Staying the course

August 3, 2019

The week got off to a good start with Pat’s second chemo session and no real dramas. We are both surprised and happy with the way she is coping, and this week Pat seems to have got stronger. She made a decision about her hair, and asked me to cut it off before it all fell out. We were due to go to the wig shop anyway, but didn’t cut her hair until after Pat had chosen her wig. I can’t get used to seeing her with a full head of hair, but now I also have to get used to seeing her with no hair! I felt awful taking the clippers to her head: like Sweeney Todd, the demon barber. But it’s another hurdle crossed and that’s a plus point.

 

On the book front, I have now received the final jacket for my book, The Boy from Berlin. I’m well pleased with it. Haven’t had the bill yet but it will hurt. For some reason, maybe because of my age, I can’t understand why a lot of indie authors spend hundreds of dollars on their books without knowing what kind of success they are likely to have. I’ve spent money on three jackets this year (four when I get Stuart’s bill), and I’m well out of pocket. So, what’s the answer? Spend money on advertising of course, but even then that’s no guarantee. When Jennie Nash critiqued the prologue of my political thriller, she mentioned the fact that I only had 23 reviews; it meant I had no traction. Since spending the best part of £300 (damn VAT) on Facebook, I’ve sold 100 copies of The Boy from Berlin, and still only have 23 reviews. As the Americans would say: “Go figure”. A couple of weeks ago I asked my sister-in-law if she would read the draft copy of my latest, yet to be published, crime novel, No Time to Die. She reads all the time, particularly when she’s travelling up to London as part of her work with IBM. She said some lovely things about the story and promised me it wasn’t because she was related; but she did wonder why writers with my ability (her words) didn’t get the wide readership their books deserved. I had to tell her that many indie authors will spend up to $100 a day on advertising; it’s the only way, so that kind of explains why my work disappears into the literary wilderness. I plan to set up another campaign on Facebook once I have the new jacket, but I will marshal this one very carefully.

 

I mentioned last week about the reaction to the book jacket I designed for my latest WIP and the reaction from the SPF group, but one response was from a USA Today best selling author, Ditter Kellen, who offered to design a jacket for nothing. Looking on Ditter’s website, I could see she was a prolific writer and had a great deal of success, but nowhere did it say she was a designer. Anyway, she offered to do a freebie so I agreed. She knocked out a very good jacket which demonstrated her skill, but it was a world away from how I visualised mine. I thanked her and said I couldn’t use it. I have also had some advice from members of the CHINDI group, all helpful of course, but in the end I will be biting the bullet and completing the design myself. The book will be available on-line before the end of the month, but I’m not sure yet how I’ll promote it. I have 1400 ‘contacts’ (MailChimp’s new euphemism for subscribers and unsubs), so I’ll let them know it’s coming and will probably start the ball rolling with a price of £0.99.

 

Next on the agenda is to catch up with work around the garden and in the house during the summer and try — TRY — not to think about my next book, but I do have to figure out how to get Martin Quil into Russia and out again……. Ho hum. Wish me luck!

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I NEVER KNEW I WOULD BE A WRITER.