The sun loungers have been put in the garage, the leaves are turning brown, there's a cold wind blowing in from the North, and more parts of the UK are going back into Lock-down to shelter against Coronavirus. It's a time of change.
Illustration adapted from Elizabeth Newsham's design for the Audiobook cover
As I haven't posted for a while I'll sum up what's been happening. I spent the end of last winter, recording the audiobook with Rachel Laurence. With the Spring came Lock-down, so I spent a lot of that time writing the follow-up book to Stuck (in time) - this time the children travel back to Elizabethan times. During this time the book was published by Amazon for Kindle/Ereaders. After time spent reformatting the book, I also published it in a paperback version. Once Coronavirus restrictions had eased we were able to finish the audiobook. There was then a three month wait whilst it was undergoing technical tests, only to fail - not because of sound quality issues, but because I had included a dedication in the 'Opening credits' file. That was easily sorted out and after another couple of weeks it too was available for sale.
Job done! Well, no not really. Unless people buy the book it won't rise up the charts, so no-one will know it exists, and if they have never heard of it, they can't buy it. Catch 22 (now there's a snappy title for a book). For that reason I have spent the last few months trying to promote the book on Instagram - trying to reach out to the legions of book lovers on the site, (they call themselves bookstagrammers), and get them talking about the book. It takes lots and lots of time!
I have approached bookstagrammers to ask if they would like to review my book and I am pleased to report that several have done so - you can find the results on the reviews section of my website. I've also discovered that there are reviews and there are reviews! All some reviewers do is give a version of a blurb - they tell you what the book is about, they say they love it, but they don't really analyse why. Still, they may have lots of followers, and some of them may buy the book, whereas if they hadn't seen that review they would never have heard of it.
I much prefer the reviews that have a critical reaction to my book - all so far have been positive, but some may point out something that niggles them. I am quite happy to publish their reviews in full - whilst the very act of having a blog, or a website is to some extent a promotional exercise, I do not want to cherry-pick the choicest phrases and turn the reviews into adverts. Sometimes I disagree, sometimes they have a point, and its my job to reflect on these and make sure they are addressed in the next book.
I suppose it's a little like buying music. You might have your favourite artists and when you hear a new album is coming out you might even buy it without listening to it. That's especially was how it was when I was a teenager/young adult. But how many times do you have to hear a song on the radio by a new artist before you decide to buy it?
So that's where I am now - humming my song into the internet. The next post will probably be about what's next - finishing the follow up book and get ready to start recording a new audiobook.