Ducie’s Diary: April 2021

As predicted in last month’s diary, the Easter weekend saw us taking tea (and other beverages) with lots of friends in the garden. Our brand-new gazebo wasn’t needed, as the rain kept off, and we were able to move our table out into the sunshine. But blankets and hot water bottles were still the order of the day! I managed to lose all my courgette seedlings by transferring them to the unheated greenhouse before all the frosts were gone, but my early broad beans are in full flower, so it’s not been a complete disaster vegetable-wise. But,as for work…

Writing This Month

The pharmaceutical textbook project continues to take centre stage. My co-author and I are about to deliver three more chapters to the publisher, making the book 25% complete. This week I’m struggling with the correct way to reference an article taken from a website, both in the text and in the reference listing. Takes me back to my studying days!

I’ve barely touched Murder at Mountjoy Manor this month, although I’ve been doing a lot of background reading and other research. But I have started writing and distributing some free short stories to introduce my readers to the village of Coombesford and its people. This month, I’m talking about how some of the characters from my thrillers, Charlie Jones and her family, have ended up running a pub with rooms in South Devon. If you’d like a copy of that, just click here.

Sales and Marketing

And talking about the thrillers, my Easter weekend promotion was very successful. As with the January promotion of The Business of Writing series, there was a huge number of downloads of the first in the series, which was free. And I also saw quite a high level of sales for the second and third parts. But even better, I am starting to see more traction on page reads, outside of the UK, which was a major objective of the exercise.

And in preparation for this promotion, I finally got to grips with the newish options for series in KDP. It was easy to sort out, and the presentation page looks wonderful.

I am coming to the end of the first month of Women in Publishing School, a four-month programme (or should that be program, as it’s run from the United States?). I’ve spent the month working on my Target Audience and Author Branding. The former has given me permission to stop worrying about Instagram, as my readers tend not to congregate there. And the latter is all about playing with colours and graphics; so watch out for some changes on my website in the coming weeks.

Out and About

Last week, I had the pleasure of giving my Snapshots of Russia presentation to the Torridge U3A group. It made a change to get smartly dressed and put on makeup, even if I did only go as far as the desk on the landing! They were a lovely crowd, and very appreciative. But it will be so nice to get back to face to face talks, hopefully later this year.

Exeter Literary Festival

A reminder that Exeter Literary Festival’s short story competition is open now; closing on 31st July. Once again, the theme is open, but the word limit is just 750. Writing flash fiction is something that’s growing in popularity. If you’ve already tried it, I’m sure you will know how addictive it can be. And if it’s new to you, why not give it a try?

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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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