Cold Feet on AZZY
It’s been a slightly hectic, worrying, and frustrating week, but I’m trying to keep my sense of humour.
I confess that I’m getting cold feet about the likely success of my book and have started to worry a great deal about how I am going to make ends meet if the book does not produce a small supplementary income.
This has led to a relapse of my stomach problems, which until the last week or so had been so much better. My health problems are now back with a vengeance and every morning when I wake up I have searing pains in my stomach which take several hours to go and then only after I have made several unpleasant visits to the loo.
I now know for sure that my IBS is brought on by worry and stress. It all started in earnest within a few days of me losing all my savings and apart from a few brief periods (e.g. during my trip to the UK) my tummy has been torturing me ever since.
Last Friday, Lek and I set off for Bangkok for a long overdue consultation with my GI specialist. A few weeks ago, my stomach was behaving so well that I was contemplating asking the doc whether it was time to start cutting back on my medication – given that I am currently taking some 25 tablets and capsules a day – of which 14 tabs/caps are related to my IBS.
Guess what? We were half-way to Bangkok when we received a call from the hospital to tell us the doctor had cancelled my appointment. We’ll try again next Friday.
Quite frankly, I’ve been seeing this specialist for two years now, and although the medication has undoubtedly helped – I rarely suffer the excruciating pain attacks that I used to get – there is little I can do about my condition until I find a way to permanently relieve my stress.
That will only happen if I can find a solution to my financial problems.
It certainly hasn’t been for want of trying.
Apart from trying to sell my books, I have tried my hand at car/truck rental, taxi services, setting up an eBay account to sell Thai handicrafts and I even bought and ran a bar for six months before I realised it was making me so ill that if didn’t stop I’d be in deep shit – literally.
So none of my ideas have worked the way that I had hoped and I am at a loss to know what to do next.
As regards my latest book, AZZY, although it far too early to be sure, I confess I am fast losing hope.
The PR company in the UK who I thought would be the key to getting my book out to the reading public has so far delivered very little – almost nothing. The only thing they have produced is a single, 3-star review from one author and even that is yet to be posted on Amazon.
I realise that it is still early days and more reviews may be on the way, but I have a gut feeling that not much is going to happen. By their own admittance, there has been a ‘disappointing response’ to their ’email and twitter outreach’ on my behalf.
They have been copying me in on everything they have done, and I can see that the response is not just ‘disappointing’ – it is nigh on non-existent. The only feedback has been from a single author who has written a single, not totally positive review. (Although it’ll do… it’s better than nothing).
My five-day free book promotion ended on Thursday, and in total, only 122 free copies of AZZY were downloaded; 64 in the USA, 48 in the UK and 10 in the rest of the world.
It really is depressing when nobody wants it – not even for free….
Thanks to those of you who did avail yourself of the opportunity and I hope that a few will be kind enough to post a review of the book on Amazon. Just a few words and a ‘star rating’ will suffice – the higher the better. There are currently three reviews on Amazon UK but none on Amazon.com so please help me out there if you can.
The number of free downloads for AZZY is not much better than the number that was downloaded for my novel a “Lust for Life” a couple of years ago.
So I am wondering precisely what extra value there has been in spending some of my last remaining money on this UK PR company.
I suppose it is still possible that they might pull something out of the fire but I have a bad feeling about all this and it’s beginning to look like my book writing career might well be reaching a sad end.
It is a pity, because I was looking forward to writing books numbers 2 to 6 about my six wives. I really do believe that AZZY is a good book and that most lovers of fiction would find it an enjoyable read.
Certainly that is the feedback I have received from the few who have read it, and I don’t believe they are just being kind to spare my feelings.
For the past few days I have turned my attention to contract writing, which is my last hope. If I can’t make a steady income from this then I might as well stick my head in an oven – Lek and her family can survive much longer on my remaining cash if I’m not around to help them spend it.
I have signed on to an internet agency that seems to be one of the leaders in the field for sourcing contract writers and believe it or not, I even got a small job.
It was for writing a small piece of content on a website and the ‘buyer’ paid me $20 less the agency fee of 15%, so I got $17 (510 Baht) for around 2 hours work.
There’s certainly plenty of jobs on offer, but unfortunately, there are even more people chasing them. Every job that is posted up on the website immediately attracts 10+ more applicants to do it. A vast majority of these have a large portfolio of work to support their application, plus a host of references on the website for previous work they have already successfully completed.
So was the job I got a fluke?
Possibly, I’ll have to wait and see. I have applied for over a dozen jobs that I think I can do, but no ‘acceptances’ as yet. Some have already been awarded to other people and I’m still awaiting a response on the remainder.
But they are mainly small jobs, like the one I already completed and frankly, they won’t do much for my overall finances. I have to give it my best shot and see what happens.
I do admit that despite my desperation, there is an element of humour to my predicament. Lek laughed when I told her I had just earned 500 Baht, and asked if it may be a better idea if she went out to work….
Then I submitted a proposal for a job at the asking price of £30. I started to fill in the on-line form when a ‘balloon’ popped up and told me that the price I was quoting was too low. It said that if I increased my quote to £50, the price would still be acceptable and that others had also quoted the higher suggested price.
So I dutifully changed the quote from £30 to £50 and submitted it.
15 minutes later I received notification;
‘X’ didn’t accept your proposal.
Reason: price is too high.
Every time I think about that I burst out laughing. They tell me to raise my price because it was too low; then they tell me I didn’t get the job because my price was too high!
I mean – what chance do I stand in this increasingly crazy internet-driven world at my time of life?
Precious little methinks.
Oh, here’s a bit of good news – Stop press! I’ve actually sold a grand total of TWO copies of AZZY in Paperback…
Maybe all my troubles are over….
Sorry for the depressing rant this week, it somehow makes me feel a bit better by getting it all off my chest – but I doubt it makes very entertaining reading.
♫ Loi…Loi…Krathong ♫
The annual festival of Loi Krathong came and went, and a ferocious thunderstorm early in the evening put a slight dampener on festivities. The roads around the lake were still gridlocked, but it was slightly less gridlock than in previous years.
Lek took the two kids out on the motorcycle – which comes into its own in such circumstances – and they floated their ‘boats’, bought some rubbish from lakeside stalls and were all back home before bedtime.
So after ten sleepless nights, the music has finally stopped and life has returned to normal, or what passes for normal in my tainted paradise.
How they can be so precise about the numbers is totally beyond me. Surely they didn’t have a team counting them one by one….
Who knows? After all… This is Thailand.