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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Great Expectations

We are now at the end of what Pat and I refer to as the “middle week” of the chemotherapy. This is the low and risky point where the immune system is at its weakest. Sure enough, Pat’s blood pressure started going down and her temperature went up to over 38 C. I had no option but to phone the emergency number we’d been given. I was told to take her in, and now she’s in hospital for six days while they treat her for the infection. She’s in a sterile room under ‘protective isolation’. A similar thing happened to me when I was having chemo: three times during those middle weeks. On the last one I was put in hospital for six days; three in isolation. Pat’s in good spirits though but wants to come home — natch!

I’m now looking forward to publishing my latest Marcus Blake thriller, No Time to Die. The jacket is ready and I’m doing a final read through before putting it up on Amazon as part of their competition. It would be nice to win, but it’s unlikely. Amazon will give the winner £20,000 and a lot of promotion. That would be nice. I also paid Stuart Bache a kings’ ransom for the new jacket for my book, The Boy from Berlin. This provoked a discussion with some of the Chindi authors in our private FB group. This year I have spent just under £1000 for four jacket designs. Two were with professional designers, one was with a writer who offered to design a jacket at a low price, and the cheapest, £50, was with; it was for my pulp fiction thriller, Hunted. Setting promotion attempts aside, Hunted sells regularly, not much I have to say, but it sells. The first professionally designed jacket has sold three copies this year with some promotion. In June/July I promoted The Boy from Berlin with the author designed jacket, new blurb, rewritten prologue, and sold 100 copies. Facebook relieved me of about £275 for the promotion. It will be interesting to see what kind of difference the next campaign I run with Stuart Bache’s new jacket will achieve. When it comes to ROI, I’m losing out big time. But — there’s always a ‘but’ — without advertising, not many people will know about me and my books. It’s a Catch 22 situation, but that’s life for most indie authors.

Talking about my new jacket; I put it up on KDP and, sure enough, it appeared on the Amazon eBook product page, but not the paperback page. This has happened to me before, and when I’ve queried it with the great Zon, I am usually told it will be OK when a copy is ordered. They do change it though. I can’t order a paperback until I know the jacket has been changed. It’s annoying, but I do want to think about another promotion. Just got to save some money!

Now that I can look ahead to a period without writing, I can catch up with the jobs that get neglected because I’m looking after Pat. And what with hospital visits there’s little I can plan. I can think a lot, but it isn’t getting words on paper. Thinking about Hunted, I can see that the way to go has to be pulp fiction. I have a sequel in my head, but not too much detail. It will need research, but for me, the whole point of writing pulp fiction is to knock something out in a couple of months, bugger the research and just get some excitement between the pages; this is what the reader of these kind of thrillers want. And they sell. But do I really want to go down that route? It usually takes me about a year to write a novel. My latest took eighteen months, but there were good reasons for the unusual length of time. To turn out pulp fiction stuff means one every three months or so, and I’m not really that kind of writer. But hey, what the heck? I’m not getting any younger, so I might just knuckle down and turn out a pulsating, pulp fiction thriller. Wish me luck.

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