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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Still operating beneath the radar

The old adage about never judging a book by its cover rings true when trying to decide on what would make a good cover for your novel. I now have the paperback rights to my title, The Boy from Berlin (I don’t have the ebook rights though), and I knocked up a jacket which I like, but probably won’t use. The image here is just something I like, but doubt if I can use it. I need to give some thought to the fonts, and decide whether I should use the dazzling background. After all, what kind of book does this image suggest? If any of you want to make a comment, please do, because I can’t make up my mind. I’ll probably spend some time playing around with different options. The book has been available for about five years now. I’ve sold very little — I mentioned the reason why last week, but I think it would be nice to have it available in print for all the upcoming events I’m hoping to attend in the coming year.

My book sales flattened off on Amazon. I sold zero for about six days. I picked up a little on D2D, which means sales on Kobo, Apple and B&N most probably. Amazon popped up yesterday, which meant they hadn’t suddenly stopped operating. The advice I got from David Gaughran’s video on promotion & marketing, was to ignore Amazon and concentrate on the smaller sites. This was the low hanging fruit, but by drip-feeding this area, the harvest will improve. He suggested that Amazon was so vast, so over-stuffed with hundreds and thousands of ebooks, that it was a veritable minefield for authors like me. To venture into this minefield meant needing the protection of a big marketing budget and a professional approach. It makes sense to me, although I still use BB ads on Amazon as well as the other sites.

I received an email from a writer, Santonu Dhar, in Pakistan who wants to interview me for his magazine. Naturally I said I would be delighted. He has sent me a huge list of questions, but fortunately he only wants me to answer seven (my choice). I have to go back to the “low hanging fruit” example because I have been advertising, through BB, in India lately, and maybe, just maybe, this is one result from that. We’ll see.

I have made a little more progress on my WIP. I’m re-writing each chapter and changing the way in which I’m presenting my characters. It still makes tricky writing, particularly as I don’t know how the book will end. I know I should work backwards — have and ending and work my way towards it. I wish it was that easy.

I finally managed to get the right copy of my paperback, Hell’s Gate delivered from Amazon. I had to remove the book from Ingram Spark to prevent them printing the Amazon order. It seemed the only, logical way to go. So, having now sorted that out, I have contacted Amazon because they have the wrong version on the American product page. I gave them the necessary details which they have passed on to CreatSpace. Phew!

I have just finished reading a psychological thriller (Lost Identity) written by the ex-Chindi author, Ray Green. His fans will enjoy it no doubt, but I still find myself reading thrillers very guardedly. I’m now reading Mark Dawson. This is the guy who, six or seven years ago was unknown. Now he’s off to Denver shortly for talks with the film producer who will be making a TV series (I believe) about Mark’s character, John Milton. Mark’s SPF course, of which I’m a member, is like gold dust for any budding writer who wants to learn all aspects of promotion and marketing. It takes a lot of time and dedication though: kind of eats into your writing time. (Poor excuse, I know).

On the domestic front, my temporarily repaired tooth broke into small pieces a couple of days before I went back to the dentist. It meant she couldn’t complete the job of fitting a crown, so she checked the root canals were filled OK, and banged a ‘temporary’ filling in. She offered to fit the crown but couldn’t guarantee it. So, nothing to pay now and fingers crossed my temporary filling will last a long time.

Tuppence is practically on a starvation diet to get her weight below 10Kg. We’re nearly there. Me and Pat feel very guilty, but know it’s the best thing for her. Her ‘Treets’ are chopped pieces of carrot, and she’s only allowed just a miniscule share of my bag of crisps. It’s tough, but I can handle it — I just hope the little darling understands.

Oh, yes: me and Pat celebrated our 58th. Wedding anniversary yesterday. I can’t expect another fifty eight years, but hopefully we’ll keep going for a lot longer yet. Wish me luck”

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