Happy New Year, dear friend, dear reader, or simply dear curious person who happened to stumble upon this page! First let’s get what I pray is the last of my print-on-demand mistakes out of the way, so we can move on to the New Year’s resolution that terrifies me. The mistake? It was the pricing. When I priced them to make approximately US$0.30c each on Amazon.com, it turned out that I still earned not a penny at every other Amazon site in the world. I have redressed this situation by pricing them all (bar the slightly cheaper Gooseberry) at US$9.99—UK£7.50—which brings in a royalty of around 40 pence from each. I hated having to do it, but I try to console myself that they still come in at under ten dollars (just), and are roughly in line with UK paperback prices for comparable books.
But what is the New Year’s resolution that terrifies me, you ask? I’ve decided it’s high time that I got to grips with Twitter. I get Facebook. I really do. I took to it like a fish to water. I have my private page for my friends. I have my public pages for readers. I even set up a group page for my Crimes & Thrillers reading group. And I know exactly when and what to post on each. Twitter, however? Hmmm. Not so much.
Maybe it’s because I don’t have a smart phone, or even a half-decent camera built into the ancient mobile that I do have. Taking two blurry, unflattering photos is enough to drain its battery. So where Twitter is concerned, I don’t have a hope in hell’s chance of posting visuals-on-the-go to document my scintillating—or not so scintillating—life, which is a massive disadvantage in this very visual medium. Then there’s the fact that I don’t have an internet connection at home. To post just one of those tiny messages means taking a trip to my local library. As wonderful as that may be (and, no, I’m not being sarcastic, I LOVE my local library), it is hardly conducive to spontaneous outpourings of a fevered brain, you have to admit.
Then there’s the medium itself. The one campaign I took an active part in (a week-long celebration of mystery books set up by Goodreads) was a bit of an eye-opener for me. When I looked at the tweets that went up using their hash tag, they read like they were from a bunch of people shouting pointlessly into the Ether. No one seemed to be speaking to each other; indeed, nobody seemed to be listening to each other, or even listening at all. The saddest tweet I found (I’m guessing from a teenager) was complaining about the very existence of Mystery Week. I don’t get it…if they don’t like mysteries, why join in (for want of a better word) the conversation? Why did they bother?
The most widely shared tweet of 2017 was an appeal from high school student Carter Wilkerson of Reno, Nevada, for a year’s supply of chicken nuggets from Wendy’s, his local fast-food restaurant chain: “HELP ME PLEASE,” it shouted. “A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS”. I’m not sure which aspect of this I find the most disturbing. I think it’s the fact that this poor guy might end up getting his wish—Wendy’s asked him for 18 million retweets; he’s already clocked up nearly 4 million.
Which leads me in a way to the most terrifying thing of all with regard to Twitter. What am I going to write about? “HELP ME PLEASE. A WRITER NEEDS HIS GLASS OF WINE”? I can’t see my local supermarket chain Tesco responding in quite the same way as Wendy’s, despite the very modest price of my wine of choice. How about: “HELP ME PLEASE. A WRITER NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT TO WRITE”?
Whatever I end up writing (and this is one resolution I intend to keep) it’s not going to be soon. I had a huge sciatic flare up just before Christmas and have spent the entire holidays bedridden. It’ll be a slow journey back to the point where I can walk again or sit long enough to be able to write, so this will be my last post for a couple of months. As for “A WRITER NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT TO WRITE”…all ideas will be gratefully received!
Finally, as a small token of my thanks for taking the trouble to find this page, I’d like to offer you 50% off a download of The Scarab Heart (The Involuntary Medium #2). Purchase it at Smashwords.com and, when it comes time to pay, use coupon code: REW75. This offer is available until January 31st, 2018.