Blogs and Sales!

I have been a keen user of WordPress for some time now. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it lets me blog without having to worry too much about the sillier aspects of updating computers. In short, I like it.

But not always. Sometimes you find little irritations and glitches that get in the way. For example, over the weekend I was working on the AsparaWriting Festival pages which I’m setting up for the festival, when I hit a horrible set of problems. We were trying initially to set up the home page to look pleasant – and could I figure out how to align the photos of all the authors involved? Could I hell! I had to enlist the help of my excellent web page administrator, Roger Cornwell, to get things fixed.

In the same way, on Saturday, I was trying to work out how to add a Paypal button. I’m setting up my own page which will have books for sale – but of course I need to have a means of allowing people to pay for the books. They ain’t free, you know! Which seems great, until you try to instal the link.

I don’t know how many websites I looked at. Thousands, I’d guess. They all had that smug manner, by which you just know that the authors find such simple matters almost beneath them. They want to get on with cutting new code to prove Fermat’s last theory, or perhaps hack into the M & M factory to show that aliens helped develop the colours for the blue sweeties, rather than going on explaining to dingbats like me how I can “easily” insert a little simple code to bring up the button.

Except such simple, apparently trivial coding is way beyond my skills! Last night I took a good three hours to bring up one picture of a button, fail to produce any link behind it, and then somehow lost the coding again. I have a suspicion I’ll be questioning my friendly website administrator again before too long.

Why do I want the links set up?

Lots of lovely books!

I currently have 32 books in print. For each of these I was given 25 hardbacks and another 50 paperbacks or so. Then, I sold some into foreign languages. The earlier books were translated into German, Dutch, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and other languages – some, for example the Spanish, being reissued three or four times. And each time, I received my author’s copies.

Put simply, I have to make space in my house, and selling copies is a good way to do so. I don’t need 30-40 copies of DISPENSATION OF DEATH. All I need is about 15.

That is why, when I get copies I don’t need, I will be putting them up for sale. Some, like my first editions of THE LAST TEMPLAR and the next few books, are so incredibly rare now that I will not be offering them at the cover price. I don’t think that would surprise anyone! Others, such as the paperbacks, won’t be cheap either. There’s a simple reason for that: for me to acquire replacement books, I’ll have to buy stock in at 50% of the cover price. Amazon does sell books more cheaply – but they only pay 10-20% of the cover price. They can afford to discount because they demand such a heavy discount from their suppliers. I can’t. So I will have to ask the cover price, unless I have a pressing need for a new mobile phone or Bernese Mountain Dog (I have to save to replace my lovely old girl who died a year ago – she equates to a lot of book sales)!

My Lovely Old Berner, Dori.

It is not only for my own books, though. I occasionally get other books that really I don’t need. I was recently delighted to get a copy of the Oxford English Historical Thesaurus. What is it? Well, it’s a technical English geek’s delight, that’s what it is. It has every word, but takes that meaning back in time, so that you can check on what “nice” meant back in the middle ages, in comparison to the present. It allows me to find new curses and swear words, and to go through military slang or – well, just about anything, really. And because it’s so comprehensive, it’s big. Two large volumes that come in a slip-case in Oxford blue. All in all, it’s lovely. Just as lovely as the edition I bought some years ago, and which I use all the time. So, if you’re interested in that, please let me know.

Another development in the Jecks Enterprises catalogue is that I’m having discussions with a good friend about creating motivational talks for business. He, a senior management and project consultant, has a CV as long as one of my books, and I can talk (usually moderately sensibly) about work and how to keep yourself focused. We both get on really well, and there is a lot of potential, we think, for us to work together and collaborate on a series of lectures and keynote speeches. So watch this space for the Crawford/Jecks series of talks!

And finally, next week I’ll be posting my itinerary for my visit to America from 15th February.

It is not going to be an extensive trip, I’m afraid. I have too much work to get on with, and cannot afford to spend too much time away from my desk, but I will be fitting in visits to a few bookstores and wandering the streets of New Orleans and parts of South Carolina, so I hope to see both old friends and new ones while I’m over.

There is so much to do just now. I have one book (that is truly dreadful) that will become two (really very good) ones – a modern crime story based in Plymouth. There’s Calais to write – and Crécy to copyedit before I leave – as well as talks to write, signings to agree, short stories to write and ideas for three new titles to follow up on. The main problem, as always, is finding the time to get all the books put down on paper.

As well as getting things in order for the AsparaWriting Festival! Wish me luck. I’ll need it this year!


2 Responses to “Blogs and Sales!”
  1. Like you I do love using WordPress but can sometimes get in a tangle with the buttons on the side. In fact my to-do list has ‘add YouTube channel link button to sidebar of blog’ on it. It’s still not done!

    Have you checked the WordPress help pages? That’s where I’ve usually got most of my help from…


    • Thanks for that, Rebecca – yes, I’ve been checking, but just at present I’m still spending most of my time scratching my head and trying to understand the jargon! Hey ho. One day some of it will sink in, with luck!


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