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Archive for June, 2016

Relieved

The Windsor book is out and it looks fine.  Phew!  People at the racecourse are pleased with it.  We are, however, well behind on the marketing front compared with previous books.  I had expected to be interviewed by the compere there on Monday evening but seeing as the poor weather for most of that day kept the crowd well below expectations, I suggested we defer it until a day with a bigger attendance.  He can’t interview me at every meeting.  The new plan is to do it next Saturday, Gentlemen’s Day.  How many of the gents are prospective book buyers, I wonder?  I hope there can be a second on-course interview later in the summer, ideally to coincide with a book signing – the signer being someone rather better known than me.

The compere is a top man. I will refrain from naming him in order to spare his blushes.  He has contributed to the content and the promotion of my previous books and he is always very supportive.  He’s one of those people who you invariably feel better for having talked to him.

My own marketing duties include contacting people on my mailing list to alert them to the existence and availability of the Windsor book. I also need to send complementary copies to some of my prime helpers who gave me their time, life stories, family histories or photographs from their private collections.

A trip to Uttoxeter last week yielded very welcome news about the number of sales of their book. They’re higher than I dared hope after only seven months.  It’s quickly leapt into second place (behind Fontwell) in terms of total sales.  They have covered their costs, so they’re happy.  By naming their recently-refurbished restaurant “1907”, the year the course started, they have reinforced the heritage aspect of racing there.  They have other plans to extract value from the books, notably by including them in some of the special admission packages for race days.  And then they can push it again on the approach to Christmas (“the ideal gift”).  So there’s no need to put it on Amazon (and therefore drop the price) yet.

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It’s fair to say the first half of the last fortnight was an anxious period, with a lot of emails going to and from the printers before getting the text right and the images in the right places.  A final pdf looked OK.  The equivalent hard copy had strange new diagonal lines over some of the black and white photos, but I am assured they were just a quirk of the printing machinery and they won’t be in the published version.  That was signed off a week ago and now all I can do is wait for tomorrow’s race meeting and hope stacks of books will be there to greet me!  I still worry everything will be printed inside out, or some horrific error will reveal itself at the last moment.

What’s very unusual about this book is the complete absence of marketing before the launch.  It’s not critical, I tell myself, as there are a dozen or more race meetings (and selling opportunities) up to August Bank Holiday.

On a different note, I hope to meet my correspondent who’s been working on the Day family history for 14 years next week.  I find I have some material that might interest him, even at the risk of prolonging his research.  But his book is just about done, and he has got a very high-powered aficionado of racing history (not me) primed to review it.

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