Marketing – English Books in Asia – Feet on the ground local author – Paul invents the term “BiblioBlackHole”

Background:  Paul is an SBPRA author living in Bali.  He is an Australian author and we have left his spelling “as is.” He is currently writing his third book and trying to figure out how to sell more books! Here is his email interaction with Tom and Robert and asking for marketing assistance.



Hi Tom

Ok where to start ?

I once had a conversation with Robert Fletcher where he correctly pointed out to me that book stores were, ” dead men walking ” and having seen the demise of book stores in Australia I think his assessment was ..bang on the money.

However bookstores ( even in limited format ) still abound in Australasia Singapore and certainly Indonesia ( where we reside ) I will add that stores in The Philippines, China, Malaysia, India and Vietnam are prolific.


Robert: We agree but…. the international bookstores in Asia are certainly still viable and will be for at least 10 years for their countrymen, but, how fast are the ex-pats adopting tablet reading? I know if I were an ex-pat, I’d want the wireless/tablet/unlimited stock versus whatever the local bookstore chose to carry in their store. 


I have always treated the three books I have written as my “practise books” as I used them as a vehicle to work out exactly how to write a book in terms of dialogue, structure and time lines…so far so good.

However the rather exciting news is that a rather ‘prominent ‘ TV producer in North America has read the first book and we are talking a ‘treatment ‘ to see if the story will work in film.


Robert: Congrats and Good Luck!


In the next few weeks I will finish an anthology of short stories which will be heading to you guys and this is more of a ‘literary genre’ which I will now embark on in future .


Robert: Excellent!


So, marketing!!!!

I would think now that the books should be marketed as a trilogy rather than just the latest book. A bit like a boxed set…what say you ?


Robert:  YES! One thing we see is that we can create a new ISBN and combine all three books into one ebook product to sell. We believe that people really like “3 at a time.”. Also, for people that love the first one, numbers two and three, are easily sold.


I would also like to try and get my books into airport book stores …. WH Smith, News Travels , Periplus ( SE Asia ) and Dymocks . To date my letters to these organisations have gone unanswered and perhaps with a push from ‘my publisher’ perhaps this would carry more weight.


Robert: Forget the US airport distributors. We’ve tried it, and at the end of the day, you pay them.  There is no money unless you are a best seller.  One alternative though, for smaller airports… We had an author also approach the local airport, with “local author” and they let them put their books in there, without the distributor/bookstore arrangement.


This is where I think a lot of the market would be….your thoughts?

I have done a fair bit of marketing ( my background has been in marketing and advertising ) in terms of press interviews radio interviews and various magazine reviews however I have always felt that this is merely scratching the surface in various regional markets.


R: Agree.. but every little bit helps.


Like most authors , their books tend to disappear into what I like to call the, ” biblioblackhole ” where they sink under the weight of the 2.5 million titles released each year.


R: Love it! BiblioBlackHole!


Again perhaps I am fooling myself here as, are my particular books a stand out from the madding crowd?

I did apparently make a hit for a while in Ireland after a reviewer from The Irish Times gave Final Diagnosis a favourable review .


R: Now you need that same “hit” in every newspaper or radio you can get to in Asia.


My website lists the books along with my weekly blogs . I note that my traffic lately has lifted beyond 1,800 unique visitors a week and many of my blogs are picked up by magazines all over the world so on that marketing front something is happening .


R: Great! Blogs do work.


Now I could commit to the Strategic marketing program by getting the PR releases, listing in ctalogues etc done and once they are out there, there might be a flurry of excitement for a week or two before that dreaded ‘biblioblackhole’ swallows them up.


R: Have I said yet that “marketing is an everyday task?!


I have just written to Periplus and WH Smith here in SE Asia to see whether I can make headway with them but again some assistance from you guys with the heavy lifting might go a long way to pushing the door open.


R: We will certainly help you.


So Tom, those are my thoughts. I would be greatful if you would give them some thought.


R: Because your book is fiction, it has two main ways to get attention: 1) Reviews, and 2) Connections based on geography, or history, i.e. where is it set, and what time period, 3) Reviews.

Did I mention that reviews are what drive fiction on Amazon?

Since I will be coming out there, and there is nothing better than “local author”, why don’t you see if you can get the largest “local” chain in Bali, to carry them, even on consignment, and have a signing.  If you can set up a meeting with their “buyer” even better and I can handle it.

My best suggestion at this point would be to see if you can get 100 hotels to let you place a “local author” display and you create a route and work it. Bali has a lot of hotels and people looking for something to read.

I look forward to hearing back from you