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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Not enough hours in the day!

I’m late this week, simply because of too much to do. Went to a wedding on Saturday, which interfered with my usual Saturday treat of watching football. Sunday was a visit from our grand-daughter, Gemma (lovely), and then a trip across to see our puppy, Tuppence. Such a busy life I lead! Blogging took a back seat for a while. I have kept an eye on my book sales and rankings, and can now see the tail end of the BookBub promotion results. I’m really pleased with the way it went, and I am still managing to sell about twenty books a day. Sometime this week I need to get some advertising sorted: probably on Facebook, and hope I can keep the balls in the air that way.

Earlier this week I received a request from a gentleman who had attended my Book Talk on March 19th. He asked me if I would have a look at his competition entry: a synopsis of his book and the first 5000 words. My immediate reaction was one of dismay because I don’t like getting requests of this nature. There was a deadline for the competition, so I agreed, reluctantly, to have a quick look. Unfortunately the MS fell well below the standards necessary to be considered ready for publication with the need for substantial editing. Plus there was very little knowledge in how to tell a story. Sadly I had to tell the man the truth. He thanked me for my “candid” reply, which I think was a euphemism for “brutal”, and I suspect he was really disappointed both in me and in the answer I gave. But is there a right way? Do we have to let wannabe writers down gently, or tell them the bald truth? I have experienced rejections and criticisms, and they are not nice; they are a fact of writing life. I believe it’s right to tell the truth, and if the writer can’t take it, that’s tough; it’s a tough old world out there. I did encourage him to submit his entry because none of us know what the judges are looking for.

Timing is important in life, wouldn’t you agree? This morning, twenty minutes before I was due to take two people to Gatwick airport, I received a call from the local hospital asking me if I could go in today for my cataract operation. I had to say no, of course, but it could have all been over by now, had it not been for the airport run.

I took umbrage last week over an article by an Amazon writer who had sold 2 million books on Amazon. She was pumped up about the fourteen hours a day she spends on promotion and marketing, slammed the traditional publishing houses and basically inferred we should all be knocking ourselves out like that if we wanted to sell books successfully. You could almost see the halo over her head on the publicity photo (head shot, smiling, slightly turned) as she beamed these little gems our way. I don’t like people coming on strong like that to wannabe writers, believing they should all follow the same path. When I wrote my first novel, North Slope, I was working in Saudi Arabia, twelve hour shifts seven days a week followed by twelve hour night shifts seven nights a week, Where’s the room for another fourteen hour shift each day in that lot? There must be tens of thousands of writers working a full day before coming home to write. Perhaps that’s where they are going wrong — working instead of writing.

Tonight is the monthly meeting of the CHINDI group. I always look forward to these meetings. We all get the chance to talk about our work and have brain storming sessions about the best way to promote ourselves collectively. It’s good fun and often we learn some very useful stuff about promotion and marketing, but not about squashing it all into a fourteen hour day. Wish me luck!

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