I have published three books on Fell Running now. Firstly, in Aug 2013, there was ‘It’s a hill, get over it’ (a history of fell running and its many characters); secondly, in Sept 2015, came ‘The Round: in Bob Graham’s footsteps’ (the story of the Bob Graham Round); and more recently, in Feb 2017, ‘Running Hard: the story of a rivalry’ (the parallel lives and running careers of Kenny Stuart and John Wild).
Over the life of the three books ‘It’s a Hill, get over it’ has been the best seller. In part, of course, this is because it was the first out and had such a marvellously catchy title. Counting the sales of all three, the percentage of the total number of books sold that each accounts for are: 53% It’s a Hill, 29% The Round, and 18% Running Hard.
In the last 6 months (the frequency I get the stats from my publisher) however It’s a Hill has not been the biggest seller. In that period the figures are: 40% The Round, 35% It’s a Hill, and 25% Running Hard.
One other (possibly) interesting statistic is the split between books and ebooks. All three have always been available in both formats. For all sales the figures are: 15% ebooks and 85% books. The individual figures (for ebooks) are: 21% For Running Hard, 14% for The Round, and 14% for It’s a Hill.
By the terms of my contract I get a percentage of the net profit on each book. This amounts to something under £1 per book, with a slightly higher margin on ebooks (due to there being no print costs to cover).
REQUEST: if you have enjoyed any of them and have a moment please drop a short review on Good Reads, Amazon, my blog, your blog, or wherever. It helps authors tremendously to have readers sharing their thoughts on what they have read (and hopefully enjoyed).
Joss Naylor was once quoted as saying, “I am a man for doing, not saying“. Well, on Saturday evening at Charlotte Mason, Ambleside, he said a lot, and as ever was thoroughly entertaining as he said it. The evening with Joss was part of the Ultra Running Weekend, which was being organised to celebrate 60 years of the Climbers Shop, in Ambleside. It was brilliant to share a stage again with Joss Naylor at this event, and to introduce him, and also interview him and m/c the Q&A session that followed.
Actually Joss fooled me by not following the script, and just bypassing the introductions and going straight into recounting the story of his 1971 International Three Peaks record. But I guess no-one present really needed me to be saying: “He won 10 Lake District Mountain Trials in all. In 1974 he decided to run the Pennine Way and finished in 3 days. Having already done 63 Lakeland peaks in 24 hrs, in 1975 he did 72. Then in 1986 (aged 50) there was all 214 Wainwrights in 7 days.” That would have been part of my intro.
The Three Peaks effort was setup by Frank Davies, who had founded the Climbers Shop (in Ambleside), and just happened to be an experienced rally driver. It involved ascending (ie running up and down) Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, and starting off from sea level in Fort William to finish at sea level at Caernarvon, having driven at speed between the feet of each mountain. The year before Davies had driven Peter Hall, who did the running, and they managed just over 12 hours. Frank Davies thought it could be done faster. Joss was 36 years old and they had a souped-up Ford Capri for the trip.
A few things I recall from the story Joss wove. Three fast trial runs through Glasgow to get the best route (noticed by a policeman on third, so called it a day). A drunk ferryman at Ballachulish. Filthy weather on the Ben, still up in 1 hour and down in under 30 mins. All achieved in a frankly astonishing 11 hours 52 minutes.
When he paused for breath I was able to ask some of my carefully crafted questions, most of which points he had already covered. How did you stop blisters: “Sheep’s wool wrapped round my toes.” What did you do the next day: “Supported someone on a Bob Graham Round.”
In recognition of the 60 year theme, we then talked about his own effort a little later. This was in 1996 when he did his 60 at 60 Lakeland peaks round. It encompassed 60 summits, 110 miles and 34,000ft in 36 hours. Again a couple of remembered points: Nine months training and a week beforehand unloading a trailer and his back went. He went over Broad Stand with his dog Fly. Billy Bland was pacing him early on and he thought Joss ought to slow down. Two fabulous sunrises would be enough in themselves.
We then had fabulous refreshments provided by the Climbers Shop, before coming back for questions. I was busy compering and can’t remember all that was asked, but they were wide ranging topics: how he kept himself in shape [I think he said cider vinegar every morning]; what the shortest race he ever won was [a local show race]; why support the Brathay Trust [they do excellent work with disadvantaged kids]. Thinking of that statement at the beginning of this blog I finished by asking Joss, “what are you going to do next Joss?” The somewhat unexpected answer was, “behave myself, I guess.” That response has to be taken in the context of him having not been very well recently.
The weekend was rounded off by staying in a luxury lodge at Brathay Hall, and having a lovely walk with friends over Reston Scar earlier in the day. Plus squeezing in food at both Wilfs (café) and More? (the artisan bakery) in Staveley Mill Yard at various points. [Photos: Mike Cambray]
Thanks to Kim from Sam Read Books (in Grasmere) for coming to the event and selling a whole bunch of my three fell running books at the event.