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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Which lottery are you in?

Life is a lottery, so they say, and there’s no question that some people draw the winning ticket and others do not. Sadly, most do not. What we have to look at, as Eric Idle’s song tells us, is to always look on the bright side of life. So drawing away from the daily horrors of this world; horrors that are constantly in our newspapers and on out TV screens, I want to talk about another kind of lottery: producing a best-seller; a book, naturally, seeing as my blog is connected to the written word.

Yesterday, Amanda Hocking’s name came up in a forum post. Amanda is a self-published author and now a wealthy woman because she cracked it: broke the million sales on Amazon. She did that within about two years I think, but don’t quote me on that. Today I read in the Mail on Sunday of another writer, Andy Leeks, who has cracked it. He has sold over 40,000 e-books and is quoted as saying it was easy to publish an e-book. And he’s dead right about that: it is. But it isn’t easy to reach sales figures that put you near the top of the Amazon best sellers list. Andy was soon selling 500 books a day, but he didn’t manage this by luck; it meant hard work after the book had been published. He handed out leaflets on his train journey to work each day because his book was about commuters. It’s called ‘As They Slept’. How many of you would be authors have done that? I haven’t, but my excuse is that I live in Spain and none of the passengers would understand my leaflet. What a poor excuse. But there’s a simple truth in the way in which Andy went about part of his marketing: start local! If you have a book available on Amazon, make a start with a Press release and get yourself in the local newspapers. Have some bookmarks printed with your details on and leave them lying around at strategic points. Ask the local library if you can do this. There must be many ways in which you can begin a ‘local’ campaign.

You might be formulating a question for me: if you’re so clever, how come you haven’t done this? Well, living in Spain doesn’t help an English language writer like me, so I’ve had to rely on promotions through the web. But next month we will be back in England permanently, and I hope to begin a local campaign of my own, once we have settled in. It will cost me time and money, but the length of time and the amount of money I spend is down to me. Meanwhile I have another promotion purchased for the month of November. This is for my thriller, The Devil’s Trinity.

I am making slow progress with my current WIP (work in progress). The working title is ‘The Gatekeeper’. Whether I’ll keep that or not remains to be seen. But I have reached 50,000 words and can’t afford to give it up. I did it last year with this WIP, and wrote a romance instead. That will be out in January, published by Robert Hale, my London publisher. I won’t get much done now on my WIP because we are now into the last four weeks of our tenure in Spain, and the social diary is filling alongside the appointments we have with bureaucracy in order to legally extricate ourselves from the Spanish authorities. All good fun. And I’m still on medication for my cancer, but only medication; the chemo finished five months ago. Wish me luck!

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