The Poor Person’s Guide to Helping Your Favourite Authors

About a year ago I wrote a post about how you can help creators make money, without spending any of your own. I got to invent a character called Jiminy Snicket to use in examples, so I count it as a success regardless of the quality of the advice. I thought I’d do an updated post with authors in mind specifically, since that is my area of interest these days. Let’s say that our friend Jiminy Snicket, a year on, is a published author. It’s probably a poetry anthology, and they’ve probably illustrated it themselves…

Request their book from your local library

If it’s already available, borrow it. In the UK, authors can earn revenue when readers borrow their books from libraries. If Jiminy’s book isn’t in the catalogue, suggest the library purchases it. I do it all the time (not for my work. That would be embarrassing. I tend to request obscure YA novels and Nabokov. You guys can request my obscure YA novels for me. I’m not that desperate yet).

Engage with social media posts

This was on my original post, and still applies! Comments, shares and tagging-your-mates is good for feeding the Algorithm Gods and is also quite a nice mood boost for whoever’s running the social media account. Posting to the socials, especially when you have to do a certain number of promotional posts, can get repetitive and a little bit depressing. How many ways can you say ‘hey I’ve got a book out’ without boring your audience senseless? It’s hard to tell when the algorithm means that each follower might only see one of your posts every six months. Anyway. Put that screen time to good use! Engage with the social media channels for Jiminy’s publisher as well, if they have one, so the marketing team know that this is an author making waves in the, um, poetry anthology world.

Send work to friends who aren’t on the same channels as the creator

This still applies as well! Most authors have a presence on most platforms (Twitter, Insta and Facebook still seem to be the big ones), but not every reader has an account on those same platforms. Some people are even… deleting their social media in favour of doing something else.

Jerry from 'Tom and Jerry', eating an entire block of cheese
from Giphy

Also I’m told that The Youth are all on TikTok?

Gif of Jonny Rose saying 'Hash tag. Is that two words?'
from Giphy

By the way, if anyone wants to do some TikTok posts with my work, I’d appreciate it. I’m too old busy for another social media platform.

Anyway, yeah, word of mouth is still very much the name of the game with book sharing, whether the mouths are online or offline. Continuing with that:

Add their book to your wish lists or to-read lists

Most online retailers have an option to add a product to your wish list. Add Jiminy’s book to yours! According to a very quick search which I can’t link because writing this post took about two months: to-buy lists and reviews don’t impact a book’s ranking on Amazon (only sales will). But social sites, like Goodreads, suggest books to users based on what they have ‘shelved’ or what they have previously reviewed. So if you’ve read or want to read Jiminy’s anthology, add it to a list and it may be suggested to people who have read similar work.

All right, there we have it. Four easy peasy ways to do a good turn for the authors in your life! Truly I am a fountain of knowledge. I’m also off to watch the Olympics, so I will see you in the next one!

Look after yourselves,

Francesca


Want to support this blog and/or enjoy exclusive access to stories and chatter from me? Join the No. 1 Reader’s Club on Patreon! Alternatively, use the button below for one-off support of as much or as little as you’d like (if you’d prefer, you can use PayPal or Ko-fi). If you’re into fairy tales and/or want a brief respite from reality, you can also buy my bookThe Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, from most ebook retailers and as a paperback from Amazon. (That link’s an affiliate. Gotta scrape every penny from Bezos, you know?)

Quarterly Income Round Up (April-June 2021)

How are we already in a new financial quarter? What is time? Anyway, here’s the juicy details of my eclectic income, including book royalties in double figures:

  • Book royalties: £41.41
  • Income from the No. 1 Readers’ Club on Patreon: £142.07
  • Income from miscellaneous writing/blog work, e.g. Kofi and PayPal one-off donations, WordAds on this blog, Amazon affiliate links: £0
  • Shop ‘royalties’: £60
  • Freelance work: £162.45
  • Total: £405.93

In the first income round up, I explained all the various streams, so this month I only have to say: this wasn’t too bad. Better than last quarter, when I was chained to my desk writing essays about leadership theory. I mean, I’ve paid out more in website fees than I earnt in royalties, but all in all… not bad. I was a full time student for about half of the quarter, and spent several weeks after I handed in my final project with brain fog, so I reckon all things considered, I did a fair amount of work. My shops are quieter this time of year but still open – well, until I close on 1st September – so I can still skim a bit off the top for wages. I should add that I didn’t pocket all of those book royalties – some of it goes to one side for business expenses. Obviously I’d prefer if there were an extra digit on the numbers, but I’m still pleased that they are higher than they were in Darkest Winter of 2021. And they’re better than they were when lockdown first hit. Freelancing and making art in the pandemic feels like rebuilding a Lego building when the previous one was knocked over, several bricks were stamped on, and you don’t know if you want to recreate the previous building or try something new.

I don’t know what to expect from this summer quarter. Probably fewer royalties because I don’t have much of a promotion budget and the sparkle of a new release has worn off. I don’t think affiliate linking will suddenly increase either? But the No. 1 Readers’ Club always has room for new members! Come and join us if you like magicky stories and tarot readings! This is what I look like when I’m writing a story with a patron’s name as a character’s name:

Kermit the frog typing manically from Giphy
from giphy

Speaking of, I am meant to be working on the next story RIGHT NOW. I’ve done something to the little finger on my left hand that’s making typing feel a bit weird; I might do some edits. I’ve typed this sans little finger and it’s not impossible, but it feels disloyal to my fingers to say that I might not need all of them. I LOVE YOU ALL EQUALLY. PLEASE WORK.

Look after yourselves,

Francesca


Want to support this blog and/or enjoy exclusive access to stories and chatter from me? Join the No. 1 Reader’s Club on Patreon! Alternatively, use the button below for one-off support of as much or as little as you’d like (if you’d prefer, you can use PayPal or Ko-fi). If you’re into fairy tales and/or want a brief respite from reality, you can also buy my bookThe Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, from most ebook retailers and as a paperback from Amazon. (That link’s an affiliate. Gotta scrape every penny from Bezos, you know?)

News, if you like stationery: I’m closing my shops on 1st September!

Hello! Big news today, if you are interested in very cool stationery and accessories: I am closing my shops on 1st September. I may reopen in December or January, depending on my workload. I’m juggling one too many plates, so I thought I’d put this one down before it smashes, aka something goes wrong in the Christmas season and I cry in the post office. So get your shopping in while you can, in case I don’t reopen!

I don’t currently have anything for sale in any local shops (although if anyone who runs a shop, especially in the Southend area, wants to stock some pieces, give me a shout!). It’s all available on Folksy or, if you prefer, Etsy (item prices are the same in both shops; international postage is a little cheaper on Folksy because of how fees work). There’s 20% off a lot of items at the moment, so grab those pieces while you can! My last mailing day will be 31st August.

Give me a shout if you have any questions! Here is a selection of what’s available:

Here’s the link to my Folksy, hint hint, and to my Etsy, hint hint…

Look after yourselves,

Francesca


Want to support this blog and/or enjoy exclusive access to stories and chatter from me? Join the No. 1 Reader’s Club on Patreon! Alternatively, use the button below for one-off support of as much or as little as you’d like (if you’d prefer, you can use PayPal or Ko-fi). If you’re into fairy tales and/or want a brief respite from reality, you can also buy my bookThe Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, from most ebook retailers and as a paperback from Amazon. (That link’s an affiliate. Gotta scrape every penny from Bezos, you know?)

Chilling out with Lorde and a lil chat

Good evening lovelies,

I hope you’re all well. Today is the fifth anniversary of the Brexit referendum, so here’s to another five years of national stability!!!

(Seriously, though, did that go very quickly or very slowly?) I do not have any news or suchlike for this post; I am working on some bigger ones and today thought ‘it’s been a while, let’s say hello.’ Again with the wonky time, but it feels strange to have already passed midsummer. I usually feel more awake and generally more alive and plugged into nature this time of year, but this year it hasn’t really happened. I’m consistently swinging between insomnia and excessive sleepiness. I don’t think the weather’s extreme changes has helped, or the constant yo yo-ing of Covid restrictions. Everything feels a bit unbalanced at the moment, even though this time of year usually feels very together.

Still, Lorde is back! With a song about the sun, no less (she gets it). I’ve helped several bees leave their accidental prison of the kitchen window. My remaining courgette plant has survived the latest deluge of rain. I had Christmas dinner with some extended family last Saturday. We ate in the garden; it drizzled. It felt weird but also right to be eating Christmas pudding on an overcast day in June. My friends are getting vaccinated by the dozen. Things are… finding their way towards an equilibrium? Maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on Lorde as the saviour of 2021. I mean, I have also been listening to Månneskin and although they are sonically quite different to Lorde, they give me hope for the future of rock music. I think they might be as good at bonkers music videos as MCR are.

I‘m going to overlook that they are all in their early twenties and I am no longer in my early twenties and am, in fact, racing with alarming speed to what could be considered your late twenties even though we should all be allowed to take at least two years off our age to account for the time lost to Covid.

I am getting tired and distracted. The Great British Sewing Bee is finished so I don’t know what I’ll do with my evening – I guess I could… try sewing? – but it’s time to turn off the internet and look at the sky now it’s not hidden by several thousand clouds.

Look after yourselves,

Francesca


Want to support this blog and/or enjoy exclusive access to stories and chatter from me? Join the No. 1 Reader’s Club on Patreon! Alternatively, use the button below for one-off support of as much or as little as you’d like (if you’d prefer, you can use PayPal or Ko-fi). If you’re into fairy tales and/or want a brief respite from reality, you can also buy my bookThe Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, from most ebook retailers and as a paperback from Amazon. (That link’s an affiliate. Gotta scrape every penny from Bezos, you know?)

Roasting My High School Work 10-ish Years Later

Last year I found a couple of huge boxes full of my notes from year seven through to year thirteen. Which was quite a lot of years ago. I burnt a lot of it on Halloween and Bonfire Night – seemed appropriate – then recycled the rest when I realised that I’d be there forever. I kept a few pieces that made me laugh. Today I thought, it’s a billion degrees out and I don’t like football, so let’s go through them and take the piss!

Year Seven: History

Turns out I got started in witches quite early. I actually remember making this with another student, in one of the first collaborative projects of year seven. Excellent work enlarging the text box, there…

ancient sugar paper called 'Extracts from a Diary of a "Witch"'

I think we got good marks, though. The inside of the diary is long since lost but those cardboard-and-sugar-paper lasted well!

Year Eight: English & Science

Handwriting reading 'It's a good memory moment but you're not really directing the scene - you need to think about the techniques we used in lesson and also use your imagination! Try and do something original!'

Hahahahahaaaaaaaaa

If memory serves, that teacher is the one I part-dedicated The Princess and the Dragon to (she taught my classes again in sixth form). I might frame this piece. Coincidentally, year eight was the year a friend and I discovered the nuances of Word Art:

Am still miffed they chucked out Pluto.

Year Nine: French & Fan Fiction

piece of badly written French homework, featuring Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance & Leathermouth

Ah, year nine. I was so, so shit at French. I remember my teacher doing an oral assessment and saying ‘your accent is very good but you don’t… know any words.’ Psh, whose fault was that? I maintain that I was useless at modern foreign languages because language classes should focus on conversation and communication, not learning to listen to a tape of a stilted robot-esque ‘exchange.’ Top marks to little me for the MCRmy rep, though.

Speaking of fandom… I’m including this next one here because although my fan fiction days were already mostly behind me by this point, I feel like it would have taken a while for me to file it all. I’m not sure who I’m talking to. Future me? The fan fiction police?

paper reading 'Fan Fiction Also published on www.fanfiction.net. This folder contains nothing MCR-related. Neither does my fanfiction.net.'

Possibly everything said or done concerning fan fiction before the age of 16 should be pardoned, no questions asked.

Year Ten: Media Studies

Year ten was when Danger Days was unleashed unto the world. I immediately set about analysing it for my Media GCSE coursework. A*, my dudes, thank you for asking. I’d have been great at Media at A Level but I didn’t like the teachers, so I did essay subjects and didn’t like myself instead.

Year Eleven: Nothing

I clearly was not effing around with my studies in 2011-12, because I didn’t deem a single piece of work from year eleven funny or ridiculous enough to keep. I can’t remember much of year eleven if I am being honest. I think I took three science subjects at GCSE. I definitely took Religious Studies. Mmm. And maths? I remember a maths exam. What a time that was, sitting in a hall with hundreds of other students, breathing on one another…

Year Twelve: Depths of Hell

These collectively sum up my feelings toward year twelve and my life at the time. I am still furious about the ‘I am a package, and I must be shinier than all the packages’ advice we were given. They had an external careers advisor come in and offer advice. Some of her wisdom was good, but a) she made my friend cry with bolshy questions about our career choices, and b) she used three shampoo bottles to illustrate the jobs market. One shampoo was just a bottle. One had a bow on? And one had all this plastic cellophane and glitter and shit. She wanted us to choose which was the best. They were the same brand, so I thought ‘regular non-cellophane shampoo, because who pays for all that glitter crap that you cut off before you use the shampoo? You don’t, unless you’re shopping for a gift.’ That was the wrong answer, because job candidates are objects that must look better than all the other objects.

It might have been bubble bath, now I think on it. It might have been a different year, too. It’s irritated me for a good six or seven years, though. Fucking terrible advice regardless of the toiletry product. Comb your hair, read up on the job description and make eye contact. That’s all you need to do to make a good impression at an interview, sweeties. Promise. Well, don’t be a shitbag to the interviewer. Maybe make sure you’re qualified for the role, unless you’re a white man who’s good at bullshitting.

Right, next up:

cartoon of The Picture of Dorian Gray

A friend and I did this retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray. We were quite proud, if I remember correctly. We had the most lovely teacher, who really wanted us to know that she knew the book was Extremely Gay and that she was okay with it. She used the word ‘homoerotic’ in class so often that we started keeping a tally. I think the record was twenty uses in an hour, because she’d done that thing where you get stuck on a word? Sometimes we’d segue into conversations about Ancient Greek wrestling and, if I remember correctly, body oil. A Levels are a ride.

Does anyone else remember when we had Old Labour and New Labour? Do you remember who Ed Miliband is?

photograph of paperwork and tables of information about Ed Miliband and David Cameron

Year Thirteen: Own Work

I didn’t keep any school work from year thirteen – I got a bit of a stomach ache just thinking about that time, to be honest. I thought sixth form was The Worst Time in My Life, a Literal House Fire, for ages, but then 2019 and 2020 happened, and now it only seems like a small house fire. Tell you what, I’m owed a good year.

Anyway, here is the time I marked a piece of MCR research I did. I don’t know if any of you will remember the MCRmy Census Project (my first piece of big research!) from circa 2012-2014. I collected a bunch of info from MCR fans, collated it into graphs and commentated on it, printed it out all nicely, then mailed it to Gerard Way. I spelt ‘ethnography’ incorrectly on the front cover. I think I finished it in year thirteen or thereabouts. Some time later, I went through with a red pen and graded myself. I can’t remember why, but it turned out to be good practise for book editing. And my return to academia. I sound way bitchier than my college teacher did in any of her feedback, ha.

Have you kept any of your old school work? Was any of it as ridiculous as the pieces I dragged out?

Look after yourselves,

Francesca


Want to support this blog and/or enjoy exclusive access to stories and chatter from me? Join the No. 1 Reader’s Club on Patreon! Alternatively, use the button below for one-off support of as much or as little as you’d like (if you’d prefer, you can use PayPal or Ko-fi). If you’re into fairy tales and/or want a brief respite from reality, you can also buy my bookThe Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, from most ebook retailers and as a paperback from Amazon. (That link’s an affiliate. Gotta scrape every penny from Bezos, you know?)

Plant Mum Post #2: Introducing My Newest Lil Baby

Meet my newest child! I wasn’t going to buy any cacti (I wasn’t going to buy… anything) but this little creature was on the almost dead sale table at Hyde Hall, so really it had to be done. It’s a Christmas cactus. Well. It might be an Easter cactus. I bought it in May. The staff had no idea what colour its flowers might be, but surprise is the spice of life, or something. So far I’ve watered it once and admired its complete lack of attention seeking. Excellent purchase.

Remember the little courgettes? They have had mixed fortunes. They outgrew their makeshift pots so I put them outside in real pots. So much space for them to grow! Then we had AN UNHOLY STORM and my poor babies got pummelled. And, um, eaten by snails. By the time I got some proper growbags, we were down from nine sprouts to six. As of today, we have four or five. I’m only really confident that perhaps two of them will make it to the eating stages of our relationship. I should have kept them indoors for longer, and maybe played them more music. I’m 90% sure sound is good for plants, but I am basing that on a couple of newspaper articles and one passage in Good Omens.

courgettes in a growbag

So last time the peppers were just a pile of sludge. Today they are sprouts! They’re a bit more delicate than the courgettes were at that age (is that what you’re meant to say?). I’ve repotted them a couple of times because I ran out of soil, but so far so good? I’m not sure they’re up for the great outdoors yet, but they seem quite happy.

Pepper sprouts

If you read my A Week in the Life of an Author post, you’ll have seen that I gifted my cousin and cuz-in-law this little thing:

Funny story: I bought it when it was a tiny baby plant, in ASDA, to take to E’s for dinner. The dinner never happened but Covid did, so the plant hung out with me for 18 months, growing merrily. I finally gifted it last week, by which point it was twice its original size. It also took until last week to learn it’s called a ‘Flaming Katy.’ Does it look like it might catch light? The plan was always to give it to E when I saw her properly, but I became quite fond of it, so I took a cutting and it’s doing all right:

small cutting of Flaming Katy plant

Just a heads up, family, I might grow you all Flaming Katys for your assorted special occasions.

How are your house plants? Your garden plants? The verge outside your home? I don’t know if you can upload pictures to the comments section, but if you can… send me your photos. Or draw me a picture! Maybe not of those tall cacti, they could give the search engine scanners the wrong idea…

Look after yourselves,

Francesca


Want to support this blog and/or enjoy exclusive access to stories and chatter from me? Join the No. 1 Reader’s Club on Patreon! Alternatively, use the button below for one-off support of as much or as little as you’d like (if you’d prefer, you can use PayPal or Ko-fi). If you’re into fairy tales and/or want a brief respite from reality, you can also buy my bookThe Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, from most ebook retailers and as a paperback from Amazon. (That link’s an affiliate. Gotta scrape every penny from Bezos, you know?)

A Week in the Life of an Author/Freelancer/Stationery Shop Owner ft. Chronic Pain

When I was doing the quarterly income post I remembered that the life of a creative person/student (well, not a student now my work is handed in) is a bit opaque. I’ve had people tell me I don’t have a job, or don’t work, so I figured, let’s keep a diary of a week in my life. This was a good week to record, because it’s the first I haven’t had a single college commitment since I started my diploma back in September, so I was trying to figure out a new routine. I had Patreon work, stationery shop work, and writing. Well, Continuing Professional Development, in the end, more than actual writing.

It was also an up-and-down week in terms of my health – I’ve spoken about my chronic pain before. This is it in action! I have fun little spells of depression, too, which I wasn’t initially going to include but then I thought, fuck it. We should talk more about this stuff, if only because it gets in the way of the rest of my life. I left out some details, because this isn’t a gossip column, but otherwise this is a pretty accurate look at the menagerie of work I do on a daily basis. I’ve split the days into sections so you don’t have to scroll forever. Enjoy!

Monday

6:30am

Awake. Ish. My new year’s resolution was to spend an hour every morning ignoring the rest of the universe, aka not using the internet. It’s evolved into making a cup of coffee to take back to bed, doing some meditation on the Headspace app and maybe having a read. Then I make more coffee and go for a walk. I’m on chatting terms with multiple neighbours. I can’t tell if the whole routine is very pretentious or very hippie, but I don’t care. It’s nice to go to work with a clear, news/social media-free brain. Also, today I saw some ducks.

8am

Sit down to some writing. I’ve been working on this one story for months and I’m not sure if it’s dragging because I need to focus or I’m dragging because the story lacks focus. Give in trying to figure out which is is, have breakfast.

9am

Remember I have not showered. Shower.

9:30am

My hands are aching so I do some very exciting physiotherapy with some putty and a squishy ball. Physio gets boring quite quickly, especially when you have been doing it for eight or nine years, so I have a read – Bertrand Russell, get me – while I’m using the ball. I learnt the hard way that putty requires your full attention, or it gets everywhere. It’s like the ectoplasm in Ghostbusters meets playdoh.

10:15am

Walk to my nan’s for coffee with her and my mum. Three of us are inside! Having coffee! So weird.

11:30am

Do some freelance work for a long time client.

11:45am

Work on my next newsletter and some blog posts. Break for lunch and come back rejuvenated. Well, less hungry. Post today’s blog, about getting the second Covid vaccine. Work on this post.

2pm

I’m trying to build in more breaks and not sit at my desk for long periods, so I list some clothes for sale online and organise some laundry. Between 2pm and 5pm I’m mostly useless, so I try and make that the time I do non-work things.

3pm

Work on the Do Something Directory. Trying to figure out a new page. It’s going to look great.

3:30pm

Take a walk, because it isn’t raining.

4pm

Fuss about online for a bit, checking sales for the paperback of The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes. They could be worse! My biggest fear was that no copies would sell. End up on a YouTube Q&A with a mortician (verdict: I’m not sure I fancy being embalmed). Poke about on Goodreads, because I’m smug I’ve read a lot of excellent books this year. Find the page for my favourite novel of the year so far. Some of the reviews are terrible. I don’t mean to be rude, but what did these people read? It was a masterpiece. Read the book in self defence.

4:30pm

Do some physio – knees and back this time. I live large – and pack an order from my stationery shop. Read the news: apparently a man in Spain has been found dead, trapped inside a papier-mâché dinosaur. It’s thought he dropped his phone inside, climbed in to get it, and got stuck. How appalling.

5pm

I lied. I’m not productive yet. Do some ironing in front of A Place in the Sun. What is one without the other? Read the news (terrible). Get an email from my critique partner (good). Give up on the day and make dinner (better).

7pm

Waste time chill out on YouTube, which is almost productive because I’m also messaging a friend, S, who’s working on the Do Something Directory with me. Fuss about on writing groups.

8pm

Remember that today is the anniversary of the day my littlest dog, Adonis Wheezeface Bean, passed away. It’s somehow worse than last year. Also, the news is still shit. Someone’s body washed up on Southend beach this morning. It shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. Today becomes is what we in the mental health department call a Bad Day. There’s not much to do when one of those descends, so I spend the rest of the evening on a clothes swap group – bye my purple jumpsuit that doesn’t fit, hi to a new wrap dress that hopefully will – and on Reddit. Learn that David Yoon, the author, is lovely.

10pm

Do a Pilates routine I found on YouTube because I’ve been sitting down for ages. Bed.

photograph of a webpage with squares showing photographs and words overlaid, including 'LGBTQ+', 'Children & Young People', 'Environment & Climate Change' and  'Mental Health'

On Getting the Second Covid Vaccine (Side Effects, Getting AstraZeneca, Long Term Impact)

Ah, the end of a series. And the beginning of long term immunity! Hopefully! (For anyone new, here is my post about getting offered the vaccine and having a small existential crisis over it, and here is my post about getting my first dose and the side effects.)

I had the second dose on Friday morning and it was all right, all things considered. I got a bit headachy and tired later in the day, but I didn’t just go to sleep like I did last time. My arm didn’t feel as heavy as before, either, which was nice. Now I’m feeling physically normal and mentally… more relaxed? I know I’m unusually lucky with the timing, but I do feel a bit more confident about socialising in groups now. I think I’d be very anxious about the lockdown easing if I hadn’t had at least one dose. Last week, pre-second dose, I hugged about five people. Five! And I sat indoors in a café! Twice! (Aside: how weird is it being indoors with people you’ve never seen before?) I was a bit nervous, but between the first vaccine and a negative Covid test, I felt prepared? And now I’m fully vaccinated I’m definitely happier to mingle.

Well, not happier. I didn’t like mingling before all this. But now I’m not worried that I’ll accidentally kill a vulnerable person if I breathe too closely to them.

So what have we learnt, reader? Other than reaffirming that I am constantly anxious about all things? Well, if you’re hesitant about getting the vaccine because you’re worried about side effects, I’d say take a deep breath and just do it. A couple of days of feeling shitty is nothing compared to a stint in intensive care, or long Covid. If you’re worried about blood clots due to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, then I hear you. I don’t think the risks of AZ were known when I had my first dose; I did panic when I saw the news. But I’m fine – I think I’d know if I had a blood clot? – and the risks really are low, especially when compared to the chances of dying from Covid. Plus, young people are getting a different vaccine now anyway.

If you’re bad with needles, I’d say tell the nurse you’re bad with needles. I’m fine with them as long as I look away and talk incessantly while they’re administering the thing. But it was genuinely more of a scratch than anything else. I’d say it’s less uncomfortable than having blood drawn, but your mileage may vary depending on how you feel about needles and your experience with blood tests and surgical stuff. I’ve had multiple hospital stays and my hands are covered in needle scars, so I’m probably more relaxed than most people.

filled-in vaccine card for Oxford AsteaZeneca vaccine

All in all, I’d say the whole experience has been all right. The two vaccine centres I visited were forensically organised (shout out to my mum, who used to work at one of them). The staff were lovely. I’ve been thinking back to side effects to past vaccines and feeling grateful that this jab was pretty much the same as previous ones: I felt rough for a few days, but that’s it. It’s more than worth the hassle for the peace of mind.

It’s a bit of a catch-22 that I qualified for an early vaccine; I was simultaneously so relieved and guilt ridden. When the blood clot thing happened, I wished I’d been in a group that didn’t qualify yet. I’m still not completely sure why I did qualify, but on balance I’m grateful. I was never particularly worried for myself in all this – well. I was worried, but not paralysed with fear twenty four seven. Just in those moments when I let myself think about it. I was worried twenty four seven for all the vulnerable people I could potentially infect. Knowing that I’m contributing to the nation’s general immunity is nice. I can’t remember how much the vaccine reduces your risk of spreading the disease, but knowing I’m potentially less infectious also gives me peace of mind. I’m still hand washing and mask wearing (although I will be honest with you that I am still finding it hard to keep track of what is and isn’t allowed. If hugs are still illegal, ignore everything I wrote earlier).

I’m off to bask in my vaccine status. By which I mean, do some work and, most likely, make a cup of tea. OH THE EXCITEMENT. If any of my posts have inspired you to look into getting vaccinated, or have helped you feel more informed or less anxious about the vaccine, let me know! I wrote the series to add to the voices encouraging vaccination. It’s infuriating that vaccine hesitant people can so easily become anti-vaccination when prayed upon by those with political goals and persuasive branding. It’s devastating that vaccine hesitancy can lead to deaths, not just with Covid but with things like measles. But a conversation about those things is for another day. I reckon we’ll come back to it time and time again, though.

Look after yourselves,

Francesca


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