Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Moonraker

How did your book sell (if it was published)?

Recommended Posts

JohnSchultz

Like Moggs (11 May post), my main aim was to produce a physical book to honour my grandfather, who was killed leading an assault on the Knoll near the Hindenburg Line in August 1917, having survived the Somme. I wasn't bothered about covering my costs. With quite a few old family photos, research into his early life, and military records and diaries (in the Cheshire volunteers and Birkenhead Bantams), it ended up at over 130 pages. It was nevertheless far too short to interest any commercial publishers, and the market has been crowded anyway. So I set about self-publishing with a specialist company. But I never expected to sell a significant number of copies. When I factored in the costs of paying for image licence fees, ISBN numbers, marketing, and sales admin, I realised it would cost only about half as much to have it printed but not published, and to give it away for free. More to the point, I reckoned I would shift more copies that way, as people who would be put off by having to pay for it might nevertheless express an interest in receiving a free copy. Only trouble is: I can't actually advertise its availability in the Forum's small ads as I haven't reached 50 posts yet! I've given away 40+ copies in the first month out of the 100 printed, including to some Forum correspondents who expressed an interest. Nothing would please me more than to need a reprint. But even if I don't ever shift any more copies, I'm still dead proud of it!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Filsell

Writing, self publishing and obtaining publicity are all hard roads. Getting your work known to your potential market is tough.

Amazon is an obvious place to list them.

However, I am always happy to arrange review of NEW self published books - although they must for obvious reasons be carefully considered when received to ensure they are likely to be of interest to Western Front Association members who receive Stand To! or use the WFA website. 

The quality of authorship and overall quality/importance of the subject are the key. However, if they your book isjudged worthy of a review they are always listed as Also Received and title details and price and contacts are always given for potential purchasers

I am always happy to be contacted via the forum coms system with details of a new book, alternatively my postal address is at the back  of Stand To!

Regards

David Filsell

Book Reviews Editor Stand To!

 

Edited by David Filsell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gunner Bailey

Hi David

 

I launched my book "British Rifle Grenades of the Great War' in the spring and I hope to be at the break even point by the end of August. So far I have only been selling it at Militaria fairs and via some on line forums and ordnance discussion groups.

 

It has been very popular with collectors and the fact that the UK's greatest grenade expert - Norman Bonney checked it for me means that I've not had a single letter pointing out I had a fact wrong (which pleases me no end). I think it is now the definitive book on the subject.

 

I produced the book on Microsoft Publisher, and had it printed by an academic publisher in Devon. Overall the process was very smooth and only needed 2 proof copies to get the colour right.

 

So far copies have gone to the USA, Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, France and Belgium, in addition to a lot of copies in the UK.

 

My next book is 75% done and covers the development of the Mills grenade 1915-1918.

 

Anyone thinking of self publishing should go for it. It won't kill you though it may cost you if your subject is very niche.

 

John

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gunner Bailey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Filsell

For information of other authors, I have asked GB for review copies of both books for Stand To! Any other takers?

Regards

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
squirrel

I sent a copy of my book to StandTo! for review and there was just an acknowledgement that it had been received - no review was printed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Filsell

Squirrel,

Apologies. First, may I assure you that no book received has remained unreviewed. All reviews have been published in ST or on the WFA site.

i carefully log every book in as received. Although one or two reviewers have in the past failed to deliver copy - and have been removed from the panel - and one or two books sent were not received. Onefrom a publisher went missing in the post.

I will happily recheck by title if you send it to me.

 For information I have been receiving between 30 to 40 books in for review for each edition during my period as reviews Editor and, obviously things can go awry. If you would care to to send me another copy I will be more than happy to arrange a review.

Regards

David

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
squirrel
7 hours ago, David Filsell said:

Squirrel,

Apologies. First, may I assure you that no book received has remained unreviewed. All reviews have been published in ST or on the WFA site.

i carefully log every book in as received. Although one or two reviewers have in the past failed to deliver copy - and have been removed from the panel - and one or two books sent were not received. Onefrom a publisher went missing in the post.

I will happily recheck by title if you send it to me.

 For information I have been receiving between 30 to 40 books in for review for each edition during my period as reviews Editor and, obviously things can go awry. If you would care to to send me another copy I will be more than happy to arrange a review.

Regards

David

 

Thank you David. If you would send me a pm with the address details to send it to it will be appreciated. The acknowledgement of receipt of the previous copy sent was in Stand To! number 114 February 2019.

Edited by squirrel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Felix C

I created a Facebook page and contribute to content in related pages where I am a trusted source. The Admins allow me to post and folks come to the FB page to follow developments. 

About 250+ copies sold thus far. 540-odd FB folk following the site. 

Occasionally post an update here.

Created a free website which has some traffic. 

Contributor on some forums as a trusted source so post in the books section.

 

I should make a video. Too modest to do so. 

 

 

 

Edited by Felix C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jaeger6

@JohnSchultz When exactly did the assault happen? Was it possibly on August 19?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JohnSchultz

It certainly was. My grandfather was the Company Commander in charge of W Company of the 15th Cheshires. He died of wounds later that day. Let me know if you'd like a complimentary copy of my book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jaeger6

Dear @JohnSchultz

I would be delighted!

My great-greatuncle Ernst Komander fought on the other side as a private in the 2nd Company of the Jaeger-Regiment 6. Like your grandfather, he was wounded in this attack and he died of wounds two days later in the Feldlazarett 109 at Bertry. He is buried on the German war cemetery in Caudry, block 2, grave 56.

 

Markus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JohnSchultz

Markus,

 

All I need is your postal address. If you're unsure about the security of sending it via a posting.  No problem for me if you live outside the UK: I've already posted copies to Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, and Ireland.

 

Best wishes,

 

John.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gibbo
On 13/05/2019 at 12:22, Resurgam13 said:

"Superior Force" and "Straits" were both fairly widely distributed. "Superior Force" only appeared in paperback, but there was a short hardback print run (I was told one hundred) of "Straits" intended solely for libraries, which sold out. "The Millstone" suffered from being at the printers when the University Press was shut down, and very few were distributed. What I do not understand is why no copy appears to be held at the British Library.

 

As far as the University of Hull goes, it doesn't surprise me.

 

The publisher is supposed to send the British Library a copy. Given the timing of the  printing of your 3rd volume and the closure of your publisher, perhaps the person responsible had been made redundant before this was done?

 

The other copyright libraries are entitled to request a copy but it's up to them to do so. Some publishers send them one without waiting to be asked but they aren't obliged to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Phil Wood
On 11/05/2019 at 16:55, Bernard_Lewis said:

My old tutor on a local history diploma course offered sage advice about (endless) researching and writing:

 

"Have a target: like publishing it BEFORE you die..."

 

Bernard

 

Now that strikes home!  I struggle with my two 'books in  waiting' as the research appears to be endless. I gather ever more information leading to the next problem, what to leave out?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Filsell

Phil,

Hope this is of some help.

Fact is it's hard to know what you could/should leave out. Re-reading final 'finished' - its never finished until it's in print - copy is a start. Do you need every word you have written? Repetition, deviation, over writing, stating the bleeding obvious, saying in six words what you could express in one or two and overuse of adjectives all need watching.

Edit and re-edit your work.

Hard editing by the author is not easy, not least he or she must look hard at every single phrase to ensure it is clear and in straight forward English (see Orwells rules - they have stood the test of time). Fact is that an author's pleasure in his own writing - or over writin can be a reader's misery. 

Once you are sure of the factual basis of your authorship - check and recheck the 'facts'. Are they correct.  If unclear qualify them

It is obviously best for the final text to be edited a by professional editor with a broad knowledge of the subject. Good editors are expensive. Good editors are also a joy to work with and can improve your final draft.

Alternatively, and cheaper, is literate pal. - one capable of spotting grammatical and authorial infelicities and capable of ensuring 'tidy' copy.

Notes and refs for any book based on facts are essential in my view. They lend authority to your work (and put the notes and refs in as you write your copy -it's a real slog to start adding them once you have a finished document). 

Regards

David

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Crunchy

I am very fortunate that The Landing at Anzac. 1915 (2011 and 2015) has done surprisingly well. To date over 4000 copies sold, including the Second Edition, and still selling in the bookshops and at the Australian War Memorial.  I owe that success entirely to the Australian Army History Unit (AAHU) who accepted the manuscript, and funded its production through Big Sky Publishing.  AAHU have been a boon to a host of Australians writing academic level military history, and enabled the genre to rise above the hyperbole and hubris that mars much of our earlier histories, and are the leaders in publishing Australian military history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DigNap15

I have always had the dream of writing a book on several military subjects.

But I always run out of time and steam.

But I take my hat off to all those authors who have finished a book and got it published.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Phil Wood
On 21/08/2019 at 12:52, David Filsell said:

Phil,

Hope this is of some help.

Fact is it's hard to know what you could/should leave out. Re-reading final 'finished' - its never finished until it's in print - copy is a start. Do you need every word you have written? Repetition, deviation, over writing, stating the bleeding obvious, saying in six words what you could express in one or two and overuse of adjectives all need watching.

Edit and re-edit your work.

Hard editing by the author is not easy, not least he or she must look hard at every single phrase to ensure it is clear and in straight forward English (see Orwells rules - they have stood the test of time). Fact is that an author's pleasure in his own writing - or over writin can be a reader's misery. 

Once you are sure of the factual basis of your authorship - check and recheck the 'facts'. Are they correct.  If unclear qualify them

It is obviously best for the final text to be edited a by professional editor with a broad knowledge of the subject. Good editors are expensive. Good editors are also a joy to work with and can improve your final draft.

Alternatively, and cheaper, is literate pal. - one capable of spotting grammatical and authorial infelicities and capable of ensuring 'tidy' copy.

Notes and refs for any book based on facts are essential in my view. They lend authority to your work (and put the notes and refs in as you write your copy -it's a real slog to start adding them once you have a finished document). 

Regards

David

There is no money in them, so a literate pal it will be!  I know I can cut, cut, cut my over-verbose prose, but there isn't really room in a sensibly sized book for all the facts I have gathered - which of those are the more important/relevant is my real problem. There is also the problem with the war memorial book that, as it's aimed at the local interest market more than the Great War market, it really needs far more explanation of the war than will possibly fit!   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Filsell

Phil,

Noted

No easy answers.

But  go for the verbosity, use your judgement on the relevance. Simple is good

Then find the friend. 

Regards

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Robert Dunlop
On 21/08/2019 at 23:08, Crunchy said:

I am very fortunate that The Landing at Anzac. 1915 (2011 and 2015) has done surprisingly well.

Chris, you are too modest. A super book, beautifully written and well illustrated. Congratulations and well deserved. AAHU did well to complement your book with 'The Ottoman Defence against the ANZAC landing', by Mesut Uyar. 

 

Robert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Matt JB

My book is Sevenoaks, The Great War and its Legacy, published October last year. I was let down by a well known publisher and so self published. The silver lining of this is that I gained much more control over the presentation and illustrations.

 

The book has sold well through our local independent bookshop and some other local outlets. Frustratingly, the local National Trust property are not stocking it,  despite a whole chapter and many references on them.

 

WHSmiths have also not been interested. The manager said write to head office, head office said that the store manager can make local decisions on books like this. Frustrating as the British Bookshop would like to stock it but are owned by WHSmiths.

 

Local fairs, guided walks, and having a stall at film screeninings etc have all been good sales techniques.

 

David Filsell was kind enough to publish a good review of it in the last but one Stand To!

 

I tried to ensure this book had a broad range and material for a general reader, as well as those more informed. Have included women, conscientious objectors, Belgian Refugees, and hidden casualties - what happened after the war. Local postcards are good illustrations and also appeal to the generalist market.

 

I’m pleased I did it. I covered my costs and most of all just want the men and their stories to be remembered. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Filsell

MJB,

Thank  you for your courteous comment.

Regards

David

Edited by David Filsell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Crunchy
On 24/08/2019 at 15:10, Robert Dunlop said:

Chris, you are too modest. A super book, beautifully written and well illustrated. Congratulations and well deserved. AAHU did well to complement your book with 'The Ottoman Defence against the ANZAC landing', by Mesut Uyar. 

 

Robert

Robert,

 

Thank you for your very generous comments, but I do owe a lot to the AAHU. It wouldn't be the book it is without them.

 

Warm Regards

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Robert Dunlop

I understand, Chris. From experience, a good publisher can make a big difference to the whole process. I enjoyed self-publishing the book on Mons, which was a translation of the German official history. A very different process but gave some valuable insights. 

 

Robert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gunner Bailey
On 22/08/2019 at 07:49, DigNap15 said:

I have always had the dream of writing a book on several military subjects.

But I always run out of time and steam.

But I take my hat off to all those authors who have finished a book and got it published.

 

 

Trying to write a book is a great learning process. A few years ago I had a try at writing the history of the Mills Grenade. However by the time I'd got to about 230 pages I realised there were too many gaps in my knowledge and a lot of what I had written may have been opinions from collectors, rather than documented facts.

 

So I left it.

 

I'm now having another go and am much surer of my subject.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...