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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Falling averages but still selling.

As a writer, words interest me. I came across one yesterday on one of the author forums I use. The word is “Pantser”. No, me neither. Anyway, the word appeared in response to a post about the author Lee Child declaring that he doesn’t plan his books; they just happen. Whatever sentence he writes, he isn’t sure how the next line will develop, something like that. Sounds like fun, but I don’t believe it is strictly true; Lee Child has a wealth of knowledge on firearms, security services, military protocol, etc. so much so that he must have some idea of where he’s going with his story. Not that it matters, because he is a clever writer. I have followed this unwritten rule for a number of years, i.e. making it up as I go along, and that means I am a “Pantser”. It’s a made-up word alluding to the phrase ‘by the seat of your pants’. It’s often applied to flying where a pilot is flying an aeroplane for the first time and doesn’t really know what he’s doing. Sounds like a lot of writers to me. So there you have it: another word to add to my lexicon of useless words.

I haven’t had a particularly fruitful week in terms of writing and increasing my word count. No excuses except to say that I have had other priorities to deal with. I do manage to get the time though to check my book sales and rankings, of course. I am currently averaging twenty sales per day, and can see it won’t be too long before I put my prices back up and think seriously about another Facebook promotion.

I’ve just finished uploading my files for the paperback copy of A Covert War. Took a few attempts with Createspace, but I got there in the end. Once I have a copy in my hand I’ll be able to see if it’s OK or needs work. My next paperback will be The Boy from Berlin. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with a stunning design for the cover.

I had a lovely comment from a friend of ours: lady by the name of Pauline who we have known for several years. She told me that my book, A Dangerous Game, had to be made into a film. How I wish, eh? I get comments like that from time to time. Makes me feel good about my work.

My latest WIP is currently at the 12000 word mark. I’m getting demotivated by my own sluggishness, otherwise known as procrastination. I have no-one else to blame but myself. Now the sun is beginning to show more often, it won’t be long before I’m tackling the garden. Perhaps I should write a book about gardening.

Last Monday was the monthly meeting of the CHINDI group. I always enjoy these meetings, and often get to pick up some useful information. I was asked about my BookBub results and received a huge round of applause when I read out the results. One of our new members came up to me and asked if he could meet me for a drink so I could advise him about advertising. Someone had referred to me as the ‘advertising genius’. I had to disabuse him of that idea though. Anyway, we are meeting up next week for a coffee and a chat. Should be good.

On the subject of helping others with their writing, I have been feeling sorry lately for a wannabe writer who asked me to look at his work (I mentioned him in my last blog). He came to me for advice after my Book Talk. I didn’t like the idea at all but agreed to have a quick look. Well, I’m afraid my response to his work could have destroyed him, because I was particularly candid (to use his word in response to my criticism). I now wonder if I should have let him down gently and pointed out his errors in a more accommodating fashion. But the truth is, there is no way of delivering a measured response if you want to hide the truth. Hopefully the man will come to understand that although the criticism was harsh, it was genuine. But I can’t help feeling sorry for him. It made up my mind that I will not agree to any requests for an opinion anymore.

So, what’s next? More writing; a trip to the dentist; a run to Gatwick airport and a trip to see our puppy, Tuppence. We can’t have her for another ten days, but fortunately she’s only half an hour’s drive up the road. I must also figure out another advert for Facebook too. Wish me luck!

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