what-i-learnt-from-my-recent-book-promotionLast week my self-help book/memoir Become the Best You was on offer on the Kindle store for 99p. I was hoping the promotion would revive it a little, and I’m pleased to report that it did just that. I also learnt a thing or two along the way, which is always a bonus. 

You can’t force or hurry success

I was thrilled at how well the book initially did when I first self-published at the end of 2014. I took annual leave from work, and approached the launch like it was my job (while all of my children were at school or nursery). It was impossible for me to keep that momentum going though, and pretty quickly I was in the territory of not having any time to promote the book at all. Without promoting the book, sales rapidly dropped.

I can imagine that every author, especially self-published ones, hope they’ll have a viral success on their hands, and that word of mouth will sell their book. Unfortunately having a great product that people rave about simply isn’t enough. Competition is fierce in the book business, and there’s a ton of hard work and truck load of luck that is needed along the way. A little help from our friends doesn’t go amiss either.

Special thanks to fellow bloggers Vicki and Tim for featuring me on their super successful blogs during the promotion. You can read my guest post on Honest Mum here, and interview on the Meet the Parents Podcast here

You need a seriously thick skin to survive as an author

There’s only so much self-promotion I’m comfortable doing, yet I still feel like I’m in danger of boring everyone by banging on about my book. If you haven’t snagged a fabulous agent or huge publisher who will champion you and treat you like part of their family, then you’ll need a massive audience into the hundreds of thousands to guarantee sales.

john-irving-thick-skin-quoteCards on the table, my book selling mission mostly feels like pushing jelly up a hill. The effort it takes to sell one book can be immense, because people don’t like parting with their cash unless they know they are going to like what they get. Even then it can still be tricky. The upside of being one of the little guys though, is that the lucky breaks are unbelievably awesome when they come, however small time they might be.

I’m proud of this book

Shortly after I published the book, one of the school mums asked if I felt that I was on display now, and whether I felt uncomfortable about people having access to all this knowledge about me. I honestly hadn’t even considered I would feel like that until she asked, but I suppose I do in some respects. I guess I’m giving anyone and everyone the opportunity to pick at my old wounds, and reopen them, if they wish to do so.

Mostly people have been supportive, but I have been trolled. I was told in no uncertain terms that walking away from family is the biggest sin you can possibly commit. That I should be ashamed of myself for taking drugs and sleeping around when I was younger, and that I deserved everything that came to me.  

Do I wish I had never written the book? Absolutely not. Am I proud of this book? Hell yeah.

Small consistent progress is the best kind of progress

“You need to remember why you wrote the book in the first place.” My husband said recently, while I dried my tears of frustration. When I was writing the book, all I could think about was getting it finished. I thought that publishing it and holding it in my hands would be enough, but who honestly goes to all that trouble (and cost) of writing and publishing a book, to have no-one read it?

I’ve come to the conclusion that success for me is making a genuine difference in real people’s lives. On that note, I’d like to leave you with an email that I received from a reader.

“Reneé, I really enjoyed your book and getting to know you a little better by reading it. 

Firstly, I thought that the beginning of the book was very easy to identify with. I would have liked to have found it when I was a lot younger, when I first started to analyse my life and patterns of behaviour. Great to introduce you into thinking in different ways and questioning the repeat offenders in your life, including yourself.

When I got to the middle of the book, I found it pricked my conscience on a number of issues I had brushed to the side conveniently and ‘not dealt with’. Once I stopped mentally squirming uncomfortably (thanks for that!) I decided to lay to rest a couple of issues which really needed to be confronted and I have to say, it wasn’t easy.

After a bit of further support from a very old friend, I kind of did though! I’m not sure I would have started the task of cutting a tie, let alone completed the task if i hadn’t read your book and spoken to my mate, but the combination worked well. It may take a repeat though as some ties are bloody stubborn but I know it can no longer be ignored.

Some relationship patterns are so ingrained in you it’s really, really hard to break it along with other associated enforcers. I’d like to know how to keep them at bay…………any tips? I seem to need to repeat them every few years or so with the same person.

The end of the book, is also very easy to follow. It gives you practical, black and white advice for many situations you can find yourself in and a perfect ending to a book that gives you a wake up call in the beginning.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t do the exercise because firstly I feel I’ve already been doing that for the last ten years at least. Your book was a really good reminder of how I used to be and pushed my refresh button.

Thanks for sharing it with us.”

Sharing this post for What I’m Writing


why-its-so-important-to-leave-a-book-review-on-amazonAfter first sharing the link to my book Become the Best You on my personal Facebook page, I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of support I received. 

Friends from far and wide, some I’ve not spoken to in years, were sharing the link and helping me spread the word. Within days people were getting in touch to tell me that they’d read the book, sometimes in one sitting, and that they’d been deeply moved by it.

Two years later, and most of them still haven’t written an Amazon review. I don’t take it personally, as I understand that life gets in the way.

Why Amazon reviews are important

But here’s the thing. There are almost two million books listed on Kindle, with around 100,000 new books being uploaded every single month. That’s a rather large haystack to find my needle of a book in, unless you are specifically looking for it. Lots of good reviews make all the difference.  

how-to-write-an-amazon-reviewThe way I see it, is the more reviews you have (assuming they are mostly four and five stars of course), the more it convinces would-be readers who are sitting on the fence to take the plunge and buy the book.

I know from personal experience that reviews have massively influenced my own decision making when it comes to Amazon purchases across the board, not just books.

If you have left a review for my book, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you have read it, but haven’t had the time to review it yet, please follow the simple four step guide to your left to do so. Good vibes are coming your way 🙂  

What the newest Amazon reviews say about Become the Best You 

5.0 out of 5 stars ‘A fantastic and very worthwhile read’ by Amazon customer on 13 October 2016 (Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase)

“What a fantastic read! The honesty of the author makes it very relatable and gives it more depth than a 2 dimensional self help book. I really enjoyed the way that renee takes the reader through what she feels were the cause of many of the issues she faced and still faces and provides some great advice for getting through these. It’s great to be able to go on the journey with her and apply some of her tips!”

5.0 out of 5 stars ‘Practical suggestions offered in a useful and non preachy way’ By Francesca on 12 October 2016 (Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase)

“This book offers the reader not only a candid description of real life experiences, but also a useful approach on how to transform your present and future.
Told it in very simple terms, and written in a more realistic way than any other preaching self help books, ‘Become the best of you’ makes suggestions to overcome life hurdles which the reader can practically relate to and apply in real life. Thoroughly recommend this read.”

5.0 out of 5 stars ‘High recommended’ by Amazon customer on 12 October 2016 (Format: Paperback)
“Great read. Very inspirational. 5 stars. Highly recommended.”

btby-offer-for-99pI’m delighted to let you know that my book, Become the Best You is currently on offer for just 99p on the Kindle store. The promotion ends on Sunday, so get downloading!

Here is a Facebook Live I recorded, which tells you more about what to expect from the book. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

BTBY stack of booksI was absolutely thrilled to see another five star review on Amazon for Become the Best You this week, which has been left by an Amazon Top 500 reviewer. 

5.0 out of 5 stars. Very readable and relatable. Helps you break from destructive repeating behaviour.

By thehappymeerkat TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Mar 2016
 

“I received this book for free from the publisher in return for a review. The following is my honest opinion on this book. 

Many people have a happy, well-adjusted upbringing. But plenty of us have had a dysfunctional childhood, a past that haunts us and causes us to create a repeating pattern of negative behaviour. If you feel like you’ve been stuck in this pattern of self-destructive behaviour, feel you are repeating the mistakes of your parents or just want to be able to let go of the past then this book is for you.

This book is an easy read and at 104 pages it won’t take long but the advice given will inspire anyone to motivate themselves to change. I’ve picked up many self-help books in the past and a lot of what I’ve read in this book I have already read in others, but what makes Renee Davis’ book unique is that she herself has had a dysfunctional past. The whole book isn’t written from the perspective of a therapist or trained professional who knows what to advise but hasn’t experienced it, no, Renee Davis is just a normal person who has gone through the process of breaking from her dysfunctional past and now she advises us how to do it too.

Renee is very open about her past and her own dysfunctional and destructive young adulthood. It is because of this openness that the book is really readable and relatable. While you may not have gone through the exact same things as Renee you really feel as if a friend is helping you deal with everything rather than a tone of being told what to do, which many other self-help books can be like.

Each chapter of the book starts with an inspiring quote to get you motivated.”

Have you read Become the Best You? I’d love to know your thoughts if you have! 

BTBY is out nowAs I may have mentioned several thousand times over the past few months, my book Become the Best You, has been given a make over by the fabulous publishers Austin Macauley, and is now available to buy. Order your copy directly from them for only £5.24, or download it to your Kindle from Amazon right here. Alternatively look out for it in a book shop nearby. 

I’m also super chuffed to tell you that I’m guest posting on the awesome blog Steven Aitchinsonso please do have a look.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with my story, I’m the survivor of a dysfunctional childhood. The book is part memoir, part self-help and takes you on my journey of making peace with my painful past; ditching negative influences and behaviour; and creating good habits in order to turn my life around. 

If you’re still in need of a gentle nudge to buy the book, here’s a little excerpt. You can also listen to the full version of this chapter via podcast over on the Joy Chaser

“I was mostly dragged up. After her own unhappy childhood my mother had a baby (me) aged 18, because she wanted someone to love her. By the time she was 25 she had three kids. I had a different father to my siblings, but she felt it was best to tell me their dad was also mine. The official lie being that he was in prison when I was born, explaining why he wasn’t on my birth certificate. I would eventually be told the truth after leaving home. Turns out my biological father was engaged to his current wife when he got my mother pregnant. To this day she doesn’t know I exist.

My step-father had an horrendous childhood, and was a cold man. It was no wonder he became an alcoholic, manic depressive and emotional bully. Growing up it was obvious that he didn’t love me as much as he did the other two. He wasn’t around much, and although he provided extras which supplemented our benefits income, my mother was awful with money. The phone and electricity were forever being cut off, and the cupboards would often be rather bare. I grew up thinking that her life must have been utterly miserable, and knew early on that I would do things differently when I was older. 

Being the eldest I was regularly left alone to babysit the younger two from a very young age. One distinct memory shines through the rest of the garden catching light one night when my mother was out. I was nine years old and seeing fire through the living room doors was absolutely terrifying. Fortunately our neighbours across the road were home and came to our rescue. Shortly after this my mother took in a friend’s 16 year old son and he lived with us for a while. He would take advantage of me when she wasn’t home which lead to me having an unhealthy attitude towards men for many years afterwards.

We moved house over a dozen times, and I went to eight different schools where I often endured bullying for being the new girl. The abuse I suffered in the last one was significant, and lead to a suicide attempt. By my last year of high school my self esteem and confidence were at an all time low, and I hated going in. I’d do anything for a day off and subsequently fell behind with my work.

My step-father was a bit more of a permanent feature in our lives by then, and it’s clear to me now that he was a deeply unhappy ‘functioning’ alcoholic. We got into a fight one morning about me not wanting to go to school, and he punched me in the face. He was often harsh with his words, but usually kept his fists to himself. He almost broke my nose, and this became the catalyst for me leaving home. I was fifteen, had no qualifications and £50 in my pocket. He said I’d be pregnant and living in a hovel within the year. I went to stay with an aunt in her two bed maisonette where I slept on the floor of her kids room, between the cot and the bunk beds. It wasn’t ideal, but at least I was safe. From that day forward, I was on my own in the big bad world.

No-one escapes the psychological fallout of a childhood like mine. I went through major bouts of depression as a young adult, and lived life in self-destruct mode for many years to numb my pain. I’d go on all-weekend benders and sleep with people I wouldn’t have even looked at when sober. Eventually I had a breakdown aged 22, and sought help via an amazing counsellor. She taught me that I needed distance from my toxic family, that I deserved to be loved and how to respect myself. Although she tried her hardest, she couldn’t get me to tackle my love of booze or partying. That would come later, along with breakdown number two.”

So what are you waiting for? Go buy it. Right now 🙂