I’m Never Ill – book created.

It’s taken a while. This self-publishing-going-completely-alone business hasn’t been easy. Yes I’ve been dogged by various problems, although I believe we’re supposed to call them “challenges” these days in order to avoid being accused of having a negative attitude! I’m not going to involve myself in semantics, they were whatever they were and now they are gone.

I have an ISBN number assigned to it. They sell ISBNs in minimum batches of ten @ £144 per batch. If I need to make any significant changes (other than grammatical errors/pricing/book cover etc.), I have nine left to play with.

I had troubles producing the book cover, partly through my own misunderstanding of the process, and partly through spending an age trying to reformat a Word document to a jpeg. I managed it in the end, but please don’t ask me how as I can’t remember. I tried so many ways that it has all become a bit of a blur. As it happens, the back cover is just a temporary one until I complete my favoured design for which I need to enlist a proper photographer.

“So where is it then?” I hear people ask. Ah… well there is still a delay. Although Amazon are satisfied that the product meets the required technical standards, I now have to have a copy to look through and proofread etc. before allowing mass (I hope) distribution. For next-to-no-cost delivery I would have to wait until August 11th (that’s this year) for the anticipated delivery date from the US. At a pay-through-the-nose cost I could have it delivered around July 1st. However, there is an intermediate pay-through-only-one-nostril option that should deliver at around 9th July. I’ve opted for this. It should give me enough time to make any necessary alterations to make it available worldwide before we take our much-deserved (I think) Caribbean holiday at the end of July/beginning of August.

Today, I treated myself to an ipad mini with a Bluetooth keyboard. I’m off to play with that now 🙂

Visit my website http://www.markdpritchard.co.uk

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Are you a fool or a bully?

I’m about to explain a very much publicised, but frequently ignored piece of advice that can make your experience behind the wheel so much easier, safer and more enjoyable. The fact that so many people ignore this advice is, to me, the greatest mystery of life. Forget about how the universe began, or whether or not there is life after death, or even why right and left are reversed when you look in a mirror, but up and down are not. To me, these questions are probably much more easily answered than the most mystifying of all puzzles:

Why are human beings seemingly unable to understand that if they drive close to the rear of another car, they are putting themselves at risk for no benefit whatsoever?

If you choose to overtake the car in front, then the science is easy – you will reach the next point before the other driver. However, if you remain behind the vehicle in front and drive too close to it, you will always reach that point after the other car has reached it, and a just a couple of seconds later than if you’d left a safer following distance. In effect, there is nothing to be gained. This isn’t preaching. It is a no brainer.

I find that many people who dislike driving are habitual tailgaters. If I’m honest, I can fully understand their loathing of being behind the wheel. If I were to drive too close to the vehicle in front, I would be so much on edge that I’d find my journeys far too stressful. Imagine having to brake the moment the vehicle in front brakes, with no time for you to think about anything or to consider the vehicle behind you who may also be driving too close. Imagine feeling the need to accelerate every time the vehicle in front does so. Imagine doing this continually on a 200-mile motorway journey. I’d be relieved to make it to the services. Imagine that the vehicle in front had an emergency and was forced to stop suddenly. Of course, if this were to happen, at the very least you would be looking at an insurance claim, with you as the liable party. Imagine then having to pay your £250 (maybe more) insurance excess, increased insurance premium, other expenses, plus the hassle. That would be my holiday spending money out the window at the very least. No, I wouldn’t enjoy driving like that. I wouldn’t like the pressure and I’d be a fool.

A gap of at least two seconds takes the pressure off. That is fact. When the vehicle in front passes a point – such as a lamppost – begin to say “Mississippi one, Mississippi two”. That way, when you say “one” a second will have passed, and when you say “two” two seconds will have passed. If you say “two” before you have passed the same lamppost you are driving too close. When I was a driving instructor, after I’d taught this my students would almost invariably say “One Mississippi, two Mississippi.” This doesn’t quite work because you are saying “two” just as one second has passed. You need to increase this separation distance in wet or icy conditions. With a safe separation distance, you have plenty of time to react every time the vehicle in front slows down, and you can relax more, making the journey more pleasant.

Some people, however, like to intimidate the driver in front by driving too close. These people are bullies and should never be allowed on the roads. With all of this in mind, there are only two kinds of people who tailgate – fools and bullies.

Are you a tailgater? If so, are you a fool or a bully?

Paperback version under construction

While working tirelessly (that sounds like the right word but I’m sure I remember getting tired once or twice) on our renovation project, I’ve also tried to keep things moving on the book front. Things have stepped up a little, and I’ve been approached by a couple of interested parties. I’ve been asked to write an article for an online magazine. It is a new venture, with volunteer contributors, focussing on positive stories as an alternative to all the negativity we hear about in the media. It is called CVH 1st Class Group, and is the inspiration of editor Christina Howard. She has taken an interest in our story and is keen on helping us to share it. It’s been included in the 3rd edition which was published in June this year and can be found at www.cvh1stclassgroup.com

After this contribution, she has asked if I’d like to write a regular monthly column for her. Me? A columnist? That’s very important-sounding. “What would you like me to write about?” I asked. “Anything you like,” she said. I’ll be taking her up on the offer.

I’ve also been increasing my Twitter followers. It’s not been reflected in e-book sales, but I’m okay with that. This is all about sowing seeds. As a direct result of this, one of the seeds has germinated in the shape of a journalist from a local newspaper wanting my telephone number. This is an exciting development, as once the local press get hold of it, it has the potential to spread like wildfire around the country. Ours is not a little story; it has an impact on everyone who reads it or reads about it.

This, however, presents a potential problem. You see, I don’t want to peak too soon as far as publicity is concerned. Let’s just suppose that the local media get hold of the story, make a big deal of it, then the national press become involved, then the radio stations (yes, I’m prepared to do interviews on air) and then TV and so on. All would be fantastic publicity, but at this moment in time I don’t even have a paperback version. It could be a golden opportunity wasted. I’m working on this using CreateSpace with Amazon. This is a facility whereby you can publish anything you wish, and Amazon will produce and supply it on demand. It’s a bit tricky setting it all up, and I’m now working on the cover. I’ve also today downloaded an application form for an ISBN number. This is a requirement for a physical book, although not so for an e-book. ISBN numbers are sold in minimum batches of ten @ £144 per batch.

More and more steps towards the ultimate goal. I’m getting there slowly.