Friday, 30 December 2011

Interest From a Publisher!

Evening all,

Exciting start to the day today, as the title of this post suggests.

A few weeks ago Ian Rankin (the tip-top crime writer famous for Rebus and now Malcolm Fox) retweeted a message regarding an up and coming publisher called Bang. They were asking for submissions of crime novels, ideally to form a series. They asked for five pages and a brief synopsis via email.

This morning I received a reply which said:

"...I think your novel shows real promise and would like to consider it. Please could you send me a completed manuscript...Please could you also give me more detail about how you see a series will develop from this title and how many books the series might be."

Now I'm not daft, or new to interest from a publisher. I suspect this might well be a standard email sent out to the majority of the submissions received as I know Bang are looking for clients. But it's still positive, obviously, and I'm just nicely excited by it. The plan now is to finish editing The 24 Hour Jazz cafe and email it to them as well as to continue to promote my existing ebooks. If something comes of it, great. If not, I'm no worse off.

As ever, I shall keep you informed on here.

(By the way, I was lucky enough to meet Ian Rankin late last year at a gig he did in Lancaster. He signed my copy of The Complaints. I was pathetically star struck so the wife had to mention my writing and he wished me luck and advised to keep going while I stood there grinning like an idiot. Good times.)

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Next Big Author

Evening folks,

Our chums at You Write On are running a competition of sorts whereby the lucky winners receive a critique of their work by a leading publisher (Random House or Orion) via the Next Big Author website. I've uploaded the first few chapters of my upcoming novel The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe for consideration so feel free to go to the You Write On website and seek it out to review.

Ta for now.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Book Sales, Self Promotion and a Netbook

Morning dear reader,

This is the latest/earliest I've written anything on here and there are two reasons for this. The first is that it's Christmas so I'm off work and therefore up late making merry. The second is that I've bought myself a new netbook in the Christmas Sales. My laptop was four years old and struggling and, as my wonderful wife will tell you, I am not blessed with patience. As such, the laptop was beaten to death so I am now blogging on the new machine and very pleasing it is.

Anyway, first things first. A belated Merry Christmas and a pre-emptive Happy New Year to you all. Huge thanks to those who have bought my book, all thirty of you. I know this is not a vast amount, but my promo has been limited to posts on Amazon - lately via my phone - and it's only been available for a month. The fact that I'm averaging a copy a day thrills me as I think that with dedicated promotion and increased availability, my sales can only increase.

Which brings me to self-promotion. Amazon seem to have a real bee in their multi-billion dollar bonnet about 'indie' authors touting their wares. I would have thought that more promotion was a good thing as it benefits everyone. That said, Amazon are doing us all a favour by allowing us to sell in the first place so I'm not complaining. My plan is to make more effort via other means such as press releases and Facebook.

Finally, editing on my latest novel The 24 Hours Jazz Cafe is progressing with a view that an exract will appear on this blog soon before I send stuff to agents and then, depending on the results, publish as an e-book.

Stick with me, we're going places. Thank as ever for taking the time to read this.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Trials and Tribulations of Self Promotion

Afternoon readers,

It's been a frustrating week. The books are selling which is, of course, fantastic and the whole point of the exercise. But the trick seems to be to constantly self promote via amazon forums, social media etc and I simply don't have the time to do that.

I have added my books to Goodreads and Librarything but without promoting this presence I'm dubious about seeing any benefit in terms of sales. So I'll persevere and see what happens. Hopefully being available in formats other than kindle wll help.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Christmas Short Story Out Now!

Evening everyone,

It's been a quick, but very busy week and I'm shattered. But, hot on the heels of my debut novel, which has already sold more than I feared it might, my festive short story is now available. The Storyteller - A Ghostly Tale for Christmas, is out now on Kindle.

It is also available via Smashwords and should be available on Sony E-Reader, WH Smiths Kobo, Barnes & Noble and pretty much every other format within the next week.

It's priced less than a quid and would make the perfect gift what with it being set on Christmas Eve. Plus it's suitably magical too and will hopefully leave you with a warm glow similar to drinking a single malt in front of a roaring log fire while stroking the head of your beloved hound. Or not.

Either way, I hope you like it.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Debut Novel - Playground Cool - Available Now!

Good evening,

So here it is. After much formatting and pondering of keywords, Playground Cool is now available to purchase worldwide. It's available on Kindle right now via our chums at Amazon, both here, Europe and America. It's also available via Smashwords where the first copy sold within 90 minutes of it going on sale. I know it's not going to change the world, but it's the first copy of my work I have ever sold, so to me it's exciting as I am now a published author with an international readership.

If you need further encouragement, the book is selling at just 99p in the UK or $0.99 in the US. Pre Christmas bargain!

All being well, at least if all goes well with the good people at Smashwords, within the next week or so my book will also be available via Apple's ibook store, WH Smith's Kobo, Sony's E-Reader (which means you can buy it from Waterstones or WH Smiths online in the UK), Barnes and Noble and a couple of other spots. I've included links to all of these within this paragraph.

Feel free to leave reviews and comments on the sites you buy from, assuming they're positive. I'm too fragile to stand much negative feedback.

I'm aiming to begin formatting my Christmas short story this week so that should be available soon.

Now stop reading this and please buy my book!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Storyteller Final Front Cover

Afternoon dear reader,

Here is the final version of the front cover for my soon to be released short story for Christmas. I've finished the editing so I'm going to have a final read through this week and then away we go. The draft cover is in a previous post. I think this version is much more representative of the story and feels slightly darker and altogether more Christmassy!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Storyteller Front Cover

Me again.

As promised earlier, here is the first version of the front cover for my upcoming festive short story.

Short Story for Christmas

Afternoon folks,

It's been a while since my last post but I've been a busy boy. Not least securing five tickets for the first night of The Stone Roses reunion tour. I was very popular that day once word spread that I had the tickets.

Just as a quick aside I went to see the Bad Shepherds last night. Met the band afterwards too. If you've never seen them they're well worth a visit, properly entertaining versions of songs you will know. My favourites were Up The Junction and Down in the Tube Station at Midnight. There's links if you click the band name and song titles.

Anyway, the point of today's post is to announce the impending launch of a short story I've written for Christmas. This effort is called The Storyteller: A Ghostly Tale for Christmas. I wrote it about five years ago for the young lady who is now my wife. She cried at the time as I recall. Presumably due to the quality of the writing. Interpret that as you will.

Anyway, I was reading Susan Hill's The Small Hand recently, that got me thinking about my story, although the two are nothing alike. I dug it out, and quite liked it. I've tweaked it a bit and it's currently in the final stages of being edited. I've done a preliminary cover for it too which I'll post on here for you to look at.

Essentially, the story uses A Christmas Carol as it's influence, the idea of reflecting upon one's life by looking at the past, present and future. It's only just over 11,000 words but it's quite a nice little story I think. Anyway, I'm hoping to launch it on Kindle etc, by the end of this month. I'll follow it up with the release of Playground Cool pretty much straight away I think.

Then, if all goes to plan, The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe will be ready to go early in the new year.

Until next time...

Monday, 17 October 2011

Playground Cool - Final Cover

Evening folks.

After several attempts this is the version I've settled on. I think it sums up the novel pretty well. Of course to find out if it does or not you'll have to buy the book when it comes out! Hopefully that day is weeks, rather than months, away.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Playground Cool Front Cover Update

Hello again. After some discussion with the wife and a poke around the internet I now have a slightly different version of the front cover for consideration. Better or worse than the last one?

Crime Writers Association Dagger Awards

Afternoon readers.

For those who missed it, the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards took place in London on Friday 7th October. It was shown on ITV3 and as I write this, the repeat is still available on the ITV Player.

In my opinion these award shows don't really lend themselves to being on tele. I think that's more because they tend to be a little low budget compared to the big film awards which is a pity given that without books, half the films we watch wouldn't exist. That said, if I'm ever in line to be nominated for any type of literary award, then I'd want it to be on tele if for no other reason than I could record it and make sure it was on everytime somebody popped round to visit.

Lots of names there on the night. It rather highlights my ignorance that I hadn't heard of some of the nominees but it was good to see Mark Billingham and Peter James taking home awards as the wife and I are fans of both. The wife is a particular fan of Mark's as he has taken the time to reply to a couple of her tweets which has been the cause of much excitement in our house.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Playground Cool - Front Cover


Further to the extract of my first novel which I posted recently (to be found on the Playground Cool page), I have just finished the front cover which will hopefully be used when I launch the book online soon. Feedback welcomed. It's a first attempt so it might well change over the coming days and weeks.

The Battle of the Bookshelves

Hello again. Welcome along.

If you've read any of my previous posts my passion for books, real ones as opposed to our new electronic chums, should be obvious. So you can imagine my lack of delight when I read this article on the BBC website about plans to close hundreds of libraries across the UK.

It's a tale of cut backs, something we're all famliar with at the moment. The government has cut budgets in all sorts, not least the public sector in which I am employed. Closing libraries is seen by councils as a way to cut back expenditure in the wake of these budget cuts.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favour of increasing efficiency and saving money. But pick something else to close! I realise everyone has an opinion. If it was announced that they were going to close schools, there would likely be folk marching in the streets. Close a hospital? Can't do that, bodies in the streets. So I see that libraries are an easy option. But they're an important part of local communities and offer so much more than just a place from which to borrow a book.

Anyway, have a read of the article, then go to your local library and borrow a book, use their computers, join their bookclub, borrow a cd or just sit in the corner reading the paper. But use the library, before they're all gone.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Decline in High Street Bookshops

Afternoon all,

Given that I've recently started a blog about my writing and given that I've written a number of novels which I hope one day to see in print it was a proper disappointment to read this article on the BBC website today. The article says that real bookshops are slowly vanishing from the high street and, given the well documented problems Waterstones are having, it's hard to argue with. I'm not a fan of electronic publishing but I am about to try it for myself simply because, like any other writer, I want people to read my work.

Me and the wife buy lots of books but often this is from the supermarket and even when we do go to a bookshop, when was the last time anybody paid full price for a book? When you think that you can buy a bestseller for a couple of quid on a Kindle it's easy to see why it accounts for such a high percentage of sales.

So, despite my preference for something tangible, for the feel of a real book, it would seem electronic might be the way to go. I've included a link to the article here for those that want to read it.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Update on the progress of the novel

Ah there you are.

I've been fiddling around with the various settings within the blogger pages and have changed the layout a bit because it looked rubbish on the computers at work. I've also opted to allow adverts because I think it livens the page up and it seems I'm just that shallow. I've also added some links at the bottom of the page which, like the rest of this blog, will change and grow over time. The link to You Write On is worth a click for anyone with a desire to read the work of others and to post their own work. Essentially it's a peer review site and I've found it useful in shaping my work. The only downside is that you can only really post the opening chunk of a novel because if someone stumbles across an extract from the middle of your book it won't mean a thing to them. Still, if you fancy a search there's five chapters of my latest novel on there from earlier this year. The reviews were pretty good though I do say so myself.

The editing of the first draft of The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe is coming along at pace but in the mean time I'm aiming to add a new page to this blog over the weekend and include an extract of my first novel Playground Cool. It will be the same version that was so nearly published ten years ago so it will doubtless seem a bit dated and, from memory, it was a bit chick lit, but of course it was all the rage at the time. Still, it was good enough for an MA and the good people at the Sheil Land Agency loved it. According to their website Vivien Green still works there. She was my first - and only - agent and I will always appreciate her efforts. Anyway, if I figure out how to upload the pages I will.

Just as an aside I'm currently reading Entombed by Linda Fairstein and it's pretty good. Reminds me of Harlan Coben which is no bad thing. I need to crack on with it though because Ian Rankin and Stephen King both have new books out in the next few weeks. Needless to say, you can read all about these by following the handy links at the bottom of the page.

Until next time dear reader...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ten years in the making

First of all, welcome along dear reader, it's very good of you to make the effort. I don't say this lightly. As an aspiring writer (or rather a writer who aspires to be read) I appreciate anybody reading anything I've written.

This all began, officially at least, ten years ago when the good folks at Manchester Metropolitan University offered me a place on their Creative Writing MA. Obviously I'd decided before this moment that I wanted to be a writer, but the MA was the first time I'd taken steps to do anything about making that happen.

It very nearly did happen too. My first full length manuscript went down a storm with my tutors, the MA was mine, I gained an agent at the first attempt who thought the book a triumph and so I assumed that it really was that easy. Clearly I was a genius and my debut novel would be on the shelves in time for Christmas. Ah, the arrogance of youth.

That novel was titled Playground Cool. It remains unpublished and now, ten years on and several novels later, I remain as determined as ever to have my work read. Over the coming weeks, months etc I will be adding extracts of my work along with more background on just why that first novel didn't make it to the shops and what I have done in the intervening years.

I will also keep anyone who is interested up to speed on my latest effort - The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe. I'm editing the first draft at the moment and will then begin the now familiar process of sending out letters and extracts to publishers. Depending on how that goes I might even include a couple of rejection lettters and if - here's hoping - something comes of it, I'll post the acceptance letter too.

But for the first time I'm planning to self-publish electronically via Kindle. As and when this process starts I'll post updates on that too.

So, if you fancy it, there's plenty going on, certainly plenty to read, some of it good, some of it probably not so good and I'll appreciate the company.