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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Catching Lightning in a Bottle

The month of November has been a fairly positive month for me, both domestically and in the book world. At the start of the month, I was able to look forward to a coach trip to Weymouth with a group from the small estate where I live. I also made inroads into my novel to be set in Paris in 1940, and I embarked on a course to get me back into the world of books as an established writer.

The holiday over five days meant I would be with a lot of people I knew by sight, one or two who I knew, and several who eventually became friends of mine. At least; I would like to think so. I was a little ambivalent about the holiday at first, and it was difficult not having my lovely Pat with me, but I realised that this was probably the right kind of holiday for me given my circumstances. So much so that I tried to book up for next year’s summer holiday, but unfortunately all the single rooms have gone, which means I’ll have to go on the waiting list.

I managed a trip to Brighton to see my Granddaughter, Gemma, who is heavily pregnant, and her little boy, Orin, who is six and wears his mother out. I enjoyed my time with them and even managed to get a ‘Full English’ breakfast at a dog-friendly café, while Gemma was able to have her choice of Vegan food.

I had a major problem with the Landline emergency call button that I wear on my wrist. The alarm went off early morning meaning my neighbour, who was in Brighton, got a phone call from the Lifeline people asking if I was alright. I happened to be fast asleep in bed at the time. Then the alarm went off again while I was having my breakfast. The upshot of this was that my ‘Bat button’ was faulty. A lady from Lifeline turned up and gave me a new button. Peace reigns!

And now to the book world. I said I was making inroads into my book about Paris in 1940, which is true, but I have since put it on hold because of a project I started with Mark Dawson’s SPF Launchpad. I’ve been a paid-up member of Mark’s group for about five years, and have completed a few of the courses, although never successfully. And that is simply down to me, not the quality of the courses. However, when Mark relaunched his 101 course as the new, revamped Launchpad, I decided to knuckle down and put the effort in, because I wasn’t selling any books; I was going nowhere fast.

As a result of ‘knuckling down’, I have enjoyed some progress. One of the suggested ways to go was what Mark calls his 365-day plan. That’s right: 365 days to work on getting you where you want to be in the book market. I had to begin by dropping one of my books to 0.99 cents and advertising it for at least one month before moving on to Step 2. I started on November 16th and have since shifted 50 books. Considering I hadn’t sold anything on Amazon for several months, apart from the odd book, that is a significant achievement. Mark says we have to be patient and not expect to catch lightning in a bottle, however much we are tempted. So, I’ll stick with the promotion until the New Year, and then look at Step 2. It may not be lightning in a bottle, but hey; it’s a significant spark.

Because my promotion and marketing skill sucks, I have also started Mark’s Amazon Ads course. I did this course a few years ago too, and failed miserably, but now I’m back on board with Janet Margo who worked in Amazon’s advertising department and now runs Marks Amazon Ads course. Once again I’ll need to be dedicated and ignore the fact that I can’t expect to hit the big numbers straight away. But if I get it right, and am prepared to spend some money, it shouldn’t be too long before my spark becomes a significant light in the darkness.

I’m reluctant to figure out how much money I’ve spent or am likely to spend, but it could be a hefty chunk. If it pays off, I won’t regret it. I’ve told my boy, John, who sells T-shirts online, that if I make a million sales, I’ll buy one thousand of his T-shirts. I think he’s sold about five in the last twelve months — a bit like me with my book sales before this month.

And as I push on with my learning curve and go to bed with a smile on my face, I know there will be bumps in the road and I must not let them get me down. Christmas is coming and I know there will be a lot of diversions down which I’ll be sidetracked, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, which means I have to accept the normal, Christmassy side of things, and find some time into that learning curve when I can. And if any of you see my promotion for A Covert War ( on Facebook or elsewhere, please share it (or buy it!); that would be a big help.

See you next month. Wish me luck!

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