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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Comma, comma, comma, chameleon

First full week of Pat’s chemo and she’s holding up well. She has been on steroids — they finished yesterday — and now we can see a downturn. Hopefully she’ll stay strong, certainly until we see the specialist on Monday for a review. We both know what to expect as the days go by, so it’s now a case of being careful with her and making her as comfortable as we can. We went along to a wig makers in Chichester during the week. Spent half an hour or so talking about wigs. Pat will be trying some on in a couple of weeks’ time and will make a decision then. I could do with one myself, come to think of it. Well, maybe not.

I finished the edit of my WIP and I’m now working through it, making the changes I need. Trouble is, I sometimes come across a red question mark that means nothing to me, and have to spend time puzzling out what I wanted to do. It hasn’t happened that often, I’m pleased to say. So far I’m about one third of the way through the book. Once that’s done, I’ll need to put some polish on to the presentation: things like editing the header with the title, choose a chapter heading style and include a table of contents. One other element of getting it right as far as I’m concerned, is making sure the text is justified. I don’t like to see eBooks that follow a growing trend to left justify the text. I would also like to know who came up with the idea in the first place and why? I still can’t make up my mind about asking for beta readers though. I know there are probably half a dozen of my subscribers who would read the book for me, but I need the whole thing ready for publishing before the end of August. Just something else for me to think about.

My Facebook campaign is having a reasonable success thus far. This month I have shifted sixty copies of the book I’m advertising: The Boy from Berlin. I have also started selling a few on the other on-line stores like Kobo, B&N and Apple. This is through D2D. I have sold a few of my other titles as well, so I’m looking at about eighty sales by the end of July. Once the campaign is finished, I expect a trickle effect before the sales dry up. Then I may consider advertising another of my titles before going back to this one. That will not be until after Stuart Bache has redesigned the jacket. And really, I need him to do this so I can get it into Amazon eBook competition before the end of August. The cost of my campaign is higher than the return I’m getting, but I look at that as being worthwhile until I can get the hang of advertising successfully.

As a member of Mark Dawson’s SPF group, I received an email from him talking about where he came from as an Indie writer six years ago to where he is now. He asked us what lessons we’ve learned from our experience that would be of use to others starting out on their indie journey. Well, I began my indie journey probably a year before Mark, so it’s obvious he knows what he’s doing and I don’t. But the single most important lesson I learned was never to blame your editor, proof-reader, copy editor or whatever you want to call them for any mistakes in the finished book. I started my indie journey by allowing a colleague in Australia to format my book, North Slope, for Kindle. I gave away 40,000 copies in a promotion and later discovered there were no commas in the book! I had to accept the blame because, as the author, I had to be the last person to see the book before it went off to the printers. Or in that case, to Amazon KDP. Mea Culpa. Hopefully I’m well past those kind of massive errors, and my next book will be perfect. Wish me luck.

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