Happy birthday to my book – today it turns one 🙂 It is hard to believe it is one year since I sat on a mound of grass while my daughter’s played football and watched the comments, likes, shares and sales on that exciting first day when the book went live exactly one year ago.
It has of course been a very busy year since – for me personally with our move to South Africa, but also for the book. With marketing, sales, reviews and more there have definitely been a lot of highlights over the past 12 months. Here are some of them:
As anyone who has written and published a book knows, writing it is the easy bit – the work really starts when you have to tell people about it (and for anyone who wants to know more about self-publishing read my A-Z Guide). Word-of-mouth is of course still the best way to generate sales but a lot of effort goes into getting enough of those first sales to start to get people talking about your product. Here are some of the things I have been doing this year to make the Expat Partner’s Survival Guide as visible as possible:
- In April 2015, soon after the book’s launch, I was interviewed on our local BBC radio station about the book and why I had written it.
- I was also featured in our local newspaper, the Gloucestershire Echo (gettting the photo for that feature was something I won’t forget – my youngest daughter thought it would be hilarious to spend the whole time doing cartwheels rather than posing nicely for the exasperated photographer….)
- A few days later, I was mentioned in the Mumsnet blogger’s network “dispatches” – a big honour as someone who used to rely on Mumsnet for pretty much everything from advice on which nappies to buy to literally saving my sanity.
- In May I was thrilled that my book had been added to a Wall Street Journal list of Essential Books on Expat Life
- In June I was very excited to receive an email from one of my favourite expat authors Brigid Keenan, who wrote the brilliant Diplomatic Baggage, telling me that she “loved” my book. I was so happy with her praise that I changed the front cover of the book to get her words on there.
- After a bit of a pause in activity due to my move to Pretoria, I was featured on the extremely popular (and very funny) podcast show Two Fat Expats. I wasn’t talking about the book (the show was about holidays) but they were kind enough to mention my book on the podcast and accompanying blurb.
- In October I was interviewed for another podcast show – this one was all about culture shock and it was on the Tandem Nomads site.
- Another honour in March, I was featured on the Displaced Nation’s list of top non-fiction books for expats.
- The book was also the subject of a feature in one of Dubai’s largest newspapers The National – apparently a publication that is popular with expats.
- Right at the start of this month, I featured again on another podcast show – this one called Four Seas One Family on which I discussed such things as depression and male expat partners.
- And just this week I have been recommended as a book to help stay contented as an expat by the wonderful expat blogger Rachel Pieh Jones.
Throughout this time, I was featured on various expat sites (including this one for BlogExpat). I also continued to write my blogs and introduced a number of very popular series – including one on people who live in small places, one on male trailing spouses, and one on expat depression (all still ongoing). Finally, I also continued to write monthly posts for the Expat Focus site.
Most important to me are the views of my readers and I have been absolutely delighted with feedback on Amazon. So far I have collected 37 five star reviews on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (I rarely look at the other Amazon sites although I do make the occasional sale on them). It’s not the stars so much as the comments that make me glow inside though – this is one of the latest:
Excellent book!! On my now 10th posting as “trailing spouse” I thought it was time to collect all those diary notes and experiences and put them into a guide for other expat families… but I have just read Clara’s book and know it can’t be topped. Bravo! What a pleasure to read and she have covered it all. I felt myself nodding in agreement all the time. What a great guide!!
Otherwise I have been reviewed on several different sites, including the following:
- Any review that start’s with the line “Not since Harry Potter have I shut a just-finished book and been inclined to pick it right back up at page 1.” is going to make me very happy! And this one from Emily Stewart at BasedTraveler did just that.
- Hubert O’Hearn is an expert book reviewer and also wrote a guest post for my blog. In July he wrote this wonderful review for me.
- One of my favourite expat bloggers Joburg Expat (who was particularly helpful in the run up to our move to South Africa) called my book an “expat bible” in her review.
- The editor of Knocked Up Abroad, a book about birth and parenting overseas that I contributed a chapter to, was another that said she wished she had had the book before moving abroad for the first time.
- The Expat Woman’s website said this was a book that immediately made you realise that you were not alone in your journey in their review.
Sales have been interesting. The first month was, naturally, the best – as those who had been waiting to buy the book bought it (including my loyal family and friends!), and marketing was at a high. The months that followed remained quite high but the summer months saw a bit of a slump. Things picked up again at the end of the year and December saw one of my best months of the year in terms of numbers sold (in particular hard copies – presumably for Christmas gifts). Since then, I have had some slow months and some good ones – March was another excellent month but April so far has been abysmal! On the whole though, sales have remained steady and I am happy with that – I am nearly half way to my “target” (after which all sales will be a bonus as far as I am concerned!) so I can’t really ask for more than that.
As far as which format sells best, Kindle does better than the paperback version by about 3:2. This isn’t that suprising as many of those who buy it will be living overseas where it is hard to get things posted to them from Amazon. My largest market is the US but the UK comes a very close second – not that suprising as I am a Brit and there probably is more of a British slant on things than anything else.
So that sums up my year. Looking forward, it is hard to know what will happen next with sales. I still look for some great ideas for marketing and continue to search out new markets for the book. But if you have read it, have liked it and think it would help others please do two things for me: tell people about it (in person, on social media, carrier pigeon – I don’t mind!) and write a review on Amazon. Thank you to everyone who has already done so and here’s to Year Two!