I was reading “Good Housekeeping” the other day, and I suddenly stopped and slapped my forehead: of course! They have a Reader Recommended scheme for books (mainly novels, but not exclusively), where they feature each month a selection of books enjoyed and endorsed by GH readers, and promote them in various ways. I know, thought I: I shall get “Fatal Forgery” submitted to their panel of readers, and see if I can get a GH Reader Recommended rosette of my own. Oh what an innocent I was. It turns out that, in order to be considered, you have to:
- Supply 150 copies of your book to readers selected by GH – they can be e-copies, which would be cheaper, but still, 150 copies
- Pay a “reading fee” of (wait for it) £3,500
- Keep your fingers crossed that more than 100 of the 150 readers like your book – if they do, you’re in
- If you’re in, you then have to pay a further fee (they couldn’t recall offhand what this is) for using the GH Reader Recommended rosette on your book and publicity material.
So it’s well and truly beyond the reach of all but the big publishing houses – who get all the three-for-two publicity in the bookshops as well. Grinding of teeth! I know it’s the same in all walks of life – nearly everything is easier if you have money to start with – but still a disappointment. Working out the sums, supplying and posting 150 copies of “Fatal Forgery” would cost me about £900, plus the £3,500 reading fee, then (let’s guess) another £1,000 for using the rosette – that’s £5,400. With my royalty of £1.27 per copy, I’d have to sell 4,252 extra copies just to break even. I think I’ll have a lie-down, and try to think of another way to get people reading.