Ducie’s Diary: August 2021
I’m writing this on August Bank Holiday Monday, the last official holiday in the UK until Christmas. At 6.30 this morning, we watched the sun rise over the sea at Teignmouth. It was a bright red ball that quickly turned pale yellow and lit up the choppy grey water between us and the horizon. Even at that early hour, people were in the water, swimming or paddle-boarding. It promised to be a beautiful day. And even though I’m currently sitting shivering in my office, trying to resist the temptation to turn on the fire, I’m still optimistic of getting an afternoon in the garden trying to bring some sense of discipline to my overgrown shrubs. But first, let’s talk about writing.
Writing This Month
It’s a couple of months since I did one of these writerly diaries, so there’s quite a lot of progress to report. My pharmaceutical textbook project reached a milestone at the end of July when my co-author and I delivered all our chapters to the publishers. Since then, we have approved the blurb for the back of the book and, after a few suggested amendments, agreed on the proposed front cover. And we’ve received the second part of our advance. So everything’s going very nicely. No idea when the edits will come back to us, but I’m hoping for a couple of months of leeway.
And the reason I’m hoping for some free time is that Murder at Mountjoy Manor is finally ready. The Advance Reader Copies have been downloaded and the reviews are starting to trickle in. I’m delighted to say they are all 5-stars so far.
The official publication date is 19th October, but the ebook is already available for pre-order. It’s up on Amazon and Kobo so far, and will appear on all the other platforms over the next few days. And I’m even going to experiment with selling signed copies of the paperback from my own website this time around. You can find all the details here.
Sales and Marketing
The wonderful experience that was Women in Publishing School finished at the end of July. But the contacts I made continue, and some have already become friends. Much of my time at the moment is obviously taken up with pre-launch activities for Murder at Mountjoy Manor, but I’ve also been working on my overall marketing strategy. For the past three years, I’ve had all my ebooks in Kindle Unlimited, as I’ve had too many other priorities to be able to market them to more than one platform. However, I’ve now taken the decision to have another go at wide distribution and, as I’m aware that jumping from one strategy to another is counter-productive, I’m intending to stay with this approach from now on. It’s going to take a while to get everything off the KU platform, but by the end of the year, I expect to have all the platforms up and running.
Out and About
Following our first foray outside during June, Chudleigh Writers’ Circle has now had two face to face meetings indoors. We’re still being tentative, and our views change with every news broadcast, but we’re hoping we’ve left the dreaded Zoom meetings behind.
In the ‘good old days’ I used to make many of my paperback sales during face to face meetings, speaking to WI or U3A groups. That’s not happened recently, for obvious reasons, although I’ve done a handful of presentations online. But last week I had my first booking for a proper WI meeting. It’s not until July 2022, but it’s in the diary! The return to ‘normality’ continues.
Exeter Literary Festival
Preparations continue for ExeLitFest 2021 which opens on 9th October, with the main festival running from 5th to 7th November. The full programme is up on the website, as is the list of Partner Events. The Friends Group continues to gain members. The short story competition is closed and judging is in process. AND… the Box Office opens on Wednesday. Friends will have a Priority Booking Period to start with, then we will open to the general public on 16th September. We have no idea how this festival will go; but after complete cancellation in 2020, we are determined to go ahead this year, even if we have to move everything online or turn the events into hybrids. More news next month.
Are You getting Your Freebies?
Every month, my readers’ newsletter includes a free short story to download, based in Coombesford, the village where my new series of books are based. If you fancy something light and fun to read each month, why not sign up for my newsletter today? You can find the subscription form at the bottom of my website home page.