There are many things that I know and many that I don’t. Knowing how to run a business is in the realms of I don’t have a clue.
Writing poetry has only joined the things I know how to do list this year and honestly writing is the easy part. Putting together a set of poems that work together for a book is a little trickier. Editing once, twice and then again is time consuming but rewarding. Working out the order in which to place poems within a book is really difficult. Formatting is a little mundane. Designing a cover is fun. And once all this is done publishing the book is actually very easy.
But it’s then that the hard work starts. Marketing and accounts. Pretty soon after I published Kaleidoscopic Beauty I decided to set my business up officially which meant registering with HMRC as self-employed/sole trader, I found a free to use accountancy package online (Quick File) and I learnt how to input and categorise income and expenditure.
Did I then just sit back and wait for the £££ to roll in from Amazon?
No, I decided that I had to tell people about my writing, after all if they didn’t know I existed how would the know to buy my books? So set up an account on Twitter, designed a marketing flyer… my first business expense, and began dropping these through letterboxes. I then had the inspired idea of getting a regular feature in our village magazine, not knowing at the time that this went to 7,000 households each month! Very pleased to contribute twelve poems a year for that level of exposure. And then I joined Pinterest, published my second book and had to start marketing all over again…
A few weeks ago I had a lightbulb moment when I realised that the micro poetry posters I’d been putting on Twitter and Pinterest were really very attractive and would make a good calendar. I already had a good stock of poems to select from so set about designing each month and the cover. I set up the calendar on few online stores and decided on one that had the best personalisation and ordered just 6 calendars… which sold instantly, so I ordered another 10 and now am about to place another order.
All this led to me thinking about craft fairs and whether selling my books and other merchandise via a physical marketplace would be feasible. So I emailed the coordinator for our village Christmas festival about having a stall… which is when I discovered that I’d need public and product liability insurance, another thing that I didn’t know.
So I’m now in a position where I have to decide whether to go for it now or hold off until next year when I’ll have had time to research the opportunities.
I’m asking for your help… not financially (although if you did want to purchase my books that would be lovely!), but wanting suggestions of merchandise that you might expect to find at a stall alongside poetry books?
Thank you 🙂