Friday, December 30, 2011

Bye-bye 2011, welcome 2012

Another year crawling towards its end.  Funny how years start crawling between Christmas and New Year.

Once again I learnt a lot, forgive me if I copy-paste directly from our News Page on P'  

2011 - A Year of Firsts

It was an interesting year. While in 2010 P'kaboo grew from one to 5 and, right at the end of the year, 7 titles, we did several things for the first time in 2011.
  • We launched our first external author.
  • We battled our first debtors :-) (and won).
  • We published our first republication of a previously published book!
  • We published our first American author!
  • We found our first distribution agent.
  • And our first literary agent, Bookseeker Agency in Scotland.
  • We brought out our first ebook.
One could say it was a good year.

Still, it could have been better:  I could have missed fewer deadlines.  This way, Solar Wind 3, "Forest Circle Quest" by LHW Noble, and the American edition of "Not Another Scale Book" by Alan Solomon all stand over for next year.

Once again the lesson was reiterated:  Online marketing is not as effective as direct, live sales.

Getting past the systems that the larger bookshop chains have built in self-defence, is "merely" a matter of presenting the books at a cheaper price to the agents (without agents, no large bookshops!).  In terms of money it would mean larger runs... which is why it isn't easy building a publisher on small runs.  Not easy - but not exactly impossible either!  Personal promotion and sweet reviews in the public media (newspapers, magazines) help.  And the critical importance of having striking cover graphics... people buy with their eyes.

A cover sells a book.
A book sells an author.
And the author sells the sequel.
But in all this, the price must be right.

E-books: (I mean the electronic variety, not the beautiful chain of bookshops that has been of so much help this year, again):

We are experimenting with e-books.  Our first one is a free giveaway, for testing the waters and the systems, then again it is a part of the Solar Wind saga, the first part, imminently readable for people who have about 4 hours on their hands and love excitement.

Download "Donegal Trouble" here.

In fact there are a few free downloads at the following link:

Have fun.

Happy New Year.  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Web Wow

Iain has been working very hard on the website, and we now sport a guestbook, a mailing list subscription page, are Paypal enabled and also have a proper order form for people not wishing to use Paypal; and he has applied some SEO... our clicks have skyrocketed and are nowhere near slowing down. The growth seems exponential.

That is great - exactly what our books can use!

Learnt another very ouch lesson. Friends or no, first the contract, then the action. Not having a contract can destroy a friendship, and it nearly did. The trust is considerably lessened, on both ends I'd suspect.

And in the same line: Priorities. I spent an inordinately large amount of time on input on a project that isn't mine (and may never be). The priorities are completely wrong.

Result: My priorities and deadlines:

1) Finish editing Solar Wind III so it can go for proofs

Freedom Fighter

2) Finish finishing Prof Alan Solomon's book "Not Another Scale Book" and send for proofs

Not Another Scale Book!

Apart from keeping the income steady and looking after the studio, those two books must be top priority now, not to be sidelined by other projects again until their completion.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Book Promo at an art restaurant and gallery

It seems to me as though we are beginning to gather a core of solid supporters. This is really wonderful. It feels great building up 10 (not 1) books by different authors in a beautiful display along with pretty posters etc; the display looked great but you'll have to for now take my word for it because my camera phone refuses to communicate with my computer (I suspect it's the computer's fault).

18 months back I sat at the Karoo Cafe, at wit's end, waiting for someone - anyone - to show an interest in my newly published novel, "The Mystery of the Solar Wind". Sitting there wondering what I'd done wrong: Hadn't I put up enough posters? Hadn't I notified the newspaper in time (no I hadn't); why was nobody interested? I did make two sales that day; but I didn't regard that as any kind of success.

When they told us this time round that we were not allowed to bring musical instruments, we knew that it would be a quiet event again, more for the people who arrived specifically for us than anyone else to take an interest. And so it has been; however, surprisingly many people arrived specially to come and say hi to us and how is the promotion going. We had a lovely time.

From party to party to party. It's like learning to bake a cake by experiment, having to guess not only the quantities but the actual ingredients (without any prior knowledge about cakes). This time the noise was missing, so anyone not associated with us didn't know there was something going on - especially because of the placement too. The promo on the 30th of April was a lot more successful from a sales angle. But that is regardless; promos will continue to happen.

What is heartening is the growing fen. It's really sweet to see!

Now for a fresh angle on sales.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Durban "Mass" Launch

...nuff sed.


Next time I'll arrange a launch where I can follow up on the marketing myself.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Internet Marketing???

Scribd, AC, Yahoo, Lulu, Facebook, Ning, ezine, blah di blah…

Programming a website for our books

has brought it home to me just how much of marketing a real product still depends on normal, real-life advertizing.

The most books we’ve sold so far, we’ve sold in direct sales, face-to-face, to people we know or who heard about us.

The second-most sales so far have been made out of bookshops.

Whenever we advertize, sales ensue. When we let up, sales stop.

Word of mouth is a myth – there is too little of that.

Internet marketing though? I’ve had (literally) thousands of clicks now, on practically all of my “sites” where I publish… except ezine, but I have to add that I’ve neglected ezine after publishing those initial two articles.

One can spend all day online, posting here, posting there, answering comments, following other blogs out of selfish or unselfish purposes. At the end of the day you have spent all day online commenting and posting. The internet is like an own closed, endless circle. It’s maddening, and addictive. But does it take you any closer to your objective? That is the question.

Well I’m not at the end of my tricks yet. In the interim while I’m studying up on what to do next (and tweaking my website by learning Javascript, and polishing up the second sequel, Solar Wind III – Freedom Fighter, which so far only exists in preview and in a less polished Lulu version; and also working on republishing my violin mentor’s beautiful technique book), chocolate and coffee will not go amiss!!

Eat drink and be messy – for tomorrow we shall gym.

…gipsika, aka kalinka (no that was not a stutter – it was rap :-) )

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Learnt Items

  • only sell books to shops COD
  • only make exceptions for bookshops who have earned it
  • be patient with results
  • be patient with reviewers
  • ditto with graphic designers but not too patient - check occasionally on their vital signs LOL
  • If you plan to launch in a venue that can hold 50 people, don't over-cater with books and food
  • cross your i's and dot your t's
  • Do your own advertizing - be innovative; and pay for it yourself if you can't get it for free
  • quality always sells
  • excitement sells too
  • a cover sells a book; a book sells an author; an author sells a sequel
  • don't make promises on time frames when you're dependent on others to deliver on time
  • don't forget that you are human, too - running a business does not mean the business runs you
  • remember to take your medication!!
Not that I think anyone should actually read this and take it as "advice". It is merely a log of what I've learnt so far...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This post is copied nearly exactly from my Wordpress post at Thingummy.

We've recently had 2 launches at P'kaboo Publishers. The one was public; the other was a private launch, closed society, with a public launch for that book still pending.

Launch of The Solar Wind II:
The Assassin

Lyz Russo

"The Assassin"  (Solar Wind II)

"Remember who you are!"

His sister died with those words on her lips.
Something sinister lurks in his psyche.
Something that loves killing.
Can he complete his mission
without selling out to this entity?

The book is available at,, Amazon or any branch of Ebooks Etc. There are also several other bookshops in South Africa who stock this book.

The book is the sequel to "The Mystery of the Solar Wind" (Lyz Russo). This is a lighthearted adventure story about a bickering lot of young pirates, set in a dark and ominous future. It is available in the same places as "The Assassin". To get more details, please visit (for reviews, a peep into the book, etc.)

The Mystery of the Solar Wind

The Other Book Launch

(the one that happened in quiet, and which precedes a larger, more public launch) is for a fast-reading comedy featuring a ghost as the main character.

Almost Dead in Suburbia

by Douglas Pearce was launched in Observatory, Johannesburg,

Almost Dead In SuburbiaAlmost Dead in Suburbia

The uber-English little village of Wiggleswood is about to get more excitement than it has ever seen before. Ghosts, almost-ghosts and ghostly cats haunt the streets. Several of these ghosts are on a mission, with the hyper-intelligent police chief trying to solve an almost-crime... it's a fun read.

To find out what else P'kaboo has gotten up to, please do visit...

Confucius say:
The one who says that something is impossible, should never interrupt the one who's doing it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Launch went well

See, stressing for nothing doesn't pay off. And while the launch wasn't overwhelming, it did go well. Any financial doors that were closed: Others open. is being kept up to date with news and newly available books. We're also investigating so many channels at this moment, it's really quite amazing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

who said it was going to be easy?

Today the only reason I don't just throw in the towel and quit the publishing biz and pay back the money I owe and call it quits, is because I've been given up on before... and I've failed at things before and quit things before and gotten fed up, and angry, and despondent... and too many are watching and seeing if the "loser" is going to lose yet again, as they all predicted.

It's my pride that keeps me going now. And nothing else.

Why is SA so blasted corrupt, on all levels???

Friday, January 21, 2011

Congrats Les!!

Leslie Hyla Winton Noble - make a note of that name please! The author of "Baa Baa Black Belt", "Regina", and "Tabika" one and two has been head-hunted by an American publishing company for the rights to ebooks, hardcover and possibly even, movie rights on his books!!

I'm proud to have him aboard P'kaboo as our wonderful and patient editor, highly skilled and knowledgeable and never shy to roll up his sleeves and do research on behalf of the author. I'm also proud to be able to say that we at P'kaboo distribute his books - where applicable (we're a still fledgling company ourselves and don't yet have access to all that many bookshops). He is self-published via "JustDone" in Durban, who have listed his books on, from where the American publisher prospected him.

Well done Les, here's to you, and HUGE success!