When I published A World Reborn (book 2 in the series), I decided that I would make the first one as cheap as I could. So I lowered the price to Utopia (book 1 in the series) to just 77p in Great Britain and 99c in the USA. Since doing this, I have been selling about 4 times the amount I was selling before. (As impressive as that might sound, please be reminded that the previous sales weren't all that high to start with.)
Occasionally I see booms in the sales, (once, a full six people bought my book in one day... how am I not doing this full time yet?). These are usually associated with the posts on this blog where I shamelessly plug the books even though most of you are probably sick of hearing about it. However, some people aren't and go ahead and buy the books. Thank you so much all you lovely people for that by the way.
The point I'm trying to make is if I do have a sudden increase in my sales, I tend to know how it happened. Two weeks ago however, something bizarre started to happen with my first book. More and more people were buying it, and this wasn't just happening on odd days, it was getting more and more consistent. I couldn't work it out. I began to think up ideas when it first started happening, mainly around the thought that someone had decided to start a book club and Utopia had become their choice for the week. But unless this was happening several times, it still didn't add up.
Delving a little further into the location of these sales, I noticed that the majority of them seemed to be being bought in the UK. The surge in sales seemed to be located to my little country. Once again I was perplexed, wondering if someone had put up a poster somewhere that I was unaware of (seriously, if any of you ever feel the desire to do that, you have my full blessing). Just as I was planning my trip to scour the entire land of the UK, I was at the gym watching one of those little TVs you get on the machines when an advert came on and suddenly it became all too clear to me.
No guys, someone hadn't been advertising my books on TV. (again... if anyone fancies doing that at any point...) But a new series had just started. It was series 2 of a British TV programme that it seems people are pretty impressed with. What's the name of this TV show, I hear you ask? ... It just so happens that the show is called Utopia...
Yup. That happened. (Disclaimer: Although the first series of this show did come out before I had published my book, I had named the book long before I had heard about the show, so technically I named it first.)
I'm not too upset about this as, although I haven't actually seen it, it doesn't really have anything to do with what my books are about apparently so no harm done. Having said that, it would appear that this TV show started up again the week that my sales started to increase. By some stroke of luck, when fans of the show have been going online to find the show Utopia, they've been finding my book as well. Huzzah for search engines!
Now, people are either initially looking for this show, finding my book and then getting waylaid and deciding they'd like to read that as well, or they are buying my book under the genuine impression that it is about the TV show. Just in case anyone is still confused and tries to sue me or something... it's not. It has nothing to do with it... I think. I haven't seen it. To be honest I'm too scared to, in case I subliminally copy something and then can get done for it. My brain does things regularly that I'm not aware of until it's too late.
When coming to this realisation, I have been pretty impressed with what is appearing to be some form of free publicity. I mean this show is advertised everywhere. And although the front cover is completely different to my own and my name is nowhere to be found on the adverts, I can't help but squint slightly and pretend that it's my book that's really being advertised. It helps to have a general optimistic/completely unrealistic grasp of reality. I even began to think of other ways I might be able to use this to my advantage, although most of my ideas have been severely warned against as apparently it could be seen as some form of copyright infringement... Here are two of my favourite ideas:
Plan No 1. Time for a new look.
The main image for Utopia (TV show) is a giant eye. Exhibit A:
I thought that perhaps it was time for a new front cover design. Not having the money that this show has, nor the know-how of photoshop... I had to make do:
Not only has idea been frowned upon on copyright grounds by my loved ones, apparently it also has been suggested that this new cover might actually hurt book sales rather than make them better... I don't know what they're talking about. This picture is professional and awesome and not in the least bit creepy.
Plan No 2. Piggy back on the advertisement already available
My other idea is to buy a sharpie and take a little trip around London, locating the already available posters for the TV show. Then, when no one is looking, I would sneakily write my name at the bottom of the poster. I wouldn't do anything that would suggest false advertisement, such as writing 'By Lisa J Harries' but just simply write my name because I like the way it looks on glass... Of course, then someone pointed out to me that that was, in fact, vandalism and graffiti, but hey! if Banksy can do it...
The alternative to writing my name is to make A4 flyers of my new book cover image and stick them up next to each poster with a sign that says "The other Utopia." Yup... not a thing wrong with that.
Finally, I would like to thank Channel 4 for putting on this clear hit of a show and calling it a name that matches one of my books. You have really helped out the little guy here... I mean that in every sense of the word, I truly am a tiny woman.
Of course this is all speculation... maybe there have been a surge of book clubs with a post-apocalyptic theme and the TV show doesn't even factor into it... nope, I don't buy it either.
Peace out my lovelies