You know, I pretend to be annoyed but actually the Six Nations rugby tournament is a godsend. It means that my husband does not suggest going out for long bike-rides at the weekend, and it keeps him amused in the lounge while I sneak upstairs to spend my afternoons with Sam. I’m still at the plotting stage – I have the broad outline but not the chapter-by-chapter detail yet – so my time is spent half on writing, and half on deciding what to write next. This week I have managed only 1,658 words, which is a little shy of my 2,000-word target. But I have thought of a possibly interesting plot development, so I’m not too annoyed.
Tomorrow I am going away on holiday for a week, to celebrate a landmark birthday – why yes, twenty-one again, thank you for asking. As it’s supposed to be a complete break I am not allowed to bring my Sam computer with me, so there’ll be no writing. But I have cunningly printed out my chapter outlines as they stand at the moment, so I can be mulling them and hopefully filling in some of the gaps – e.g. I want Sam to meet this person, but how could that be achieved?
On the practical side of things, I have been spending quite a bit of time on what I consider “marketing”. In response to encouragement from Catherine Ryan Howard – the self-publishing guru whose advice is always wonderful – I decided to run another giveaway on Goodreads. (In short, you offer a book for free and people sign up to enter a prize draw to win it.) I did exactly as Catherine advised – one book on offer, for a week only (so that your listing moves seamlessly from “recently listed” to “ending soon”, to all countries of the world – and a copy of “Fatal Forgery” is at this very minute winging its way to a lady in Regina in Canada. But the really magical thing is what Catherine calls “eyeballs”: everyone who clicks on your giveaway listing is now aware of your book and you, when they almost certainly weren’t before, and the majority of them also add your book to their Goodreads “to read” shelf, which brings it to their attention over and over again. So how many eyeballs did my giveaway garner? 1,756! Well, to be more accurate, 3,512, as most people have two eyeballs – but 1,756 people entered the draw. I have run “Fatal Forgery” giveaways twice before, and they attracted 137 and 118 people respectively – but I limited their exposure to UK people only, and you can see the difference. So now I am beadily monitoring my sales figures to look for a spike in, well, anywhere. I’ll let you know.