A number of hats

After I published a post about my new book being available on ebay, Scott of Land-sea-sky suggested that I should write a post about how this made me feel.

Incidentally, if you like lovely photos I strongly recommend having a look at his blog, which has some cracking shots on it. He has some superb landscapes, architectural features and still life photos, and one of my favourite shots can be found here.

I published my ebay post last Friday and was intending to get the book to the printer two days ago, on Monday, but that hasn’t happened. The book itself is finished and the printer has it ready to go, but I’ve had a few problems with the cover photos. The file sizes are huge, and I can’t send them by email, so I’ll need to take them into the printer on a data stick (I was actually there today and could have handed them in, but I didn’t realise at the time that this was going to be a problem).

So, how am I feeling about all this?

Well, I feel happy that the text is all done and has been proofread many times, by various people (although I fully expect to find mistakes when it’s printed as perfection is very hard to achieve!)

– image courtesy of The Mark Blog

but I feel frustrated by the problems with the photos and the added days that this is taking.

– photo courtesy of EduGuide

My aim was to get it all finished by the end of May and available in mid-June, but alas I will have to exercise some patience and accept that it’s going to be a week or two later than I would like.

– image courtesy of Doug Savage

Like lots of people, I’ve always wanted to write a book, and in fact I have written the first half of a completely different book, which I was originally intending would be my first. Unfortunately, I ran out of steam on it, so I decided to write a guidebook to tearooms instead.

This tearoom guidebook has dominated the past 5 months of my life, but I’ve enjoyed becoming a writer, I like wearing that hat. However, as soon as the book is available I’ll need to get a couple of new hats, and become a salesperson and a marketing person as well.

– photo courtesy of The Straight North Blog

Thankfully, I have some very nice little helpers, one of whom is my sister, who has been doing a great job of plugging my book whenever she can. She also very kindly had some bumper stickers printed for me, and this is the one on my rear windscreen:

If you want to plug your blog while you’re stuck in traffic or parked somewhere, you might like to think about having a bumper sticker made up too, I think it’s a great idea.

On the subject of advertising, my dad gave me a little poem to encourage me:

The codfish lays ten thousand eggs;

the homely hen lays one.

The codfish never cackles,

to tell you what she’s done.

So, we despise the codfish,

the homely hen we prize –

which demonstrates to you and me

that it pays to advertise!

Sales and marketing are skills that I don’t think I naturally possess, but which I am trying to learn. I want to try and make the proposition of buying my book an attractive one, and I want people to feel that if they fork out £7 for the pleasure, they’ll get something they feel has been worth the expenditure.

As much as I wanted to do it, including photos in the book would have made it too expensive to produce, and so instead I’ve done some line drawings to illustrate it. I’m no great artist, but I have quite enjoyed the challenge of coming up with a few doodles and I hope that these make the book a little bit quirky and unusual. This is one of the drawings I didn’t use, showing a few chocolates for sale:

I plan to make photos available on my teacupspress blog, so that anyone wanting to visit a specific tearoom will be able to have a look at some pictures before they go.

Amazingly, several people have already ordered my book through ebay, for which I am most grateful because it’s given me an encouraging boost just when I was beginning to flag a bit.

I understand that not everyone wants to buy a book about tearooms in Perthshire, Angus and Dundee, but it’s nice to be sharing my writing journey on this blog with you, and I will be boring you with photos of the finished article when I have copies to show off.


38 thoughts on “A number of hats

  1. Anyone can wear a number of hats, but it takes true talent and panache to wear them well—and you wear them all well, my dear! Your line drawings are charming and will be a sure enhancement to your guidebook. Though you may believe otherwise, you have accomplished all of this at blistering speed. You have my permission to take pride in that. 😉

    • Thank you Sandra, there are two Dundee tearooms in the book and they’re both really nice and very different from each other. I’m sure they’d be lovely to visit with your daughter.

  2. Laughed to think of you cackling like a hen over this egg – a lovely one, too, it is and much to cackle about!! There is a fine line between marketing and shameless self promotion. It all depends how cleverly you do it. You are too gracious! I would love to buy your book but don’t want to set up an Ebay account. Let me ask hubby to figure it out for me. He has one, I think. Cheers and congratulations!

    • Thank you Shona, I agree that marketing can easily become shameless self promotion, and the idea is quite horrifying. Would an international money order be any better than using ebay? I’m not sure of the costs involved, but I think you can buy them at post offices and send them through the post like a cheque (the problem with cheques is that if I receive one in dollars the bank will charge more than the cost of the book to cash it!). Getting money between countries can be a little tricky, right enough. I’m sure there must be other options I haven’t thought of too.

    • Thank you Scott, and thank you for suggesting the post in the first place because I’m sure I wouldn’t have thought of it myself. I’m delighted to pass on any new people to your site, your photos are consistently splendid!

  3. I have an ebay account and am definitely buying your book, because… I think you are a wonderful writer!!!

    Also, I totally love your line drawing…so glad you’re incorporating yet another talent!

    I was impressed when you said you could ride a unicycle…what’s next?

    • Aw, thank you Marian, you’re too kind!

      I think the knack with the unicycle is just believing you’re going to stay upright. It’s like little kids learning to ride bikes, as soon as they start to think about, and question, what they’re doing, they fall off.

      What’s next? I don’t know, you’ve thrown down the gauntlet and now I need to come up with something.

  4. Love your line drawings, Lorna—another hat for your many talents! In my book ‘Braemar as it Was’, I had a lot of photos, 32 pages of them which I printed in black and white at no extra cost, ie the same cost as a page of writing. Most of the pages had 2 photos per page.

    • Thank you Davey, I passed your old shop the other day and thought of you, and of Shona. Is it still run by your family?

      That’s interesting about your book, did you self publish it yourself? I would be very interested to see it. I think with my book I would need colour photos because food doesn’t look too appetising in black and white.

  5. I think it’s a terrific idea and so great that you have followed your dream and achieved it. Next time I’m in the UK and visiting my sister in Arbroath, I will certainly be trying out some of your recommendations. 🙂

    • Thank you Eleenie, it does feel nice to have achieved a long-held ambition, and to be doing something I enjoy so much. I think you and your sister could have a great time visiting the tearooms in Angus, especially the wonderful one in Arbroath.

  6. Congrats…I’m so excited for you and wish you a smashing success. I know the difficulties can wear on you, but think of the big picture. You have completed a book! What an amazing accomplishment!

    • Thank you TBM, that’s very kind. I’m sure that when I finally have the finished product I’ll feel pleased about it, and it does feel like a nice accomplishment to have done something I’ve wanted to do for so long. I can hardly imagine how you’re going to feel when you complete your enormous ambition – that will be quite incredible. You’ll need to have a massive celebration!

  7. No, Lorna the shop is COMPLETELY out of our hands—-every sporran I made was bespoke, Furs were matched to the tartan of the kilt or hand carved and dyed with a clan crest, symbol, celtic design or whatever the customer dreamt up! I was the only one to do that! The carved design on the sporran displayed is Billy Connelly’s castle on Donside. I made several for him.
    Yes, I self published my book with a lot of help and advice from Shona. We spent hours on Skype almost daily getting and giving advice on our respective books.
    I donated it to the ‘Braemar Castle Restoration Fund’—-they need every penny they can get, so it’s on sale at the Castle. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of info and laughs in it.
    Are you self publishing yours? The best of luck with it.

    • Ah I see, but they’ve kept your well established name to trade under. I haven’t yet been to the castle, but I want to visit so I’ll look out for your book when I go. I’m self publishing mine too, and although it is a fair bit of work I like the freedom it gives me to do whatever I like.

  8. This is such exciting news – not the delays bit, but the almost published bit!!! I say go for shameless self promotion. Could you use paypal to sort out the currency bit? Fingers crossed you find a simple solution. So very happy for you. Congratulations and very big hugs to you xoxo

    • Thank you kindly, Nicole! I did wonder about having a paypal link on my blogs, but apparently it’s not allowed on WordPress so I’d have to create a proper website. I might do that some time down the line, right enough. Hugs very welcome! xo 🙂

  9. Love those illustrations and I think you’ll find it will give an extra special touch to your Tearoom book too. Good luck with your final detailing for the cover, insets & text and I hope those last minute crinkles get smoothed out soon… 🙂

  10. You’re a very talented draw-er, Lorna! In my various experiences with publishing (self- and non-self-) there are always hitches and delays and frustrations. It’s like building an extension or redoing your kitchen: don’t expect it to actually be done when it’s supposed to be done. But don’t let that discourage you! It’s just normal.

    Have you thought of seeing if you can sell your book through Tourist Information offices in Scotland?

    • Thank you Christine, that’s very reassuring to hear because I was getting a little distressed by the deadline stretching on. It’s quite a steep learning curve, and I can see that this is just how it’s going to be.

      My efficient father contacted VisitScotland on my behalf to sound them out, and they seemed quite interested, but of course couldn’t promise anything until they’ve seen the book, so they’re at the top of my list of people to contact when I’ve got the finished product. Thanks for thinking of that and suggesting it though, I do think it’s a good idea to try and get them to stock it.

  11. I wish you all the luck in the world. I would love to write a book and have had an idea for one for some time now but I don’t have the time to write it! It’s so frustrating so I completely understand your frustration about your time frame not being met. Patience is indeed a virtue and it will come together soon. Congrats on your first few buys on Ebay!

    • Thank you very much Ashley, I really hope you can get your book written some time. If you really want to do it (and it sounds as if you do), you will make it happen one day. It took me years to get round to it, and I wonder now why I didn’t do it sooner, but better late than never!

  12. I’ve been following your Tearoomdelights Blog and it has so impressed me that I took my wife for tea at a Tea Room in a near by town. She loved it!!!! I was a little nervous at first but that quickly went away when I saw how much she was into it. She is still talking about it and we are both making plans to visit other tea rooms for additional adventures. To all you guys out there, the tea room visit has been a good thing for my wife and I!!! You should check it out and create a wonderful memory with your wife. I’m just sayin….. 🙂

    • I read this on your blog earlier today and it made my day, and reading it here now has just made me smile again. I’m so glad you’re investigating tearooms, they are wonderful places that take you away somewhere different and make you feel a bit special. I find them addictive, as you can probably tell. 🙂

    • Thank you Jo, I did flag a bit, and I don’t feel I’m quite as energetic now as I was when I was writing it, but I daresay it’s natural to have these different stages. It’s a great relief to finally have it now!

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