That was the week, that was (well, two weeks, actually).

You know the feeling when you decide to do something and you’ve no idea how to do it and it’s probably crazy anyway?

Well, that was my position two weeks ago. I’d entered the newly released Fortitude into the Kindle Storyteller Award in the full knowledge that what I needed was ‘reader engagement’ on Amazon, but not a clue how to achieve it. (Not having a zillion followers on FB or Twitter or any other platform.) And with only a couple of weeks left before the closing date of the competition, things did not look hopeful.

They still don’t as a matter of fact – I’d need oodles of downloads per day from now till the 1st week September to have any chance at all of shooting for the shortlist, but what the last two weeks have shown me is how supportive the historical fiction community is. I have not only been given opportunities to guest post and be interviewed, but folk have squeezed me in at short notice – which is extremely kind of them.

Each focused on a different aspect, but taken together they give a brief overview of how I got from an idea to a finished product.

So here’s some links for your enjoyment – you may just discover some new blogs to follow.

Tony Riches posed questions on my writing routine and on the research for Fortitude.

Sharon Bennett Connolly gave me the chance to talk about how I approached this book and in particular finding a ‘voice’ for Katharina.

Mary Anne Yarde published an extract from the opening of the novel, to give a taster of my writing style.

M.K. Tod asked me about some of the unique challenges posed in writing about an historical character when the concrete information is scanty to say the least.

And there is at least one more interview to come.

All I can say is a huge thank you to each of them.

And a quick reminder to anyone reading this – Fortitude is still available to download at 99p / 99c and to read for free via KU / KOLL – if you haven’t got yours yet, there’s still time. And I only need about another 300 downloads or page read equivalent to stand a chance of the shortlist 🙂 here’s the link

Ever hopeful, Margaret

Am I crazy? Probably.

Fortitude is out – has been for over 2 weeks now – with a slightly different start to my usual, as the print version is currently only available from Amazon, though I will be doing a print run with my UK printer shortly.

Why POD just now? Because I have taken the ‘head staggers’ and entered it into the Kindle Storyteller competition. That’s were the crazy bit comes in. (Part of the rules require that it’s available via kdp print)

The final shortlist will be judged by a panel including Mariella Frostrup of BBC Radio 4’s Open Book and I’d give my eye teeth to get my book on her desk. BUT – you knew there had to be a ‘but’ the shortlist will be determined by ‘reader engagement’ on Amazon.

Fine – if you have a zillion followers on Twitter or FB or a blog. My followers are a select few – and if you’re reading this, you’re one of them. So I have a mountain to climb and a huge favour to ask.

Now of course none of us really know exactly how Amazon’s algorithms work, but it’s clear that what will matter are rankings, and key will be the number of downloads (or page read equivalents on KU / KOLL) and reviews.

The competition opened in May and closes at the end of August, so I’ve come rather late to the game – in fact someone told me yesterday that I was far too late to try and it would be impossible for me to reach the shortlist. Red rag to a bull? Perhaps. I can but try.

However I can’t do it by myself. My best guesstimate is that to have any chance at all I need to have c 12 -15 people per day between now and the end of August buying a copy, and so I have set it at 99p / 99c, so as not to be asking too much.

If everyone I have contact with downloaded it (or read it for free on KU) and they told one person, who told one person and so on, I could just make it. So this is what is called in the Indie world a ‘shameless plea’.

So here it is – Fortitude – early reviews are lovely and at 464 pages it is (though I say it myself as shouldn’t) a snip at 0.99!!

I would be so very, very grateful for your help.

No kindle? – No worries – you can download an app on your computer or phone for free – and then get it on that.

Please do let me know if you can help, so I can thank you.

Signing off (with a red face) asking for help is embarrassing!