Any teachers out there?

Yesterday I had a very nice surprise.

As a new self-published author, dealing with your own marketing (such as it is), you get used to the sales of your book being rather slow. (At least that’s my experience – and I was warned of it by fellow self-pubbed authors.) After the initial burst of (pre)orders for The Order of the White Boar, sales have come in dribs and drabs, with the odd flurry, which can usually be explained by a particular event – a personal appearance, an advert, a good review, even a particularly popular blog (mentioning just a few: ‘King Richard III and the book trade’, ‘This night will be bad…’, ‘He feels much more human…’, ‘A festive King Richard’).

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Publishing a book on Amazon, Createspace and/or Blurb (among others, no doubt) means you have daily reports on sales, which appear to be regularly updated during the day. I pop on to their sites from time to time to see how things are going. It can perhaps get a little addictive. I tend to check at least once a day if I’m able to – and even just a couple of sales since my last visit can provide a welcome boost on what might be an otherwise indifferent, or even bad, day. And anticipating those flurries of sales is enough to keep me coming back for more.

So imagine my surprise – and of course delight – last evening to discover that 31 paperbacks had been sold in just a few hours since last I’d checked. One  in the USA, 30 in the UK…. The Createspace on-demand printers will be kept busy!

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I was also intrigued. Assuming it’s not a mistake (I’m half expecting the numbers to disappear today, once the poor customer who pressed the wrong button works out how to claim their refund!), who has ordered the UK copies? Is it 30 separate people all deciding The Order of the White Boar is the book they just have to read – now! – or one or two people each with a bulk order?

Given that my marking efforts of late haven’t been particularly active in the post-Christmas lull, I suspect it may be the latter. But that’s a lot of books – and a lot of money to spend in one go. Who would be so persuaded by the book to buy so many?

There are many dedicated Ricardians out there as I’m well aware (all over the world – hello Malta, Thailand, Bahrain!), a number of whom have kindly said that The Order needs to be more widely read to spread the message that Shakespeare got it quite wrong about King Richard III – and even that they might give a copy to a local library, or school, or leave one surreptitiously in a relevant historical attraction (you know who you are!) But 30?

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(Photo: copyright King Richard III Facebook page)

And then it occurred to me – 30 – that’s the maximum size of a school class in the UK. Is it possible that one of my appreciative readers who is a teacher has decided that this tale of a medieval page’s adventures at a castle during the Wars of the Roses would be a good read for their class? And somehow – in this age of austerity and cuts to even our most vital public services, including education – somehow persuaded their school to part with a sizable sum of cash for books for a whole class?

Several teachers have told me the book could be a useful teaching aid – either for topics on the Middle Ages (castles are very popular, unsurprisingly) or as a lead-up to teaching about the Tudors (boo, hiss!). One even said that he starts off his teaching about that usurping dynasty by dividing his class into three groups and getting them to re-enact the Battle of Bosworth. (Perhaps it should be four groups, taking into account both the treacherous Stanley brothers and the Earl of Northumberland, but I’ll let that pass: one group would probably get bored, having nothing whatever to do, and a three-way battle is probably pandemonium enough for one lesson.)

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Anyway, I’ll probably never know who ordered so many books at one time – but it has been fun to speculate.

But of course, if you know – please do get in touch!

(Equally, please get in touch if you are a teacher who might be interested in exploring use of The Order of the White Boar in class, or in any other way. Amazon isn’t the only way to access the book, or me… 🙂 )

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About alexmarchantblog

A Ricardian since a teenager, and following stints as an archaeologist and in publishing, Alex now lives and works in King Richard’s own country, not far from his beloved York and Middleham
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