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February 2020 - The King and I

Updated: Feb 17

In January my book managed to help me to visit a king. It came about because of a final radio interview that took me to the most amazing city on earth. A city conquered by Vikings and Romans, home of kings, brimming with exotic food and amazing athletes. It is the magical city of Leicester.


Don’t give me ‘What!!!!!!’ Okay, I admit that I may be a little bias because although I moved away many years ago, it is still my home city. In my defence, you don’t get much more exotic than curry and pork pie – especially if they are on the same plate. Plus Lineker, is a football king, David Attenborough is the rightful king of the world, and then there is Engelbert Humperdinck the king of music (sung by people with a name that sounds like a character from Winnie the Pooh). Anyway, when I lived in Leicester the king I wanted to visit lived in a car park. However, since then Richard III has been dug up and I went to see him in Leicester cathedral. In this new home his tomb is marked by a magnificent coffin-shaped block of limestone. The limestone has a narrow cross which is cut deeply into it - probably as deep as the stone cutter dared to plunge without shattering the stone. The stone is a pale colour with embedded fossils and seams of coal and amber. Underneath, in a wooden casket, made by a direct descendant, Richard III lies quietly. In fact probably as quietly as my January book sales. Sorry, I was distracted with how surprisingly impressive that quarter of my old home city has become and need to return to books.


Now, I expected slow post-Christmas book sales so in January I thought I’d brush up on my strategy for the gargantuan that is Amazon. A blog down the pub (I think I have that right) said that "you need to have at least 10 to 20 Amazon reviews before a normal person gets tempted to buy a book". I’m not sure what ‘at least 10 to 20’ actually is - probably a minimum of 20. I’ve therefore started to encourage readers to review my book, especially people that have read it.


Apparently, the Amazon review rules are:


· You are not allowed to bribe people (good, that saves me money)

· You can’t write your own review (Louis Theroux did briefly manage this saying that "I wrote it. It took a long time to write and I’ve read it several times. I think it’s pretty good)".

· You can’t agree to exchange positive reviews with other authors (Oh no, I better tell Salman, JK and King-y that the deal is off)


This leaves me with the use of my good looks and charm. It is not going well. I am on six reviews; that is a 100% increase from the start of the month, but leaves me short of the 'at least 10'. And even shorter of the 'at least 20'.


In addition to the 'increase reviews' project, I have also signed up on the Amazon Author Central service. I went on to Amazon and claimed to be the author of my book (well, no one else was going to take the blame for it) – they checked with my publisher (that would be me) and “hey, presto” I have an author page. I can therefore add pictures, a biography and see my bookselling ranking. What is my current book ranking? Let's just say I am in the bestseller list. How far up the bestseller list? Um, well, um, only self-help books do well in January um probably. Okay, okay, I’ll tell you, just stop threatening me with a 1 star Amazon review. My book is currently the 304,265th best seller (based on sales on a single day - which in this case is the 3rd February). I was up at the heady heights of 3,122 in August and have been down at 605,403.


The Author Central has been useful for showing up people buying my book in January that I didn't know about. It must just be people buying stock that Amazon hold so Amazon have already paid me for them, ordinarily I don't see those book purchases. Overall, I do have to say that it does look far better that when you click on my author name in Amazon and it now arrives on my author page; rather than clicking and being lost in the stratosphere of hundreds of other Jeff Browns. A frightening fate for anyone.


Anyway, the updated numbers are:

Total books sold: 288 (an increase of 5)

Total money raised for Meningitis Research Foundation: £1,167

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