• Michael Parker

Well, I said the pattern may not change but the intensity will, and I wasn’t far out. Pat’s demands became intense to the point of me having to change her up to ten times in a 24 hour period for about three days. The conversations I had with the medical people were mounting, and eventually a GP came to the house. Two days later once the blood test results were known, she was put into an ambulance and taken to hospital. But instead of invasive intravenous treatment, it was decided by the consultant, after talking to what he referred to as the ‘ECHO’ team, that Pat would continue with the antibiotic tablets the GP had prescribed, and she was released the next day into my hands as her carer to continue with her palliative care. There was a discussion about this of course, but the next event, which will probably be sooner rather than later, will almost certainly involve hospice care with the implication that comes with that.

So, what about my other world? I’ve been invited by Lucinda Clarke to be her nominated author of the month on her blog post. I was pleased and surprised. I’ve followed Lucinda for some time, and she produces an amazingly informative and professional looking blog post. It might happen for next month, but I won’t complain if Lucinda puts it off until September.

For some reason, I am receiving a flow of emails from individuals offering to review my books. I’ve no idea why this has happened; perhaps something I triggered inadvertently. I think I know what these people are about, and it can only be a ruse to get money out of me, which I’m not about to fall for. And while I’m on the subject of reviews, I dismayed with the paucity of reviews I get from the readers who sign up to my email list in return for my freebie, The Devil’s Trinity. I collect my subscribers almost entirely through Voracious Readers and add about three of four a week. I only pay VR pro rata, which is about £7 a month, but I’m seriously considering giving it up and falling back on the offer that is on my website for the same book.

My advertising campaigns are showing an improvement with the BookBub ads, but still nothing with Amazon. I closed the campaign for my WW2 book because that sold nothing, and then opened a new campaign for my crime/mystery thriller, No Time to Die. So far, nothing has stirred in that campaign. Meanwhile, I’m selling about one book every other day through my BB campaign, and this is reflected in my D2D sales. And yesterday I sold three copies of The Eagle’s Covenant as a result of a promotion with a site called Book Adrenaline. This group was recommended by David Gaughran in a blog post, so I was happy to give them a try.

We all like a laugh now and then, right? But a laugh at ourselves? As a result of my inability to read the Amazon product pages correctly, I managed to order two scrubbing brushes (I wanted one); three jars of Vaseline (I wanted one); four, 400g bags of ceramic bio rings for my fish tank (I wanted one bag), and twelve pink flannels (I wanted two). Mea Culpa; no-one to blame but myself. Anyone want 1.2 kg of ceramic bio-rings? Going cheap! Maybe one day I’ll look at the Amazon product pages properly and might find my books languishing at a ranking of 100 instead of the usual 100,000, and not even notice. You never know. Wish me luck!

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  • Michael Parker

My poor Pat. I thought I’d lost her last Monday. I phoned the surgery to get some advice and told them I wasn’t asking for more pills because she has just about had enough and won’t take any tablets. Neither was she eating. After a discussion with a paramedic and the GP, it was decided to pass on this and see what help our local hospice could offer. We’ve been under the watchful eye of St. Wilfrid’s Hospice since last December, with regular communication, so it was no surprise to them when I rang. Our usual contact, Andy, came out to see Pat on Wednesday, spent an hour with us and explained what we could expect and what they would do if and when it was needed. He didn’t have to be economical with the facts; we already know what to expect. Fortunately, Pat has picked up a little, but I know it won’t last. She is very frail, both physically and mentally. So, I soldier on and wonder how much longer it will go on.

My Facebook ad for June cost me £175. My royalties were about one third of that. It doesn’t take a great mathematician to figure out the ROI sucks. But if I had the balls to follow the expert’s advice, I would press on and throw more money at it. Trouble is, I can’t be bothered. Whatever I throw FB’s way will only make Jeff Bezos richer, but not Mick Parker. This month I am back on Amazon who are afraid to take my money. I scaled up in an effort to attract readers and sales, but I’ve still sold nothing. And so far I’ve spent $5.37. And it’s not for the want of trying. I’m advertising with BookBub as well, and have sold eight books on D2D, which is where my BB ads tend to populate. This has cost $50 so far. So, not good either. Looking back at those figures, it would make sense to ditch BB and Facebook and throw the money at Amazon.

I’m still reading Paul Asling’s book about Westminster Wars. I know Paul has a lot of fans, so he should do OK with this book; I’m sure they will lap it up. I’m about halfway through, so might have it finished by next week.

I had a phone call from Spain this week to tell me my old snooker mate, Richard (Ricardo) had passed away. Ricardo and I played snooker every week for about ten years. We always had a laugh. Sometimes he would beat me, other times I would win. We were both Speedway fans too and spent a lot of time talking about the sport. Although not together, we both travelled over to Cardiff each year for the British Speedway Grand Prix at the Millenium stadium (now called the ‘Principality Stadium’). Great times. I was sad to hear of his passing, but that’s life. He was 84.

One other task I’ve been involved in this week is the garden. Hands up who likes gardening? I need a young, strong teenager to volunteer to work in my garden at the minimum wage, but while I’m keeping Jeff Bezos in small change, I can’t afford it. But if I offered, say £20 for a couple of hours work, it might be worth it. But it’s unlikely I’ll find any youngster willing to take it on. Not at that price anyway; not enough to keep them in spliffs for a week.

So what next? The pattern may not change, but I expect the intensity will. Wish me luck!

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  • Michael Parker

Pat’s situation is getting slowly worse. Small drops each day, and little to inspire any hope. Talking to others who have found themselves in this situation simply confirms the direction her illness is taking her, but not the longevity; it could be a few months or maybe a few years. I find my levels of frustration are only matched by my feelings of guilt when I get annoyed with her, because I know that none of this is her fault. You learn a lot about yourself in a situation like this: levels of patience; fortitude; mental strength; physical strength. Fortunately, Pat is sleeping a lot better, but to counter that blessing, she isn’t eating and is refusing to take her pills. It’s difficult.

Looking at the marginally brighter side of life, I can now watch the ‘footie’ on TV. I hadn’t planned to watch so much, but I’m afraid that’s another of my weaknesses. And it interferes with my reading time too. Currently I’m reading my Chindi colleague Paul Asling’s crime thriller Wars in West London. You can see it at https://www.amazon.co.uk/CARTERS-WARS-WEST-LONDON-ebook/dp/B08BVWS9RJ.

And on the subject of Chindi authors, I would like to introduce you to Isabella Muir whose latest crime novel, Crossing the Line was published today. You can learn more of Isabella and her history, her previous literary work, and where her new genre is taking her with this link: https://www.isabellamuir.com. I think Isabella will probably be joining the ranks of best-seller fairly soon.

My ambitious attempt at creating a different kind of campaign on Amazon has resulted in precisely zero sales so far. Ironically, my recently started campaign on Book Bub ads had given me two sales. The Amazon ad was constructed using the advice of ex Amazon marketing professional, Jane Margot, while the BB ad was constructed simply and wholly by ‘yours truly’. I don’t blame anyone for my failures, but I couldn’t help smiling to myself when I saw on Bryan Cohen’s Ad school (of which I am an alumni) that he currently had over 1300 ads running. Now I know why I’m not selling! (Yes, that’s right: 1300!)

I’ve been coming up with some terrific opening scenes for my latest WIP. This was the one I started four week ago with the plan to knock out 60,000 words by the end of July. So far I’ve written 1200 words. I managed to produce an opening in which two mysteries need to be solved. One at the beginning of the chapter, and the other at the end: all separated by 1200 words. And I haven’t a clue what the mysteries are. It makes it fun writing something like that providing I can come up with an answer, but at my present rate of progress, it’s unlikely.

So, today is July 4th. Independence Day. Our American friends will need to be extremely careful about their Independence Day celebrations if what I understand about their pandemic figures is correct. And likewise we British have to be careful too because the Press are dubbing this day as our Independence Day. We can all go to the pub! I usually finish my blog post asking you all to wish me luck, but today I think we ALL need a huge chunk of it. Stay home and stay safe.

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