March is a busy birthday month for my family: my birthday (81), my son, Terry, and his wife, Claire. Consequently I saw a fair amount of our offspring, which is nice. I also spent some time chatting with our youngest boy, Stephen, in Australia, and while we were talking, John turned up, so he got a chance to chat with his brother. John and I went up to Norfolk for a weekend with the eldest boy, Vincent, and his wife, Jackie. So all in all, I’ve been blessed.
Another step in my ‘rehabilitation’ was finally paying for my week in Ireland: a writer’s retreat break for seven days, organised by my American publisher, The Wild Rose Press. I also submitted an extract from my current work for a critique by the CEO who will be leading the ‘Tour’. Yes, it’s called a tour because it won’t be about books all the time; we are also getting to tour the area around Galway. There will be twelve of us, but only me from the UK; the others are from the USA. The extract, by the way, was the first fifteen pages of my W.I.P, which will be returned to me in time for the break.
When my Irish holiday is finished, I will be flying back to London and staying for the Self-Publishing Show Live at the South Bank Centre. It’s a two day bash, but I’ll be there a couple of days earlier, which mans some downtime and a look around the city where I was brought up. Well, me and my brothers were often up the West End getting up to mischief. Happy days.
I am making steady progress with my current book. The working title is “Desolation”, which has nothing to do with Wyoming, where the story is set. I’ve just reached the 30,000 word mark, so still a long way to go. I’m hoping I will have broken the back of the story by the time I pitch up in Galway.
I began the month putting ads on FB, Amazon and BookBub, but within a week, I’d pulled FB and BB. Amazon lasted a couple of weeks. Complete waste of time (I’m useless at marketing), so I opted for a one day ad on ENT, and another burst on Reedsy (I think). So far this month I’ve sold 39 books. That’s like four or five months of sales all squashed up into four weeks. Hasn’t cost the earth and will probably be the way I’ll go until I can see organic growth pushing up the numbers.
Another venture I’ve taken is to start a course on TikTok. This is being run by two American ladies, Lisa Dubois and Jane Rylan. They are both phenomenally successful with their book sales through TikTok. I saw them in a podcast on Mark Dawson’s SPF. They gave us a short, five day course (ten minutes each day) to introduce us to TikTok. They have now come up with a brilliant, full length course, which is free to all paid up members of SPF. I made up my mind to stick to it, concentrate and make it my ‘go-to’ app for book promotion. Only time will tell if I have the staying power, but I do need to work at it, so I’ve made that promise to myself.
Some time ago I offered local residents on the small estate where I live, the opportunity to get some good advice on publishing a book. The idea as for anyone who wanted to write their own story, maybe for the grandchildren, and didn’t know how. I wasn’t offering a course, just a couple of hours of free instruction to help them on their way. I had one reply. Thankfully the chap came to my house and we spent a couple of hours dotting the eyes and crossing the tees. He went away happy. Hopefully he’ll make the effort. I had another request from a different source. We set a date but the lady bailed out at the last minute. Nerves?
So that’s about it for now. From a book world point of view, I feel a little happier and hopeful for the future. I’m even going to join an author group here in Bognor Regis at the end of the month, which I’m looking forward to. Should be fun. Wish me luck!