Thinking ahead . . .

It’s that hard to find beta-readers who will contribute a useful review on the Amazon stores. And until there are a few cheerful reviews, nobody really wants to look at the offering. I get that — I’m the same really.

So my main effort over the next few months should really be to recruit as many reviewers as I can, hoping naturally for 4* and above. Just at the moment, I know Prequel at least is in the hands of four readers who have indicated they’ll try to review it. Two others from BookSprout.com have committed to review the fiery second novel. I’ve booked a readers slot with HiddenGems.com for May ’22, I think. Wow.

Meanwhile, I’ve done everything else I can think of to launch the marketing and promotions of both volumes in the Biome NE47 series: freebie offerings of both to my subscription list; group promotion with a BookFunnel.com author under the ‘dystopian/apocalyptic rubric’; free offerings of Prequel for four days under the Kindle Select programme; advertising for both by sponsored product and sponsored brand keywords on the Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk platforms.

It’s all been very exciting, but now that the bookshelf is up and served nicely, it’s time to begin to think of ideas for Sequel. And for an author, the writing is really more exciting than the marketing. I’ve got about 10k words of ideas/scenes together, and a pervasive theme is slowly collecting in the old noggin.

For this third volume, however, I think I’ll pursue a different strategy than with the first two: I think I might seek professional editing advice/consultation/mentorship after the first draft is finished. I think, hope and pray that my writing had improved between the first novel ‘wot I wrote’ and the second. Now that I’ve got a better handle on the swoop and sweep of it, I mean. I do hope that my complimentary beta readers, who’ve offered me advice and encouragement, are right. But I’m pretty sure that I can improve even more dramatically.

I think it might be more worthwhile eliciting professional help in the editing sphere than depending on peers with whom I could try to reciprocate. You gets what you pays for, after all, and I’m quite confident that I’m never going to be a great editor of other authors’ works. So perhaps it’s no great surprise to be slightly dubious about the expertise of other amateurs who I don’t really know — though at the same time I’ve been ever-so-grateful for comments received from my friends and family, don’t get me wrong! I’m hoping to elicit a pro’s guidance then, sometime in the deepest winter, but first my ideas must coalesce and cohere into that first draft.

So I’m looking ahead, peering through the gloom of some dejection, lately. It’s the end of the academic year, so that’s been a whole year in our local writing group. And what have I actually achieved?

To buck my spirits up, I gathered together a précis of my portfolio of work for this year. Quite surprising, really! It seems I’ve written 52 pieces to share with the group, of which 21 have gone out to competitions, eliciting one ‘Highly commended’ acclamation. [That’s what used to be called, in my day, Honourable Mention, I believe. As we also used to say, sic transit gloria, or to put it another way, ‘not good enough to be short-listed’]. Some 10 pieces have been incorporated into the two novels (+ Sequel ideas) at various salient points. Other poetry and memoirs may find their way into my Poetic Flame compendium which I’ll keep for the family. But that writing has been in addition to cranking through 7 drafts of ‘the main event,’ the first novel written (Book 2 of the series) and a completed Prequel (Book 1 of the series). So all in all, not too lazy then, after all.

And I have been pretty good at keeping tabs on myself throughout this calendar year, here in the friendly blog, as the writing has progressed. So shake off those blues, man, and get on with living, eh?!

By Larry Winger

Retired scientist, devoted diarist (AllendaleDiary.org), community-minded aspirant novelist, I've lived on a smallholding in the East Allen Valley for the past 30 years, delighting in watching our family grow up, in experiencing the development of our grandsons, and in taking care of our small flock of chickens and garden.

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