You sell publications online obviously. How else do they sell? And how do you manage to promote sales?
Well this is the million dollar question really, isn’t it? I’ve experienced a massive learning curve on this over the past year or so, as usual picking things up by trial and error. And I’ve still got an affa long way to go. . . .
I’ve discovered so far that, generally speaking, bookshops aren’t really the best way to sell pamphlets. Even if you can convince them to stock your publications. I think they have a tendency to disappear on the shelves; they’re too slight and small. However, The Quait Chiel has had quite a good run in what I think of as ‘non-traditional’ booksellers. Seeing as it’s written in Doric I’ve managed to get it stocked in quite a number of wee shops across the north-east, as well as in a few cafes and farmshops. Mither Tongue in Keith has also been a great supporter of Tapsalteerie.
Other than that and online, the way I've found they sell is at readings or events like the Ex Libris Book Fair I was at the other weekend. And it just seems to be the case that some go better than others. As someone fairly new to the poetry business, I'm hoping that over time I'll be able to recognise patterns and start to use that to guide the kind of things I publish. We'll have to wait and see on that count though!
The promotion that Tapsalteerie facilitates tends to happen through social media, the Tapsalteerie newsletter and blog, reviews in literary magazines like Northwords Now or Sabotage Review, and on a couple of lucky occasions through the radio & newspapers. One thing that’s become clear to me is the massively important role poets themselves have to play in this. With no budget and limited time, there really is only so much the publisher can do. I try to organise as many readings or appearances at things as I can, but it’s often the case that the poet is in a much better place to sort this kind of thing out than I am. They also have their own networks of friends, family and contacts who can go a long way towards making a pamphlet successful.