First a Little history…Most British writers will be familiar with the above saying/slogan that has been with us since 1939. During that year The Ministry of Information was formed by the British Government as the department responsible for publicity and propaganda during the Second World War. The MOI was appointed by the British Government to design a number of morale boosting posters that would be displayed across the British Isles during the testing times that lay ahead. The slogan, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ was the title on the third poster. The plan in place for this poster was to issue it only upon the invasion of Britain by Germany. As this never happened, the poster was never officially seen by the public.
It is thought that most of the Keep Calm posters were destroyed and reduced to a pulp at the end of the war in 1945. However, nearly 60 years later, a bookseller from Barter Books stumbled across a copy hidden amongst a pile of dusty old books bought from an auction and a further small number are kept in the National Archives and the Imperial War Museum in London.
Sadly there is no record of the unknown Civil Servant who originally came up with the simple and quintessential Britishness of the Keep Calm and Carry On message but I do think it is wonderful to think that people still find it appealing and reassuring in our modern times.
We live in times that are often troubled and turbulent, whether you live in the ‘modernistic’ west or indeed a ‘third’ world country. Our basic needs as humans are food, clean water, warmth, shelter including safety, and energy. Where you live, and how you conduct your actual life depends on what your employment is and your personal situation.
From a writer’s point of view I’ve heard a lot of grumbling lately; followed by tales of woe throughout the summer months and I’ve thought just how easy it is to fall into the trap of being carried along with the ‘summer malaise’ or to put it candidly, ‘lack of book sales’.
But, wait! Why worry when the summer has always been known as the ‘silly season’ since I can remember.
Historically, in the publishing industry, selling has always really occurred during spring, autumn and winter largely due to the sales conferences among editors and publishers and the time it took for their sales persons to visit their many accounts. To some extent this scenario has changed somewhat, but summer has stayed the dormant period. Why?
Why is there such a slack period during the summer? Maybe book buyers take a leaf out of the books of the British government, simply put, ‘it is that part of the year when Parliament and the Law Courts are not sitting. For non-British I should explain this is when parliament rises and everyone in the house takes the summer recess and goes on holiday! Nothing much happens, the media makes do with frivolous news stories and the population pursue different ventures.
The summer months are usually good with fine weather and long days, children are out of school, people practise more sport and it is great fun to just be out of doors and enjoying different, simple things. So with all these different verities of life, book buying takes a back burner and there is a definite summer downturn of sales. It happens! It’s normal! It’ll happen again!
So what to do when it happens next year…and the next? Do what I and many of my other author friends do.
Concentrate on writing your next book.
Forget about looking at the numbers of books you’re selling during this time. You can see how many you’ve sold when you see how much money has come in each month!
Saying all that, the summer is actually rather a good time to release new titles because they will be already established in the system, when we enter the autumn period.
I know it seems almost impossible to do this, especially if you’re a new author, but you really have to think long term. So don’t keep checking how many books you’ve sold every five minutes and stop reacting to low sales in the traditional low-sales period of the summer!
There is probably nothing wrong with your books, especially if you’ve had a good year selling so far…and this will be repeated every year!
I've had a fantastic year and released two new books during June and July; 'The Seeds of Time' and the follow-up 'Harvest'. Both cross many genre including, romantic suspense, historical, partly true stories, adventure and family saga.
Practicing what I preach I've also written a 4th Diana Rivers, mystery suspense thriller, 'Camera Action...Murder' which is currently with my editor and should be released in October..and last but not least I'm a third of the way through my latest Romantic suspense, 'A Very French Affair'. Phew! Maybe I'll take a rest soon.
Thank you for dropping by and reading my post. Happy writing and happy reading everyone!