Tag Archives: Waterstones

“You are my Kryptonite…”

…Was universally agreed last night as the answer to the question ‘What’s the worst chat-up line you’ve ever received?’

The relevancy of which is that the lady in question had also tried to order The Melting Pot via Waterstones, but had subsequently been refunded after they were unable to source it…all despite my having gone to great lengths to get a wholesale agreement in place with a company called Gardners. I checked on the website and it seems that the agreement has been cancelled without my knowledge!

This kind of occurrence is the biggest obstacle to a self-publisher – the bulk buying view – where a company will say that’s it’s not in their interests to buy (or even take on sale or return) from a single seller due to it being inefficient time-wise. I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes approach a bookshop in or around Reading (where I live), agree a sale, but then have to post the books via a warehouse hundred’s of miles away rather than just take them in myself!

…And relax.

A guy from the Isle of Man ordered the book on Amazon a few days ago and was kind enough to write and say he liked what I was trying to do. I always massively appreciate strangers taking the time to do this, and it more than counters any frustrations I feel at the logistical constraints of fulfilling orders. This particular reader also relates back to the Waterstones rant and goes a long way to explaining a bizarre phone-call I received from a bookseller a few weeks ago – which went like this:


‘Hi, I’m on the Isle of Man.’

[PAUSE] ‘I’m happy for you.’

‘Oh…sorry…One of my customers would like a copy of your book. Can I buy one?’

‘Of course you can.’

‘Great! Bye.’

‘Wait – how were you planning on ordering it?’

‘I thought you could send it to me.’

‘I can, but I don’t know who you are or where you live.’

‘I’m on the Isle of Man…’

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Filed under Books, Guerrilla Marketing, Uncategorized

Harrassing shoppers

The site www.guerrillaguru.co.uk has some great ideas for guerrilla marketing – one of which is Blue-jacking i.e. using the bluetooth functionality on mobile phones to send photos to complete strangers within the immediate vicinity.

Obviously this could be quite alarming / annoying for the recipient, so timing and location are important:

Timing: after work when people are in less of a rush.

Location: near books so as to catch the right target audience.

Yesterday evening I found myself walking around Piccadilly’s Waterstones mailing people at random with this:blue-jack3.jpg

After a few tense moments I received my first reply: ‘Sod off,’ and a second: ‘I have informed a member of staff.’

It was then that it dawned on me – as bluetooth only has a reach of about 10 metres it would be relatively easy to work out who was sending the messages. A number of people were already giving me suspicious glances. Calmly and with cat-like precision I ran to the toilets and locked myself in one of the cubicles. A few moments later there were footsteps outside and I heard a voice whisper: ‘I think he’s in there.’ A couple of carefully executed grunts seemed to allay suspicion.

‘Is this a spectacular failure,’ I asked myself, ‘or was infamy the objective here?’

Either way the best course of action was a swift exit.

Back on the ground floor I decided to send just one more. A phone beeped in front of me and a woman stared from her phone directly at me. I had my hands in my pockets, was dressed like a slightly posh burglar and looked as guilty as sin.

I winked and bolted for the door…

Latest Google searches: ‘Marketing to illiterates’ – ‘Gangrene’


Filed under Books, Guerrilla Marketing