Thursday, 22 April 2010

A taste of novel No Gypsies Served

Foreword by the Author

No Gypsies Served is a sequel and prequel to Gypsies Stop tHere but both books can standalone. Like Gypsies Stop tHere, it is fiction, a story to entertain. So, someone asked me, “It’s not the truth then?” This was a difficult one to answer.

The story, the characters, even the places are made up. Dunstan is not related to anyone with the surname Smith and Appley Green is not on any map! But certainly I have listened to real life anecdotes, read factual books and consulted web sites, all of which helped form the backdrop of the novel. Issues relating to social injustices, ethnic identity, opinions, laws of the land, alleged crime – the list is long – do exist, however. Some aspects are more factual than others: for example, the snippets you will read from O NEVO DROM are real.
(Romani on-line magazine

There again, reality can be dreary; a daily diary, recording raw, mundane detail, may neither highlight a meaningful message nor make compelling reading! Some scenes or events in the story have been inspired by what I have heard people say. Some have sprung from my imagination and I have striven to create these in the spirit of what I believe to be authentic.

For sure you cannot please all of the people all of the time, but I have tried to be fair and to listen to all sides. In Gypsies Stop tHere a divide lies between Gypsies and non-Gypsies. No Gypsies Served touches on a three-way stalemate between Romany or English Gypsies, Irish Travellers and non-Gypsies; although this is not meant to imply that harmony cannot or does not exist between these groups. No Gypsies Served also shows how history can throw light on current events.

I have heard Gypsies describe themselves as ‘proud’, ‘secretive’ and ‘misunderstood’ and must confess that the first two traits do stand in the way of attempting to rectify the third. I can understand, however, that because of past and present inhumanity towards them, many are mistrustful. I thank all those who have helped me.

No Gypsies Served is peppered with reminders of possible consequences of a Gypsy or Traveller leaving their community to join mainstream society. It is so easy for non-Gypsies to say that Gypsies and Travellers should all live in houses and fit in with everyone else.

Of course, there are many other happenings in both these books. The relationship between Kay and Dunstan is perhaps the vital theme and I know the various interconnecting storylines in an English village captivate a wide readership. I hope that includes you. Happy reading!

© Miriam Wakerly March 2010

Monday, 19 April 2010

When is a sale not a sale?

A word on self-publishing sales

My official sales figures are much less than my actual sales. Official book sales figures – that you see quoted in the bestsellers list – are managed by Nielsen Book Data. All sales that are logged through the ‘system’ ie the booksellers’ tills plus Amazon sales are totted up.
However when you self-publish you are both author and publisher. With my publisher hat firmly on my head, I get an order from a shop for say 20 books, so that for me is a sale of 20 books. They have not yet sold in the shop and do not register officially as a sale until they do.
Moreover some small bookshops are not linked in to Nielsen Book Scan statistics; so any sale through them does not officially register.
Also if I am out and about giving a talk, or attending an event of some kind and I sell a few books, it won’t be recorded as an official sale, but I certainly count those as sales. And sometimes I supply direct – for example to local authorities who use them in the education service.
You can only view sales figures of your own books if you subscribe to Nielsen Book Scan service, which did cause murmurs of protest from authors at a seminar I attended a few weeks ago. However, I guess most larger publishers can easily bear the cost of that and one cannot expect a service requiring both people, time and technology for free.
If you self-publish you get the profit – that is the difference between the selling price and the price of producing the book, less discount which varies from say, 25% - 60%. Of course, there are other overheads, like postage, couriers, travel, publicity and so on; so with your business head also firmly screwed in under that hat, you need to watch those costs carefully, or you would inevitably end up with a financial loss.
I have heard, anecdotally, that some self-publishers using digital print on demand, where the unit cost is relatively high, have ended up having to pay Amazon to sell their book! Can this be true?
© Miriam Wakerly

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

On BBCSurrey breakfast show

This is just a copy and paste link through to Surrey Breakfast show on Monday 12 April with Nick Wallis. He interviewed me about ten minutes from the end of the three hour show. On iPlayer that amounts to just over a centimetre from the end!