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My son goes on holiday this weekend—I so need a holiday. I’d like a 3-star hotel—I’m not greedy—in a Spanish resort. It would have a pool and balcony, nice buffet food, some entertainment. I don’t want much. I’m not asking for the Bahamas, just a cheap package somewhere for a week away from—this. Imagine a bustling little town with culture, some museums and galleries, pavement café’s, other holidaymakers to bond with. Bliss.
But we have granddad.
He had a bad couple of weeks. We thought he was done coming downstairs after the night we had to carry him to his room. He stopped eating and lived on three Fortisips a day—lots of bed changes. We prepared for the fond goodbye for the tenth time this year. He’s officially been on end-of-life care for sixteen months. However, he bounced back again, and the merry-go-round continues.
Hubby had a long and interesting chat with the doctor last week—and it’s signalled a bit of a downward flat in us—we knew there was another option if things ever got too much. Still, that soiled rug has been pulled out from under us. We’re on our own—we always have been, nothing’s changed, but that option was there—now it isn’t. It’s mood-altering.
Granddad is stage 7 dementia. Incontinent, violent, nasty, aggressive, and he can’t do anything for himself. Some days he can’t walk. Most days, he doesn’t eat. It’s heartbreaking to see his decline. My pity for him is vast—sometimes, my pity for us is almost as great.
So the doctor said that we are allowed 4 weeks free respite a year. I can’t imagine escaping for an hour, let alone 4 weeks. I’ve been out of this house five times in the last year. And then the lovely GP quantified it with his best Chris Tarrant impression, ‘But you won’t get it.’ The government allows caregivers 4 weeks of paid respite a year, but you have to jump through so many hoops that they make it impossible to claim.
He adopted a brighter voice and said, ‘But you can have as much respite as you like if you can pay for it.’ For Granddad’s grade of care, it’s sixteen hundred pounds a week. Yes, I can repeat that for you £1,600 per week.
And then his voice dropped again, ‘But you won’t get it.’ Apparently, there are six hundred—600— care beds lying empty in our town. The care homes have the beds, they have the capacity—but they don’t have the staff to look after them.
Granddad is not ill—he’s dying. From a medical point of view, it’s not a treatable condition that requires admittance to anywhere. He’s on repeat prescription for his drugs—happy days, what more could we possibly need? Unless he suffers a terrible accident incurring broken bones or has a massive stroke, we’ve been told he will not be taken to hospital.
The town is full of Age Concern and Help for the Elderly, drop-in centres and companies geared to help. In sixteen months, we’ve had nothing. We’ve asked—but not a thing: no financial help, no practical help, no physical help. We haven’t received a penny in benefits for him. We asked for help with incontinence aids this week—but no, we have to buy them. While he was confined to his room, we bought him a hospital under-bed table, we had to get it ourselves, and enough bedding for the up to three-times a night changes.
We’ve always had that safety net that we can put him in a home if we can’t cope. We took on his commitment—it was a black day for me because I knew what was coming—and I’ve always said that we’d see it through. So we are on our own and alone. So what? We’re no worse off than we were yesterday or last week. We’ll do what we always do. We’ll cope and keep on keeping on.
This has possibly been our busiest week yet. I passed this week’s developmental edit to my second editor to concentrate on everything else. I’ve done nine Skype consultations, mainly a mix of screen-sharing to set up Amazon Ads campaigns and tutoring towards better writing.
In just one session, we aim to break people of some of the worst of their bad writing habits for life. The last session was to storyboard a book with one of my clients, set a manageable daily word count and chart the novel into chapters with ideas and suggestions. I like these sessions because we take the authors plotlines and subplots and expand on them. It’s fun talking through the sticking points and charting a way to write themselves out of a corner.
Mostly this week, I’ve been launching all our new ideas and services. This week alone, we’ve launched
- Author/publisher logos (Every author should have one)
- Book trailers and videos
- Author interviews
- Pre-made ready-to-buy-off-the-peg book covers store.
I’ve been editing author interviews with one hand and sketching out logo designs for the designer with the other—not really, I don’t draw, but you get the idea.
Not only do I have to update and manage the website, but now I’ve got a Best Book Editors Facebook Page to keep fluid as well. Please feel free to come and talk to us, comment on our posts, ask anything you like. Engage and be active. Please support the page. We’ll even give you some free marketing and promotion. We’ve had 147 likes and followers in a week, but very few comments or people talking to us.
One of our clients has had a big week, too. She’s had her book launch. Grace Grahme’s book Faire’s Fair is out, and she’s very excited to get sales and reviews. This is her review from Best Bok Editors, and I stand by every word. It’s a cracking read.
Faire’s Fair by Grace Grahme.
This book will make you believe in love.
The hardest heart can’t fail to be warmed by this story. It’s a classic love story with all the elements you expect, plenty of romance, love, sex, travel, conflict, and resolution.
Set between Texas, Glasgow, and Paris with a skiing stop-off somewhere in Northern Europe, the travel descriptions and settings are sublime. The dialogue is fast, pacey, natural, and the description and narrative flow like a swift river.
Our lass, Kathryn, is a successful businesswoman with an on-the-up employment-skills training business that’s fast-tracking her to the first million. She’s been burned and has no time for those, no-good, cheating men.
She meets Ian. This man is the creme. He’s got it all. He’s good-looking-fit-rich, you name it. He’s got it going on. He’s a millionaire businessman and a musician in his spare time. The god-man is flawless—well, he does have one fault, but you have to read to find that out.
He sets out to snare the wary Kathryn in his love net, and she’s equally determined not to be caught. Ian doesn’t do things by halves and has a private plane at his disposal. It’s a beautiful tale of how the other half lives and a story about loving for love and not what a fat credit card can buy.
If this author was an artist, she’d be drawing dinner-plate-sized, liquid-brown eyes and working for Disney. It’s that good.
It’s beautifully written, and the characters are all likeable and draw you into their highs and lows.
The love scenes are raunchy but written with sophistication and style. Grahme writes these scenes well, and there’s not a single two-word turn-off phrase in the book, over and over, up and down, harder and harder, faster and faster—not one. She writes them with proper description and emotion. They are appropriately placed, sensitively written, and add to, rather than detract from, the story.
The writing is intelligent and kind, with a good smattering of history. It’s thoughtful with some amazing settings and a relative amount of wine drinking.
It’s sheer, unadulterated escapism.
Me? Envious of the beautiful Kathryn and her remarkable life, that she’s worked very hard for and doesn’t need a man to provide—and she can run 5k and lift 40 Kilo. Envious? Don’t be ridiculous.
This is Book One in a series, and I believe Book Two follows the two secondary characters in the book. This is an excellent idea. We keep up with Kathryn and Ian but get more involved with Janet and her crazy, out-there personality.
A fantastic dream of a read. Highly recommended.
Three days in, and the author interviews have taken off well. We have four uploaded and in the gallery, and another three returned and waiting to be produced. Selling like hotcakes at £20, they are a Bargain. Each one takes between two and three hours to produce. We reserve the right to edit them—nothing is changed—but if it’s going out on our website, then it’s cleaned and polished before uploading. And, like every other service that BBE offers, they follow our A client is not just for Christmas ethos. For twenty little ones, you get the link to the article and the source file to do with as you will. And then we market it for you, not just once, but periodically, on an ongoing basis.
Our designer is already at work on the first Author/publisher logo’s. I’ve had clients saying that they aren’t part of a publishing company. They are and don’t even realise it. They are their own brand, and every author should have a logo. It can be something as simple as their initials intertwined. They could go for an elaborate genre-specific logo with a background or a sidebar image. The point is, once you have a logo, it can be used on the spine and back of your paperback full wrap. It should be used as your signature on every email you send. And it should go out on all of your marketing. The minute you publish a book, you are a brand, and that brand should be marketed.
I love our book trailers. To be clear, the ones on the site will be coming off on a trickle basis as the trailers sell—ROLO, roll-on roll-off. They have not been done for BBE clients, and our designer has let us use them for sample only. We’ve already had some interest in them, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with. We are taking orders now.
As if all that’s not enough in one week, I am so excited about our ready-to-buy covers. These are unique one-off ready-to-load on the publishing platform front covers. Once they have been sold, that’s it. They belong to the author and will not be sold again.
My personal cover designer is taking them on. He does all my book covers and is fantastic. I had to give him the biggest wedgie until his underpants were up to his chin to get him to agree. He makes a fortune as a marketing consultant and has stubbornly refused to work for me—but I’ve got him to go with this at a great price.
We have the first 30 covers made and will build the gallery tomorrow. I’m so excited.
However, he only has the spare time available to do ebook covers. If my clients want the full wrap for paperback, they will go to my other cover designer when I’ve sweet-talked him into giving a lower price than for complete work so that I can pass it onto the clients. We haven’t opened negotiations with him yet, one thing at a time. Alternatively, we will turn over the source file to the client, and they can build their own or pass it to another designer. I wouldn’t hold anybody over a barrel.
This deal is for ebook only, which I’m not delighted about. I’d prefer to charge a bit more and give a complete service for paperback, too, but he’s giving me what time he has spare, and I’m grateful.
He really is good, and it’s another service to fly to our customers. He’d generally charge four times what he’s agreed to do it for because of a 25-year friendship. I’m passing all the good onto the clients—and people still tell me they can get a cover for a tenner and ask for a discount.
‘Want a sneak preview?’
‘But they don’t launch until tomorrow,’
‘It’s not as if I’m setting it as the featured image.’
‘Don’t think I don’t know that you sneak a look at your present before Christmas.’
Oh, go on then–just one, though.’
And yes, you do get to change the title for your own, and no, you don’t have to call yourself A.N.Onymous.
Tough 100 hour week, long hours, Peeing Granddad. All good.
Born in South Shields, Tyne & Weir, Katherine Black lives on the tip of the beautiful British Lake District. She lives with her partner, father-in-law and 4 dysfunctional but co-mingling pets. She is mother, grandmother and secret keeper of all. She is Best Book Editors’ principal editor.