Ducie’s Diary: November 2021
Don’t look now, but I’m actually posting this on the right day, the last Monday of the month. I’m finally back on track, after two months of only just making it before the month ended! That doesn’t actually mean I’ve been any less busy this month than normal, but I have been slightly better organised. And, of course, I’ve a huge incentive to get everything up to date. December is traditionally the month when I stop work and concentrate instead on cooking, writing cards, reading The Christmas Mystery for the nth time, going out to lunch, singing carols, and generally get ready for the holidays. So I am busily getting ahead of myself in advance of that.
Writing This Month
I did it! For the ninth year in a row, I finished the 50K word NaNoWriMo challenge this morning, with more than 36 hours to spare. And for the first time ever, I completed a whole first draft. The second in my series of cozy mysteries is on its way. Mind you, I still need to find a decent title. Coombesford Chronicles #2 may be accurate, but it’s hardly snappy, now is it? The file is going to sleep for a month and then I will start editing it in January. Publication date is planned to be October 2022 but who knows? If everything goes well, I may just get it out there in advance of that date.
Sales and Marketing
After a very successful launch for Murder at Mountjoy Manor last month, I am delighted to report that sales continue to hold up, bolstered partly by a brilliantly effective newsletter swap. I exceeded my month 1 targets and am well on the way towards my year 1 goals. Such an exciting time. And it makes the writing of further books in the series even more fun.
I’m being a bit selective on the seasonal events I attend this year for obvious reasons. I’m avoiding ones where I know the room is small or poorly ventilated. But I have managed to find a couple recently held in large well-ventilated facilities. I’ve attended them as part of a double act, sharing a table with Celia Moore, another local writer and fellow member of Chudleigh Writers Circle. And we developed quite a patter in selling each other’s books. It is so much easier to sing someone else’s praises than one’s own.
All in all, a wonderful month; possibly my best ever, both in terms of income and contacts made.
Out and About
After nearly two years of hard work, Exeter Literary Festival seemed to come and go in a flash. We had a great time; many of the events were sold out; and despite the inevitable one or two technical glitches, the feedback was pretty darn good. I am currently tying up loose ends prior to stepping down as Director. If you’ve pitched an idea to me for next year’s festival, you can rest assured your email will be passed on to the new team.
What Have I Been Reading Lately?
Like most writers, I’m an avid reader, particularly of crime fiction. And there’s nothing quite like word of mouth recommendations for ensuring you enjoy your reading. I used to finish all my blog posts with a recommendation. That slipped by the wayside at some point, but I think it’s time to bring it back. So each month, I’m going to introduce you to someone whose books I’ve been enjoying. Starting this month with a friend and fellow writer from the south west of England, Frances Evesham.
Frances is a hugely successful author of cosy crime. Her Exham-on-Sea series features baker and amateur sleuth, Libby Forest; partner Max Ramshore and their dogs, Shipley and Bear. Murder at the Abbey, book 8 in the series, has just been published, and I can highly recommend it. Even better, start at book 1, Murder at the Lighthouse and enjoy Libby’s journey from the beginning. If you like cosy crime, you’re going to love the Exham-on-Sea mysteries.