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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Taxing Times

My weeks get filled with a puppy dog and storytelling, and I don’t need to tell you which one is winning. My wife said it’s easier having a baby because when you put them down, they stay there, unlike our Tuppence who decides when she wants peace and quiet. It’s rather like writing in a way: once you put the words down you expect them to stay there, but they have a habit of demanding your attention. And sometimes they bite you, metaphorically speaking, just like the new member of our family. Actually she nibbles with her small, pointed, needle sharp baby teeth.

I am now at a crossroads; May is upon us and I expected to have a promotion in place on Facebook, but I haven’t made the effort yet. I suppose I’ve been hanging on to see how my book sales and rankings hold up after the success of BookBub. Although both figures have dropped, I am still in a better place than I was a couple of months ago. I reset my prices to $2.99, but that didn’t seem to affect the sales. My averages are slowly dropping, and that consistency hasn’t altered as a result of the price change.

I pressed on with my WIP and have reached 9000 words. The 12000 I dumped are just a memory now, and I believe I have a better idea of where I’m going. I have found myself regarding this current novel as a mystery rather than a thriller, but I plan to have an element of tension in it which will help. I changed the location of the story too. When I began earlier this year, I could see the story switching to Chechnya. There was no strong reason for it — simply a whim, but on reflection I realised I was going nowhere. At the moment the new direction is Norfolk. Yes, a lot different from the Russian Federation State. So in the two weeks since I started, I have penned an average of 4500 words. If I could keep that rate up, I would expect the first draft to be finished by the end of September. Seems a bit ambitious, but I’ll give it a try.

One other thing that has occupied my mind this week is my income tax return. Last year I was handed a bill which I didn’t expect and had to talk to the tax office. The mistake was mine and the bill was reduced considerably. So this time I’m being very careful, and I do get a small sense of satisfaction when I declare my royalties. They have increased compared to last year, and hopefully this will be the trend for a long while yet. Maybe one day I’ll earn enough to warrant employing an accountant. So what with the puppy, the writing and the tax man, you could say that this has been a taxing week for me. I’m sure there are a lot of people who would like to be in my position though.

Oh, something else for me to look forward to: it’s the beginning of the Speedway World Championship tonight: first meeting in Poland with the world’s top sixteen riders. Terrific entertainment with brave young men battling it out on the shale where drama and injuries come thick and fast. I saw my first speedway match when I was about eight or nine in London. It was the Wimbledon Dons, and despite the many years I missed, I’ve always loved watching it. If I could apply the same discipline and hard work to my writing like those riders, I would have had a best-seller years ago.

Next week, if I remain true to myself, I’ll pen another 4500 words, place an advert with Facebook, get my tax return right and have a puppy who knows how to bark when she wants to go outside to the loo! Wish me luck.

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