Friday 24 June 2011

How to Win Customers ...

I was catching up on some guest blogs today and started another one. The title was going to be along the lines of How to Win Friends and Influence People, so I opened up Word and typed How to Win Customers.

The phone rang, or someone came to the door - I forget which. Distraction set in, quickly followed by procrastination and a dose of apathy. 

I came back to the pc much later after teenage daughter had got home and found my one line had expanded to:

How to win customers
  • Win them in a raffle
  • Bid for them in an auction
  • Win them in a tombola
  • guess the name of the customer and you win them
  • Pay £1 and go on Hook a Duck, you might win one of the customers hanging up on the side.
Need I go on?

So that pretty much sums it up then, really. Blog done!

Sunday 12 June 2011

Sample Sunday: The Secret

Music from the taverna below floats through the open window. It’s Greek, I think. Or Turkish. There are voices too, celebrating; the clink of glasses and laughter. 

Does anybody remember laughter?

That’s from a song. I can’t remember what it is. I can’t remember much anymore, though I can recall—

—the secret—

—bringing the glass upstairs from the taverna the other night and finishing the entire bottle of cheap ouzo.

The glass is broken now; shards litter the table in front of me. I cut my foot earlier, and stained the bright poppy-patterned duvet on the bed. There are flowers everywhere in this village. Wisteria strangles the tiny villas, bougainvillea guard the entrance to every garden like aggressive soldiers, baskets and tubs adorn every balcony. The smell of the mimosa is overwhelming.

I hate flowers. They remind me of—

—the secret—

—saying goodbye to Sarah. But I couldn’t say goodbye, could only say au revoir, see you again, wait for me and I’ll be there soon. And I will. I promise.

The sun is almost on the horizon. It’s a wedding downstairs. Alexio the waiter asked me earlier if I’d like to stay. He looked kind and I nearly told him about—

—the secret—

—Sarah, and how I was going to meet her at sunset. In the place she was conceived. Five years ago tonight.

I pick up the glass shard in my right hand.

And I know the secret.

Friday 3 June 2011

Commercial Activities in Libraries?

So there I am in our local town library. On a Saturday it's often a busy place with art exhibitions in the foyer and the occasional local authors signing (and presumably selling) copies of their books. There's a small annex with computers and internet access, racks of leaflets and plenty of noticeboards advertising local events and activities.

Now I recently had some vistaprint postcards printed up with the new and rather impressive cover of my thriller. I'm not a graphic designer, but these were nice - all glossy and smart with quotes from reviews on the back. I was pleased with the result, which surprised me as vistaprint's last efforts with a business card were disappointing and I threw most of them away.

What better place to leave book postcards than the local library?  But no - it's "too commercial". Eh? A PR postcard for an ebook is too commercial, but it's OK for local authors to sell books and local artists to sell art?  I thought libraries were trying to survive all the cuts - surely embracing and including the community would be a good place to start? I realise that ebooks may be a politically sensitive topic with libraries, given that the big publishers want to sell them "self-destructing" ebooks, to mimic the wear-and-tear (and subsequent need to re-purchase) of a real book, but casually dismissing us indie authors is not going to win us over to their side of the argument, is it?

I'm not naming and shaming here (yet - unless you're one of my facebook friends and you can see it there). I have emailed the council and asked for their opinion and I will let you know their answer.