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  • Writer's picturePortland Jones

A week of mixed emotions

The second Facebook video advert that I ran last week reached a lot of people. We had adjusted it in light of feedback. There were 865 ThruPlays. This was a great improvement on the previous ad. So far I have had only one sale since then which probably was not as a result of the ad. (My neighbour told me his copy had arrived and asked if I would sign it.)

That is a sorry outcome. I will be going right back to the drawing board, to include cover design, blurb, title and content. Does the cover grab attention? Does the blurb entice people to read the book? Does it reflect the genre? Have I found the right audience? I also have to face the fact that my book might simply not be what people want to read. I might be a really crap writer. All those doubts started playing through my head. What made me think I could do this in the first place? Imposter syndrome kicked in big time.

Reassurance came from an unexpected quarter. I have been reading several books that might tell me where I am going wrong and how to put right my mistakes. Craig Martelle’s Release Strategies is direct and full of stuff to make you think. This is a successful guy who knows what he is doing – he has published over one hundred titles. And this is what he said:

‘There are a large number of people who publish one book. It doesn’t sell. They quit. Don’t be that person. To this day, I’ve sold a grand total of fifty-three copies of my first book.’

That number resonated. I sold fifty-three copies of my book in the first month. I took heart from that.

Then more encouragement turned up. I entered a writing competition back in January. Fish Publishing were looking for short memoirs. As part of my Master’s course, I had written about my husband’s illness and death so I decided to give it a go. My submission was entitled ‘Brian – his illness, my life.’ I didn’t win; I didn’t make the short list, but I did make the long list. There were 1301 entries. Someone thought my work was worthy of a second look.

And then I was contacted by an English teacher to ask if I would consider speaking to pupils at a local school to tell them more about what I do. Yes, of course I would. How wonderful. I started writing stories when I was still in school. Mom was proud of my stories but there was little encouragement from elsewhere. If someone had shown me that writing was a possible, if challenging, career choice, I may have started writing with purpose a lot earlier in life.

So feeling a lot better than I could have been, I will keep writing. Decision time! I have two works in progress. One is a stand-alone novel, working title The Doll Maker’s Story. Tom is a skilled craftsman who shapes dolls from wood. He lives in isolation on his small-holding after being rejected by his father who couldn’t cope with Tom’s severe stammer. Tom’s energy and emotions go into his dolls who seem to develop a life of their own. I am nearly half way through this story.

The other project is book one of planned series about Holly, a young woman who can sense the history of items when she handles them. Running her grandmother’s vintage store gives her more to think about than she expected. This is also half way through.

So that’s my task for the coming week – which do I focus on? The marketing head says the series, according to the advice books I have read. My heart loves the dolls. And I really must attempt some more marketing.

38 views2 comments


Apr 29, 2021

Mine too! (Vote for the dollmaker) I love it so much can't wait to see it finished!! ❤️


Apr 08, 2021

My vote is for the doll maker 💕

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