Well, life is manic at the moment. My book eventually arrived from Matador on 28th October. I had hoped it would arrive during the summer holidays when I could have done some book signings with zillions of holidaymakers around in Swanage but it was not to be. I am not sure what the delay was but I suspect it was partly to do with the placing of the illustrations and the changes needed after the proofreading which I am SO GLAD I paid for and there were even changes after the first proofs arrived.

It did not help matters that my partner and I were out and about all summer on day trips and short breaks culminating in a second full week’s holiday, this time in Croatia, in October. We undertook this round of activity after shock news from several quarters in late winter of friends with cancer, friends who had been bereaved and two friends isolated, prisoners in their homes caring for partners with Alzheimers. We are both of equal physical ability despite the fact that OH is seven years older than myself and we do like doing the same things. We still love each other, despite living in separate accommodation and we still enjoy a physical relationship even at our advancing age. Why, we asked ourselves, should we potter about at home doing nonsensical tasks when we could be out and about revisiting places we last visited ten or more years ago and all those places on our TO DO list. Also, how do we know what the next year holds? Let’s get on with it, we said, and damn the money. After all, our seven children are all settled and well off with property, low mortgages and children of an age where a second chance of a career beckons for Mum. We are told repeatedly not to worry about leaving them vast amounts of cash and the more investments we hold the more difficult it will be for them  to sort our affairs.

A great excuse, this,  I mused to go spend it all! It is called SKI-ING I believe. Spending the Kids’ Inheritance. And boy, are we enjoying it. This Sunday after church I spoke with a friend I had not seen for a few months who was worrying about how she would manage financially in the future. I said, when the money runs out I shall take it out of my property, at which she looked somewhat aghast. Her sons are still at the needy, not settled stage, younger than my grown-up children. However, I saw a light in her eye and I congratulated myself that I may have brought about a change in one person’s attitude to life.

Anyway back to the book. I am occupied with signings in local cafes and outings to take the book in to various possible outlets. I had dreaded this stage, worrying that my previous confidence when standing in front of class after class of seventeen year-old Further Education students had dissipated. Anyway, I am actually enjoying the social side of putting my book about. Of course, I have an excellent product, thanks to Matador, whose quality exceeds any other self-publishing route. I had arranged with several local venues – shops and cafes – to have signings and some days I am booked morning and afternoon.  Friends or acquaintances – even strangers – can come to find me and look at a book and decide whether to buy and some friends just come along to boost the crowd and have a chat, all of  which I love.

But that is not all. There are phone calls to make to the head offices of stores and local outlets and press releases to send. There are review copies to post and cheques arrive in the post so there are copies to sign to vicariously spelt names, money to pay into the writing account and jiffy bags to post. There are Facebook messages, emails, twitter DMs and retweets which must be acknowledged and new followers to thank and even more to find. There are those who do not follow back to unfollow via Justunfollow – a great resource for users of social media.

I was such a green newbie. I could have had most of my communications prepared if I had realised what was needed. it is all very well reading up about how to use social media to promote your book but you do not learn until you  are in the actual throes of using it and promoting this new baby you have given birth to. It truly is ‘learning by doing’.

So for now it is back to book signings and talks and learning, learning, learning ….. steep curve!

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