A refreshing perspective in a world of blame. In case I haven’t said it already, I’m sorry too!

The Bartlett Bubble

No, really. I’m really sorry. I know I was wrong and I take full responsibility for the impact this has had. I can probably have a go at trying to explain to you why I acted the way I did, but I am not trying to make excuses and appreciate that, whatever my intention, the actual impact is something for which I must take responsibility.

I’m sorry.

Elton was right – sometimes sorry does seem to be the hardest word.

But bloody hell, isn’t it powerful?

Sorry takes the wind out of the sails of any argument, any conflict. In seconds, it lays the foundation on which reconciliation can be built.

It has to be sincere of course. An insincere apology can be worse than no apology at all. And ‘The Power of But’ is more dangerous here than anywhere else. “I’m sorry, but…” means that actually I’m not really…

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Character Outline

I’m currently taking the Introduction to Screenwriting course from the University of East Anglia through Futurelearn, and as part of the course I’ve been working on a character outline which they have suggested we blog about. It’s a very vague sketch for something I’m working on but here it is:

The Characters Major Actions in Reverse Order
  • Kisses the girl
  • Kills nemesis
  • Escapes execution and runs away with girl and friends
  • Is tried and convicted
  • Is captured in a trap
  • Meets with girl and plans running away together
  • Kills guard who attacked his mother
  • Buries his mother
  • Finds his mother dying after being attacked
  • Celebrates his success with girl and friends
  • Distributes supplies
  • Carries out raid for supplies with friends
  • Breaks in to see girl
  • Plans raid with gang
  • Watches supply route from port to stores
  • Sees girl helping sick and poor
  • Tells his mother about the girl
  • Sees girl at port and fancies her
  • Shares all he has with friends and mother
  • Chased by guards with gang for petty thievery
Character wants:
  • To survive
  • Provide for his friends and family
  • To be happy
  • To fall in love

He is aware of his wants and needs, just may not know how to get them.

Character’s thoughts:
  • Anti-intellectual
  • Impulsive
  • Free-spirited
  • Finds it hard to focus
  • Overthinks things
  • Gets stressed
  • Emotional
How would a casual acquaintance see him?
  • Charming
  • Friendly
  • Life and soul of the party
  • Popular
Important Physical Characteristics
  • A perpetual cough and wheeziness
  • Skinnier and on the shorter side
  • Slightly malnourished

Selling Yourself Short

One of the main reasons I went down the self-publishing route for my first book, Writing for Wellness: Surviving Lockdown One Word at a Time, was that I thought I would do my own publicity and marketing. I have a background in public relations and I have done rather well on social media over the years. But now it comes down to it I am finding it harder than I thought.

It’s not the number of sales that’s the problem. In that respect it has exceeded my expectations. It’s that I have had so many negative experiences of other people trying to get me to buy their book that I am hesitant to put others through the same.

Here are some of the big no’s I have picked up along the way:

  • Don’t beg people to buy your book – it comes across as being desperate and at the end of the day not everyone will be interested in reading your genre. Your book isn’t for everyone, so it’s about finding out who might be interested in it.
  • Don’t flood people’s DMs with requests that they buy your book
  • Make sure that the vast majority of tweets are useful to the community you are addressing. They say only one in seven should be you asking anything of them

I’m not comfortable flat out asking people to buy my book, but I do know who my target audience are. They are people who love writing, who would like to write more, who may be nervous about doing so, or think they are not good enough. It’s also for people who may struggle with mental health issues and who discover, perhaps through my book, how writing it out of their heads and on to the page can be therapeutic for them, and finally it’s for people who enjoy reading something that is semi-autobiographical.

If you fit in one or more of those categories, then you may find my book interesting, and possibly even inspiring. There, I said it, someone. out there might actually enjoy reading it.

I could, of course, run free giveaways and other such promotions, but unless I can get the book in front of my target audiences there is little point. It will just become yet another free block of pixels in someone’s rarely visited Kindle library. Surely it’s much better to hold the book’s value and continue the search for the people who would equally value it? I’d love your perspective on this.

Then, of course, there’s the issue of reviews. I absolutely refuse to ask anyone to review my book and consequently, even though it launched three days ago, there are no reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. Of course, I wish there were, at least I wish there were some good ones, but I can’t quite bring myself to ask people because that would feel like cheating. Not quite as bad as paying someone to do them (which I believe happens in some instances), but still, at the very least incredibly awkward.

Some people might think I’m selling myself short in all this. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I’m doing what most people are not doing, and that’s simply talking about my book and sharing what I have enjoyed about writing and publishing it, what has been difficult for me, in the hopes that it will organically find its way into the right hands. It certainly feels like the way of integrity, but I doubt I’ll get to retire on it anytime soon.

What do you all think? What are some of the marketing and publicity techniques you’ve used for your books?

On a final note, I will say this. If we were not in lockdown, things would be different. There would be certain events I could go to where I could sell my book and do signings, and talks I could give where I could do the same. When the only marketing platform is a digital one, it’s tricky not to fall prey to the temptation to start screaming as loud as you can in the hopes that you will be heard above the din.

Here’s one small voice, speaking to the other small voices in the universe, saying I’m here, I have something you might like. Have a read and see what you think.