Having received the first run of paperback books, it was time to think about how we were going to get the product to market. Given we were a little over a month away from when people start shopping for Christmas, it was a little late in the year to do anything particularly effective.

It was decided that we would use Christmas 2013 to soft-launch Santa Claus: The Book of Secrets. Using the short period before Christmas as an opportunity to engage with buyers, study the market, conduct some research, gauge people’s reactions and take on board any feedback.

The best way to do this was to put the book in front of as many people as possible within the limited time period available to us. So, we decided to take a stand at Autumn Fair, Europe’s biggest trade retail fair of the season, held annually at the NEC in Birmingham.

We booked one of the only remaining stands just a couple of weeks before the event was due to start. This left us with a problem, we had no stand and no time get one made. So, we managed to order a couple of pop-up banners, and dismantle a shelving unit made from apple crates in the office. With a bit of creative dressing we managed to put a “rustic” looking stand together, which showed the book off to potential stockists.

Given the utter lack of preparation and the fact that most retailers have done their Christmas buying, long before September, the show was a massive success and the book will now be sold in outlets around the country. The response to the book was overwhelmingly positive.