Friday Fictioneers – Job Interview

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Now the orange guy has gone, I’m a cert for a career in journalism. No more fake news.

Umm, well, we never did fake news. We just do news. No matter who’s in power, true is true.

Yeah, the pointy heads really like truth. It’s meat and drink to them. You’d think they don’t need to wipe after they poop. Okay, I can do true.

I’m not sure reporting is for you. To be brutally frank, you seem to have one or two prejudices.

Sure, but I’m balanced. That’s good, right?

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

147. Colour me stupid

For the last couple of years, I’ve offered a newsletter for news and updates about my writing. But I made schoolboy error—I aimed it at writers. Of course, I should have aimed it at readers.  

So, I’ve completely rethought the newsletter. From February it will share content to interest readers, including writing updates and monthly book bargains and recommendations. And there’s a beautifully illustrated free novelette for everyone who signs up.

Cara learns to sing the knots that bind the world. Cara’s Saga is the story of how a young woman became the foremost makar. Makar is a Scots word meaning bard.  But the story isn’t set in Scotland. Or, indeed, anywhere. Rather, it’s set everywhere. I played with a fabulist mash-up of Scottish, Inca, Northwestern American seaboard first nation, Australian aboriginal and other myths to create something universal and magical.

To get your copy, just click the sign-up button on the side bar on the right hand side (or bottom if you’re reading on a tablet) of this blog. You’ll get Cara’s Saga and monthly updates.

Friday Fictioneers – Ascension

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

It happened almost by stealth. Everything looked almost normal, but not quite. And then you realised—the people had gone. The coffee remained, half drunk. The instruments still played without the orchestra. You felt you pushed through crowds, but we never really see the individuals in the crowd, do we? There was only the cipher on the floor and the bright beams as they ascended. Why didn’t they take me too?

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Gratitude

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

Sweat beaded his upper lip. His tongue flicked out to remove the secretion. Like a snake, she thought.

He reached to the clutter on the side table, waving the cocktail napkin tagged and bagged in plastic. Unblinking eyes transfixed hers. “Where were you last night?”

“Without me to look after you, you’d die.”

A wrinkled hand slithered over the bedclothes. The strength of his grip was astounding, crushing her bones. “You’re a serpent in my bosom. Just like all you people.”

She allowed no sign of pain to show. “What did you want for breakfast?”

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Battle Cry

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

The wind carries grace notes of pine resin and wild lavender. It fills the valley like a sail, and my legs run me, effortless and lithe. Now I am still and the world turns past me. The sun climbs the dome of the sky, pulling a circling hawk, and me after it. I race down the slope towards battle, crushing soil and ancient bones. Fear is squeezed deep down, to a small stone into my belly which I will pass when I pee. My head rings bell-clear, sounding the war cry. I will defend, I will kill, we will prevail.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

146 How to get your book noticed and bought

You send your book out into the world. But unless readers know it’s there, they can’t find and buy it. Without promotion, the work dies. I’m not a natural at promotion. In fact, I don’t even like it. But my experience is that there are things you can do. Some of them depend on seizing opportunities. Others just rely on doggedly working through the system.

Opportunities

I was lucky that there was a news event linked to the theme of the book—the opening of hearings in the UK’s official enquiry into undercover policing. I timed the production of the book to coincide with this date and was able to get some press coverage.

The other opportunity has not yet come to fruition. But I’m part of the way there. I entered the novel for various literary prizes. And it has been longlisted for the McKitterick Prize. Judges won’t begin shortlisting until 2021.

Press launch and reviews

Tears was published on 24 September. Review strategy and pre-launch promotion concentrated on the paperback, paving the way for sales boosted by the press launch in November.  I secured 20 reviews across various platforms. NetGalley, from which I was hoping for great things, was disappointing—only two reviews. And I only managed to place two pieces on book-blogging sites.

The press launch produced a significant boost. Forty two copies had been sold by launch date on 6 November. Five days later, an additional 54 copies sold.

The launch made a small splash, which died away quite quickly. It wasn’t enough to generate sustained sales. The good news is that you don’t need to despair—you’re not in the hands of fate. There are things you can do that will make a difference and raise your book’s profile.

Advertising

Principal among the things that can make a difference is advertising. Amazon advertising, targeting the US market, began in early December. It worked, adding another 10% to sales.

By 22 December, Tears was number 666 in the Kindle rankings for terrorism thrillers, and 1,062 for magic realism. Overall, its ranking climbed from number 1,683,775 to 99,986 (of over 14 million books) on Amazon.

But it’s a little like succeeding in coaxing a spark into a handful of kindling. I need to find ways to get a warming blaze going and keep it alight.

I don’t yet know what these ways are. It may simply be a matter of more advertising. But I’m hoping book discovery sites will make a difference.

Friday Fictioneers – Gone

PHOTO PROMPT © Trish Nankivell

Some might describe His Lordship’s sense of humour as wicked. But, then again, many called him wicked. He told us it was art. We preferred the word revenge.

The sculpture, at the village entrance, of the donkey with its head in the sand were funny, no mistake. Except, we was the butt of the joke. Bugger had the whole settlement flattened and renamed Gone.

If only Maisie hasn’t refused him.

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Field Report

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

The natives are more notable for their industriousness than cleanliness. I cannot pass among them unnoticed because their skin has a deathly pallor, but they will talk to strangers. Many worship a man nailed to a tree, whom they consume symbolically on their holy day. They carry his image as a talisman around their necks, believing this will protect them from evil spirits.

Leadership is poorly developed, and they choose chiefs to make their decisions for them, rather than thrashing out problems in community meetings as civilised people do. Wealth is determined by possession and ritual display of little bits of paper, rather than by the real utility of cattle. I miss the heat of the savannah.

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Switchback

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

The screaming girls and the boys swallowing their terror in feigned insouciance. That was me once. I remember the stolen taste of candy floss on Carol’s lips. And the accidental brush of a soft breast in the chamber of horrors.

Carol was taken a decade ago. These days, I can only sit and watch. There’s always the possibility of a spectacular crash. I’d like that.

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Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – The Future

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

I sense it. I can almost grasp it. The future. Sitting just outside my window, like my first shiny new car on a festival. That time is not here yet, but anticipation brings it into the present. One day, soon, this will all be over. We’ll emerge, blinking in the sunshine, laugh and greet old friends. Now it’s clear who we really depend on. We’ll put an end to misery and want. We can build back better.

Can’t we?

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here