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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Well, the excitement level went up in the Parker household this week, but it was all about my book world. More of that later. Last Monday Pat saw the specialist who said that her blood test showed that things were normal. This meant she could continue chemo, which would be next Monday. We were a little disappointed to think she had to wait a week, but the prescription for the chemo is made up at Worthing hospital, and takes about three days. She’s been a bit flat this week, but I can’t expect her to be jumping through hoops every day; living with cancer can be soul destroying.

Now, the excitement level. Readers of my blog will know I’ve just had the jacket of my romance, Past Imperfect, redesigned. I then began a tentative promotion campaign on Amazon, but so far that has only produced two sales. I was on the point of signing up for a different type of promotion with the company who did the jacket when I received an email, out of the blue, from Joffe Books (rhymes with coffee) wanting to ‘relaunch’ Past Imperfect. I can promise you that it had nothing to do with the redesigning of the jacket. Joffe Books bought all Robert Hale rights about a year ago from Crowood Press. I had two titles left over from Hale that belonged to Crowood but managed to get the rights back over a year ago; this meant I had no connection with any traditional publisher. Somehow, Joffe Books picked up on Past Imperfect and that’s why they got in touch with me.

So who are Joffe Books? They publish indie writers; mainly crime but do have an interest in other genres. They are one of the most successful indie publishers on Amazon, having sold 1.4 million books in 2017 and in 2018 held seventeen of the top 100 titles there. When they take on a writer, they do the lot: editing, proof reading, formatting, jacket design, and promotion. It costs the writer nothing. There’s no advance, and royalties are paid quarterly.

I first came across Jasper Joffe on a Mark Dawson podcast a couple of years ago, so I have a good understanding of how he works. I did submit a manuscript to him but heard nothing back. He usually takes on about one in a hundred submissions, so to be ‘picked up’ in this way is something of a game changer for me. I now have to wait for things to happen. They have everything they need from me, so hopefully I won’t have to wait too long before I see things moving.

The email from them took me back to the seventies when I received a letter from my agent to say that Macmillan had made an offer to publish my first book. I remember standing outside the chicken sheds where I’d been doing some electrical work for the chicken farmer, when Pat turned up in the car, our four boys with her, clutching the letter. We ended up dancing round the yard, me in my overalls and wellie boots, Pat clinging on for dear life and the chicken farmer wondering what the hell was going on. No, I didn’t do any of that when Joffe Books got in touch, but metaphorically I came pretty close. What now? I’ve just got to settle down, keep calm and hope I can look forward to a renewed career. Wish me luck!

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