I have recently, for the first time in 12 years, taken some marketing advice about my business. I have, in the way of many second-hand book sellers, muddled through with a mixture of sales on my own site, on the sites of several large household names about which the less said the better, and on smaller multi-seller indie sites like Antiqbook and Biblio (I recommend these latter two). And generally what I did worked. Customers usually responded to what I did and pootled their way towards buying my books. How hard can it be I thought, I used to teach media for heaven's sake! However the downturn combined with the stranglehold of said household names and a chat with, believe it or not, my pilates teacher, sent me in the direction of a wonderful lady called Kathryn who is going to help me make C L Hawley a little sprucer and more able to compete in this big, bad cut-throat world of bookselling, where pootling will sadly no longer work.
Kathryn is not full of marketing speak, she is rather more in the real world, in fact she used to work in two very well known arts organisations, one of which was connected with an author's birthplace museum, and I felt right away that she understood my business. She also takes wonderful photographs. So as part of an image refresh I am having some professional photographs taken of my books for the very first time so that I can supply bookmarks and the like with my books. This is quite an odd feeling as my books are on the whole bought and sold for their content not their looks, however, with much excitement in the bookroom a selection of my more glamorous tomes, plus some of their work-a-day booky relatives have been picked. Whilst I do clean books on their arrival, the photographing meant that an extra spruce was required:
The whole process has not been unlike the morning of your child's school photograph! Making sure there's no toothpaste on the cardigan and no cereal on the teeth!
Another local family business, Eastburn Country Furniture, has kindly loaned their premises for the photo-shoot. I shall let you see some of the results when they arrive.