Sunday, May 20, 2012

Book bloggers of the world unite!

If you're thinking of writing and self-publishing a book, be under no illusions. Writing it is the easy part. All the self marketing you need to do if you actually want to sell any copies is the real grunt.

Thankfully for writers, estate agents and various others, there are not yet any rules on either Facebook or Twitter that prevent you from shamelessly promoting your wares. But take care - people will soon jump all over you and say you're overdoing it.

It's actually ironic as often the ones who do are those who are guilty of tweeting each and every bodily function (if only I was kidding!), or sharing their particular passion with you in minute detail. Honestly, if I was remotely interested in snooker I would watch it myself. Therefore there is absolutely no need to describe to me each and every frame, or whatever they're called.

So huge heartfelt thanks to Sandra, of the book blog SS Book Fanatics, who has kindly given some room on her site for a mention of Sell the Pig. It's a blog by a book fanatic, for book fanatics.

Thanks to all of you who have bought and read Sell the Pig - I'm pleased to report sales are creeping up slowly and steadily. Got some lovely reviews too on the Amazon sites. The UK site currently has 26 x 5-star reviews and one 3-star. Bit light on the .com site  and the .fr site so please, particularly if you bought through either of those, do leave even just a few words to say whether or not you liked it.

Please be brutally frank. If you didn't like it, say so and say why, as I'm already churning round sequel ideas in what passes for my brain so any and all feedback is hugely helpful. What would you like to read more of in Book Two? What didn't interest you at all?

Come on guys, it's not often you get to collaborate with a book, so give me your feedback and I'll do my very best to do it justice.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Risk assessments - France v England. Vive la difference!

What was I saying about the weather? It's thundering, lightning and chucking it down once more! So time for a few more words on the blog, since there's no way I'm going out in this and the dogs, when asked, said something very impolite in French at the mere suggestion that they should.

Sell the Pig, of course, was the lead up to moving to France and brought us up to 2007. Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook will know that I am still living in France but no longer at the pink house. I now have my own place and how that all came about will, I hope, form the basis of a sequel to Sell the Pig.

I've now been in France just over 5 years, which means I can start the long and complicated application process to become a French citizen, which I intend to do. When I was interviewed recently for an ex-pat article and asked what I missed most about UK, the only thing I could think of was Thornton's Brazil Nut Toffee!

One of the nice things about France - although, as usual, I can only speak about the little corner where I live, in the Auvergne - is that they have a much more relaxed and common sense attitude to 'Elf and Safety, far removed from the obsessive stuff I had to learn in UK when training in risk assessment and risk management.

Jill and I were struck, on our visit to the region together, by things like going into places to get a coffee and having to climb over trailing cables and vacuum cleaners to get to a table. It struck me as so funny I did a little post about it today on Facebook. So for the benefit of the many of you who are not on there, I thought I'd reproduce it here, just for fun.

And I say again, right at the outset "tongue firmly in cheek, absolutely no disrespect intended to anyone"

English Risk Assessment: in store cleaning during customer footfall.
Risks Identified: Trailing cables - trip hazard.Measures to implement: Place prominent yellow hazard signs at all possible approaches to the hazard by customers, including overhead in case of abseiling from the ceiling. Signs should be in all languages likely to be spoken by customers to the store, including all the principle languages of the EU. An audio version should be available for the visually impaired, as well as signage in Braille. The warning should also appear in pictogram form for unaccompanied children and in comic sans capitals for those with reading difficulties.

French Risk Assessment: in store cleaning during customer footfall.Risks Identified: None - customers should look where they're going and learn to pick their feet up.

On that little note and on this miserable wet evening, I shall leave you with a picture of what my usual evening view is like, looking across to the Chaine des Puys and the Puy de Dome. As usual, do please leave your comments, about Sell the Pig, about this post, about France, about Life, the Universe and Everything. I always try to reply as promptly as possible.