidential meetings in Tashkent and by May 2001 Uzbek officials hastily adopted the law on transit of foreign military contingents and cargo. At that time many people in Uzbek political establishment would not even imagine that the law was to cover the legal base for transit of NATO/US military through the territory of Uzbekistan. You can trust me, it is a fact that the law was adopted on 21 May 2001 and by end of June there were several Cabinet of Ministers' instructions on how to provide the smooth and safe transit of foreighn troops through Uzbekistan. On 7th of October that year the US began invasion of Afghanistan.

  • Stevie


    I went into my local Borders (Stockton) today and equired about the book. They told me they are expecting delivery on 4th Feb which is good news. Also there was the biggest demonstration in decades in Teesside today (Middlesbrough) against the Israeli attacks!

    Thanks for the book – it arrived today and I am loving it.

  • shafiur

    Borders in Cambridge looked it up. Their system is telling them that it is to be published on 5th February. "We should have it in after then but it doesn't say anything else here…"

  • Matt

    "I feel rather guilty; bloggers aren't really supposed to keep urging their readers to do things for them!"

    I don't see why not – it is all in an excellent cause after all. I take my hat off to you!

  • Kalle Kniivila

    Please tell more about your Copenhagen appointment! Is it a public talk? Would there be a possibility for a short interview with you, in case I can convince my paper that we should have one with you?

  • OrwellianUK


    Might I suggest you put together a little 'press release' explaining about who you are etc., together with the details about the book, why you are self publishing and the 'chilling' tactic used by shillings and how this was only a bluff to frighten off your publisher?

    You could post this as a single page PDF for us to print out and that way we wouldn't be making any statements about the book or you which are inaccurate

  • Brennig Jones


    Managers of stores are open to contact with regard to booksigning sessions. I've done three self-arranged signings. Fortunately I took along a stock of books for the first, we ran out of shelf-stock.

    If you're successful in this, having some A3 posters and other promo material will help.

  • Mike

    Slightly off topic but had notification from Amazon that "Orangemen" has now been dispatched and is winging its way to my humble abode.Worth the wait I'm sure.Best wishes.Any chance of a UK tour?

  • MRW

    Why haven't you checked out BookSurge, Amazon's vanity printing arm. They handle the printing and distribution for you.

  • Bananas in the Falkl

    I asked my library to get it [post the goon squad intervention at your publishers to be], the library decided that i should opt for the pdf which i did not know was up. They seemed to be unaware you are producing a dead tree version.

    I've since printed it out, but i have not got round to reading it yet.

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