Payday in the snow

End of February and it’s time to sort out author payments.

This has been a poor quarter for sales, unfortunately. My dealing with being iced-in (which is now happening again) then becoming a grandfather and then buggering off to Wales for my father’s birthday and other stuff I won’t put on here has taken my eye off the ball. I did try one book on a Twitter marketing campaign, doesn’t seem to have been very successful but I’ll try three more. One attempt doesn’t prove anything. Four fails on four different genres and I can legitimately say it doesn’t work.

Five. I’ll try five. I’ll try one of my own books too. Total cost $75, which won’t bankrupt me.

Once the house thaws out I’ll be ramping up the marketing attempts. I don’t expect to get national coverage, that will take many years, but I really need to increase sales. Not just for me and the current authors, but because poor sales will put off new authors. It’s a sort of catch-22. I need a lot of books by a lot of authors if this thing is going to get off the ground, but why would an author send something he or she has worked on for years to a publisher whose sales are trivial?

Right. Any marketing ideas, any at all, will be considered. Aside from the one involving me parading naked through Aberdeen with the Leg Iron Books logo tattooed on my arse. That is not happening while the temperature remains below 0C all day long. Nobody will notice the logo on the blue guy with a rictus grin and a button mushroom.

There isn’t really much snow here. A few inches, drifting to maybe a foot deep here and there. This ‘Beast from the East’ has been a bit of a damp squib. The drive now looks like this –

There are still piles of wet leaves under there even though I’ve moved loads of them. It makes it interesting. It also makes it two-wheel-drive proof. There are hollows where vans got stuck last time.

Nothing of concern though. I’ve driven in much, much worse than this – in a Mk II Ford Fiesta with no door seals, somewhat vague steering and totally covered in Hammerite. The car I have now should have no problems with this little bit of snow. No, the problem is the compacted snow elsewhere caused by tractors running about. They have been panic-ploughing before the ground sets hard. It makes sense, the freezing conditions will break the freshly ploughed lumps of soil into a fine tilth. Ploughing now will save a lot of work later.

However, tractors on snow packs it down really hard, into ice, and that stuff takes ages to go away. It doesn’t matter how many wheels are powered on your car if they all slide. Last time, in December, the postie couldn’t get here for over a week and I suspect we’ll see the same again this week.

This won’t affect author payments. I can do that online. It does mean I’m spending a lot of time moving snow, breaking ice, fetching wood for the fire, checking heating oil levels (if that gets too low, the oil truck can’t get in here either) dealing with frozen drains and so on.

At least the freezer is well stocked. Not that I need it, I could keep several entire frozen cows in the garage at the moment.

Next week will be worse. It’s going to be just above freezing in the daytime and dropping to about -5C at night. Snow will melt a bit and refreeze over and over until it’s as smooth as glass. It’s happened before, I remember it well because it was my first experience of cracked ribs (not the one where I spent a night in hospital and had to take two days off work, the one before where I didn’t take any time off). That one was six years ago, I think, one of two really bad winters that started in November and lasted until May. The two winters that killed all the fish in my pond. I haven’t bothered with a pond since then.

This year it feels like Spring rolled up and said ‘Hey, winter is nearly over’ and then Winter looked up from his Twitter feed and said ‘Over? Shit! I haven’t done any proper winter stuff yet!’ So we can expect all of winter in the next few weeks.

“Ne’er cast a clout till May be out” is an old saying. It means, basically, ‘keep dressing up warm until summer beckons’. There are arguments about whether ‘May’ means the month or is a reference to Hawthorn blossom but it’s an old enough saying to contain memories of the Little Ice Age. So maybe the end of May is what it originally meant. That has certainly been the case in Scotland for more than a few of the years I’ve been here. I soon learned not to get too adventurous in the garden too early in the year and not to bother with frost-sensitive plants like dahlias. Can’t eat them anyway. Parsnips are better here, lift them after the frost softens them and they are great.

You know, there could well be another Little Ice Age on the way. Maybe it’s even arrived. Some real climate scientists have predicted it based on declining sunspot activity and in sun cycles, it’s due. The pretend scientists told us in 2000 that snow was a thing of the past. Now they tell us global warming causes more snow and their drones (with 7-second memories) ram it down our throats if we disagree. Next, the pretend scientists will tell us the future is all snow and their drones will still call it ‘warming’.

May and cycles… the end of May is the next author payment date after this one. I will try to make it a lot more lucrative for all of us. Maybe we’ll be thawed out by then.

Well, not quite the next payment. There will be short story payments for the next anthology, I hope (April 1st deadline). So far there are only two of us in it and it’s getting to the point where two of us could do it! I’d like a lot more variety though. No fixed theme this time. It’s Anthology Five so it’s ‘V’. No living by the rules πŸ™‚

Well, apart from the ones that avoid me getting sued…

15 thoughts on “Payday in the snow

  1. “The pretend scientists told us in 2000 that snow was a thing of the past.”

    Ah, yes. And we should all plant desert foliage in our gardens.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. How to eliminate soil life very effectively, plough. How to nail the job plough just before freezing. No wonder farmers need so much fertiliser to grow whatever it is they grow and so much subsidy just to keep going. Vicious circle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All true, but driven by the demand for cheap food. You can’t spend a lot of time (and money, paying people) getting the ground just right and picking weeds out later, you basically have to nuke the soil into a monoculture and run the farm with as few people as possible. People are expensive.

      Looking at the size of fields these days, collecting crops with scythe and rake ain’t coming back into fashion any time soon!

      So yes, it’s a case of rip it up, grow the crops, harvest and get the next lot in quick. See, crops don’t make any money while they’re growing. Dairy cattle make money every day but wheat only makes money when it’s harvested and threshed. You can pay someone to look after cows, but paying someone to look after crops will eat hard into your profits. Which, last year, weren’t great – lousy weather meant a difficult harvest and a lot of cash spent drying the wet grain to a water content that buyers will accept.

      It’s not ideal. Not at all. It’s industrial scale farming. But then, faced with a population so out of touch with reality that they can be convinced that potatoes grow on trees and that tractors all run on the gas from pigshit (yes, they can, try it, it’s fun) but who want their food in nice neat packages, what else can you do?

      In the event of a total breakdown of society, who knows how to make bread? How to skin a rabbit or gut a fish? Increasingly – how to cook without putting a plastic tray into a microwave oven? Hell, how many can now light a fire?

      I agree, modern farming isn’t all that soil-friendly but would you really just put a stop to it? Overnight?

      I would. Not for the soil, mind. For the lolz πŸ˜‰


  3. “Any marketing ideas, any at all”

    Does your local paper know they’ve got a *new* publisher, having a portfolio of experienced authors, on their doorstep?

    No offence, they may need a plausible space filler, and it would be mutually beneficial. The target audience won’t be massive, but any publicity is better than no publicity.

    It’ll be free, and a skilful fiction writer should be able to cobble-up an attention-getting press release. 😜

    It might, just might, snowball.

    The Aberdeen Argus (or whatever it’s called) >> The Scotsman >> Times Literary Supplement!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not just a “… portfolio of experienced authors …” but “… an international portfolio of experienced authors …”.

      Big it up for all its worth!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Press and Journal – a paper so very local, it was rumoured that when the Titanic sank, its headline was ‘Aberdeen man lost at sea’. It’s not true but it does fit πŸ™‚

      All I need is a slow news day. They don’t happen until the snow melts.


  4. Aside from the one involving me parading naked through Aberdeen with the Leg Iron Books logo tattooed on my arse. That is not happening while the temperature remains below 0C all day long. Nobody will notice the logo on the blue guy with a rictus grin and a button mushroom.

    Does that mean that you’ve pencilled that one in for the warmer months, then? Let me know when you intend to do it and I’ll try to get there with a camera. You could be on to a winner there – I can see the headlines now “Ginger Welshman arrested for indecent exposure in Aberdeen”, with a close-up of the ‘Leg Iron Books’ tattoo on your left buttock. It could even go viral…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. So far there are only two of us in it and it’s getting to the point where two of us could do it! I’d like a lot more variety though

    Hopefully, I’ll have two or three things finished before then. One is about 30% complete.

    I don’t know about twitter, but Farcebork is very good for that sort of thing – if you know what you’re doing. Child #1 seems pretty clued up about it; he uses it for his music and seems to have very good results for the ££ he spends..

    Liked by 1 person

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