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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Getting down to the nitty gritty


Well, it finally happened: James Blatch of SPF sent the three video links to me of my book, The Boy from Berlin, being ‘critiqued’ by three top people in the publishing business. Bryan Cohen rewrote the blurb, Stuart Bache looked at the cover while Jennie Nash (a formidable editor) took the prologue apart in the nicest possible way. The total video time was eighty minutes, so it wasn’t a case of being gentle and being quick. I had actually received Bryan Cohen’s rewritten blurb and his reasons for the changes, which meant I’d had time to take it in. The book jacket section was twenty minutes, while the editorial piece was forty minutes long. James Blatch will be interviewing me on Tuesday when he’ll ask for my observations and comments. Once he has edited the four videos, he’ll publish it on You Tube as SPF Book Lab No.5.


What this means to me now is that I can rewrite the opening prologue. I was guilty of failing to observe the POV (point of view), and also losing the logic of the sequence. I thought my prologue was pretty good, but once it was carved open by an expert, I could see where the changes were necessary and will help the potential reader who checks the ‘Look inside’ facility on the Amazon product page. I can also get the book jacket redesigned by Stuart Bache, one of the top book cover designers in the publishing business (Stephen King, John le Carre), and I can reproduce Bryan Cohen’s excellent blurb. He has also provided examples for Facebook and Amazon ads, which is a bonus too. None of this has cost me any money, but I will be paying Stuart Bache to redesign the jacket (there’s already an SPF bonus discount attached because I’m a Patreon member). The end result in my changes will probably not be seen, if any, until much later this year.


Last Thursday, our CHINDI group met up at the Swan Hotel in Arundel. There were about twenty of us there, including several new faces for me. Although I’ve met them all on our FB group, it’s good to see them face to face. We managed a group photograph, all squashed into a corner with a book in hand. We each gave a short intro about ourselves and any current projects we had on, and also talked about our involvement in the upcoming Chichester Arts Festival and the summer event in Arundel. It was good to spend some time among people who only want to talk about books. We didn’t even mention Brexit!


On the domestic front, my Pat is still waiting for her cancer diagnosis. So far her biopsies have gone to six different hospitals: Kings College, Royal Marsden, West Brompton, St. Georges and Southampton, not forgetting our local, St. Richards. She was removed from the lung doctor’s list and referred to the haematology department, but within forty eight hours was back with the lung doctor. We have an appointment on Monday when we hope to hear more and to be told when her treatment can begin. It’s a real worry for the both of us, particularly Pat.


My weak attempts at AMS and BB ads goes on, and I’m now having to accept that I will probably never crack it. My ads for my Crime thriller, Where the Wicked Dwell, has achieved nothing, so I will have to cancel those and see about advertising another title. Hopefully, the results of my Book Lab 5 adventure will see my sales go up, but it will not be until we’re half-way through the year. Wish me luck.

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