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Are we worth it?

Returning from Bristol and the party, it was time to put our energies back into the book; our journey from first jottings to published article being the reason for this blog. However, unlike the ‘Duracell Bunny”, we had no energy.

Whilst at Bristol, Judith had received, and accepted, an invitation to play tennis on Monday morning (she is a standby player for this group), believing it would be good for her to get some physical exercise and clear her mind following what she expected would (and turned out to) be an, at times, stressful party weekend. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but come Monday morning neither of us particularly wanted to get out of bed; we were way too comfortable, felt very tired and lifeless and could easily have stayed there all day. For some of our tennis groups it is easy to ‘give it a miss’ because games are arranged from whoever turns up, but the Monday group is different i.e. it is a closed group of eight players so having agreed to make up the numbers it was not acceptable to drop out at short notice and leave the group a player short. Judith had no choice but to get up and go even though she was feeling a bit head achy and snotty. I, in the meantime did some housework; the sun was shining and one must make use of such days to get the washing done. Returning home Judith was not looking good; she had survived the tennis but was not feeling very well, so it was lunch followed by a lazy, feet up, afternoon.

Tuesday morning is another tennis day for us, but Judith did not feel up to it this week. Her snottiness was worse and she was struggling to shake off her headache; she does not as a rule like taking pain killers but was doing so this time, but with little effect. Unlike me (and most men, I’m guessing), Judith soldiered on and we held a marketing meeting to discus our next group of social media posts before she agreed to have a another restful afternoon. It was obvious by now that she had caught a bug of some sort and needed it to run it’s course.

Wednesday was a special day for us – for why, one shall need to read the book – and a simple celebration had been planned. For those of you who have been following our journey, you can probably guess what is coming next. Judith was feeling worse, not better, and while I was brushing my teeth, my back seized. I could not straighten up and it was painful to try. With Judith’s help, I managed to get on the floor and perform a few back exercises that I could recall from past back issues (we both had suffered from). This at least enabled me to tentatively move around. I have to say that this locking of the back was a first for me and it it is not one I wish to suffer from again. Needless to say we agreed to postpone our special day and celebrate it another time. Then it was a case of informing group leaders of other tennis and table tennis sessions that we would not be attending until further notice and also go online and cancel our winter covid booster jabs.

Whilst I slowly started to mend, poor Judith got much, much worse, the bug turning into a severely debilitating bout of gastroenteritis which totally knocked her out - apparently there is a lot of it about, but that does not help ease her pain. Nearly a week later she is only just beginning to recover.

A knock on from Judith’s illness is that I got to go on a little adventure on Sunday afternoon. Judith’s niece’s 5 year old girl was taking part in her first dance competition, but because her niece’s son’s Sunday morning football match kick off time had been altered (because of a lack of referees), the two events now clashed. This meant they could not attend as a family, therefore Judith had offered to go with her niece to help, only now she could not afford to be more than a few feet away from a toilet!

The event was an eye opener, not quite what what I was expecting. What was I expecting? To be honest the images I had in my head I now know were from a time dinosaurs ruled the earth and were of a very old fashioned ballroom dance competition where the couples danced with numbers on their backs and judges tapped a couple on the shoulder to say they were eliminated. This was not what happened. We had arrived early because we did not know how the event was run; best to give ourselves time to sort ourselves out. The first shock was the length of the queue waiting outside the building, and the second shock was the noise once we were inside whilst all the dancers warmed up and practised their routines on the dance floor. Judith’s niece had to sign a form declaring that any photographs or videos taken were for personal use only and would, under no circumstances, be posted on social media. A sign of the times. At least photography was allowed, but my mobile was staying in my pocket. The third shock was the costumes the dancers, 96% girls, were wearing. They were amazing, extremely colourful and probably cost a fortune (time to encourage the little one to take up a different hobby me thinks). There were 6 sections; Latin, Street, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Slow Freestyle, Ballroom and Fast Freestyle. Each group was subdivided into age groups with each age group having a section for those who have competed in ‘Open’ competitions and those who have not. Three of the groups were for solo dancers, not something I had expected and being ignorant of modern day dance competitions, I assume is an attempt stay relevant to modern society. One thing I can confirm is that all the dances were keenly contested and all the kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy it: surly that is a good thing. One final observation; the presentation took almost as long as the competition. I am not sure that I have ever seen so many cups and medals lined up awaiting to be awarded.

One of my tasks this week had been to start researching the next stage of the publishing process and the implications on our marketing strategy i.e. what the hell happens once the book is available for sale. As ever, there are about two zillion YouTube videos out there offering advice and it is time consuming looking through them trying to find common tips that a) might work and b) suit our situation. Should we pay for advertising? Should we give away free books? Should we convert our Instagram account to a business one? Should we link the blog to Instagram/Twitter/Facebook? Then there is the list of must do’s like creating authors pages and bio’s on the various platforms used and “taking these 7 steps to improve your Amazon listing”, followed by the consider doing’s such as having a launch party, contacting local newspapers/shops/libraries. I spent (or should that be wasted) hours (that I can’t get back) on this research, I jot down tons of notes, then once my brain is totally frazzled I’ll pour a big drink and wonder whether it is all worth it.

How many times have I read sentences along the lines of , “It does not matter how good the book is, if you don’t market it, it won’t sell.” We believe we have written a very entertaining book; yes, friends and family that know us will be intrigued to read it (they may think they know us, but believe me, they will be in for a shock or two), but we need to be happy with ourselves that we have given it the best opportunity we can to make it available for strangers to read it and like it. Or not, as the case maybe. Therefore, yes, all the marketing effort is worth it.

And on that note I will say good bye for another week. Fingers crossed we may get some feedback with regard to the typesetting before next weeks blog.

Be safe, be happy and love everybody.


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