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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Unclogging my brain and the garden

I would like to say this has been a good week for Pat but I can’t. Since being discharged from hospital, it has been mostly downhill. We learned that as a result of her CT scan last week, her final chemo session has been cancelled (not postponed) and the PET scan due later this month is not going to happen. We have a phone consultation this coming Tuesday with the consultant when I think he will dot the eyes and cross the tees for us. We are clinging to the hope that there will be other options. I’ve already taken Pat off one of her pills because of a problem the haematologist couldn’t solve for us: something I thought I would never do, but I reckon most people who have cared long term for a family member would recognise decisions like this. So now we wait for the outcome of the phone call. Our sleep patterns are virtually non-existent now, and it usually depends on Pat where and how and for how long we sleep. I won’t leave her on her own, so when she’s awake, I’m awake.

I can say however that I gave both my girls a bath this morning. Neither of them enjoyed it. Tuppence went mad when I’d finished with the blow drier and had a crazy run round the house and the garden. I think she was drying herself off. Thank goodness Pat didn’t try something like that. I wish she could have a run round the garden though. Tomorrow I might give Tuppence a clipping.

In my book world I can see the benefit of using Facebook ads over Amazon. Since the 19th April I have sold 53 books and had 330 page reads. For me that is phenomenal. I’m still losing money on costs against revenue, but that’s something I’m prepared to do. For now anyway. I’ve also picked up five sales on D2D but that may not have anything to do with FB ads. Taking the page reads into account, the average is about three books a day. Not bad, eh?

My creative spark has disappeared: it went long ago, and now I don’t even bother with reading through the training videos on Bryan Cohen’s Amazon Ads School, nor those on the Mark Dawson SPF 101 course. These are things I may pick up again in the fullness of time; after all, I have paid for them.

My current reading, Alex Shaw’s Cold East is difficult. This has nothing to do with the current situation in the Parker household, nor what is going on in the outside world: I just don’t feel drawn to the book at all, and only manage a few pages a day. My other avenue of attraction now is the garden. I’ve done a lot of weed clearing and have planted seedlings ready to move into those spaces I have cleared. I’ve also tackled the weeds out front with my hot burner weed killer. It’s like an elongated hair dryer and burns weeds at 2000 degrees C. But I still get on my hands and knees to tackle some of the stuff.

Incidentally, I received an email from David Gaughran: someone I have been following for a few years having bought one of his self-help books. He’s well known in the book world. He loves data: uses it a lot to break down the mysteries of the indie publishing world. He uncovered a strange set of figures from Amazon’s own pages on the comparison between ‘best-sellers’, and ‘most popular’. He chose the top ten thrillers and space operas genres, and of all the permutations, only one book featured in the top ten. The top ten in both categories did not match in a straightforward, side by side comparison, nor did the publishers, and the only consistently high publishers were ‘self-published’ in Space Opera. David Gaughran wondered how Amazon could rely on their own algorithms with those kind of contradictory figures. Needless to say, none of my books were in there. One day, maybe. Wish me luck!

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