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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Being brave, stepping out

Well, Tuppence came home and cheered Pat up enormously. Me too. She’s such a bundle of joy — Tuppence, not Pat. Needs a decent trim now though, so she’s off to the poodle parlour on Monday. It also means I have to set aside time during the day for a couple of dog walks as well as looking after Pat now. We had two medical appointments this week: just skirting round the problem really, and are now waiting for the biopsy results to come in. Hopefully that will be next week.

I finally ventured into Facebook ads this week for my book The Boy from Berlin. I used Mark Dawson’s video on setting up an ad. My audience was (is) The United Kingdom and Ireland, my featured author is David Baldacci, and my budget is £5 per day for thirty days. At the moment I am spending about £3.75 a day. But the results are very encouraging. In five days I have sold twelve copies and my current sales have reached seventeen since Monday, which includes other titles. This is after selling about one book a week before last Monday. My next step, which I’ll be doing today, is to copy the ad and target an audience in the USA. That’s the only change I’ll make and will then see how well the ad. does with an American audience. This is what’s known as ‘split testing’; something I’ve never done before because of the cost involved. But because I can monitor the spend and the effectiveness of the ads, it’s down to me how much FB takes from my wallet. I’m planning to keep this up until the end of the thirty day run, maybe tweaking here and there, but it’s the only way I can see myself gaining any traction with readers. I accept that my ROI will suck, but nothing ventured……..

I have also made some decent inroads into my WIP. I have managed to reconstruct the plot line by moving some scenes into different parts of the story, although I think it’s a bit like moving the chairs around on the deck of the Titanic. Maybe the story will sink because of my ill-disciplined way of writing, but hopefully not. I expect to have the MS completed by the end of this week, and then it needs to be read by a few beta readers who I will contact through my website mailbox. If they don’t pour scorn on the book, I’ll be encouraged to find a relatively inexpensive cover artist and have a jacket designed. I would like to be able to use Stuart Bache, but as I’ve already signed up with him for next month, I can’t afford for him to do two jackets. Talking of which, my FB ads for The Boy from Berlin now use the rewritten prologue and strap line blurbs from Bryan Cohen. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact a Stuart Bache cover will have on sales when I decide to advertise again.

My recent reading has been The Fear Index by Robert Harris; a massively complex and intellectual thriller that I found hard going. I probably won’t read another Harris novel for a long time. I also ventured into The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz. I read the trilogy (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larrson) and have the DVD, so I thought I’d give this a try. Big mistake. Now I’m into Hush Hush by Mel Sherratt. It’s a British crime thriller and looking pretty good so far. We’ll see though.

Next Saturday, June 29th. will be the ‘Fun Day’ here on our residential site. Last year I sold six books while sitting in a marquis enjoying the events unfolding around me and smelling the drift of barbecued meat wafting over. Lovely stuff. I’m hoping I can pinch some time off from looking after Pat and set up another table. It’s only for a couple of hours and Pat says she wouldn’t mind coming along and sitting with me. The event is only two hundred yards from our house, so I reckon Pat could make it. Should be fun. Wish us luck!

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