• Michael Parker

(Blog post for August 2022)

The month of July has witnessed a definite change in the way in which I have started to turn my life around. The impact of the Writers Retreat in Ireland in June, together with the Self-Publishing Live show in London, has been the reason for this. I needed to find a way of changing my routine so I could devote more time to writing, marketing and promotion. The first thing I did was to stop buying a newspaper. It is amazing how much time can be wasted reading unwelcome news, pages of adverts and moaning about nothing worth reading in the papers these days.

The next thing was to stop watching so much TV and to spend more time writing. Once I had got used to this idea, I found myself sometimes writing in the evening with just the radio on. I do watch TV of course but try diligently to watch only particular programmes. Naturally, I still have to deal with normal routines: gardening, housework, walking the dog, going to church etc., and there are breaks when I am invited to share time with the family.

So what have I achieved to date? I made the decision to rewrite my current WIP after a one to one with my Publisher, Rhonda, in Ireland. It meant starting from the beginning of my 40,000 words and approaching it from a different angle. So far I have produced 50,000 words and have now worked out a sequence of events that will complete the story and bring me to my usual target of 80,000 words. If I continue at my current rate of progress, I could have the book ready by Christmas. We will see.

Promotion and marketing? Well, last month I told you how I sold about sixty-five books on Facebook using a David Gaughran video as a guide. I continued with that and sold another twenty-five books before the campaign faded away. I did another ad on FB, but achieved nothing with that, so I have switched to Amazon Ads. Not too sure about that though.

I have also run a FREE book campaign with Hello Books. That finished July 31st, and over the three days of the promo I have given away around seven hundred books. The title is Where the Wicked Dwell. The book will be free for a few more days on my Amazon Product page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06WD8988W.

Alongside those efforts, I have submitted Hell’s Gate for a standard, short campaign, with Author Glow. I’ve no idea how that will go, but for me now, it is all about immersing myself in the book world and getting my ‘mojo’ back.

On the downside, the result of my two weeks away meant I ended up with Covid. Six days positive followed by what is often referred to as ‘Long Covid’. It was no fun and seriously curtailed my involvement in most things, although I did manage to write.

But beneath all the good and uplifting news, I still miss my lovely Pat. I am managing that; meanwhile the book world is like a metaphor for a crutch that supports me as I try to live my life as normally as I can. I will keep plugging away.

Wish me luck!

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  • Michael Parker

July 2022 Blog

For those of you who wondered what happened to my June blog: I didn’t write one. Looking back, I know I was going downhill in my mind, thinking a great deal about Pat, and letting it affect my whole outlook. I guess it’s an element of the grieving process too. Another aspect of my convoluted mind was the upcoming June holiday and the need to shake off my mental chains and flee the marital home: twelve days away in the world of books, which is an environment in which I can survive without trauma. I came home today, June 30th, filled with a huge kaleidoscope of thoughts, imaginings, and revelations. And just a little daunted on what I hope to achieve if I can possibly change my daily routines.

The first eight days of my break were spent in Ireland at a small town called Headford in County Galway. It was a writers’ retreat organised by my American Publisher, The Wild Rose Press. It was a combination of daily workshops and touring in a private bus, which included not just old castles and ruined Abbeys, but also some Irish Craic and an hilarious night in Galway. And what made this so unique in some respects was that I was the only Englishman among thirteen American women. I was lucky to get a one-to-one with the CEO (pre-planned), and also an excellent one-to-one with their marketing guru, Samantha. Brilliant stuff.

I arrived back in London on Sunday ready for the Self-Publishing Live Show at the Southbank Centre. It was a two day conference with 700 authors attending. There was a party on the first evening with a band, which didn’t help too much because of my hearing, but I managed to chat with four other writers, and that helped break the ice. The presentations were really good, handled very professionally and packed with the kind of information that can only feed the imagination with what is possible if you are prepared to work at it. One thing that became very clear (to me anyway), was that the pandemic didn’t just blow the world apart, but it blew the book sales figures into the stratosphere. It didn’t help me though because that was the point where I gave up writing and promoting to nurse my wife. So in that respect I missed the bus. But I do know, because of my writing history and my product, I am sitting on a potential fortune. All I have to do is find the right shovel and learn how to dig it out. Now that I have spent twelve days inside the world of books and writers, I feel more inclined to pick up where I left off three years ago and see if I can make it happen.

Coming back to the ‘real’ world, I need to think about how I’ll be repositioning myself in terms of dealing with the normal, day to day things that we all have to deal with, and also to get my brain into gear; to get my ‘mojo’ back. One thing I will continue with is advertising. I started a Facebook ad campaign at the beginning of May, using David Gaughran excellent advice, and sold sixty five copies of my book A Dangerous Game. I also sold other titles on the D2D Aggregator where all my books are available. I allowed the advert to run again for June and have sold 25 copies. I expected it to tail away like that, but it has given me the inspiration to create another ad for another book to run through July. I will also think about running something with Amazon.

Perhaps I will find the right shovel. Wish me luck!

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  • Michael Parker

Another month passes and I, like most of us, wonder where it all went, and why so fast? I have continued to make progress with the TikTok course. I’m at 87% so far and intend to complete it before starting on my TikTok adventure. Will I make a success of it? Well, if I was a racehorse, I wouldn’t recommend putting any money on me. But I’m going to try.

Today (April 30th) I am promoting my nuclear thriller, The Devil’s Trinity, with the Kindle Book Review featured book deal. I have had a moderate success promoting this book in the past, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will continue to sell. As far as my monthly sales go, they are next to useless at the moment (six books thus far), but that is because I have made no effort to promote anything. The reason for that is because I had planned to wait until I felt confident with TikTok. However, I received an email from David Gaughran (a genius) giving me (one of his many subscribers) a free walk through video on creating a Facebook Ad., in which he talks you through creating an Ad. on FB, and avoiding all the pitfalls. I’ve used FB several times without success, but the beauty of David’s video is that he creates the ad step by step and points out those “suggestions” that FB use to drag your money out of you and says to avoid them. So, that’s my next attempt at promotion. I’ll let you know next month how I got on.

On domestic front, I have excelled myself in making progress in the garden.It is not my favourite pastime; Pat was the gardener, I just did the heavy lifting for her. But now it’s my responsibility, I have to make sure I keep on top of it. I’ve planted a lot of Geraniums, which was Pat’s favourite flower, and have ordered a bunch of other stuff to add to them. Next thing is to reduce a border I cleared by the lawn and put a line of turf in.

I was invited by my granddaughter, Gemma, to go foraging with her and Orin (her 5 year old) in the woods near her place. The idea was to return home and cook a meal with what we foraged. Fortunately my son, Terry, came with us, which meant I could chat with him while Gemma and Orin foraged. It was a long morning and we finished with a Pesto lunch. Actually, it was quite good. I think Tuppence enjoyed the walk too.

I have also been sucked into the technological age and fitted four Smart lamps to be controlled by Alexa. Last night I was watching a YouTube video that included a short ad on Alexa, when suddenly my lights kept going off everything time the name was mentioned. Do we really need all this?

So, back to the world of books. My progress with my latest thriller is very slow. I have reached the ‘writer’s block’ stage and have virtually ground to a halt. I have managed 38000 words, which means I’m not even halfway through the first draft. Last weekend I popped into the Heygate bookshop in Bognor Regis for a chat with Jason, the owner. He likes to support local authors and has quite a few in a special display. He’d managed to sell two copies of my paperback, No Time to Die, and handed me my royalties from that. From there I went back to our local village hall and bought a book from a local author who had an event there. I like the idea of supporting local authors that way. Whether I’ll ever read the book remains to be seen. And finally, I have joined the Bognor Writers Club. They had their first, face to face meeting last Monday after spending two years meeting on Zoom because of the pandemic. Hopefully I’ll make new friends and enjoy time in the book world.

See you next month. Michael.

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