Sunday, 23 August 2020

Statistical surprise!

I am often surprised when I look at the stats on Blogger.

Who would have thought that 101 page views would come from Japan, or 119 from Russia? A similar number from the US but only 18 from the UK!

The other thing  about the stats is how erratic they are - 2 days at 23 page views, then the next day up in the hundreds. Single spikes from one particular server, presumably from one person, happen every now and then, which makes me a bit paranoid, as in why should someone in Russia
be checking my blog? One can be charitable and say that  some innocent person has found something of interest and is happily reading all the pages (since 2007?  H'mmm)

But the world is such a "scammy" place today that it is so easy to think the worst.

Any day now Blogger is going to force me to switch to its new format. It did this earlier in the month, but the page was totally unresponsive so I reverted. Hopefully they will have sorted the problems before they do the change-over again. I see people complaining that Facebook has forced them to change format and they don't like it. I don't know if I'm on Classic Facebook or the new one, but I'm praying that they both just keep working as they are!

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

The big decision

We've finally made a decision.

all summer we've been thinking we might get to France this year if we just waited a little while until things had cleared.

We kept moving the shuttle booking further into the year, but we've decided we will lose the booking fee and resign ourselves to not attempting to go this year. The hotel bookings we cancelled with no charge. So we've lost £160; it's a pity they will not let us take it over from one year to another but that's the way it goes. So, its roll on 2021.

We worried that our dog, who had an emergency vet appointment twice in June because of an inability to pee due to bladder stones, might suffer a similar emergency in France. We know the vet, and have no doubt of his abilities, but out of surgery hours we have no idea where to contact him and of course there is the language difficulty, especially on the telephone. We are hoping the Allpurinol is busily dissolving the stones in his bladder, but if they are not gone at the next scan, then surgery is the next step. And that will be  around the end of this month.

We have a holiday booked (way back in January) in Scotland on 6th October, so we might just make that week at Ardverekie. Let's hope so.

As for things clearing Covid-wise, I'm thinking we will have to learn to live with it, as we once did with measles, diphtheria* and whooping cough. As a friend said ,"Its out to kill us, you know."

*Yes, that's how Blogger spells the word. Rather too many aithches in my view.



Friday, 7 August 2020

Does publishing have a future?



 When Lockdown began on 23rd March, Waterstones closed its 280 branches. Independent bookshops did the same. Supermarkets focussed on food and stopped ordering from publishers. Amazon did the same.

Publishers furloughed staff because there was little work to do. Newspapers saw the dwindling numbers of books for review. Publication of new titles has been delayed, and there is no news of when everything will be, if ever, back to normal.

People claim books have helped them get through lockdown. Most publishers record an increase in e-books sales via their website and sometimes wonder if Amazon’s monopoly can be broken. Literary agent Johnny Geller has been saying for 20 years, "Why not go into direct selling?”

Some publishers dismiss the idea as too complex and expensive, but others are talking about it after Amazon turned off the supply tap.

Authors are used to self-isolation, but it is hard to know what to write. Some who have been recently published feel their books have disappeared into a black hole. Others think that fewer books on the scene have helped them. The book promotion trail is non-existent, and literary festivals have fallen by the wayside.

Some independent bookshops ie Forum Books in Corbridge, have got together a series of events on Facebook Live. There are other online events around, but the usual camaraderie of a drink after the talk is over is just not possible.

Supermarkets and Amazon are getting back to normal now. Commercial fiction is doing well. In some quarters there is an assumption that the market will be down 70% in the second quarter of the year, and 50% in the third. They hope the fourth quarter will be close to normal.

 Recent experience has shown that people can work from anywhere and more can be done online. The next decade may be interesting as far as publishing is concerned. It would be nice to see some regional  offices scattered around the country rather than everything being centred in London.