THIS SPORTING LIFE – PART 1

skinnny-young-boy.jpg-smallI was never any good at sport at school.  Double games lessons when football or cricket were played were a torment.

One’s innate lack of ability was soon recognised by the better sportsmen who were invariably selected by the teacher to be the team captains and who then alternately picked their teams from the gaggle of youths shivering in their shorts and plimsolls.

Naturally, they selected the best players who were quickly nabbed, followed by the rump of indifferent players and leaving invariably last of all myself and one other youth, a gangly, freckly boy christened the ‘stick insect’ by the sports teacher.

Being the last to be selected was by no means the worst humiliation.  Far worse was having to endure the argument that then ensured between the team captains, neither of whom wanted either of us on their side.

‘Go on,’ one would shout at the other, ‘I’ll have the stick insect and you can have Weed.’  This last comment was a reference to my nickname at school.

‘Oh no!’ the other would yell back.  ‘I ‘ad ‘I’m last week.’

Eventually, the dispute would be resolved by the sports teacher and I would be placed in one team or another and then stuck in goal, that being the place where I could be reckoned to do the least damage to the team’s chances.

This, however, rested on the assumption that the opposing team would never get through the defence.  Sadly, this proved to be an arrogant error on the part of my team captain because sure enough the time came when, despite the superior skills of my team, the other team won the ball and came charging down the field towards goal and towards me standing uncertainly on the goal line.

When my team recovered themselves sufficiently to recognise that the unthinkable had happened, they all, with one voice, turned and yelled at me, ‘Stop them!’

Quite how that was to be achieved was not mentioned, but as luck would have it when a gloating opponent came charging towards me, savouring the prospect of an easy goal, he kicked the ground instead of the ball and fell flat on his face, the ball trickling at a snail’s pace into my hands.

Exultant, I held the ball aloft.  It was my moment of triumph which went straight  to my head and instead of clearing the ball, drunk the power I foolishly held on to it not wanting the triumphant moment to pass.

That was my undoing.  My enraged opponent had risen to his feet and charged at me like a wild bull.  I remonstrated by wagging my finger at him and calling him ‘a naughty boy’, but as I did so I inadvertently stepped back over the goal line.

‘Goal!’ shrieked our opponents as one man fell to the ground laughing hysterically, whilst my team’s joy at my success in saving the goal turned to fury.

It cannot often be the case that a goalkeeper is carried from the pitch on the shoulders of the opposing team.  That is what happened to me.

Given my ineptitude at both team games and ball games, it is surprising that I took up polo at the age of 50, but more of that later.

The Kindle-ing- To keep the author fire burning

The Kindle-ing- To keep the author fire burning

The Kindle-ing- To keep the author fire burning

There was a time–and not all that long ago–when self-publishing was considered nothing short of blasphemy and with the ‘one stop shop’ offering from publishers being hard to refuse what else would you do?

Well, that was then. Today, self-publishing has become a billion-dollar juggernaut. So with that last year I embarked on a journey, and what I have found was more complex than Quantum Reality.

Igniting the fire

Having the fortunate driver of ‘just because’ behind me I was in an advantageous position. My aim was to share my stories, being a bestselling author was not (although I wouldn’t say no!)

So my first book ‘The Retainer’ was published in April 2013, followed by ‘A Hero of Our Times’. I had no real idea of how my stories would be perceived but some early glowing reviews gave me the gentle nudge to ‘keep calm and carry on’.

And I’ve enjoyed it….

Exploring new fireplaces

It gave me an excuse to delve into the world of social media as a means of communicating my work and join the online Indie Author community, it’s also quite a pleasurable way of depositing ones daily thoughts.

I have learnt all manner of technical skills such as ‘what on earth is a pdf’ and also what that wheel on the top of the mouse was for – yes I was using the keyboard arrows prior to this revelation (not even the scroll bar)

I have found blogging delightful!

Blogging provides substance for social media and an aperture for the ‘surplus to requirements’ short stories or tales of years gone by. The lure of fellow bloggers postings is also quite formidable and often diverts my attention.

Utilising the many relevant on-line habitations of readers and writers is a highland I am finding an ongoing and changing expedition. Helpfully for every suitable outlet there are hundreds of blogs, articles and social media accounts to promote them, so they are not hard to find.

One of the single most successful things I have done to date has been to utilise the facility via Amazon of offering my books for free on chosen days via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

My first free promotion saw over 400 downloads in 24 hours!

Yes I know I made no money from it, yes I know the appeal of the book being free is often enough for someone to download it regardless whether they are interested in the genre or book description, but just imagine if even 5% of those 400 wrote a review on Amazon!

With rankings being heavily review led that opportunity is not to be sniffed at!

Maintaining the burn

So now I am in full swing with my author journey, I can hashtag with the best of them and use a mouse properly, what’s next?

The procurement of some all-important ISBN codes will I hope open up some more boulevards for distributing my books.

I also hope to locate some time for literacy consumption now that I have freed up some space in the grey matter!

How is your Indie Author journey going?