The £50,000 Writing Competition Is Back On!!!!

A dilemma I had last night managed to solve itself the following morning. Recently I’ve been taking advice from my friends in what to do with my books in terms of marketing since that is the one thing I don’t enjoy, and one of the pieces of advice was to buy a certain book that helps me get more familiar with the marketing side of things, including how to contact agents/publishers and what my legal rights are.

So last night as I was writing my eighth book ‘Stranded’, I was debating on whether to focus my energy on continuing this book (as I feel I’m not getting into it and it doesn’t flow as well as the others, but anyone who knows me knows I say the same thing about all my books!) or to concentrate on editing and doing the second draft of my sixth book ‘The Pornstar’ and get it ready to send to agents and/or publishers. I know I can’t do both as the plots will intertwine. I could do it if I wasn’t working but now I’m back in England work unfortunately is a priority for the meantime.

So what the flip does this have to do with a £50,000 competition? Talk about false advertising!

Hold on, I’m getting there…

Well get there faster you boring fucker! I’ve got people to stalk on Facebook that I secretly hate…

Fair enough. This morning I received an email from Richard and Judy (obviously from their representatives, not them…) about the £50,000 competition I previously applied for but got told I was ineligible because I had already self-published a book and they said that due to an overwhelming number of enquiries relating to self-publishing, they have decided to relax their terms and conditions and now as long as I haven’t posted any snippets of the book, then I’m golden…

That rules out ‘Talk To Me’ – My fifth book, as I’ve posted the first 1000 or so words of that one on my blog, but I have deliberately not posted anything about ‘The Pornstar’ because I know in the right hands it will sell millions. And I’m my own biggest critic so you know I mean it when I say that.

I’ve got until the end of the month to edit a minimum of the first 40 pages, get into the mindset again and clear up any loose ends before I send it to Richard and Judy, and who knows? This could make me a minimum of fifty grand. I assume there will be royalties involved as well but I need to look over the terms and conditions again which I won’t be able to get around to until after Saturday as I’m pretty busy in terms of work until then (Stupid England! At least it’s character building…) but I’ll have a quick browse through, send it off and you never know you might see me this time next year on TV talking about my book(s)! Probably not on a daytime chat show with a title like ‘The Pornstar’ though…

Trying to invest in paid advertising for the first time was a bad idea…

I’ve been toying with the idea of pushing my books for a while now. The thought of diving into something I don’t understand scares the hell out of me, but I thought the time is right to try something new and work on getting a passive income through something I enjoy doing instead of rely on working behind a bar until I drop for minimum wage.

A friend of mine contacted me last week saying I should get in touch with a mutual friend who could guide me in the right direction, help build up my internet profile (whatever that means…), set me up with my own website etc… After thinking about it for a while I threw caution to the wind and contacted him, saying I was ready to make that step, a step that could be the difference between saying I’m an author and people recognizing the name before I even tell them…

I arranged a Skype session with my friend and said to him that straight off the bat I knew next to nothing about this side of things, so I have no idea how much time and effort these kind of things would take or how much it would cost. The then began to calmly explain to me what he planned on doing. I understood very little because computers confuse me and stress me out.

Then when it came to the price he quoted me $500. I assume that this is lower than average because he is a friend but even so the price freaked me out. I already have a website (albeit a free one), does it really cost that much as a start up cost before anyone even knows I exist?

So all the anxiety I’ve been having trouble with recently came up again and I wanted to retire into my shell. Great! All this time I’ve been trying to manage the after effects of being robbed in a foreign country and as you can imagine all it took was one slight thing to knock my extremely fragile confidence again. I realized that’s a huge chunk of my savings that I could be potentially throwing in the bin. After all, there’s no guaranteed return on that kind of thing is there? I know they say you have to spend money to make money but it seems a bit daunting to invest that amount of money into something that is essentially a gamble. I know my books are good, but the rest of the world doesn’t, and I’d still have to guide them to my website after that…

He could tell that I was worried so he messaged me saying he felt bad about offering me such a high price and would try to lower it because he wanted to see me succeed. He then said he would be willing to do it for free apart from the hosting costs (Again, no idea what that means. The more I try to understand it the less I understand it) Now I feel even worse because I feel like I’ve guilt tripped him into working for me for free, and it put me off doing it so much that I’ve mentally switched off and have no interest in setting up a new site any more, which in turn is creating more anxiety because I feel like I’ve wasted his time for nothing. I dipped my foot in the water and I now feel even more overwhelmed than I did before I enquired about going down this route.

I write books. I have no concept as to how to advertise and didn’t know I’d have to put up so much of my own money in the hope that I can see a slight percentage of a return. And that was just for a website. What about all other things I have to pay for that I don’t understand. There must be some running costs and some hidden costs that I have to incur along the way. Not necessarily from my friend, but on other websites or if there is another step I have to take. I very much doubt $500 would be all I need to invest before I see a reasonable profit, I have a feeling that will be just be the beginning…

If anything I’m now seriously considering not writing any more. If it’s going to cost me a substantial amount of money just for the hope that I can make a return then what’s the point? I use up so much mental strength in obsessing over a book and getting it down that part of me wonders if I am just wasting my time. It normally takes me a week to recover once I’ve finished a book so why should I sacrifice my mental health if it’s just going to cost me money as opposed to making me money?  If that truly is the case then I might as well focus all my energy into working behind a bar again. At least I have a set income and I can manage my money better, rather than sink a lot of my own money into something just to say I’m an author…

So I’m going to think about it for a few days. If I do decide to put any kind of money into this venture It’ll be to tentatively put a small amount of money towards Facebook advertising and see how it makes me feel. If it makes me feel how I’m feeling right now then this book I’m currently writing may be my last, if I even finish it at all…

Chase’s Naming Ceremony

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Me and Daryl

When you travel you meet some amazing people from all over the world, but you tend to sacrifice friendships back home in order to see the world and experience new cultures. Sometimes you and your friends drift apart, whereas other friends (who show their true colours) completely support you and look forward to the day you finally return so you can swap stories. Daryl is definitely those of those people. I’d kept in touch with him through Facebook (the internet is a wonderful tool) but hadn’t actually seen him in 7 years. So when he invited me to his little boy’s naming ceremony I said I’d be there, as long as I was in the country at the time.

And I am back, albeit in Suffolk whereas Daryl is back in Watford (near London) so it wasn’t as simple as getting a taxi there and back. However I didn’t want to make excuses and decided although it was going to cost me a small fortune, I was going to be there for this once in lifetime event with him and his son.

Luckily for me I managed to get a lift there from my stepdad who happened to be heading in that direction, which saved me a lot of money on a train ticket. I ended up getting there an hour early due to there being very little traffic, so I twiddled my thumbs until everyone arrived.

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What was written on the board outside the church.

Daryl knew I was coming, but he still looked happy when he finally saw me outside the church. I’m sure a lot of people who lived a lot closer said they were going to come but came up with flimsy excuses, so I’m sure he was happy to see me come so far for little Chase. Then I started to mingle with guests and get to know them, seeing as I knew very few people there (only some of his immediate family) until it was time for the ceremony to start.

The ceremony was really nice, it only lasted about twenty minutes but I felt privileged to be a part of such an intimate thing. then once it was over and everybody started to chat outside the church I saw a couple of people I went to school with, and it was nice to catch up…

Next it was time to eat buffet food at a country club and drink until we tried to drunkenly make the day about us and/or did something we would regret; I yo-yoed between soft drinks and alcoholic ones because I didn’t fancy being paralytic drunk trying to work out the London Underground system. So I chatted with a few people before going home at 5. I must admit I found it hard to mix with a few people, especially my old school friends. Mainly because they were clearly a close group of friends who spent a lot of time together, and I was the outsider who they hadn’t seen in a decade and a lot of their inside jokes were going over my head, but I was still happy to see them all and they seemed happy enough to see me and ask about what I’d been up to. Mainly the questions were about Thailand as you can imagine…

Before I knew it, it was 5 o’clock and time for me to go home, well…head to Watford Junction anyway. Everyone there thanked me for coming and said fair play for travelling so far. After catching 6 trains and a replacement bus I finally got home at half ten. five and a half bloody hours to get back home. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world Daryl. Thanks for inviting me to such a small ceremony. I felt so honoured to be one of the few people to be invited to such a personal thing, and I will be forever grateful. Hopefully it won’t be another 7 years until we see each other again…

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Chase’s present. I had a mini panic on the way as I’d stolen the picture from Facebook and had visions that this baby wasn’t actually Chase. Fortunately for me it was…