Would you buy your own book to get it into the charts? I'm not sure it's something I ever thought about before, but Mark Dawson, author of The Cleaner, has done just that. The story in the Guardian (link) prompted me to think about whether I'd do just that. Could I put my own money up front to purchase enough copies to get my book on the book charts? It smacked of hearing stories of people rigging the music charts to get records up to the top.
Publishers have huge budgets to put into book promotion. They have enormous power to influence what we buy in the shops or online. Self publishing is becoming a big thing however. It can be a way of getting the products of your imagination out there onto the shelves. I can really see how self publishing is a legitimate route into releasing your books. In fact I think in the world where lots of ebook sales are done through Amazon (love them or hate them), it's a way to shake up the traditional routes. It might even lead to a book deal from an established publisher. So how do you get your work under your prospective readers noses? One way is to discount the book to draw in readers, another is to pay money for advertisements.
According to Mark Dawson, he took orders from his self published book to send to buyers around the world. It's a brilliant way of actually getting your book into the hands of your readers. Before Mark made the move to buy 400 copies of his book, it was already at number 13. This week it entered the top ten, which is where it will get more exposure. These books bought by Mark, are not in his hands but in the hands of grateful readers. All Mark has done is act as middle man. No one is hurt by this, yet it's been announced that the book has lost it's spot in the top ten.
I'm saddened by this news. It seemed a way that a self publisher could get sales. I'm not a big believer in being guided by the charts, especially in music, and pick books away from charts, judging them by merit and not what others think. Looking at the YA/Children's charts for example is disheartening with books from years ago mingling with celebrity 'written' ones. Don't get me started on David Walliams... However I know there are people who will take notice of the charts.
To me I see nothing wrong in what Mark Dawson has done. Ironically the publicity he's got from buying his own books and it being denied a top ten chart spot has probably bought him some wonderful publicity. I wish him well.
If you'd like to buy a copy of his book then follow this link