Thursday, 19 December 2013

A question of royalty

Evening folks,

Quick one tonight, much to do.

The new book is days away and hopefully it will be more successful than England's defence of the Ashes.

But this post is about my royalty payments. I don't make much, will likely never make enough to call it the day job, but I do make money. That's the key to it. I sell enough books, worldwide, to generate income. I love that.

Today, just today, I received three royalty reports from Amazon. Payments from the UK, France and Germany are winging their way to me as I type this. It's not a fortune, but it means that some well meaning, possibly confused, folk in these countries stumbled across my books and thought "why not?".

I hope they read and enjoyed whatever they bought. |I also hope it helps sales of the new one, which I am going to spend some time reviewing now.

Night...

Monday, 9 December 2013

Passing the torch

Evening all,

Quick Monday update. Traffic has now passed the 10,100 mark which is nice.

Went to watch Liverpool thrash West Ham on Saturday. More than one person has pointed out that the team are doing very, very well since I started trekking to Anfield on a semi regular basis. Coincidence? Perhaps. But it's a great journey to part of.

Had a meeting with my new manager today to set out the work plan for the next three months if my contract. In short, fix in twelve weeks things they haven't been able to fix in years. As ever, plenty of pressure to perform. As ever, I will.

But more importantly I'm doing a bit of last minute shaping of the latest novel. The soon to be bestselling Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths. It turns out, as ever, that truth is indeed stranger and more grim than fiction. Recent news stories have basically recounted elements of my plot, but the reality is darker than my fiction, so we're tweaking a bit. Won't impact on the launch though.

And finally. Dennis, the family retriever, was put to sleep earlier today. He was 16 which is epic for any dog, let alone a retriever. I'm not going to ramble on. Suffice to say, he was awesome, especially when he was younger. A total bugger, did as he pleased, just like the rest of my clan. I've had a word with my own dog to let him know he has huge paws to fill now that he's the new family hound. He seems to get it, he immediately ran off with the wife's shoe and hid on the top floor in the dark. As I type this he's just trotted past, a pair of the wife's jeans hanging from his mouth. Dennis would be suitably proud.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths

Evening gang,

Right then, here it is. This is the first version of the cover to my new book. What might the book be called? Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths. It will be out in time for Christmas.

 
 



Sunday, 1 December 2013

New book finished!

Afternoon gang,

Brief post today because it's half time on the footy.

The sequel to The 24 Hour Jazz Café is finished! Woo!

It's just over 92,000 words long and will be released in all digital formats and paperback in time for Christmas.

I'll be finishing the cover design over the next few days which I'll post here first and then the promo will begin. If I'm sneaky with my pricing and category choices I might even manage to sneak to number one in the Amazon chart for Christmas. That would be nice, even if I have to give it away to do it.

Anyway, brew time, more football etc.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

I'm engaged in a battle of wills...with my dog!

Morning gang,

It's Sunday. It's 11:24AM. I have already edited 5% of the new novel today because I've been up since half nine. These truly are new and interesting times.

Anyway, first things first. This blog is, near enough, two years old this month. It also marks the beginning of self publishing adventures. In that time I've shifted somewhere between 3500-4000 books. I stopped tracking the total some time ago. This blog has received over 9900 visits. It would be nice to pass the 10,000 mark before Christmas so spread the word.

Also, I have publishing news. The debut novel by the wickedly talented Frion Farrell is out now on Kindle and in paperback. It's called The Round Spear. Click the link to get your copy.

Liverpool are still second in the Premiership after a six goal thriller Merseyside Derby. Can't believe we're still up there and it's nearly December. Exciting times, especially since I've actually been to a couple of games this season. Good times.

I'm buying a rechargeable battery for the xbox today since Microsoft only include a pair of Duracells in the £430 package. Shameful!! Which brings me to the dog.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you'll have seen pictures of his recent chomping of my Blu Rays and Xbox games. This morning was a new level. He ripped the projector screen plug from it's socket and all the cable trunking that goes with it. Went through to the copper wire so he's lucky to be alive.

He also found the cover for the pool table. Destroyed it. Xbox games? Gone. Clambered onto table and pulled out some speaker cables, chomped a remote for the AV receiver, dragged 3 logs from the fireplace and got wood everywhere, had a crack at the kindling too, found one of the wife's coats, cushion from the couch etc. You know those insurance adverts on tele where the folk come home to find carnage following a break in? That was my living room this morning.

So I'd best crack on. The day plan is now to buy more cable trunking from Homebase, cut it, paint it, fit it. Nip to Argos for the Xbox charger, then to Sainsburys for food. Then home to put the living room back together. Then later, much later I expect, I'll edit some more of the novel.

75% now done. Less than 100 pages to go.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Will a new Xbox One get in the way of my writing?

Morning gang,

The answer is... not so far.

Those of you who know me won't be surprised to learn that I acquired a shiny new Xbox One Day One Edition earlier today. With a couple of games it cost me £530 which, even with my earnings and lack of dependants, made me think twice before buying.

As with any new device there was some faffing about with updates etc so I decided to leave it to sort itself out and did a few pages of editing. Then I got sidetracked by the dog, then the wife wanted a lift from the station (she's been to London for the day) and we decided to pick up an Indian for tea on the way home.

Long boring story short I finally got stuck into the new console about 11PM until just now. But I still managed to edit another 5% of the book today so I'm pretty happy.

Quick review of the Xbox? Looks smart to me, not keen on the Kinect but I'm old school. I like to slump on the couch, pad in hand, and play. If I wanted to be "in" the game and jump about I'd go outside and actually participate. The voice control is predictably crap, just like Siri on the iPhone and the voice control on my very expensive Tele. The motion control is poor too, not half as sharp as the one on the Tele. Miles quicker to use the pad - which is very nice by the way.

FIFA looks lovely, it'll take some adjustment because I've only ever played PES. Forza looks, sounds and plays as you'd expect. Stunning. The Kinect adds nothing for me. Why do I need it to track my leaning motion while driving? I don't. Bog off.

The new Assassins Creed is on it's way too which I suspect will be epic. But what I really like is the picture in picture ability which I will be using tomorrow. It means I can now be playing a game but have the Tele on in the corner so I don't miss the start of the football. That's clever and useful unlike the Kinect. I'm not keen on the HDMI pass through, it makes the Satellite picture a little worse which, on a Tele like mine, is noticeable.

All in all it's good and it's handy having another Blu Ray player in the house. I've yet to connect it to my 9 foot screen and 7.1 surround, I think then it might be truly stunning especially if I can get it to record Tele.

Right, that's all for now. The wife is planning to batter her essay for uni tomorrow which means I can sit there and edit my book in peace. Looking forward to it.

By the way - I've typed this on my new Surface tablet with keyboard. While the new Xbox is Microsoft very nearly being awesome, the surface tablet, in my view, is an example of Microsoft nailing it. Keyboard is utter genius and I have to admit, after some learning, I really like Windows 8. Including full Office 2013 as part of the package doesn't hurt either. Full marks.

Night

Sunday, 17 November 2013

How do you cope with pressure?

Evening gang,

Pressure. Something of a hot topic in our house at the moment. Entirely self imposed of course. We're cancerians. It's how we're wired.

The wife handles it in a fairly traditional way. Shouts a bit, drinks wine etc. I tend to clean the house a lot. I see this as being quite positive because it alleviates my mental stress and the house looks good. The wife might not agree.

I also write fiction as a way to escape the drudgery of every day life. But because it's so important to me I put pressure on myself to do it as well as I can within the constraints of working full time etc. Which leads to more cleaning and the occasional ale. Again the end result is positive i.e. a new book to share with the world.

To that end, I have now edited 41% of the final draft of the sequel to the Jazz Café. Tomorrow I will aim to make that 50% and then during the week perhaps have a look at the other book I'm working on. Day job allowing.

Just as an aside - I've been offered a contract extension on my current role and got an interview for another job near Preston. So lot's of positives, the main one being that I should now be in a position to buy another house by Easter next year and none of the senior managers want me to return to my old job. In a rather old school, humbling, gesture, they all emailed the director and said that they wanted me to stay to support them. No arguing with that. But then I have delivered all sorts this year and my old job was total shit.

Right, that's all for tonight. I've been staring at this screen for too long.

Last thing - we've bought a new tablet. One of them Windows ones with the snap on snap off keyboard. Paid for it with Nectar points! Very tidy.

Oh, and sales are slow in America again so if you could see your way clear to buying a few copies of something that would be appreciated.

Night...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Do you want to pay for my book?

Morning gang,

You recall how last week I posted the first bit of my new book Fear on Wattpad for you to read for free?

No? Well check back on my recent posts because I did.

Now the second chunk is available on Wattpad, for free, right now. Woo!

It's raw, posted seconds after I finished writing it. Makes it more exciting. Anyway, enough talk. Click the links, go read it, tell me what you think. It's that simple. Failing that just go to Wattpad and search for me.

Thanks

PS I'm almost at 10,000 views of this blog so if you tell someone to come and visit I'll get there sooner!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Wanted: Job for an award winner

Morning gang,

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post but there's lots going on. It's also late and I'm weary but we'll press on.

First off, I've had great feedback from the opening extract of my novel Fear which I posted to Wattpad. There will be another chunk this weekend. A colleague read the extract and said I should submit to publishers, she liked it that much. All positive. And she's a published author herself!

Second, I've had a couple of excellent reviews on Amazon which I've added links for. But, as ever, if you can't be bothered to click, I've pasted them in below.

"Wasn't quite sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. Characters well drawn, not stereotypes, with faults and a past that we all have to live with and tackles some really worrying issues with a degree of balance and sensitivity. Guessed fairly early on who the culprit might be, whose activities were revealed when least expected, but strangely it didn't detract from the narrative, Would definitely look out for more of Jamie Sinclair's work in future."

"Quick compelling read. Didn't put it down and read in a day. James Sinclair is amazing. Well done !!!!!! Thank you"

You see? I'm making lives better through awesome fiction. Get on board, spread the word, buy my books etc etc.

I have now edited 80 pages of the Jazz Café sequel and it's now very, very good. Finally. I've had to work at this one. To all those who have been asking me when it's going to be published, thanks for asking, thanks for caring. It won't be long. Probably.

I'll have plenty of time to write in the new year because chances are I'll be back in my old job. I can't convey in words how this makes me feel, but suffice to say it's not good. The only remote positive is that I could not have done any more to have made the new job work. I have delivered on every project and every senior manager is a fan. I also won an award last week. Fancy dinner at Blackpool Tower, met the Chief Exec, in the paper etc. Director of Community Services came to congratulate me in person and I got a nice letter from the Head of Locality. But no job. I tried my best. Sadly my employer is so skint you might well be hearing about it on the news.

The dog's huge. The new house is still empty but I'll be sorting that in the next week or so. And I'm off to Anfield tomorrow to watch my beloved Liverpool play Fulham. So lots of good things going on and I always have the option to just quit work which is nice. Finally, I'll be entering the Richard and Judy new author comp as well, why not?

Anyway, that's it. Two books underway, out soon. Keep an eye out, I might be huge one day!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Do you fancy reading my new book for free?

Evening gang.

Easy answer to the question above. Of course you do! As promised in recent posts here is the opening segment of my new novel FEAR. It's a first person confessional, pretty dark subject - the murder of a young girl - but also pretty humorous in places because I can't help it.

Anyway, click the link, that'll take you to Wattpad where you can read the story. It's also available via my Facebook author page and my Twitter account. Any feedback welcomed as this is a work in progress. As such there will be more segments to follow. All very exciting.

Enjoy.

http://www.wattpad.com/story/9438431-fear

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Ladies and gentleman...the Rolling Stones!

Evening gang,

For fifty years the world's greatest rock and roll band has been announced using the title of this post. I was watching a bit of their latest effort, the concerts they did in Hyde Park in the summer, following their triumph at Glastonbury, and after all the build up, the music, the lights, everything stops. And then...Ladies and gentleman...

Then Keith Richards appears, batters a riff and away they go.

In essence what I'm talking about here is legacy. Theirs is set. Millions of albums sold, some of the most famous songs ever written, still touring even though they should be well past being able. People will know their name a lifetime from now. People will still listen to their songs. As they will with The Beatles, Elvis etc. Just as people will still read Shakespeare, Bronte and, maybe, JK Rowling.

I'd quite like that to happen to me. That's one of the reasons I write books. I want to leave evidence that I existed. When I'm dead I like the idea that around the world people (the number yet to be determined) will have read my books and my name will be on their book shelf whether that be digital or wooden.

With that in mind I've become somewhat energised these last couple of days. I think rationalising my job issues has helped. I get paid a lot at the moment, it allows me freedom to do certain things. I even quite enjoy the job. But it's a false position, and it won't last. I've been thinking too much about what might happen afterwards and it's been getting in the way of the important stuff. Writing!

As such, with 11 short weeks to go on my contract I've decided it simply doesn't matter. My wife is in a similar position. A job has come up which, if she applies, she will likely get. The pay is pretty vast. I would only need to work part time at best and we'd still be well off. But she's not applying. Doesn't fancy the job, or the hassle and we don't need the money. So sod it! I'd rather be happy than fretting. If a job comes up in the next 11 weeks, great. If not, I'll go back to my old job, take a pay cut and spend my days writing books while keeping half an eye on the staff to make sure nothing's on fire.

So, editing on the final draft of the Jazz Café sequel is progressing well. But slowly. However, and here's the exciting bit, I have also started - last night in fact - reworking my third ever novel. I wrote it back in 2003. It's called Fear and was very, very nearly published by Transworld. Regular readers will know this because I've talked about my flirtations with big time publication before on this blog.

How did this happen? I started reading Doctor Sleep, the new Stephen King novel. On the first page he refers to FEAR in the following terms - Fuck Everything and Run. That made me think of my 2003 novel because every chapter was an acronym of the word fear, which was a challenge in itself.

So, I made a few notes last night (it may have been 3AM) and tonight I started to read the book. I've already added my notes from last night to the book and it's looking good. The plan is to edit a few pages then publish them right here on the blog, as well as to my Wattpad account which is sorely underused. Then, once complete, I'll publish the finished book in the usual way for purchase.

It's wildly exciting, to the point where I really could stay up all night doing this and happily not go to work tomorrow. Chances are I'll stay up anyway and drag myself through tomorrow. Ho hum.

In other news I've submitted my tax info to Amazon so they don't remove all my books from sale next week. I have also, finally, submitted my entry to the Telegraph Crime Competition. The website is crap so I've emailed it to them and asked them to confirm they've got it. Closing date is next month some time if you fancy it. I've submitted 5000 words of the Jazz Café. Each entry has to have an international element of some sort. Mine is the global Jazz music which forms the soundtrack to the book. Will I win? Unlikely. But one has to at least try.

The big, non work, non book news is that I transferred the money for my house fees tonight, in excess of 8 grand in the click of a button. The proposed date for completion is this Wednesday which means I will be an official property investor/speculator. Plans are already afoot for Easter when we are aiming to buy another. Surprising how motivated I become when there's the chance to make money without going to work every day.

And that's it. Dog's huge, Liverpool are doing well and I'm already planning the wife's Christmas presents. Right, I'm off, I've got books to write.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Doubting my plot...

Hi everyone, How’s things?

Everything’s awesome at my end aside from the continued uncertainty over my job. It’s tedious now to be honest. I have a job waiting for me that I don’t really want but it requires no effort and, although the money is crap, it’s enough. However, because I’m apparently handy to have around the senior bods are trying to slot me in somewhere. The problem being there’s a lack of gaps and time is running out. From my point of view I don’t much care either way but not knowing is making it very hard to plan anything beyond the end of the year.

Finally signed the contract for my house investment. That’s taken forever but it’ll be worth it long term. We’re aiming to buy the next house around Easter next year but that depends on my income – see above about planning.

Regular readers will have noticed that my new book is still not out. I’m out of excuses to be honest. Bottom line is I’m not 100% convinced by it. It’s been a hard one to write, my first sequel and it’s been a busy year. New job for me and the wife, we bought the dog. All this has combined to leave me with a book that is finished but I have doubts about it. As such, I keep procrastinating. The plan, starting tonight, is to read it as a book on the wife’s tablet and see how it holds up plot wise. Then go from there. The cover is pretty much done so as soon as I’m happy with it it’ll be out. But not before. I might even not release it. Who knows?

But I am itching to start writing my next book, plenty of plot ideas and locations so fingers crossed. I suspect once my job future is resolved everything will start to flow again.

Now, other news. Sales are pretty good again. Indeed I’ve sold more in the US that the UK so far this month. Hurrah. I’m also considering approaching Independent publishers about my work. It’ something I’ve pondered for a while. I’m still not 100% what the benefit will be and I’m not mad keen on signing away my rights but we shall see.

Finally, for those that are interested Liverpool are still top of the table in the football which is amazing, and unexpected. But the real news is that the mighty Roger Federer is playing this week in Shanghai. I admit he’s past his best now, age is a real swine in sport, but on his day he’s still worth the price of a ticket. Be nice to see the old sod win something this year.

Right, to finish I’m going to paste in a couple of comments I received about The Trust over the weekend. The first was texted to my wife from a member of her staff: “…really enjoyed it. Sequel please – really want to know what happened to the euthanasia gang” And a tweet from up and coming fantasy author Frion Farrell who has just finished the Trust “Just had the pleasure of finishing Jamie Sinclair’s The Trust. Superior crime writing Jamie – am big fan."

Monday, 30 September 2013

What's your time management like?

Afternoon gang, Generally mine is ace. But lately, because of work, the dog etc, it's been bloody awful. Which got me to thinking about my fellow authors. Between work, kids, pets, family etc, how on earth does anyone find time to write? And how much time do you actually find? Because I might well have a spare hour tonight but it won't be productive because I'll be knackered from work and walking the dog etc. That said, things are progessing. The wife has finished the draft of the new book. Devoured it to be fair. Feedback was very positive. There's a few bits to work on which I'll attack ASAP depending on mood and then it'll be available to buy. Wooo! Apologies for the lack of paragraphs etc, I'm on a browser that doesn't support Blogger so I'm doing this via HTML which isnt one of my strengths. Other news? Final Breaking Bad tonight. Can't wait for that. Liverpool second in the league! Madness. Won't last. Sales a little slow this month after a flurry a couple of weeks ago so any last minute September sales much appreciated. Spread the word. Until next time...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

There's a draft!

Afternoon gang, It's done! What's done? I hear you cry as one. An edited draft of my new book, the sequel to the 24 Hour Jazz Cafe. I know, it's all very exciting. And it's only taken 12 months. Perils of having a well paid full time job. Anyway, you're doubtless wonderign what this all means. Or not. Well, essntially I've been through the first draft i.e. the very rough but typed up version of the novel and I've tweaked, rewritten, deleted etc until I got to the end. What's left is a tighter, shinier version of the book. The plan now is to lob this on the wife's table so she can read it, hopefully she will highlight lots of areas for improvement (I'm by no means convinced by the book yet) and then I'll do another draft. Generally that will be it. I'll start work on the front cover and blurb any day now while the wife's reading. Then after the next draft I'll format it for release. Given the time of year I might well hang on and dive into the Christmas market with some advertising, heavy promo, press release etc. As ever the book will be available in all digital formats and paperback. I also suspect, as with all my other books, it'll sell quite well on Kindle and next to nothing everywhere else. I also haven't settled on a title yet! Other news? Nowt much. Dog's ace. Work's uncertain. House purchase is progressing slowly. Currently drinking a mug of tea. Oh yeah, upcoming new fantasy author Frion Farrell has just read The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe and loved it so much she's on with The Trust now. Her debut novel will be out shortly. Fingers crossed I manage to blag an advance freebie copy. Until next time.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Man down! Man down!

Evening gang, First off let me welcome a new member of the gang. Cora has added this blog to her Google circles so hopefully she'll be a reader of my books before long.

So, if we were in any doubt about the weather today has set things straight. Wild, windy, raining, grim. It was superb on the beach with the dog, he loved it. Until tragedy struck! He was hurtling along with a Border Collie when he fell over a rock and pulled up short, holding his paw up. Needless to say the wife pounced like a ninja, rushing to his aid. He seemed fine and we carried on and although he was limping slightly it didn't slow him down.

Anyway we got home and cleaned him up to find two cuts, one on a front leg, a deeper one at the back so the wife, being a nurse, swung into action with the first aid kit. The dog, ever one for a bit of theatre, began to tremble pathetically and sloped into his bed where he remains, fast asleep and wrapped in a towel. The wife steadfastly refuses to leave his side. And that pretty sums up our little team. Nobody gets left behind and we make sure everyone is okay. It works very well.

I'd like to think the world would be a better place if more folk were like this and I believe the majority are. Certainly all the folk I associate with online are all like minded and very supportive of each other, and me, when it comes to my writing. Which neatly brings me round to my latest novel. I've had the weekend off. I've literally done nothing except have a nice time. Lost a few quid (more than a few quid) on dodgy football bets, been out for tea, had the kids over to stay, played with the dog, watched films, eaten burritos, it's been super. So tomorrow I'll hit the novel hard. It's nearly there but this one has been a slog.

Other news? Regular readers will know I'm quite the home cinema buff. I've got a nifty 9 foot electric screen, full HD 3D projector and 7.1 surround. So it was with some sadness that I learned of the death of Ray Dolby. You might not know his first name, but everyone should know his surname. If you've ever owned a DVD, Blu Ray or been the cinema, you've heard his work in action. He's Mr Surround Sound, the guy who took away the hiss. A pioneer who quite literally impacted on the lives of millions. Not a bad legacy. I've chucked in a couple of links so you can read more about him.

I also not that JK Rowling is to pen a screenplay. Apparently an of shoot of the Potter world, no shock there, it should be out in 2015 or thereabouts. I've no doubt it will be a vast success, full marks to her. Again someone who has impacted on the lives of millions and will leave an impressive legacy.

So that's it. Ideally, in decades to come, my name will be talked about in the same way as those above. If not, I hope I've made enough cash to at least be able to do everything I wanted to do. Regrets don't suit me and I've got a long list of stuff I want to do. Tonight's thing is easy enough. Slump on the couch, watch Iron Man 3, drink ale and try not to think about work tomorrow.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The benefits of positive thinking

Morning Gang, If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you'll know in recent days - indeed most of last week - I've been moaning about slow sales this month while not actually doing anything about it. Typical me. But there's good news. Overnight I've shifted quite a few copies of my awesome fact based crime thriller The Trust. So much so that as of this morning I'm hovering on the edges of the top 10,000 on the Amazon ficton charts. While this doesn't make me the next Stephen King, it does mean that there are nearly a million people selling less than me who would gladly change places. All positive. I've also had nearly 9000 views of this blog. It's pretty impressive given that I started it nearly 2 years ago as an experiment. I still enjoy writing on it, folk clearly keep checking back to see what rubbish I'm saying, so long may it continue. I've also picked up pace with the editing again and will hopefully have a draft by the weekend. I know, I know, I've said this many times this year. But eventually it will be true. Promise. In other news, my house investment sideline is progressing well and the house should be mine in the next week of so. I've also lined up an interested tenant so there's no downside at all. Now if I could just find myself a permanent job...

Friday, 6 September 2013

When is it time to stop?

Morning gang.

Regular readers will know I'm quite the fan of Roger Federer but this year has seen a dramatic decline in the powers of the great man. Since winning Wimbledon last year and then getting silver in the Olympics, he's been roundly thrashed by all manner of folk who generally aren't fit to share a court with him. This weeks US Open defeat was hard to watch. The only positive being that he didn't have to face Nadal in the next round which, I suspect, would have been humiliating.

He's the greatest tennins player ever, certainly in most peoples eyes, certainly in terms of trophies won. He's just 32 and is now sliding down the rankings. This is the nature of sport. It happens to them all. Sampras in tennis, Ali in boxing, it will happen to Woods in golf.

But how does anyone know when it's time to call it a day? How do any of us know? I ponder quitting my job at least once a week but so far I havent done it (not for nearly ten years anyway). Because no matter how much I earn, or what I do, I'd rather be at home with the dog writing fiction. That niggling frustration is literally there each and every day and shows no sign of fading the older I get. The question is, as my career develops, do I take abreak from writing to focus on the day job? Or do I finally back myself to be a writer and quit the day job just as the salary is getting interesting? Hard to know.

Editing of the new book is going well. I should pass the 300 page mark today so I'll be well into the home stretch then. Tonight I plan to reward myself by watchign Oblivion on Blu Ray with the dog. The wife's out so we can crank up the volume. The neighbour's enjoy the full 7.1 effect.

Other news? House investment prject almost complete, dog growing very fast but being no real bother, I've done no promo this week which has reflected in my sales. I'll be addressing that shortly and the new Xbox is due out at the end of November. £429? Good lord. There will plenty of parents struggling to find that this Christmas. That's a vast sum of cash for a non essential item. God knows which genius came up with that, especially when the new Playstation is £80 cheaper. It had best be very, very good!

Anyway, promo time. If you haven't boght any of my books, shart with The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe. It's going to be series so you might as well get in at the ground floor. Plus, it's really good, so the reviews tell me.

Until next time...

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Do you like to gamble?

Evening gang,

The short answer to the above is no, not as a rule. I imagine most folk would say the same. Keep it safe and simple.

Except that we gamble all the time. Crossing the road, kebab from the ropey take-away etc etc.

I've been merrily editing the new novel for some time now, gambling on it being any good and that folk will buy it and enjoy it. I've got about 120 pages to go. At my current rate God knows how long that will take.

My dog, Ralph, gambled this evening on the beach. It was his first time on the beach and he loved it. Hurtling round at pace, ears back, daft grin on his face. He didn't know about the holes and trenches left by the sea so he suddenly had to try and jump over one at the last second. He made it too but he had to dig all four paws in to stop himself falling back into the hole. Hurt his back leg doing it to, but he's okay.

I'm also entering the Harvill Secker crime competition which is a gamble in that I hope to win because the judges prefer my story to all the others.

I'm buying a house as an investment, gambling that I can continue to afford it based on me getting a permanent job at work when my current secondment expires at the end of the year. Big gamble that one, best not to think too much about it. Also best not to dwell on the interview looming on Thursday which I have yet to do any prep for. Safe to say I'm not expecting to triumph there. Rather I'm gambling that my current boss and her chums will somehow magic up a job for me that pays what I need to support my daft lifestyle. Fingers crossed.

Which brings me to this weekend. A few mates and I went into town on Saturday night. We had a good time, got drunk, bought pizza, stayed out late. But there's so many clowns for such a small town. Blokes older than us squaring up in the pizza shop for goodness sake. A group of young chaps knocking lumps off each other outside McDonalds. Get a grip, it's beer, it makes things better. If you want to scrap stop in.

Anyway, I spent a few quid, we felt rough this morning and I decided to put a few quid on Liverpool to beat Man Utd. Blow me, gamble paid off and my winnings covered what I spent last night. Free night out! Kaboom.

So, the lesson. Life's a gamble. Best not to plan too much or try too hard, cos it'll just upset you.

Right, I'd best let the dog out for a slash before bed. Then I can ponder my interview tomorrow. I keep hoping the wife is going to step in and offer some advice but she's been slow on the uptake so far.

Last thing, I've yet to sell any books so far this month. I know it's only the 1st of the month but I like to get off the mark. So if you could spread the word. Paperback, Amazon, Smashwords, all digital formats. Just search Jamie Sinclair in your ereader of choice. Ace reviews, low price, ticks every box.

Monday, 19 August 2013

I met a nice lady the other day...

Evening gang,

So let's open with something related to writing shall we? Sales are steady despite my utter lack of promo. My ad campaign has finished. Traffic figures were well in excess of 500,000!!! Sadly the click rate, and therefore the purchases made, were far lower. But that simply tells me I have to make my adverts better because the traffic is there.

The editing of the Jazz Café sequel is progressing. I know I keep saying that but I have a lot going on at the moment. I am managing to get some done each day though which I'm happy with. I've also been ploughing through the latest Stephen King - Joyland. I agree with reviews. It's not his best but then he does set the bar pretty high. It's a good story though, instantly recognisable as his style. The man weaves a story better than anybody I've ever read.

Ideas for the third instalment of the Jazz Café series are building nicely in my head. I just need to keep them there until I finish this book and then find time to start writing them down.

Despite being so busy I managed to find time to go to Anfield for the opening game of the season yesterday which, I'm sure you know, Liverpool won. Despite us setting off without tickets, having to meet a chap in a pub to get a utility bill off him for a third party we never met and then using that bill to get more tickets in the name of the unseen third party, it was a successful trip. We also managed to fall out with a local resident who took issue with us parking outside his house, despite us wielding a permit.

Anyway, it was a fun day out. We also went out for tea Friday and Saturday. Friends in Kendal Saturday. They've had an extension put on their house and very swank it is too.

Anyway, all that meant I didn't do as much writing as I might have otherwise but I've cracked on today at the expense of going to see my gran on her 87th birthday. Shocking! I'll go see her tomorrow assuming my boss hasn't damaged me. I've received an email requesting I ring her urgently in about 8 hours from now. Presumably that's not to discuss a promotion. Great way to start the week! I may as well be hungover for that.

Side projects? Well I have a job interview lined up for September. Not sure I want it but I'll happily trot along to see what happens. The house purchase is plodding along and could go either way. I'm after a last minute price reduction so I emailed my solicitor on Friday to have a word on my behalf. We shall see.

I've also got it into my head that I want to consider moving from HB Towers. The wife was aghast at the very idea. It won't happen. I'm going to view a house at the end of the week. I suspect that will get it out of my system. Unless I decide I really do want a 200 foot garden with mooring rights for a boat. Expensive. But the dog would love it! The downside? The wife might well leave me as it's one crazy thing too many (home cinema, pool table, new tele, buying a house, all things I've done without asking her first and all of those except the pool table happened this year!).

And so we come to the bit about the nice lady. I came out for lunch last week to find someone had driven into my wing mirror and damaged it. Boo! The plus side? A sticky note on the window with a name and number. I get a quote, ring the woman, she says she'll pay in full. I get it fixed, go to her house, she writes a cheque and was very sorry. All very civilised and all very surprising. But it made me feel better about the world, at least briefly.

Right, just time for a quick half hour on the novel before I let the dog out and then go to bed, then I'm fresh to chat to my boss about my failings. Wooo!



Sunday, 11 August 2013

Refuse to lose!

Evening gang,

Apologies for the title, sounds a bit 'positive thinking seminar'. But lately that's how I've been rolling.

I'm shattered but still making things happen. Most important I'm managing to keep progressing with the novel and it's getting good. Woo!

Work is also going well. As is the house purchase, as is life with the dog.

Speaking of which we had a dog behaviourist round today. 90 minutes of 1:1 focussed teaching. Miles better than some daft group class. Ralph loved it, we learned a bit, money well spent.

You recall I paid for advertising? Well, it's drawing to a close. My click percentage is about 0.04% which sounds low but still resulted in hundreds of views. Will I buy more? Not just yet. I need time to figure out how to transform more clicks into sales.

Finally a comment on athletes. Pre season football transfers are a shambles and it's the same each season. This year Rooney, Bale and Suarez dominate the news. They come across as mercenary, overpaid idiots without any loyalty to club, fan, shirt etc.

So thank God for Mo Farah. The British double Olympic champion from London today added world 10,000 metre gold to his CV. He's a proper sportsman, well paid yes, but he wins and we should all be proud of his efforts. Footballers could learn a lot from Mr Farah.

Right, bedtime. Buy my books. Night

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

How much is enough?

Kaboom! Don't worry gang I'm back. Wooooo!

Quick update. Ralph is awesome. But the wife and I have never been so tired. Working full time and looking after him is a genuine test. Most days we do okay. Some days not so much. 

In other news I've upgraded the home cinema. We are now a 7.1 surround establishment and bloody good it sounds too. 

We are also spending a few quid on the house, new door, replacing all the spindles top to bottom, which is nice. 

I'm viewing another house tomorrow as part of the ongoing property empire project and I spent my first day in what may become my new office if the NHS decides it can afford my vast salary. 

So with all that where are we with the writing career? 

Well, I've yet to hear back from Jenny Brown associates about my recent submission but fingers remain crossed. I am also entering a competition being run by The Telegraph with Harvill Decker. That will be mid august I reckon and the closing date is the end of the month.

My ad campaign continues. The traffic is huge. Since the 21st June the ad has been viewed over 286,000 times!! This has resulted in a pretty meagre 98 clicks but as I've said before, it's a learning curve. 

I've done zero promo this month owing to the stuff mentioned above but sales are good in the UK, crap elsewhere. I received a royalty from Smashwords today for US sales. Always nice to get paid from a non Amazon source as a reminder that there is a world beyond Kindle. 

The new book? It's getting there. Editing is being crammed in around everything else but I'm pretty happy with the current draft. 

Finally, a colleague who writes fantasy has just signed with a small US Indie publisher. She's rightly thrilled and when she has a launch date I'll be posting details here. 

Right, half hours editing before bed. Tomorrow? Do it all again. 

In answer to the question I posed in the title. For me, right now, nothing is enough. We're running at full speed, there's lots happening and I want to make the most of it while it lasts. 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Does a dog take over your life?

Evening gang,

The short answer is yes. Based on the first month of having Ralph the Pointer in my gang it's pretty much non stop.

Don't get me wrong. He's utterly fantastic. I'd gladly spend all day with him, writing books, going for walks etc. But working full time is making life very, very difficult. Which all adds weight to my recent posts about making a change. The wife and I have discussed many options, a luxury we have since we're not short of cash.

The ideal solution seems to be that one or both of us reduces our hours/reduces the numbers of days we work which would mean only a slight reduction in income but allow more time with the dog and allow us to keep on top of mundane things like house work, shopping etc, all of which are proving to be a challenge with the dog and working five days.

Either way we think it will be sorted by Christmas. I'm going to be in a different job by the end of the year, we just need to sort out the money side of things and then I'll know which job it's going to be. It's also looking promising on the property front too as I had an offer accepted last week. So if it all goes well I should exchange contracts in 4-6 weeks and then we can start developing it as a long term investment. All of which takes pressure off me to earn the amount I do now.

So what's the end goal? Obviously more time at home, more time with the hound. But of course that will equate to more time spent writing and that, as regular readers know, is the dream. We can't all be Robert Galbraith.

Quick update on the adverts I bought. Over 90,000!!!! views in less than 4 weeks. But sadly only about 35 clicks have resulted from all that traffic and only a couple of those have led to sales. But it's my first go so I'll stick at it. Clearly it's worth pursuing it so many people are seeing the advert.

Right that's it for tonight. The plan now is to watch either the second Alien film on Blu Ray or something random on Sky. Did I mention I've just bought two more speakers for the home cinema? They should be here this week and then I'll be offering 7.1 surround. I suspect it will be impressive.

Night folks.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Pay per click advertising - the story so far

Evening gang,

Cracking weather we're having isn't it? We had a full weekend in the garden, folk round, lunch outside, pub for tea, the whole nine yards. The British Lions battered the Australians, Andy Murray only went and won bloody Wimbledon and the Ashes starts in a few days. Life is good.

And then there's my ongoing pay per click advertising experiment on Goodreads. Regular readers will know I tweaked the wording a little and I am now getting clicks. But it's not translating into sales. Not the end of the world by any stretch because the advert traffic is vast but essentially I am paying for being seen rather than for sales.

It's a learning curve certainly and not a very expensive one. But it is something I want to crack because I think the sales potential is there.

In other news Ralph is growing rapidly and learning fast. He's a tiny bit off his game today because he tangled with an 8 month old boxer yesterday which knocked him around a bit in a playful way. But he wasn't scared which bodes well for when he's bigger.

The day job continues to twist and turn. It very much looks like I'm going to be slotted into the gang at HQ in sunny Blackpool if I want it. But the money isn't ideal compared to what I earn now so unless that gets sorted I might well find myself back in my old job and that is not a good thing. Made me shiver a bit just typing it. Anyway, time will tell.

The estate agent continues to be a pain about the house I'm trying to buy. Just accept my offer and let us get on with it!!! The bank are on board and, interestingly, the bank said this happens a lot. They are happy to lend but the agents make it hard yet the banks take all the stick. Again, we shall see but if it's not sorted this week I reckon I'll be looking elsewhere.

Right, that's it. Editing on the new novel continues, but slower than I'd like. It'll be worth waiting for though. About a hundred pages away from a draft and then I'll point the wife at it, assuming I can tear her away from the hound.

Carry on.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

How effective is your advertising?

Evening gang,

In my case the answer to this question is "not very". But I'm still learning.

Regular readers will know that last week I bought some pay per click advertising on Goodreads. Since the 21st June the ads have been viewed 13,000 times. That's right, 13,000! Easy maths tells us that's about 1300 views each and every day on average. Now imagine if just 1% of those views turned into sales. That would be 130 copies of the Jazz cafe sold in just 10 days.

Doesn't sound hard does it. Except so far the views are not translating into sales. This, it seems, is the trick. So I've just tweaked the advert and will leave it until the weekend to see if anything changes. As it's pay per click it's costing me nothing to have it sat there being seen and I can edit it as much as I like, when I like. Probability suggests that if I stick at it I'll stumble across the magic formula eventually and the sales will come. Once that happens I'll buy adverts for my other books too.

As I've mentioned to friends recently and to my long suffering wife, it's time to make a change. I'm becoming one of those people who simply complains about his lot in life. God knows my lot is much better than most. I've got a very cushy job at the moment, we have plenty of money, big house, ace puppy called Ralph, it's all good. Except I want to do something else. So I'm finally doing something about it.

Buying the ads is the first small step to push the book sales. The new book will be ready soon and I am considering paying for a launch campaign to kick start it. In other news I also viewed a property last week to buy as an investment. If that works out, I might buy another.

The end goal? Regular readers know the answer. Less time at work. More time writing. It's all about making enough to pay the bills.

Anyway, I've got editing to do, quick half hour and then an episode of Breaking Bad before bed.

Carry on.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Adventures in advertising

Afternoon folks,

I've been making actual effort this afternoon.

Since I began my little adventure into Indie Publishing I've continually said the goal was to make enough money to enable me to write full time. So far that hasn't happened and, as I earn more at work, it becomes less likely.

But every now and again I have a word with myself, just a quiet reminder of the long term goal, my reason for being if you will.

With that in mind I've finally done something about it. I've danced around using paid advertising for months and today I finally took the plunge. It's nothing major but it's a start. I've bought $100 of pay per click adverts on Goodreads. The idea being I can create as many ads as I like for my campaign, target them to specific groups within Goodreads membership and see what happens.

The risk is that people will see my adverts and click on them only to not purchase the book. Either way I pay for the click. The goal for this first campaign is merely to break even, or as close as I can get. If I make a profit, bonus.

I'm at home for the duration of the campaign so I can monitor it. I am also able to tweak the ads in real time so if one seems to be working better than another I can adjust. Worst case scenario I've wasted $100 which is less than £65 in real money. Not the end of the world.

However at least I can I've tried. The campaign is only for The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe but if sales increase I'll try the same thing for every book. I also have another site lined up which works on a subscription basis. It's more expensive but again, the potential is there. We shall see.

In other news I have also submitted The Trust to our chums at Smashwords. What does this mean? Well, in a few days The Trust will be available in all formats i.e. Sony EReader, Kobo, Apple, Barnes and Noble, as well as Kindle and paperback. So there will be no excuse.

I'll keep you posted on the adverts.

Now I might have a quick snooze before tea.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Do you listen to music while you work?

Evening kids,

How's things? You will have noticed my blogging activity has increased. Benefits of being off work right there.

Anyway, I've spent a very productive evening listening to The Man Who by Travis and currently I'm halfway through Odds and Sods by The Who. The dog - Ralph - is asleep next to me on the couch and I've got the first 105 pages of the new novel in much better shape.

I do find that I focus better when I have music on. It has to be at quite a low volume, background almost, and then I sort of know it's there but I can concentrate on what I'm doing in a way that I struggle to do when the room is completely silent.

Quick update on the new novel then. I've tweaked a couple of characters, their relationship to each other actually, so that key scenes make a lot more sense now. The aim of this draft - the second - is just to make sure the plot holds together and to spot any glaring errors. Then I'll do a third draft where I pretty it all up, sort the formatting, grammar, lob some colour on it all I suppose.

But I'm pretty happy with it so far. However I've been known to do some pretty major rewrites at this stage before so we shall see. In a fun twist, the novel is set in and around Morecambe, specifically the Winter Gardens. Guess where the wife is tonight? Yep, Winter Gardens watching a colleague and a friend in a performance of Beauty and the Beast. I was going to go but then we got Ralph. I have to admit I'm pretty happy to be here rather than there.

Anyway, that's it for now. As ever my late evening plans are to watch more Breaking Bad on Netflix and drink ale.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

What are my choices?

Evening folks,

Been a superb day here at HB Towers. Sunny and warm, Ralph (the most awesome puppy in the world) has been hurtling round the garden and learning new stuff by the minute. But I have also edited 70 pages of the new book while listening to a selection of albums - currently Days of Speed by Paul Weller.

So all in all being off work very much agrees with me. No shock there right? Everyone likes being off work. But this is the reason for the title of this post, which the very keen amongst you may have spotted I have robbed from an episode of Two and a Half Men (back when Charlie Sheen was in it and it was good).

The question asked is "What do you want?" The reply being "What are my choices?"

The point being so many people don't know what they want, but if you give them a menu they'll pick something. I'm a bit like this at the moment. I have a lot of options, lots of choices, but I'm not entirely sure what it is I actually want. Obviously the core goal remains the same - book deal, book sales, achieve the dream. But lately I find myself earning a lot of money in the day job, which coupled with the wife's salary means we have more cash coming in each month that we manage to spend. Ace position to be in, I'm well aware.

But that opens more doors. Suddenly I can apply for jobs which offer more money still, jobs I could not have applied for previously. But these types of jobs will, I assume, require more time, certainly more effort, than I'm used to giving. Which will mean less time with the wife, with Ralph, less time to write books.

But I always have the option to return to my old job. Money was okay but it's a dead end job if I'm honest. But it requires little effort and the hours are good. So more time at home doing fun stuff. Trouble is the ambitious part of me, the bit that wants to write, to have money, to have nice things, to have three degrees and just generally be better than someone else, wants me to grab one of these jobs and earn even more dollars.

So there it is? What do I want? Not sure. What are my choices? Plenty. Sadly staying at home writing books full time is not one of those options. Yet.

Don't get me wrong, I realise it's a good position to be in and, it being me, it will all work out nicely.

In other news, related to my job in a round about sort of way, an organisation I work with sometimes is going to be national news tomorrow when the Telegraph and a few others papers run a story about a local NHS Trust here in Lancaster and the CQC covering up failings. You'll hear more about this, trust me. One thing I definitely won't be doing is applying for any jobs with them.

Right, I'm going to see if the little chap wants to have a sniff outside before bed and then I'm off to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix until the small hours. There will be beer and pizza if you're in the neighbourhood.

By the way, sales are slack in America this month, though someone has bought a copy of my Christmas short story (thanks). So by all means dive in and buy a book. I'd recommend The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe.

Night

Monday, 17 June 2013

Editing the new book, US Open Golf and Ralph


Morning gang!

It’s been an age since I posted on here but I am delighted that so many folk are still checking out my musings. Almost 7500 views now from all over the world. Many thanks to each and every one of you, even the strange Eastern European ones which I’m sure are hacker/virus/dodgy porn referral sites.

Anyway, you find me in something of a state of flux. I’ve done very little writing wise for some time now although sales are okay and I’m still doing a bit of promo. Work has been taking up a bit of time, mainly the wife’s work in fairness but there you go. Plus most weekends recently have involved cruising up and down the country looking at puppy litters.

But I am now off work for 2 weeks. I don’t think I’ve had 2 weeks off in summer at all in the time I’ve worked in the NHS. In fairness a lot of that was because I worked with some fairly needy people who just had to have summer off every year without fail. Not missing them much I can tell you.

So what’s the plan while I’m off you might well be wondering? If you’re not wondering perhaps you’re reading the wrong blog. Well, I’m going to blog more, do more promo and this afternoon I shall be editing the sequel to The 24 Hour Jazz Café. Hurrah cried fan of the book. Believe it or not I have actually had messages from people asking about a sequel to this book so they should be delighted.

The rest of my time will be taken up looking after the latest addition to the gang here at HB Towers. Regular readers can’t fail to have noticed I may have mentioned Ralph once or twice. Well he’s here and, huge bias aside, he’s pretty awesome. Okay then, here's a photo.


Right, I’m going to crack because Wimbledon starts next week so my time will be dictated by When Roger Federer is on court. It just remains to say well done to Justin Rose for winning the US Open last night, well worth staying up for.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Puppy!

Morning gang,

After several years of pondering, months of research, weeks of emails and driving up and down the country, we have at long last picked a puppy. Ralph, the newest member of our gang, will be joining the band in two weeks and I anticipate him being the coolest dog in the world. Future blog posts may feature him and he might well appear in future novels. My family retriever, Dennis, features in a previous book, I think it's The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe.

In other news I haven't made much progress with editing the sequel to the Jazz Cafe partly because of work, partly because of dog related travel and partly because I'm idle. But I'm also pondering the next book as well which is proving to be quite the distraction. The good news is I've got half of June off work so things will progress.

Finally, on the 9th March, I emailed a submission to Juliet Pickering at Blake Friedmann and have so far received no response at all. I find this really disappointing. I know every agent will say they are busy etc but there should be an element of professionalism. I follow Carole Blake on Twitter and all her advice is about how the submission is a business contact, it should be professional. Surely some sort of acknowledgement would be professional? I'm going to email Juliet today to remind her I exist and highlight the timescale.

Right, that's me done. I'm going to spend the day adding usic to my swanky digital home network cloud thingy and browse the internet for dog related paraphenalia.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Have you been on a theatre tour?

Afternoon gang,

It's been a while I know but now I'm back. Forgiven? Cool.

Lots going on here at HB towers. We went to The Grand yesterday for a free tour with one of our nieces. Here's the twist. They'd made a mistake with the time and the chap had left. Oops. But about a dozen folk turned up wanting a tour. So a volunteer who just happened to be there for a rehearsal of Carrie's War stepped in and did an impromptu tour. Full marks to him. We got to go on the stage, underneath to the dressing rooms, learned about the history etc and it was very interesting. Needless to say elements of the tour will feature in my upcoming book.

Quick blog traffic update. 7116 views from countries including Sweden, Germany, Latvia, Hungary and Malaysia. I've also done 156 posts!

Anyway, this is another brief post in my ongoing agent adventures series. Last time I'd received my first rejection letter from Random House. That was May 29th.  July 10th brought rejection from Transworld the reason being "there's too much out there" but despite this they said "it was an enjoyable read, your style is accessible and you have a good eye for detail."

July 23rd was marked by rejection from Headline. Marion Donaldson, editor, said "I enjoyed the novel and I think Jamie writes well, but in the end I didn't love it quite enough to want to make you an offer."

My agent, Vivien, went on holiday then and returned in august. August 28th brought rejection from Little Brown. The following weeks saw rejection from Orion and Piatkus.

By this point Vivien felt she'd exhausted all avenues and just like that the dream was over. From April where they had asked to see the book, signing with the agency in May, by the end of August apparently Playground Cool, my debut novel, my MA book, was not up to scratch.

It hit me quite hard but I was convinced it was easily fixed. Book two would stun everyone, Vivien would sell it and I would be back on track. I was very wrong and I didn't react well.

More next time...

Saturday, 4 May 2013

My wife the movie star

Afternoon gang,

It's been a strange day so far. The wife is doing a 12 hour stint at work. But not because of anything work related. She's supervising a film crew who are there for the day. Knowing my wife, I'm already anticipating her being in the film and the whole thing snowballing.

Anyway, I've done very little so far. Earlier I endured Piranha DD. Great if you like loads of naked wet chicks running about being eaten by giant piranhas, not great if you've any interests beyond this. Still, I sat through it.

My ongoing project to transfer all my CDs to my hard drive plods on. But there's still about 250 to go.

I've also cleaned a bit of my cooker which is a miserable task.

Which all means no promo or writing has taken place. In fact I haven't written a damn thing for weeks. Until last night! I was about to bung a pizza in the oven about 1am. I put the oven on and spotted a strand of the wife's hair on the floor. I picked it up wondering how on earth it had got there and bang, I grabbed the nearest pen and scribbled a scene on the back of a credit card offer letter from Virgin.

The point being that you can never tell when an idea will pop into your head but that scene has got me thinking which usually means I'll start doing something soon. But until then feel free to keep buying my books as a motivator.

Right, I'm off to clean a bit more of the cooker before tea. Until next time.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Does having an agent guarantee success?

Evening gang,

Lovely evening out, sun shining etc. Here at Hest Bank Towers the sunset is always spectacular, probably why the houses cost so much. Still, keeps the riff raff out. Except for the wife and I of course!

Anyway, this is another instalment in my occasional series regarding my brushes with literary success. Last time you might recall I had just signed a contract with the Sheil Land Agency. This was in 2001.

My agent Vivien, sent Playground Cool to Kate Elton at Random House because I'd met her previously through university. On the 29th May 2001 I received the following letter.

"Oh dear, our first rejection. I didn't have a problem with Kate continuing to go back to Dave but obviously Kate did."

This is a reference to a relationship in the book which is dragged out because neither party can let it go. The letter goes on.

"...We will now get two copies out there. I'm getting one off to Diana Beaumont at Transworld and the other to Marion Donaldson at Headline.

Don't let it get you down. We all know this is a very crowded marketplace at the moment. Let's just keep at it, me with this one and you with your second book whilst I'm at it."

And there it is. My first rejection from a publisher. I don't recall how I felt, it's too long ago but I imagine I laughed it off because I really was not short on self belief. It took lots more rejections before I really felt miserable about it. In the end it got to the point where just the sight of the envelope on the mat made me feel like giving up, without even reading it. It knocks your confidence like nothing else I've experienced.

Interestingly, I was to have lots of interest from Transworld further down the line with another book but I'll tell you all about that another time.

Anyway, I've clearly stuck at it and although my sales aren't life changing the reviews are always good and it's a great feeling to know I've sold books all over the world. Just yesterday I sold a copy in Germany!

Right, that's it for now. In other news new inquests into the death of the 96 fans lost at Hillsborough will take place early next year. This in the same week that Luis Suarez receives a 10 game ban for sinking his fairly impressive teeth into the arm of a Chelsea player. Meanwhile Man Utd won their 20th league title on Monday night. Sometimes the glory days seem a long way away. But when they return nobody will be able to accuse me of being a fair weather supporter.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Luis Suarez, misconduct and context

Morning gang,

Bit of a late night, early morning scene here at Hest Bank towers. I'll doubtless spend the majority of tomorrow rueing the day but I'm not performing surgery so there should be no harm done.

Now, further to my last post about context. I've just finished a great book about the exploits of Oliver Reed, Robert Harris, Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole. Lively bunch by any measure, except their own. In the context of Richard Burton the rest were fairly lightweight. But to the majority they were all raging pissheads.

To my work colleagues I stay up very late and live like a pirate. But factor in Keith Richards and I'm a choirboy.

And so to my beloved Liverpool Football Club. Hard fought draw with Chelsea today. Screened world wide and viewed by millions. Buy all the reports, headlines, back pages and twitter trends are about Luis Suarez biting a Chelsea player. Yes, he bit someone live on Sky.

I work for the NHS. If I bit someone I'd lose my job. So would most folk. The context is, Suarez was at work. He bit a colleague, in any other job he'd be sacked. My view is that no player is bigger than the club. But we need his goals and so I fear not much will happen. A fine, a ban. On we go, horse teeth and all.

So what's my point? Nothing really, it just annoys me that the rules are different depending on who you are. If I sold a few thousand books each month rather than a few dozen, I suspect I could bite someone too.

In other news this blog had 57 views from the Philippines just this week. It's got virus written all over it.

Night

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

What matters to you?

Evening gang,

This post is all about context. On any given day any number of things assume importance to us. Choosing the right outfit for work. Doing a sixth version of a report for the board. Picking something nice for tea. Watching your favourite tele programme. We've all been there so you know how that goes.

A former colleague used to say to me, usually after one of my rants about work, that it didn't matter. That none of it mattered. So someone complains, we try harder, say sorry, it will all be there tomorrow. His old man fought in the war, wandered through the remains of French towns hoping he didn't stumble across a tank full of Germans.

It's an extreme example but it makes my point. My wife lives and breathes her job. Me? Not so much. Writing stories matters most to me. Yet to most folk, that's a hobby, trivial.

It's all about context. Explosions at the Boston marathon. Dreadful. And yesterday was the anniversary of Hillsborough which by any measure was horrific. Obviously tragic events like these are important, they matter. But they also make the small stuff matter too. Without something to ground us, or give us hope, what have we?

Tragic events shape us, polarise opinion, but we need the happy endings, the survivors, criminals caught, justice for families lost at a football match, to give us hope, so we don't stop trying.

It's trite but that's why I write stories. They are my justice, how I right wrongs and make sense of the dark stuff. That and gin, obviously.

So to end on a lighter note, here is a review of my latest novel. I found it on Amazon tonight. It's short, but good and it makes what I do matter so there's more chance I'll keep doing it. So to everyone who has bought, read, reviewed and enjoyed my books. Thank you. It matters to me.

"This is the third of Mr Sinclair's books I have bought.
In my opinion, this is his best yet.
The book has three elements, a romance an official cover up and the hunt for a killer.
The author weaves these threads into an interesting and engaging story.

One of this writers great strengths, is the creation of realistic and believable characters.
I almost felt, as though I knew, some of the people, who populate "The Trust".

Sunday, 31 March 2013

I've got an agent!

Or at least I did in 2001.

Evening gang.

So, to carry on my recent theme of thrilling you all with my literary adventures, let's pop back to 2001 again.

We had established that I received interest in Playground Cool from two agencies. I can only assume that Sheil Land responded quicker or with more enthusiasm. I received a letter from them on April 20th thanking me for the manuscript and asking more about me.

By April 24th I received a two page letter. Here are some highlights:

"I'm glad you're a fella because I think there are just too many women writers out there writing this sort of book."

"Because it is an overcrowded marketplace I can honestly only think of about five or six realistic places."

Then there are a couple of editorial advice type paragraphs suggesting tweaks and then the agent, Vivien Green, asked how I knew Kate Elton. The answer was I didn't but I had met her once via Sophie Hannah at university. She was, from memory, an editor at Arrow books so Vivien suggested approaching her as an option. Made sense to play on the link I suppose.

I must have made the necessary changes because by May 9th to say she liked the changes and that the book works well. More highlights:

"...there are a mass of contemporary living books out there and whilst I do think yours is very good for a first novel it isn't SO very different from all the others,"

"I'm selling books from £1500 to six figures. To be brutally honest I don't think yours will be at the latter end of that scale. It isn't that there is something wrong with yours it's just that there is a mass out there."

She then describes her strategy which includes saying "I genuinely enjoyed it and that you are a good writer and that this is hopefully the first of many and that both Sophie Hannah and Michael Schmidt think you are talented and promotable."

She enclosed the contract for signature and that was it. I had an agent for my first book, at the first attempt and I thought I was amazing. Next time we'll cover the rejections...

Thursday, 28 March 2013

How close have you come to achieving your dream?

Evening gang,

This is going to a slightly different blog post. It might even end up being a bit of a series. Here at Sinclair Towers we've been decorating and moving things round. I found a pile of old rejection letters amongst the crap. But I also found several letters proclaiming interest in my books and my letters from the Sheil Land Agency where they agreed to represent me.

Reading these made me realise how close I came to a totally different path. Had just one of these letters led to a publishing deal then the following ten or eleven years might have been very different.

So let's jump back to the beginning, almost. In April 2001 I was about to graduate with an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester. I had written my first novel, Playground Cool, and I was utterly convinced a book deal was mine to have. I was 24.

I remember asking Sophie Hannah, now a very well respected crime writer, how to approach agents. I sent off a few letters and some extracts of the book. Straight off the bat I received a letter from Viven Green at Sheil Land.

"Thank you very much for the chance of reading your sample material. I'd be very happy to read the rest of it if you'd like to send it in with return postage - just in case"

That was April 11th. I was over the moon. Then on April 17th I got another letter from Sarah Molloy at the AM Heath agency.

"Thank you for letting me read the opening chapters of Playground Cool. I'd be happy to read the rest of the typescript and look forward to reading the rest of the material in due course"

Short, to the point, interested in my book. It only fuelled my youthful arrogance.  Two agents interested in a week and everyone at the university in Manchester was telling me my book was great. After all I'd just got an MA for writing it.

I'll tell you what happened next in another post.

But it was all good, at least at first!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

What have you achieved today?

Afternoon gang,

My answer to the above question is not much. But I've only been out of bed for about 90 minutes so time is on my side.

But this post isn't really about that. It's about what any of us hope to achieve, our goals, targets, call it what you will. Some folk are happy enough to get up, or not, and that's enough for them. I fondly imagine these people to be among the happiest since they are not burdened by the frustration of failure and a goal not yet achieved.

My wife, God love her, is consumed by targets, despite my best efforts to expel them from her by various means including drink, trips out to drink, going to the theatre and having a drink or watching films with a drink. She's all about the goals and when she fails to achieve one it's the end of the world.

Her goals are career based which is lovely. It's her salary which initially secured us the large 5 bedroom house with games room, cinema and library from where I currently type these words (It also has fantastic sea views and is handy for the beach, yours for about 300k if you're looking to move). But that's not to say I lack ambition. I have zero career motivation at all which won't shock those who know me but might upset my boss if she ever stumbles across this, especially since I've recently been promoted into a very well paid job. All my motivation is around books, writing, publication. But at the root of this is the need to leave some sort of legacy, some evidence I existed, that there was some point to me being here at all. An office job is never going to achieve that, regardless of the salary.

It's a discussion I've had with friends over the years, some who do very little except get up, mooch and go to bed. Some who have awesome careers and earn vast somes. Some of them are happy, some are not. I'm at my happiest when writing and it's one of the few things I see any point in doing. As such my failure to achieve huge sales and a traditional book deal is the root of my supposed failure to achieve.

That said, I was having this very discussion with colleagues at work last week. We were talking about birthdays as one of them just turned 40. I said I hoped to achieve something by the time I was 40. He said "You earn loads, you're a published author who sells books all over the world and you have three degrees. What more do you want?"

I suppose when you look at it like that I've achieved a lot. And yet it's nowhere near enough. In my mind it's always been about a best seller, top of the New York Times list etc. But what if I achieve that and that's not enough either? Keeps me awake at night, I kid you not. Of course the gin helps with that.

Anyay, to return to the topic. So far today I have achieved a new 5* review of my new book The Trust. As ever I'm thrilled and have pasted the review in below for those too idle to go look for it.

"This is a complex web of a story which centres on a North West of England hospital trust. An old mental hospital site is being redeveloped and corpses are turning up in quantity. One of the police on the case, and a young woman working for the Trust in the equipment store become involved with one another. They both have issues and back stories which make the relationship a rather dynamic one! Her mother was once a patient at this hospital. Young women in the town have been going missing over a period of a year or more. Police suspect a serial killer. As you can see, there’s a huge amount going on in this story and it’s well handled so that you aren’t sinking into a morass of loose ends but their stories weave in and out of one another in a very engaging way.

Jamie Sinclair has a gift for creating characters you feel involved with. Love or detest them, there’s a lot going on in their lives and you want to know more. I very much enjoyed reading this story. It was well paced and full of intrigue. I did actually guess the identity of the serial killer before the end but I admit I’d had several other candidates in mind before that one and I enjoyed seeing how and why he had turned out that way. The ending was great too. A five star read if ever there was one."

Friday, 8 March 2013

Oh no! More rejection

Afternoon gang,

I'm off work today! Yay. I'm also off work on Monday! Long weekend. Yay!

Regular readers will know that I submitted an extract of my latest novel to the Ampersand agency. I was prepared for weeks of waiting and wondering. Thankfully, owing to being busy at work and their swift response, I haven't had to wait long.

In fact I received a pleasantly brief rejection email on the 5th of March. In fairness it didn't really register as I've got lots going on at the moment. But, because I don't learn and because I'm just that determined, I'm going to send the same piece to Carole Blake at Blake Friedmann. I follow her on Twitter so I know she reads the stuff she recieves and she is often quite vocal about some of the crap she receives.

In other news, for reasons unknown, sales have slumped a little this week. It's odd because I've been a bit more active on the promo front recently but things will pick up. They always do.

A highlight this week was being asked to sign a paperback copy of The Trust by a former colleague. Some have suggested said individual might be the basis of a character in the book. That's not strictly true. The character in question is based on an American chap. That said, as with all the characters in my books they are grounded in reality so draw your own conclusions when you buy a copy.

Right, that's all for now. Sandwich, haircut, painting etc etc

Monday, 4 March 2013

How important is a good review?

More so than you might think.

Evening gang! Just a quick one tonight because I didn't go to bed until 4AM and I had a busy, but productive, day at work.

Obviously a good review will do no harm in terms of sales etc and I've been very lucky that all my reviews have been brilliant. However, that's not what I'm on about.

The vast majority of Indie authors dream of making it big. Millions of pounds, bestsellers, perhaps an appearance on the Review Show on the BBC and a successful TV adaptation. But then we can't all be Ian Rankin!

The average Indie author, like me, works full time at the day job and writes in any spare time. I sell a couple of dozen copies a month, my paperbacks largely exist for my own satisfaction and to give to my mum and it's unlikely I'm going to end up rich and famous unless I get very lucky.

So when I receive a good review, espeically a really good one, it means a lot because that's the reward for all the effort. I've just received such a review and I was so impressed I decided to include the full exchange. It took place between two members of the Goodreads website, both of whom have read my books.

Member 1: This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me being as I make no secret of being a bit of a fan of "our Jamie" but here's my opinion/review of his latest book...

I have read all of this author's books and, although most of them have been outside my usual genre of choice, I have enjoyed them all. Now this book IS my usual read so I started it knowing that it had a bit to live up to to satisfy me.
And boy did it... Once again the characters came across so real that I reckon this author does more than his fair share of people watching! The background and description are kept to the right amount, enough to support the story but not too much that they take the reader's attention away from it.
There are a few story-lines running through the book - multiple bodies unearthed, abuse in asylums, euthanasia and, if that wasn't enough, the author throws in a serial killer too. All these stories are quite major and there could have been a danger that there was too much going on in the book but the author manages very successfully to keep it balanced and juggles the stories throughout to give completely satisfactory conclusions.
I am not sure if this is stand alone or if we will be seeing Rhiannon and Tom in future books, I for one would like that very much.   

Member 2:  I knew you'd say this. As soon as I've caught up I shall be following in your footsteps - again!

Member 1: He has excelled himself this time for sure :) well I think so anyway!
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did Ignite.

Member 2:   I've always enjoyed all I've read of Jamie's work. He's got a way with him, you might say!   

Member 1:   He has indeed, especially considering all his books are very different styles/genres...

That's all for now folks.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Is the NHS too big to fix?

Evening gang,

In answer to the above question I've posed my own opinion is yes. But that doesn't mean folk shouldn't try. Most of you won't have read (or even be aware) of the recent Francis report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. It hasn't received much news coverage because we've got carried away with horse meat being found in some foods but it's worth a read.

The thing is, I work in the NHS and I'm a fan of it but it's a shambles. But that's not because of the majority of folk working within it, we're just so bloody tied up with rules, regulations, targets and sodding cost savings that bugger all gets done. Of course, that's just my opinion and not that of my employer. Don't want to upset anyone and get hauled into teachers office!

But, in more book related news, my new 5* crime thriller The Trust is also linked to the NHS. Largely through the allegations of patient abuse in a long closed mental asylum and the suggestion that a group of well meaning but misguided employees might be carrying out euthanasia on patients in their care. Madness! But worth a look.

In other news I'm back at work on Monday after a week off so I intend to stay up late tonight drinking ale, eating pizza and either watching a film or mooching on the Xbox. I might struggle to sleep anyway since the wife mentioned in passing that she might fancy moving house! There is a lovely house up the road from here with a indoor pool. It's a steal at just 1.8 million. I'm not sure that's what she's got in mind though. We'll see how this develops. Don't tell the wife but if we can find an awesome house, in a nice area that means we can be well on the way to being mortgage free then I'm on board.

Anyway, things to do. Book is selling well, but never well enough so dive in and tell your friends.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

First review of The Trust!!

Hi gang,

My new book The Trust has received it's first review. It's a 5 * job as well which is nice. For them that can't be bothered to click the link and read it, I've pasted it in below:

I have read all of this author's books and, although most of them have been outside my usual genre of choice, I have enjoyed them all. Now this book IS my usual read so I started it knowing that it had a bit to live up to to satisfy me.
And boy did it... Once again the characters came across so real that I reckon this author does more than his fair share of people watching! The background and description are kept to the right amount, enough to support the story but not too much that they take the reader's attention away from it.
There are a few story-lines running through the book - multiple bodies unearthed, abuse in asylums, euthanasia and, if that wasn't enough, the author throws in a serial killer too. All these stories are quite major and there could have been a danger that there was too much going on in the book but the author manages very successfully to keep it balanced and juggles the stories throughout to give completely satisfactory conclusions.
I am not sure if this is stand alone or if we will be seeing Rhiannon and Tom in future books, I for one would like that very much.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

What inspired The Trust?

Evening gang,

Really quick one tonight because there's Champions League on right now and The Brits on the other channel.

A few folk have speculated as to the inspiration behind some scenes in my new book, and also the inspiration for some of the characters. As I've said before, The Trust is based on real events and real people so here's some info.

First of all the places. Moorcastle asylum in the book is actually the Moor Hospital in Lancaster. If you Google it there's lot's of info but here's a link to get you going.

http://www.azubi.co.uk/Moor/Hospital.html

Whittingham Hospital also plays a part, more for it's background than a specific role in the plot. Here's more links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whittingham_Hospital

This link covers more of the alleged abuse: http://www.whittinghamhospital.co.uk/The_Inquiry.html

And some more info: http://www.jarrelook.co.uk/Urbex/Whittingham%20Asylum/Whittingham.htm

Finally here's some stuff about our serial killer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Brudos

http://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/brudos-jerome.htm

http://crime.about.com/od/serial/a/jerry_brudos.htm

There's lots, lots more about all of this on the internet if you look for it. But having just had another look at the Jerry Brudos info I'm not sure my book is gruesome enough. Dark times.

Anyway, that's all for now. Have a look at the info, then read the book, it'll give you more perspective on the plot.

Night...

Monday, 18 February 2013

It's a Good Life

Evening gang,

Short one tonight because it's Monday and I'm tired because I was up until 3AM watching House of Cards on Netflix.

Richard Briers has died! Bloody shame because he was just really, really good at what he did. Serious stuff, the odd villain and of course The Good Life. Hopefully there will be plenty of his work screened in tribute.

In other news Liverpool were awesome yesterday which helped start the week right. And I've submitted an extract of The Trust to the Ampersand Agency. I'll keep you informed but we all know how it will end up.

Finally, I've tweaked the blurb for the new book. Shorter, tighter, better I think. Check it out:

"When a number of bodies are unearthed on the grounds of Moorcastle asylum in the historic city of Lancaster, ambitious young detective Tom Ashton quickly realises there is a link to the hastily arranged disposal of anthrax infected bodies from experiments conducted in 1942 by the Ministry of Defence on the west coast of Scotland.

Horrendous and unprecedented as this discovery is, this is not the heart of the book’s mystery. It quickly becomes apparent that far darker secrets lie buried on the site of the old asylum. Evidence is gathered pointing to abuse of patients within the asylum while Rhiannon Saxby, an employee of the Trust, has reason to believe a number of her colleagues are involved in a secret society which is playing God with the lives of patients. Her situation is made all the more difficult as her own mother was a patient at Moorcastle. Meanwhile Tom must also contend with the discovery of a body in the river and the very real possibility that a serial killer may be at work in the town. As the investigation progresses and the pressure increases Tom is certain of just one thing. The Trust is at the centre of it all."
 
That's all for tonight gang. Have a good night.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Press Release and Blog Update

Afternoon folks,

Just a quick one today because the sun is shining so we're going out for a walk on the beach shortly.

If you look at the top of the page you'll see other pages offering info about me along with pages about some of my books. Are you looking? Excellent. I've just added a new one called The Trust. What's in there then? I'm glad you ask. It's a free extract of my new book the sole purpose of which is to tempt you into buying a copy. Go and have a look, it's free!

If you're still reading it means you've no interest in the free extract in which case I might as well mention the nifty press release I've done for the new book as well. That too only has one purpose. Not grapsed what that is? Well then there's no hope for you. Either way, here's another link for those that missed the first one at the start of the paragraph.

Time and effort allowing I'm going to add extracts of the rest of my books to this blog later on today but regular readers will know I'm full of big talk which so often has no substance. Such is life.

Right, that's it for now. Livepool vs Swansea at 3PM for those that enjoy comedy.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

How much is too much?

Afternoon loyal and faithful reader,

With a view to trying to stay on topic for once I'm going to open with some stats. This blog has now had over 5400 views which I think is superb given the drivel I come out with. So thank you to everyone who has made the effort, and especially those who come back for a repeat visit.

I don't promote the blog, or anything else, much which brings me to the question. How much is too much? The wife often complains she drinks too much, she's convinced I do too. But we both get up for work every day, work pretty long hours and I've never felt impaired to any degree. We saw a couple of regulars in the local pub during the week and they could hardly stand up. I sank a few pints, had some tea (which was lovely as ever), went home to bed, got up the next day and did it all again. Just as an aside, because we're both earning a fair bit at the moment we've been eating out more. I did some rough maths and it turns out we've spent over 200 quid in the local in the last fortnight. Too much?

I'm also still obsessed with House of Cards on Netflix. Despite a busy week at work I stayed up until 3AM and watched another 3 episodes. Too much? Maybe, but I like it so where's the harm?

Which brings me to book promotion for the Indie author. I don't do much. I never have. I find time to write and publish. I don't have much time to post link after link on any number of websites in the hope I sell one more book. But I'm aware of plenty of folk who spend literally hours each day doing just that. Good luck to them but I'd rather be doing the things I've mentioned above.

Besides, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that readers get fed up of incessant promo. Twitter and Facebook feeds are clogged with blurbs and links and events and offers, few of which I read. So why would anyone read mine let alone buy the book?

I haven't stumbled across a perfect strategy, I maintain that dumb luck and quality are pretty much the biggest factors in gaining success. So in terms of how much is too much I don't know. Everyone is different. I like a few ales every night, it works for me. Some folk might not, others might want to drink until they fall over. Go for it.

If you want to promote your book all day every day, have at it. But don't get upset if I delete your tweets or block you etc. Free world and all that.

Equally, and here I'm talkng to the wife, if I want to stay up until 3AM again getting my fix of House of Cards with a pizza and a bottle of ale, go with it. Look at it this way, if someone breaks in at least I'm up and ready to roll/hide in the downstairs toilet.

Anyway, enough rambling. Feedback on new book The Trust has been largely positive so far and it continues to sell well. I've even done a press release for it which won't do any harm. I'm off work next week so I'm going to start editing the follow up to The 24 Hour Jazz cafe and possibly decorate the wife's music practice room too.

Valentine's day was a success. Cards were exchanged, sparkly alcohol and a particularly pleasant Indian take-away were consumed to a back drop of Liverpool losing for the second time in a week. Tedious.

Speaking of football, there's some FA Cup on right now so I'm going to make a brew and check some scores before doing just a little bit of promo for the new book. Not too much though.