The biggest challenge I face regarding book sales is that of convincing people to pick a copy up. So far, everyone I know who has read it has told me that they were unable to put it down. That tells me categorically that I have achieved, as a writer, exactly what I had set out to do.
My book, I’M NEVER ILL (A journey through brain surgery and beyond…) tells our story of how my wife (Sarah) and I have triumphed against grave illnesses, defeating the odds and turning our lives around in exciting, positive ways. We celebrated our survival by flying from London to Chicago, to embark on the holiday of a lifetime, the ultimate road trip, Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. It was more than a holiday; it was the complete adventure. Sarah has only one heartthrob (apart from me, of course!) – Pierce Brosnan. We happened to stumble upon him on Hollywood Boulevard, managing to get within a metre or two from him while he was signing autographs. Since then, we have taken up 1950s-style dancing – lindy hop, jive and swing. All that remains is for us to master some aerial moves, but I may need to get working out at the gym for that!
Our journey began in April 2009 when I suffered a brain haemorrhage. After brain surgery I made a virtually full recovery. In 2012 I decided to write a book about my experiences. Six months later, just three months after moving to our dream, happily-ever-after home in the Welsh countryside, Sarah developed breast cancer. She endured eight months of operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy before being given the all clear. It was only early diagnosis and prompt action that saved her life.
So far, in the UK, book sales are slow, despite the fact that everyone who reads it finds it compulsive reading, and the fact that all reviews so far (12 in total) have given 5* ratings on Amazon – apart from one who gave it 4*. I decided to research the USA – the country with the largest population of English speakers. At a cost of £7.99 for the paperback (approx $12.63 US at current exchange rates), I can’t expect the average person to take a chance on the book without having some recommendation. However, the e-book is available at only £2.50 ($3.86 US), and I’ve figured that people who have an interest in our story may be more likely to risk the expenditure on this edition. I researched which US city has the most e-book readers. It turned out to be Lexington, Kentucky. So I have decided to focus on this city, in an attempt to convince all of its e-readers that my book is worth taking a chance on – I know they won’t be able to put it down once they’ve picked it up, but as yet, they don’t.
I intend to approach Lexington hospitals (my book has already been used as lecture material for nursing students at an English university because of the interest in the patient’s perspective), book clubs, radio stations, cancer and brain trauma support groups and anyone else who may be interested in our story. I am calling it The Lexington Project.
Please check out our website www.markdpritchard.co.uk where you will find out about our background, links to purchase the book, a video of us dancing and a Route 66 slideshow put to my own guitar composition, and a humorous Chemotherapy Diary which has been shared with people who have been touched by cancer all around the world.