Tag Archives: #challenges

The past 756 days….

Deliberately, I’ve mentioned very little about Covid 19 on this blog as I felt for the past two years it was dominating all other avenues of life and I wanted to keep my blog as a “safe” space.

However, today seems like a good moment to pause and reflect.

I took the above photo at about 7:10am on 23 March 2020, roughly twelve hours before the UK went into its first lockdown.

For the previous few weeks, news of this virus from China had dominated conversation. I mean, who had heard of Wuhan before February 2020? Not me. There were anxious conversations, scary news stories, sensational headlines in the press and then, like a scene from 1984, the TV broadcast that the nation will recall for decades as we were all told, like naughty children, to “stay at home”.

I remember having coffee with a friend a few days beforehand during our lunchbreak at work. They asked me if I thought this virus was something to worry about and how long did I think it would last for. Both of us were growing slightly concerned; both of us a little unsure of where this situation was headed and neither of us were able to answer those simple questions.

It’s a conversation I’ve revisited in my mind many times since. If only we had known then what we know now….

Today the last of the Covid 19 laws were lifted with the Scottish “mask laws” becoming “mask guidance” so it feels like a fitting moment to pause for breath and to reflect on the past 756 days of a life lived under various lockdowns and Covid restrictions.

It feels like an appropriate moment to take stock and to think back on all the challenges we faced and survived; the emotions surrounding the impact of the various levels of restrictions that have been forced onto our everyday existence; the impact on our mental health (as Ruby Wax said, and I paraphrase – we all have mental health but some of us are in better shape than others, just like with our physical health); the impact on our relationships with friends and family; the effects that these past 756 days have had on children ( a friend posted just yesterday about how proud she is of her son for rediscovering his mojo after two tough years – yes kids have been feeling it too!); the changes that have altered the way we do our jobs on a day-to-day basis (how did we get through the working day pre-2020 without half a dozen zoom meetings a day?)…

You get the hint…so I’ll leave you to take a moment or two to reflect on the impact the past 756 days have had on you personally. Everyone’s journey from then until now is unique and there’s been no one straight road to follow.

I took this photo today from the same spot. The sun is shining. The sky’s blue. The trees are in bud. The landscape looks the same.

But I don’t think any of us are the same people we were on the morning of 23 March 2020. Do you?

These past two years have touched our lives in so many ways that they’ve left their mark and I suspect it’s a mark that will remain for many years to come.

I know personally speaking, life will never be the same.

To quote from an Alter Bridge song though-

Cause the sun always sets, the moon always falls
It feels like the end, just pay no mind at all
And keep on rolling, rolling, life must go on
It must go on

And it does.

Indie Author Seeking Shelf Space

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As an indie author there are many “hats” you need to wear to get your “book babies” out into the world.

Over the past four years I’ve been through a steep learning curve in relation to getting my books babies written, typed, edited, formatted, cover designs created (Photoshop is evil), published, launched and subsequently marketed on a shoestring budget.

The marketing aspect is probably the toughest challenge an indie author faces.

Actually writing the book in the first place is the fun part!

Since KDP and other self-publishing platforms made books so relatively simple to self-publish the market has been flooded. There were circa 2 000 000 books published in 2017 alone. Competition is tough, VERY tough!

A quote from a Forbes.com article from 2013 sums up the challenges succinctly: “Here’s the problem with self-publishing: no one cares about your book. That’s it in a nutshell. There are somewhere between 600 000 and 1 000 000 books published every year in the US alone, depending on which stats you believe. Many of those – perhaps as many as half or even more- are self-published. On average they sell less than 250 copies each. Your book won’t stand out. Hillary Clinton’s will. Yours won’t.”

Harsh but honest words.

I’ve said many times if you’re writing a book to make money then you’re in for a hell of a shock!

To date, I’ve been extremely fortunate that no one has said my book babies are ugly, they’ve each earned 5* reviews and I’ve received a Royalties payment every month, even if it is only for pennies.

The majority that have been sold have been e-books but each of my book babies is also available as a “real” book too.

E-book marketing can be done through social media. “Real” book marketing, actually gaining shelf space, is far tougher. I’d love to see my books  on the shelves in bookstores but getting shelf space as an indie author is nigh on impossible. I managed it once with Stronger Within for a whole six copies. A major accomplishment that I remain very proud of.

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For me personally though I’d love to see my Silver Lake series on sale in the book stores in and around the town where the stories are set. That small town is somewhere I am passionate about. A lot of the feedback that I’ve received has been that folk want to visit Rehoboth Beach, De. (It’s not a big place but in my own quiet way from over 3000 miles away I’ve introduced my readers to this jewel on the Delaware Riviera.)

On more than one occasion, I’ve approached a “local” bookstore in an effort to open discussions about the possibility of them putting a few copies on their shelves. My polite approaches have been met with silence.

So I reverted to advertising on social media and added pages and groups linked to the locale to my list. I don’t over advertise on these- one post every few weeks on these “local” pages at most. To an “outsider” looking in on the group/page descriptions they look to be about promoting things linked to the area, including books, events, places etc about the area so the Silver Lake books meet the criteria….. or so I thought until recently. One well- meant post met with a brief but sharp barrage of complaints that I was routing shoppers to Amazon instead of local stores and was detracting from the town. I quickly deleted the post as that most definitely was not my intent. The comments stung. If local businesses supported indie authors, regardless of where they reside, who are writing about their town then local folks wouldn’t have to shop online….. marketing lesson #700….. I won’t be engaging with that group again.

Maybe Forbes.com was right “no one cares about your book.”

However, authors, including indie-authors, are storytellers at heart and, for as long as they have a story to share, they will find a way to publish or self-publish their work. I know I will.

As for marketing, well despite having been kicked back down that learning curve, I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off and will start all over again.

Can I interest you in a book?……..

 

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Ellen – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

  

 Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Ellen – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44