• 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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  • Michael Parker

Making headway

March is a busy birthday month for my family: my birthday (81), my son, Terry, and his wife, Claire. Consequently I saw a fair amount of our offspring, which is nice. I also spent some time chatting with our youngest boy, Stephen, in Australia, and while we were talking, John turned up, so he got a chance to chat with his brother. John and I went up to Norfolk for a weekend with the eldest boy, Vincent, and his wife, Jackie. So all in all, I’ve been blessed.

Another step in my ‘rehabilitation’ was finally paying for my week in Ireland: a writer’s retreat break for seven days, organised by my American publisher, The Wild Rose Press. I also submitted an extract from my current work for a critique by the CEO who will be leading the ‘Tour’. Yes, it’s called a tour because it won’t be about books all the time; we are also getting to tour the area around Galway. There will be twelve of us, but only me from the UK; the others are from the USA. The extract, by the way, was the first fifteen pages of my W.I.P, which will be returned to me in time for the break.

When my Irish holiday is finished, I will be flying back to London and staying for the Self-Publishing Show Live at the South Bank Centre. It’s a two day bash, but I’ll be there a couple of days earlier, which mans some downtime and a look around the city where I was brought up. Well, me and my brothers were often up the West End getting up to mischief. Happy days.

I am making steady progress with my current book. The working title is “Desolation”, which has nothing to do with Wyoming, where the story is set. I’ve just reached the 30,000 word mark, so still a long way to go. I’m hoping I will have broken the back of the story by the time I pitch up in Galway.

I began the month putting ads on FB, Amazon and BookBub, but within a week, I’d pulled FB and BB. Amazon lasted a couple of weeks. Complete waste of time (I’m useless at marketing), so I opted for a one day ad on ENT, and another burst on Reedsy (I think). So far this month I’ve sold 39 books. That’s like four or five months of sales all squashed up into four weeks. Hasn’t cost the earth and will probably be the way I’ll go until I can see organic growth pushing up the numbers.

Another venture I’ve taken is to start a course on TikTok. This is being run by two American ladies, Lisa Dubois and Jane Rylan. They are both phenomenally successful with their book sales through TikTok. I saw them in a podcast on Mark Dawson’s SPF. They gave us a short, five day course (ten minutes each day) to introduce us to TikTok. They have now come up with a brilliant, full length course, which is free to all paid up members of SPF. I made up my mind to stick to it, concentrate and make it my ‘go-to’ app for book promotion. Only time will tell if I have the staying power, but I do need to work at it, so I’ve made that promise to myself.

Some time ago I offered local residents on the small estate where I live, the opportunity to get some good advice on publishing a book. The idea as for anyone who wanted to write their own story, maybe for the grandchildren, and didn’t know how. I wasn’t offering a course, just a couple of hours of free instruction to help them on their way. I had one reply. Thankfully the chap came to my house and we spent a couple of hours dotting the eyes and crossing the tees. He went away happy. Hopefully he’ll make the effort. I had another request from a different source. We set a date but the lady bailed out at the last minute. Nerves?

So that’s about it for now. From a book world point of view, I feel a little happier and hopeful for the future. I’m even going to join an author group here in Bognor Regis at the end of the month, which I’m looking forward to. Should be fun. Wish me luck!

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  • Michael Parker

Updated: Mar 3

Storms in life

Well, I managed to get my tickets for the SPF Live show at the South Bank Centre in London. The show will be over two days with a drinks party in the evening. Two years ago, at their first SPF show (nothing last year), the party was on board a boat on the River Thames. I’m looking forward to spending four days in London to cover the show and have some flex time too. Prior to that, I should be in Ireland for the Writers’ Retreat holiday. That’s still on according to my American Publisher who emailed us last week to update us on the planned week.

Having looked ahead at what’s to come, I can’t help but feel it might all come to nothing if that megalomaniac, Vladimir Putin doesn’t pull back from the brink. All I can hope for is that the Russian people remove him from power and restore peace to Europe (and the world?)

I am still making progress on my Marcus Blake thriller set in Wyoming. Some years ago, in fact, a good many years ago, my elder brother, Jim, told me of an incident that could have had horrifying consequences if the whole thing had played out. I remembered that incident as I was writing up another chapter of my book, and as a result of that distant memory, I’ve used it.

Last week I downloaded the latest thriller, Blood Tide, by Neil Lancaster. I’ve read all his books (three to date) and was looking forward to this one. But within a couple of pages I found a major typo, by the time I’d got through the first chapter I had come across five more. I messaged Neil with the details and said I hoped these were not deliberate. I checked on another Kindle Reader but the errors were still there. Neil thanked me and said he’d passed the problem on to his publisher. I couldn’t help but point out that the author is responsible for all mistakes in their book because he/she has to be the last person to have eyes on it before it goes to the printer. I think that fell on deaf ears. But it is a truism I’ll never forget, having learned the hard way when my first eBook on Amazon went on offer for free about ten years ago. It had been formatted by an Australian colleague of mine because, in those days, you had to upload your file in html: something I had no clue about. Anyway, I managed to give away 40,000 free copies, only to learn from another writer that there were no commas in the book. Yes, I never checked the final product.

I’ve delved into advertising again, only to learn that I’m useless at it. I spent about $70 in USA and £30 in UK and earned about £10 in royalties. I thought I would plunge in again though and have advertised A Dangerous Game on Amazon. I did try setting up a campaign on Facebook, but not having done one for a long time, it bamboozled me, so I gave up on that.

During last month I’ve managed some family time despite the risks of Omicron. I spent a few hours with one of my granddaughters (Sarah) and her family, and also with my other granddaughter (Gemma) at her little boy, Orin’s fifth birthday party. Wow! Another family bash was to celebrate my Grandson, Adam’s promotion in his job as a senior cabin steward with BA. A surprise party was put on by his Polish girlfriend, Agata. Great do.

I also managed to survive the storms which battered us here in UK. I always get down to the beach first thing with Tuppence (my Cockapoo). On the morning of Storm Eunice, the wind was fierce, but the storm hadn’t picked up too much, so our beach walk was not too bad. After that the wind speeds along the south coast here reached 80 to 90 miles per hour, with a recorded gust of 122 mph just along the water from us on the Isle of Wight.

That’s it then for this month. Hopefully my next blog will be filled with the enormous success I’ve had with my advertising. Until then, stay safe.

Michael Parker

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