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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

The learning curve steepens.

This is the Chindi book group at the UK Southern Book show — the ‘Worthing Event’. There were mixed feelings about the day, but for myself, I was happy to be there, meet other authors, talk to readers and sell a couple of books. The day went on too long, meaning some early departures, including our group. I was scheduled to give a fifteen minute talk at 5.15pm, but it was obvious that I would be speaking to myself by then. We had authors and publishers from all over the United Kingdom, which surprised me because I expected the majority to come from the southern part of the country. Fortunately the bad weather had subsided by then, which meant just about a 100% show from everyone. As for the foot traffic, the visiting public, it was hard to quantify the attraction the show had, despite being inside the theatre on Worthing Pier.

The organiser of the event was Natasha Murray ( It was the first time for her and she did everything herself, which was an amazing and tremendous effort. She has asked for feedback too, and I know there are a few of our group who have shown a reluctance about doing this again next year, but I expect to turn up if Natasha holds the show again. She has already promised changes to the date (later in the year), and maybe a change of venue. My own feelings about these kind of events is that it’s more about marketing, networking and meeting people rather than selling books and making a lot of money.

I’m now leaning towards an extended effort on promotion and marketing. I don’t mean I’m going to spend more money, but I want to consolidate links with potential readers and other author forums. I watched a podcast yesterday about a new writer who gave up her job and spent three months developing a community relationship with potential readers before even publishing a book. The amount of work she put in was remarkable, but the results proved worth the effort. Within twelve months she had tripled what she would have earned had she stayed at work. Now I don’t pretend that I’m about to do anything like that, but it does highlight the need for some serious effort in the P&M department for results to flow. I’ve no idea yet how I’ll improve my social media skills, but it’s something I have to work on.

My WIP has been modified for the umpteenth time now. Something tells me I should give it up and write fairy stories or something, but I’ll persevere and aim for a completed novel by the end of the year. Because I’m writing what is essentially a crime novel, I have to keep going back in the story to drop something in that gets picked up by the main character later in the story. I’m finding it difficult because crime writing seems a little bit specialised to me now. I’ll probably start sending teasers out to my subs list, see what they think maybe.

I am seeing improvements to my BB ads sales. I have overtaken the February figure already, but still have a long way to go and, probably, much tweaking to do. I might have to run a second ad, just to get some kind of comparison.

On the domestic front, Tuppence just about scraped through on her weigh-in, and is now back under our control. Let’s hope she manages to stay slim. Wish me (us) luck!

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