We’ve had a dawn chorus with a difference lately, since two yellow-billed ducks took a liking to our swimming pool. Actually, it’s more of a (VERY loud) monologue than a chorus, and goes something like this:
MS DUCK [Descending, rapid]: Quagagagagagaga. [Dams and ponds are so yesterday.]
DRAKE [Plops into the pool, in her wake]: …………………. [Yes dear.]
MS DUCK [Loud, tremulous]: Queggeggegge. [Give me a swimming pool any day.]
DRAKE [Dips head repeatedly]: ……………….. [Yes dear.]
MS DUCK: Quack…. quack…. quack…. quack…. quack! [Hurry up, we mustn’t be late for breakfast!]
DRAKE [Flying after her]: ………………. [Yes dear.]
That’s the usual “exchange”. Unless one day Ms Duck decides to lay an egg, in which case she will say: “Quaquaquaquaqua!” and Drake might manage a low whistle.
Which brings me to the point of this post: Hillary’s Angel is finally available in paperback and ebook format.
ME [Loud, strident]: Quaquaquaquaquaqua!
ADMIRING PUBLIC [Weak, nasal]: Whaarp-whaarp.
Since I didn’t hear any low whistles, I’m following Ms Duck’s bold example [SPLASH!] and ordering 50 copies myself. A friend in North America is bringing them out to the RSA when she visits in January. (The domestic US postage for my 50 paperbacks is the same as the international postage I paid for one solitary hardback delivered last month.) Then my marketing will begin in earnest – mainly through local libraries, stationery shops and flea markets. Even then, I suspect, the best I can do is cover my costs. Unless sales reach some miraculous tipping point, I will have lost money.
I started this journey feeling like a duck out of water, and I’ve ended up like a duck in a swimming pool – everything feels great, but if I didn’t have a husband to support me I’d be starving to death.
So it’s back to the jungle. I’m sending some children’s stories to a local publisher, likewise another novel – almost done. I doubt that I’ll have better luck this time – what I have to say only seems to appeal to a limited audience; I’ve tried and failed to keep afloat on the warm seas of popular fiction. Then (predictably) I’ll abandon my futile paper chase and go 100% digital so it costs me nothing to publish and any sales I make are pure profit. Can you explain why I don’t just do that now?
Like my yellow-billed ducks I keep dropping in to this virtual world, which has me fascinated, but I feel I don’t belong here. For real sustenance I keep going back to the bush, until (as my husband unkindly pointed out) I get shot or eaten. Sadly, that’s my reality. At least it gives me something to bleed about over my laptop.
[Duck-speak translations based on Roberts Birds of Southern Africa (VIIth ed).]