Selling My Books: Malcolm Welshman’s Top Tip for Book Promotion

Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful author shares a favourite book promotion tip here on Debbie Young’s Off The Shelf blog

This post’s going up a day early to fit in with the guest’s busy blog tour schedule!

Pets Aplenty blog tour  banner

Malcolm Welshman with Dora the dog

Malcolm Welshman with his PR assistant Dora

I’d first spotted Malcolm Welshman on Facebook and was amused by his comments and attracted by the look of his novels some time ago. Then recently I was introduced to him by our mutual friend, the author and publisher Helen Hart of SilverWood Books. Being a big fan of James Herriott, I’m very glad to welcome his 21st century’s equivalent to Off The Shelf today, to swiftly put paid to the advice that one should never work with children or animals….

Debbie Young: What’s your favourite book promotion tip? It doesn’t need to be the one that sells the most books – it could just be the one you most enjoy.

Malcolm Welshman: Us Brits aren’t too good at the concept of ‘selling ourselves’ but when it comes down to it, this is what we have to do in order to promote our books. We’ve nurtured them for many months, if not years, crafted them to the finished product. Once published, we can’t afford to sit back and let things happen since they won’t. If you pull the plug on your endeavours now, you’ll just watch your efforts drain away. And that simply won’t wash. Having had three novels published since 2011, it’s taken me that length of time to play the publicity field and see what’s the best way to ensure my books score. Uncomfortable with the notion of selling myself, I’ve found a way of doing it through my dog – Dora, a Yorkie-cross rescue.

Debbie Young: How do you do it? Please give brief instructions!

Malcolm Welshman: Three years back, I offered to do a diary in Dora’s name as part of a pets’ page on a national website. This has now become a regular monthly feature on Through Dora’s Diary there’s a link to my website and books on Amazon. This has expanded to Twitter and Facebook where she and I have built up a pack of doggy friends.

Debbie Young: Why do you particularly enjoy this activity?

Cover of Pets Aplenty by Malcolm Welshman

Malcolm Welshman’s latest novel, based on his own career as a vet

Malcolm Welshman: It has allowed me to make contact with like-minded people who own pets and those who also write about them.

Debbie Young: Which book(s) have you used it for and when?

Malcolm Welshman: I started using the Dora link with my second novel, Pets on Parade, and continued using it for Pets Aplenty published at the end of last August.  I have expanded on the idea by having a cartoon professionally drawn of Dora reading Pets Aplenty. Targeting potential new Facebook friends via their interest in dogs, I get Dora to send them a high five paw, add the cartoon and a link to the book.

Debbie Young: If you were doing it again for another book tomorrow, would you do it any differently?

Malcolm Welshman: Providing the theme of the book was still pet-orientated then the successful pawmotion achieved through using Dora means that she’d definitely be collared as my publicist again.

Debbie Young: Which part of the book promotion process do you like least?

Dora with the book in her paw

Could you resist buying a copy when Dora turns her beautiful eyes on you?

Malcolm Welshman: It’s  constantly having to chip away to keep the ‘brand’ noticed and the time taken to do so.

With my first pet novel, Pets in a Pickle, I had no idea of the potential of social networking. I relied on traditional ways such as talks to local groups, radio chats, and a few book signings. The word-of-mouth approach.

The turning point came in the summer of 2011 when I read a feature on how a successful crime writer managed to get five of his ebooks books into the Amazon bestsellers’ top ten list all at the same time. The basic concept was a reduction in the price.

So I persuaded my publisher to reduce my Kindle version to 99p and saw it race up to the number two slot on Kindle’s bestsellers’  list within three weeks. It was then I realised the enormous potential of the Internet and the power of social networking and have used that as the mainstay of my promotional activities ever since.

Debbie Young: Can you name one promotional activity that you’d like to try that you haven’t tried yet – or tried but not yet perfected?

Malcolm Welshman in a rabbit suit

Spot the vet, concealed somewhere in this picture…

Malcolm Welshman: Well if you care to look on my website, there’s a promotional video of Pets in a Pickle showing me running through the bushes wearing a rabbit outfit; and ends with me toasting the new book in the same gear.

I reasoned that my light-hearted, humorous style was well ‘suited’ to donning such an outfit. Indeed, I wore the rabbit suit to help raise funds for the Red Cross; and that gave me the idea for the opening chapter of Pets Aplenty where the young vet, dressed like a rabbit, is dragged across the local shopping precinct by a dog with his teeth in the rabbit’s scut.

It’s becoming a well ‘worn’ theme, so perhaps next time I should try wearing a doggy onesie.

Debbie Young: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers now? e.g. news of your next book or event.

Malcolm Welshman: Being a retired vet, I appreciate that animals have given me a wonderful fulfilling life. Now writing about my experiences with them albeit it through my alter-ego, Paul Mitchell, it gives me the opportunity to repay them in a small way. I do this by donating signed copies of my books to Rescue Societies for their raffles and tombolas. I also do book signings with proceeds going to the Charity involved. Of course this also helps to promote my books. But as I find writing these tremendous fun I hope that spreading the word in this way also brings fun to more readers.

Debbie Young: Malcolm, thank you so much for sharing your favourite book promotion tips here. I bet other authors reading this will wish they had some furry friends who might help them too!


Cartoon of Dora on a sunlounger reading a book

Further reading as recommended by Dora

For more information about Malcolm Welshman, visit his author website here:

You can order his books here via Amazon – or order them at your local bookshop:

Pets in a Pickle  ~  Pets Aplenty  ~  Pets on Parade 


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