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Impatient!

I’m a bad, impatient person! Foot in mouth Had an email from the lovely Natalie (have to say that now I know she reads my blog, LOL) to say that there IS interest from the local press. It’s just taken a while as they like to actually read the books before reviewing them. Makes sense to me, otherwise they’d just be judging a book by its cover – sorry about the literary pun: I talk rubbish when I’m tired! I know that promotion is an ongoing thing, but I’m just so desperate to hear what people think of the book (so I know whether it’s worth writing anything else)! It was so difficult, physically and mentally, to write ‘Karma’ that I need it to have been worthwhile…and available in shops, for that matter! Anyway, I’m expecting a call from a journalist from the Sunday Sun tomorrow. Yay – if I can answer their questions eloquently, but Sealed if I get my words all mixed up and they think they’re speaking to an idiot!

Now to other news. Enquiring minds want to know: I’ve been ‘speaking’ to a very successful writer via email, and his story really was inspirational – don’t want to mention who, but he has been very helpful. I have this thing where, if I see a ‘contact me’ link on a website, I feel compelled to do just that. I’ve ‘spoken’ to some very nice people who I would never dare approach in real life such as: MaryJanice Davidson, Mike Gayle, Carole Matthews and even Mark Jones. I blush just thinking about speaking to people in person – I even blush on the telephone, sometimes!

The good people at Independent Northern Publishers have offered to stock my book on their stand at Hexham Book Festival, so I’ll be there next Saturday morning trying to drum up some interest. How will you recognise me if you’re attending this fantastic event? I’ll be the woman with the face a fetching magenta colour…remind me not to wear anything orange, or I’ll clash.

Someone gave me contact details to get my book in front of people like Richard and Judy, Philip and Fern, etc – that’s what I was considering when I last did my blog. I thought about it and realised that I’m not a TV show kinda gal – I’m way too boring and not ashamed to admit it. Plus if you factor in the amount of colour-corrective make-up they’d have to use on set, then it probably wouldn’t be commercially viable…

Anyway, I’m sorry that this post has been a bit disjointed. I’m still tired after a day out yesterday with my mam (had recent knee replacement) and grandma (80, and just come out of hospital) and I’M the only one who’s knackered today! I’m sure there are other things I wanted to tell you, but I’ve forgotten…Embarassed

PS Thanks for all the entries to the review competition so far!


Part Two: Competition – win an Amazon voucher!

It’s pretty straightforward. All you have to do is write a review of my book, Karma, in less than 300 words and the most well-written review, according to the judge, will win a £15 Amazon voucher. You don’t need to have bought the book to enter, but you do need to have read the book – believe me, we’ll know if you haven’t! Also, and I can’t stress this enough, you don’t even have to enjoy the book to win: positive and negative reviews are welcome, and will be given equal consideration. Can’t say fairer than that, but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Have fun, and best of luck!

THE RULES:

* Entries should have the word ‘Competition’ in the email subject field, and be submitted to hollyamberharvey@yahoo.co.uk
* Closing date is noon, Friday, 4 May 2007 – no entries will be considered after this time. No responsibilty can be accepted for entries that do not arrive or cannot be opened/read.
* Entries can be sent as word documents/attachments or within the body of an email.
* Entry is limited to one per person, and must be submitted by email. Email address given will be used to send prize to successful contestant, and will not be used for any other purpose. Email addresses will not be retained following judging.
* Entry is open to anyone within the UK who has read the book, except employees or relatives of Henry’s Books.
* There is no cash/voucher alternative. The prize of a £15 Amazon voucher will be emailed to the winner within two weeks of the closing date.
* The winner will be notified by email, within one week of the closing date, and will be announced on my Blog the following week.
* The winning entry will be the review deemed to be the most well-written, in the opinion of the judge. The judge’s decision is final, and discussion will not be entered into. Names and email addresses will be removed from reviews, prior to judging, to ensure fairness. The name of the independent judge will be released, on request.
* By entering this competition, entrants accept that their names/reviews may be published and/or used in promotion related to the book, Karma.
* BookForce and its subsidiaries have no involvement in this promotion. Any questions can be addressed to the competition email address.


Part One: Borders…finally!

Hello – sorry I haven’t updated for a while. Been feeling a bit rough this week (so missed quiz night – sorry team). Not much has happened since I last blogged. I had two more lovely reviews on Amazon, and a few people have said they’ve enjoyed the story – not a lot of feedback, though (hence blog Part Two).

I have still had no interest from any media source at all. I even sent a press release to the local free paper. Didn’t get a reply. I was asked to post a copy of my press release (that the publisher wrote and distributed) to a book promotion group I’m part of…they slated it. One said she was a reporter and, to her, there was no story – she said she would have deleted it. Guess there’s a pile of Karma press releases sitting in various computer recycle bins across the nation Cry ! I have had a lot of advice from these people, but I get the feeling that without lots of money and knowing the right people, its going to be like climbing a mountain…in flip-flops.

Yesterday, I had to go to the local Retail Park, so decided to ask Borders’ staff why some people hadn’t been able to order Karma from their stores. At first, he couldn’t find it, but then it came up on their system. The wholesalers they use is Gardners, so he said there was no reason it couldn’t be ordered, except that it was out of stock at Gardners. So does that mean it’s out of stock again, or does it mean no more stock was ordered/sent? I just don’t know. He told me that Borders have a policy of supporting local authors, and asked a supervisor to come down. She doesn’t deal with these things, but told me that the woman responsible would be in today. She took a copy of my book and my contact number, telling me that someone would call me tomorrow (today). Hmmm…it’s now 3.12pm on a Sunday (early closing) and I haven’t heard a word. At least I approached them though. That’s the main thing. I’m trying to be proactive!

It seems as though most newspapers and magazines review books from people who are already known, and sell based on their previous success. On that basis, I don’t stand a chance. So what do newbies do? I’m starting to think that most fade into obscurity – it’s very difficult to stay motivated when you see few results, so check out the second part of today’s blog for my way of finding out what people REALLY think!

Oh, and I found out that James Martin is doing a book-signing in Leeds. That’s MUCH closer! Perhaps I should go – all in the name of research, of course – and try and convince them to stock my book while I’m there? The lengths I’m prepared to go to in order to sell my book. That’s dedication for you! Laughing

NOTE: Flying in the face of everything I said last week about me not feeling like I could inspire anyone, please take a look at this website: http://www.thatsinspiration.com/index.html It seems like a great website, and the stories on it really do make my own pale into insignificance – I can’t even believe that they included me! It’s a very good concept, and it’s certainly worth taking a look at this site. Happy browsing!


Is it Fate…or Karma?

First, can I just answer a question that keeps popping up: why the pen name? I wrote the book in the ‘first person’ style – it seemed to give me a better understanding of the character, Paige. Being Holly A. Harvey also allowed me to write more freely. I had hoped it would avoid the following scenario from family and friends: am I in the book/is that character such and such/did that really happen? The characters are probably composites of many people that I have encountered throughout my life – if people choose to see themselves or someone they know, then I can do little about that. However, they are fictional characters. There are aspects of the storyline that may be based on a funny incident that I heard about/experienced/saw. However, it is a fictional story – it did not happen. That said, I think Paige is a lovely character (and, if she were real, would be a great friend to have) but she too is, as I would say when I was young, pretendy!

Back to reality. Still a little upset by the apparent lack of interest in the book. I’ve had some excellent feedback from those who’ve read it, but still no press reviews (which translates to ‘still no publicity’ Cry). I can’t force them to read it, so not sure what to do next – don’t want to pester people. I had a chance encounter with a gentleman from Cogito Books (Hexham) – as it happens, he is involved in Hexham Book Festival, and had just had an email from my publisher last week. Small world! He was at Sarah’s shop when I went in to pick up a book I’d ordered. We got talking and he promised to get in touch with my publisher.

I also have one more avenue to try, but I don’t want to elaborate on that yet – I will need some more of my promotional copies of the book before I can put that plan into action anyway. Aside from that, I have no irons in the fire. I can’t even use the advice/resources on WriteWords as I can’t afford the subscription yet. I just can’t think what to try next – I don’t want to waste my good fortune, and need to get my thinking cap on (that was metaphorical: I promise I didn’t buy that one on eBay!)

So where do I stand?

  • ‘Real’ bookshops: books in stock at Henry’s, and Waterstones (Hexham). The lady I spoke to in Waterstones (Newcastle) hasn’t got back to me yet, but at least we’ve exchanged emails and spoken on the telephone. Metrocentre branch ignored all my emails, so not much hope there. And WHSmith…nothing. No surprise there, then. Borders – I haven’t contacted them yet, but I will…soon!
  • Online: I’m back in stock at Amazon, and seem to be available at all other outlets (well, not me personally, the book).
  • Events: no more signings planned (though I will try to fulfil any request made through Henry’s Books); possibility of involvement in the Hexham Book Festival
  • Reviews (media): none, zero, zilch – where am I going wrong???
  • Reviews (general): verbal reviews are positive…so far!
  • Gardners (book wholesalers): the local representative is promoting the book in the North East – hopefully that will help.

My fingers have been crossed so long that it’s a wonder they haven’t fused together!


The real me.

Just a quickie. If you check out my photos (in the section on the right, marked ‘Albums’) you will see I have added a photo of how I usually am. I am rarely glamorous (if ever), mostly in pyjamas, usually found on the sofa (with or without laptop) but almost always accompanied by my dogs and a cup of coffee or can of Lucozade. I am hugely flattered by those of you who have said I am an inspiration, but I’m really just a very, very ordinary person. I’ve done some things lately, that I never imagined I would do in a million years. Yes, I wrote a book, but the idea of going on holiday or doing other simple things that people take for granted, fills me with fear – that’s hardly inspirational. The people I admire are those who have hurdles in their lives, whether big or small, that fill them with fear…but still tackle them anyway. I have some way to go before I could admire myself…

And please, if you look at the pic, don’t laugh at my pyjamas – they were a gift from my grandma. Back to the topic of book promotion next time, I promise! Smile
Posted by Holly A Harvey at 12:32 | Permanent


Writer's cramp!

I don’t mind telling you this: I’m tired. In fact, I’m exhausted. Has it been worth it?

Has what been worth it, I hear you ask (well, I don’t really hear you, but you know what I mean). Well, first there was the launch. Mid-morning on Thursday (LD – launch day) 30 books arrived at Sarah’s shop. Sarah had already taken several pre-orders for people who couldn’t make the signing, so she was very relieved when the delivery turned up. I was uncharacteristically calm. This was probably because it still didn’t seem real, to me. I rested all day, got my hair straightened (so that I could hide behind it) and then…began to panic! Those darn 30th birthday memories again!

They say you can’t chose your family, but I think if I could, I would have still kept mine. They, along with several friends, were out (on a very cold evening) to support me. I was very grateful, but it was always nice when a stranger came in to have a book signed. I felt a bit silly most of the time, especially when people wanted to have their photo taken with me! The strangest request of the event was being asked to include a mention of the footballer, Gary Speed (obviously a private joke for the people concerned), and the sweetest thing was when someone told me that Karma was the first book they’d ever bought. We were only left with 8 books at the end of the evening, and Sarah has sold several more since.

If I was disappointed in one thing, it was the lack of interest from local press. Press releases were distributed, but no response. I was a little surprised at the EC, as it was their newspaper that ran the competition that I won! Everything we achieved was down to Sarah and myself. Go team us!

Yesterday was a day of rest (almost). I had a telephone interview with a charming gentleman from M.E. Essentials quarterly – that was just like a lovely chat! Apparently, I’m going to be a cover girl (can I still say cover girl at my age?) That’s a bit scary as I am very self-conscious about how I look. So you know it’s a big thing for me to allow you to see the photographs from various things I’ve done this week – see the links at the right of the page. Also, I spoke to the nice Manager of Waterstones in Hexham, who asked me to sign the books they now have in stock.

So, that’s where I was today. Gordon and I made a day of it, so I didn’t get too tired and stressed, and we had a lovely lunch at a cafe called the Cornmill in Hexham. Then, off to Waterstones. The staff were really friendly and didn’t object to Gordon doing a David Bailey and taking photos from all angles. Can I just mention how proud he is of his arty shot, taken at Sarah’s shop? I signed 7 books, and they have shelved them in both ‘local interest/authors’ and in their ‘staff recommendations’ section. I was ridiculously excited and asked Gordon to go back in a take some photos of the books on the shelves (I sat in the coffee shop across the street and had a coffee and yet another rest).

I have pushed my self as far as I could over the past few days, just to make the most of the few opportunities that I’ve had. In all honesty, I’m struggling, both with the promotion side of things and physically, and the warning signs are here that I need to rest, rest, rest. So, I’ll leave it there for now, so I can rest, drink Lucozade Sport and sleep, sleep, sleep.

And has it been worth it? Only time will tell…if I could just get some reviews in, I would feel a lot happier! Even if they’re rubbish, because at least then I know people have read the book! 😀

NOTE: If you have tried to contact me on the website and have had no response, this is because my web designer is on a well-earned break. I hope to get these messages when she returns.


Memory Lane: my 30th birthday party!

You’re probably wondering what my 30th has to do with book promotion…well nothing really, except the book signing tomorrow is triggering some memories.

I had been quite poorly in the months prior to my 30th, and had lost touch with lots of friends. Although I was on a very tight budget, I decided to have a party, just so I could see everyone again. I saved up some money and manged to organise a party. I even designed my own ‘caricature’ invitations (if I can find a jpeg file, I’ll let you see it, though it’s hardly flattering). I was really ill on the day of the party, and stayed in bed until just before I had to leave. When I got there, hardly any of the people I had invited turned up. My close family and friends were there, but lots of others weren’t. I enjoyed the party (despite having to leave early, as I just couldn’t carry on, and then locking myself out of the house) but swore I would never have another event where I was ‘centre of attention’. So now, I’m starting to worry that nobody will come…except my close family and a few friends (Ian and Tom, for the pink Lambrusco).

We’ve already had a bit of a flap. We couldn’t get hold of the books anywhere. The wholesaler that Sarah usually uses has sold out. Now, in some respects, this is obviously a good thing, but a book-signing is pretty difficult without a book to sign! After some frantic phone calls (and some ridiculous ‘Plan B’ scenarios), extra books are being printed as we speak. I’d like to say we can now breathe easy, but I don’t know what to expect tomorrow – I don’t know what people expect from me…except pink Lambrusco, in the case of Ian! Neither Sarah nor myself will rest until the books arrive in the shop (and even then, we’ll probably still not relax).

I’m off now, as I hope to spend the rest of the day:

  • Lying on sofa
  • Having long bubble bath, reading Mike Gayle’s “His ‘n’ Hers”
  • Lying on sofa, part two
  • Lying in bed (not being able to sleep – a great way to avoid the nightmares!)

You probably won’t hear from me tomorrow, but I’ll try and update the Blog sometime at the weekend (and will hopefully include some photos, taken from creative angles so you think there was hundreds of people there). I’m also doing a telephone interview on Friday afternoon with a nice gentleman from M.E. Essentials magazine – will let you know how it goes.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, please! And Ali, hope you’re enjoying the book…although it’s probably a bad sign if you’re reading this blog rather than the book! 😀


Book officially released: so where is it?

Decided to type in a drab colour to reflect how I’m feeling on this, the ‘official’ release date of Karma. Was all hyped up yesterday, as I’d been given some great promotion/marketing tips…then my mam said she’d been into Waterstones and was told they weren’t stocking it. My husband was told that it wasn’t in WHSmith either…

So, tell me, why all the hard work and effort (not just the stuff that went into writing the book, but subsequently)? I can push the book as much as I am able, but if people can’t walk into a shop and buy it, how will I ever sell any? I know it is selling at online retailers, but it was my dream to be able to walk in to various bookshops and see my work sharing a shelf with all the authors that I admire.

I guess I’m just feeling a bit upset, as my grandma was taken to hospital yesterday…I thought I’d try and take my mind off it by forcing myself to try and arrange some book signings. It’s not really working yet, and the lack of interest from shops’ book buyers is getting me down further.

EDIT: change of colour to denote change of mood. Spoke to lovely, lovely lady at Waterstones in Hexham and she’s going to stock the book! Yay! She also advised me to try and get a mention in the Hexham Courant, so I’ve had to get in touch with publisher to ask if they’ve sent them a press release. Woohoo!


Just a quickie!

Hello – I’ve been getting a lot of advice this weekend, on how to get my book noticed. All of it fantastic – it has given me a lot to think about, and has got me excited about the book again! So, this afternoon, I emailed Hexham Book Festival to ask if I could take part in some way. It’s very short notice, as it is only next month, but I thought it would be useful if I could even just stand (OK, probably sit…or lean against a wall) there, handing out flyers for my book. It’s amazing how much promotion/research you can do whilst lying on the sofa, watching Ugly Betty, laptop on knee…

Also, my web designer has got my website up and running – it’s pretty, user-friendly and I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw it! It made everything even more ‘real’. She also gave me a much appreciated ‘good luck’ gift, which was very kind of her. While I’m expressing gratitude, another thanks to: Sarah (who’s been leaflet-dropping again ahead of this week’s book-signing…eeeeek!); Mark (who’s become an unofficial Literary Agent) and is advertising my book amongst his legion of fans; everyone at WriteWords for patiently answering my questions and offering me good, sensible advice; and last but not least, the gang at BookForce who sent me a ‘congratulations on the publication of Karma’ card. They probably send a card to each of their authors, but it still meant a lot to me!

So, this week: book officially published tomorrow (although seems to be on sale now); must contact Waterstones and Borders (almost giving up on WHSmith); and I have emailed publishers to ask what they’re doing by way of PR, so I don’t step on any toes, before deciding what to do next! Bye for now!

IMPORTANT NOTE: a HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported me in any way, shape or form. If the book is a success, it will be down to you lot! x


The nightmares have started…

Hi – spent ages typing a new page yesterday, and then there was an error! Then, I had a nightmare last night where I thought I’d sold hundreds of books and I’d only sold thirty…

I finally got hold of some books, and duly sent them off again. I really hope that the recipients enjoy the story, but I’d like to say the following: I’m not an auditionee on the X-Factor. I won’t have a strop if you tell me the book’s rubbish, and I would far prefer you to be honest with me. I’d rather people didn’t pretend I was talented if I’m talentless!

Sarah got her posters and leaflets. I took a few off her and my mam (yes, my mam) ended up leaving some in the library, my auntie’s shop and some local shops, as I was too embarrassed to do so – it’s really pathetic at my age, I know! I, on my meagre budget, managed to get a good deal at M&S on some pretty pink sparkling Lambrusco and some Bucks Fizz (classy and 20% off 😀 ) for the ‘official launch’. We couldn’t have nibbles in case Sarah’s stock was damaged, so I ordered some nice pink, lilac and turquoise sweeties. Mmm, chocolate (with a stock-friendly crispy shell). They should come today, but I can’t promise they’ll last until Thursday…

Apart from the fact that I’m useless at self-promotion, I’ve had another issue. You’ll laugh at me when I tell you this: my grandma announced that she’d like to read the book. Whilst it isn’t full of bad language or extremely dirty, it certainly isn’t religious-grandma reading material. It may well be disown-your-granddaughter material, though! After much pleading and begging from me, she has agreed not to read it – this has taken a weight off my mind. I appreciate that she’s just proud, but she really might have been offended by some of the content, so I felt bad.

With regard to Press interest…what Press interest? Even the local newspapers that featured the competition in the first place haven’t been in touch. I’ve heard nothing from the BIG two: Waterstones and WHSmith. As you know, with WHSmith, no news is not good news, but the same applies to Waterstones. I have promised Natalie (who has kindly agreed to contact the radio station, on my behalf, for a copy of my interview) that I’ll get in touch with Borders. By the time I psyche myself up…the book might be out of print! I haven’t heard any feedback from any of the contacts that my publisher has sent the book to, either – does that mean that they don’t like it or they simply haven’t read it??? I must admit that my pessimism has taken hold again, and I fear the worst.

On the positive side, my book is already available at Amazon, and Sarah has sold a couple of copies ahead of the signing. One person has said that she couldn’t stop laughing, which I took as a compliment. I’ve also had an email from someone who is launching a new website, and wants to use my story (the story of me, rather than my story, Karma) on her site. I was very flattered, and I’ll post the site details as soon as it’s up and running.

On an entirely unrelated matter, I was happy to find that James Martin is doing a book signing at Waterstones. Then I found out it was down south…waaaaaayyyyy down south. Too far for me, unfortunately. I bet that he doesn’t have to beg for publicity or to get book shops to allow him to do promotional events for his books!

On that note I’ll leave you. While I feeling slightly proactive, I might give Borders a call… And try and find out what’s happening with my website!

PS Feel free to comment upon any of these posts – these come direct to my email address, and if you have any questions, I’ll try and answer them. All you need to do is click on Comments and complete the box. If there’s a numer beside the word ‘comments’, it means that someone else has left a remark.

EDIT: Just plucked up the courage to ring Borders…the person who deals with in-store events in on holiday, and I have to try again on Monday! Foiled again!