Blow Out Your Kite

I love kites. Just saying the word has made me want to write a poem about kites – not about the fabric but about their embodiment of hope and possibility, about the vision lost in the blinding sun, the futility of fighting Nature on a windless day, the paradox of a thing set free, yet to fly only because it is tethered. So many philosophical  thoughts arise in contemplation of the kite that it is hardly necessary to bother standing in the park, often with a bored child in attendance, running running running and running to launch a dream into the air of nonchalant breeze-less afternoon.

I do go on – but it’s the poet in me. The actual tethered end of the above ethereal paragraph is the subject of my FREE week-end on KDP select. As regular readers will know, I am not very computerate. Also I know nothing about building platforms, operating audio equipment, kite flying and e-pub/marketing. The more I read, the less I know. Writers selflessly give of themselves to help other writers. This aspect of the “community” is almost an antithesis of many aspects of our modern lives. Because I just cannot do all the left right click, hash pipe, salt delete I am grateful to a small outfit who keep me a little bit free to write, THINK and make some money by working. So it was that this morning I went for coffee with Rosina from Gallo-Romano and of course dear old Emma who is to blame for coercing me into this whole new world.

This is what has been happening. Over the past weekend both of us put our books out for free on all the Amazon platforms. Everything was pulled off other sites since Amazon is more or less the whole deal anyway. Emma will do her own take tomorrow for the Insecure Writers but she is happy for me to give her stats. OK – the situation was that we were putting out a collection of poems, a serious short story and a “supermarket” style romance novel. Even for a non worldly duffer poet, this seemed like an intriguing experiment. These are the raw download stats.

Supermarket Romance Novel: 7,600

Literary Short Story(With MP3 audio): 328

Poetry Collection (with MP3 audio): 121

All items were equally tweeted, splashed and splattered, battered and finally tattered. Downloads ran at about one per minute I think. Since the free deal ended, actual sales have continued at one per hour but only for the Romance. On a recent blog line I noted a comment by Jack Durish about so many questions in this whole business and I’m sure Rosina will be looking into her marketing ball. However, the quick snap shot suggests that these figures are in line with tree book shop sales. Although the poetry fared worst, it still reached the highest “chart” position for a living poet. What does that tell you about poetry sales in general and probably the acceptance by the e-reading public of this form? Rosina has a working hypothesis that the current e-read top up is like putting fuel in the tank of your car. You consume it. You do not  periodically take off the cap and sniff its essence. But – it’s all early days as these platforms evolve. I think the adaptation and media consciousness of writers will decide the future as much as the technology.

I will not grind on with analysis, but one odd stat. Emma’s “Sub Prime” was selling equally with the Romance when it was not free. Obviously it’s about the audience demographic…you can tell I’ve been mixing with buzzy bizzy folks can’t you.

Oh – yes  the kite. Somewhere above you there are currents of air. Can you run fast enough and long enough to tow it up to catch them? As you let go more line, the friction and weight of the string create more drag and you have to run faster. Oh – sod it, I’m off to the poet’s cave to write a kite poem.

PS For my non UK readers, an old London song carried the refrain “blow out your kite/from  morn til night/on boiled beef and carrots


Let’s get Kreativ with the truth, the whole truth… well 90% of it

As a newbie to blogging, I was very pleased to receive a “Kreativ Blogger” award from a recent acquaintance – Michael Rivers (author of the Black Witch and Moonlight on the Nanatahala). In order to keep this accolade, first I have to list 10 interesting facts that folk may not know about me, and then nominate 6 more deserving blogging recipients for the next round of awards.

OK, here are my 10 facts… one of them is untrue but can you identify which?

1. I built and operated the first commercial rickshaw in the UK in 1976 and starred on national TV with Eamonn Andrews (famous UK chat show host) as my passenger when I launched my bid to “green up” London.

2. I wrote a novel in the cab of a sewage tanker whilst sucking drains and ships’ bilges.

3. I performed the marketing trials for black cherry flavour yoghurt in the UK and signed the report recommending production and launch.

4. I crashed a police car into Westminster Abbey in London.

5. I was guardian of the Lord Lucan file at Interpol.

6. I knocked a priest and his holy water over the dead body he was blessing.

7. I discussed the plight of South American parrots with Prince Charles.

8. I applied to join the French Foreign Legion.

9. I lived in a lodging house where a flightless crow made itself mobile by sitting on the head of a German shepherd dog.

10. I cycled from the UK to Paris, and back 11 times.

OK – which one is the big Porky Pie?  (London rhyming slang for lie). You can ask questions if you feel motivated and I may answer them, but all will be revealed on the 31st January….

In the mean time here are my nominations for Kreativ Bloggers of 2012:

1. Bert Carson

2. Christina Carson

3. Jo VonBargen

4. Phil Torcivia

5. Ru

6. Jan Morrison

They are an eclectic bunch – some irreverent, some sensible, some passionate, some grounded, some spiritual and some spiky  – I leave you to decide which – but they are all entertaining and work hard at their craft and I always look forward to their posts .  Well done you folks I take my hat off to you Kreativ Bloggers all.   You too may display your badge with pride in your side bar – providing you can work out how to do that (I have such problems on WP) and of course tell us 10 secret facts and nominate 6 more bloggers…  the chain goes on.