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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Where's that Holy Grail?

Most of us know what it’s like to fail at some stage in our lives, but I wonder how many of us have profited from that failure? To get up and try again often results in some kind of success, and most writers have succeeded by not giving up. The country’s Brexit failure makes me wonder if our representatives in Parliament will adopt that attitude and not give up. No doubt readers here will have their own opinions, but we all need to see some light at the end of the tunnel. And so it is with indie writers. I’m sure we all struggle and suffer from self-doubt. If you don’t, please email me the secret and I’ll soak it up. I watched a podcast from the LBF of Barry Hutchinson, a children’s author, being interviewed. He is (was) a professional writer working for comic books here and in UK, and penning endless children’s stuff for Harper Collins. He was asked to give a talk at a school on self-publishing. It was then he realised he didn’t know how to self-publish. So he knocked out a quick children’s Sci-Fi, uploaded it on to Kindle and started selling about twelve books a day immediately. No advertising, no back catalogue, no knowledge. Now he’s on a roll and has finished with trad publishing. I uploaded my latest Pulp Fiction thriller about four weeks ago, sold about 40 copies through my subscribers, and then about six over the next few weeks. I’m advertising too on Amazon and BB. I have a back list, plenty to offer, but still struggle to find that magic: the stuff that has readers beating a path to my door, wanting to read anything I’ve written. But I won’t give up; I’ll still pile in there and hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Next week I hope to hear from James Blatch of SPF about the Book Lab interview. He told me it should be early April, so I’m expecting a call and then that moment when the experts take me apart. But I’ve promised myself I’ll use their advice and spend some money on a new jacket and a ‘relaunch’.

Talking of James Blatch and SPF, during their podcast from the LBF, Mark Dawson said there was a good chance of an SPF gathering in London next year, and probably at Amazon’s HQ. Should be good. It will be well attended, I know, and it’s something I will certainly try to get to. I did think of going to the LBF next year, but the SPF do, if it comes off, will probably take precedence for me.

I picked up my WIP again, and have set every scene out on Scrivener, without chapter headings, and following what I hope is a logical chronological path. Next week I hope to expand it and bring the whole thing to a conclusion. Trouble is, I was standing at the kitchen sink peeling the spuds this morning when I came up with a twist that would blow the reader away. But to re-write the plot again would be too much for me. Mind you, I do have a habit of managing this kind of development. It usually gives me a headache, but isn’t that what writing does to us?

On the domestic front I have been given to all clear again from the cancer clinic: they don’t want to see me for another year. I had a follow-up referral for dental treatment meaning three extractions and dentures. Bang goes my author’s public image: it will play havoc with the selfies. Pat had a consultation with the surgeon who performed her op in London. We’re still no further forward with that and are waiting for results from one of the London hospitals. Hopefully we’ll know more on Monday. Wish us luck!

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