I’m a Bear, Damn it.

Please excuse me for just one moment. You’ve caught me in the dying twitches of an existential crisis, but it shouldn’t last more than a couple of paragraphs and I promise to mop up afterwards.  

One of the jobs on my self-publishing To Do list has been to decide whether to spend money on advertising on Amazon. On the pro-side, sales can always use a boost after the publication week surge. On the con-side, it’s now the crazy season. If it’s not a vegan cookbook, a sports celebrity biography or something with a cat theme, you might as well pack up the travelling book wagon until February.

Then, by chance, friends of mine spotted a book on, ta da, mastering the science of Amazon ads. It was in a charity shop (and deservedly so) and as it was only 10p they bought it for me. The author is apparently a high-earning indie writer of sci-fi and thrillers. His advice, I thought, should be worth an hour or two of this low-earning author’s time.

Uh-oh. With barely a handshake he bundled me into a world of click-through rates, ROI and cost per click. I wanted to leave, but I persevered, until this:

Mastery of Amazon adverts, he advised, requires above-average competency in Excel.

Now, I have heard of Excel. I’ve even seen a spreadsheet. My husband made me look at one once. And what I know is that those very words make me want to run screaming from the building. My comfort zone is a place of whimsy, where characters may do the unexpected and two plus two sometimes make five. If a person can expertly straddle the worlds of fiction writing and Excel spreadsheet management, I am awestruck. I just know I can’t do it. I’m not wired for it.

So it looks like I’m back to business as usual. The To Hell with the Money, Just Do Your Thing and Ain’t Life Grand Method. Maybe I should write a book about it.


  1. Kathleen D'Ore on November 1, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Umm! I have written fiction (fantasy) and I LOVE spreadsheet – use it daily but I don’t think I have stricken awe into anyone, but then I never see anyone apart from the Tesco delivery man.

    Looked you up because I liked your article in the Spectator. Yes! Born the same year and a tiny carbon footprint. Never went abroad, as a child – we camped, and as a young adult lived in a small flat in the permanent miasma of drying nappies (no outside space for a line). Napisan had been invented but it was not much good – just removed the ‘gold’ from my wedding ring.

    • Laurie Graham on November 2, 2019 at 11:45 am

      Well you’ve strucken me with awe, but I don’t even see a Tesco delivery man. Napisan…. gosh, I’d forgotten about Napisan. I’m pleased you found me, Kathleen. Having wedged my toe in the door of the Spectator at this advanced point in my life I’m now hoping to get in there at least to knee height before my writing days are done.

  2. Helen on November 22, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Napisan! That brings back memories. I remember one strange mother saying to me “It’s called NAPISAND. It is like sand and you just sprinkle it on the nappies.” I hate to think of the results.

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