Tuesday, 16th October

Tuesday, 16th October

Keyword for the Day: No Turning Back

This is my baby – I hope you will love her as much as I do. Her parenting skills are at times dubious, her behaviour isn’t perfect as birds go and she is different to other cuckoos because her genes have made her that way. (A bit like me, really!)

Today, I have been trying to put into words how I feel now that all the hard work has been done – and it has been hard work, to make sure The White Cuckoo was published, as planned, on 31st October. It has been a struggle, but on the whole, not difficult to do when compared to something like quantum physics or rocket science!

I have had to sit up all night, formatting one version of the book for the printers and another for the e-book.  I have learned how easy it is to break a computer file, and how hard it is to mend it again. I have grappled with rogue characters and HTML, tore my hair out by the roots with frustration and shouted loudly at the Kindle Previewer – an absolute must for anyone uploading files to Amazon. I counted up the uploads in the previewer file this evening and I uploaded the book no less than 23 times – and for 22 of them something was wrong, like the Table of Contents didn’t work, or the cover wouldn’t load, or the paragraphs had gaps between them (this was the worst problem.)  I have, actually, been doing two full-time jobs with bells on for the last three weeks.  Despite my assurances to my boss about getting enough sleep, I have been surviving on three hours a night. (Sorry Sue – I lied!) The p-book was no better.  I have had peculiar dreams about fonts and how they are so important for the type of book; eaten my tea at the dining table, with spine widths for dessert. I have spread paper samples on my breakfast toast and then sat in my pyjamas for most of the day whilst proof-reading to within an inch of my sanity.

Today, I have been thinking about the ‘what ifs’.  What if I had uncoupled The White Cuckoo from my vehicle of ambition three weeks ago? What if I had trundled off down the familiar, well-worn track of ‘I will never self-publish?’  I have said this so many times to so many people it has become my mantra. There is a far greater strength of character in changing track, reviewing your ideals and keeping an open mind than worshipping at the altar of dogma and principles. Yes, I did change my mind, and yes, I was largely forced into it, but no, I won’t look back. I am not ‘vanity’ publishing because vanity is not a word that I associate myself with.

It is only by turning your back on materialism to stand squarely and solidly to look ambition straight in the eye that you can achieve your full potential in life. I don’t care about driving a posh car, wearing expensive clothes and living in a show home. These things are not important to me at all. I do not write books to make money – I have a day job which pays the bills. The things I care about most in life are things money can’t buy and one of them is ‘ambition’.  Another thing I firmly believe is that you never get anywhere in life unless you are prepared to work hard for it. It’s no good going around bleating that ‘it’s not fair’. Life is never fair, and it is less fair to some people than to others, but there is nothing you can do about ‘life not being fair’ so it’s not even worth a nano-second of thinking time.

Yes, I am disappointed the trilogy is still gathering dust on the shelf, and I am worried that by self-publishing The White Cuckoo I have actually sacrificed it on the altar of ambition. I am also worried about the money I have staked on it. It costs a lot of money to get 200 books printed, and I need to sell at least 100 at my book launch to break even.

Only time will tell, but I know one thing – if you don’t at least try, there is no chance of success because success, like the Emperor, is naked and worthless without the cloak of ambition. (There is a dubious connection with ‘vanity’ here, but I’m not going to go there!)

Anyway – for those of you who read this blog – the Kindle version has been uploaded and accepted and will be available for £2.99 on Amazon from tomorrow – two weeks’ early, but I won’t be shouting it from the rooftops, I’ll let my daughter do that because she arguably has a much bigger mouth than I do!

The official publication date is still 31st October.

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