Thursday, 30 October 2014

Raving Loonies In Rochester (And On The Apprentice)

We're back in Framlingham after another stint of childcare in Rochester. We're getting into a routine now which will make it easier for us until the situation is resolved. We've got the suitcase ready and waiting early on Sunday evening and have most things packed in the car before we go to bed so as to ensure that the noise in the morning is minimal - I am sure that our neighbours won't appreciate too much door slamming at 5.30 a.m. 

This week the local Rochester playgroup was holding  a wellie walk so we had a very enjoyable trip to nearby Shorne Woods just outside Gravesend. Our granddaughter is always fascinated by throwing sticks into water and this activity kept her amused for ages. She had a good tramp through puddles and mud in her wellies before playing on the excellent playground. The weather was very kind and the whole group enjoyed two or three hours in pleasant autumn sunshine.

Back in Rochester things are hotting up for the by-election and there is a very strong UKIP presence with plenty of men who should know better wearing lurid purple fleeces and carrying placards. We even saw a dog dressed in a ridiculous UKIP coat. He and his owner looked as if they were canvassing for the Monster Raving Loonies and not a supposedly credible alternative to Labour or the Conservatives. And yet all the polls suggest that they will win. Let's hope it's just typical by-election madness.

My novel's five day free stint on Amazon certainly got it noticed and there were hundreds of downloads during the giveaway. As Lord Sugar rightly says on The Apprentice it's all about margins and any fool can be a successful salesman if he or she gives the goods away - so how can it be justified?

Well, as you can see from this screen shot, during the free period the book reached number six in the holidays category. By reaching this level it appeared on the front page of the listings in that genre and consequently was seen by far more people. Okay they were able to download it for nothing (and I know that may be galling to those who paid) but as a result of their downloads there is now a link beneath my book quoting "readers who bought this also bought ......" and a long list of books. Consequently, beneath those other books will be a link which reads "people who bought this also bought ...... " and, amongst the many titles will be Give Me Your Tomorrow . Since it returned to full price, sales have been encouraging. What really matters now is if those free downloaders now read the book and leave a positive review - we'll see how it looks in a couple of weeks.

The Goodreads giveaway of twenty paperbacks is also starting to bear fruit and I now have two five star and one four star review on that site. 

It's really time to get stuck into the new novel now and I'm doing my best to get it moving although time is in such short supply. It was never like this when we were working.

Having mentioned The Apprentice earlier I must say that last night's episode was an all time low for the show. Tasked with producing an amusing viral channel on YouTube the team's attempts were beyond derision. Lacking humour, skill, script and just about everything else I'm surprised that Lord Sugar didn't simply sack the lot and start all over again. If he does invest £250k in one of them at the end of the process, that's a quarter of a million quid he'll never see again.

Finally a word of praise for the wonderful Mary Beard. She's very active on Twitter and her tweets and blogs are always amusing and entertaining. What's more she's prepared to interact with her followers. I've commented on her tweets several times and she has always responded. Yesterday she was criticising some crassly sexist advertising in the Vauxhall Corsa brochure. She made a very good point that this sort of stuff (a leggy young woman draped across the car interior) is inappropriate in 2014 but in doing so, I felt she managed to give the manufacturers (and the page in question) more publicity than they would otherwise have had - so win win for Vauxhall. But don't stop doing it Mary, you're one of the characters who make Twitter worthwhile.