Monday, 31 March 2014

Do you want another free book? Can Liverpool win the title?

Evening gang,

Been a busy time. First off this blog has been viewed over 12,000 times. Big deal indeed.
As we reach the point where Amazon reset the sales counters for April, I can report my books have been downloaded over 4500 times this month. Of these approx. 300 are real paid for sales which had left me with royalties of well over £250 for the month. Not life changing but a big deal to me.

Of these profits and the sales, the vast, overwhelming majority of books sold is The Trust. Why? No idea. Am I pleased? What do you think?

The book signing went really well. Sold 13 books, all signed, did a reading, people clapped and stayed for the full 2 hours. On the back of it I've booked 3 more events in late May over three consecutive nights. Woo! Details to follow.

The weekend was fun. The wife and I bought two new cars. VW Golf. Quick way to spend 40 grand. Still, she's happy. Then on Sunday I went to Anfield to watch my beloved Liverpool go top of the league by demolishing Spurs. Bottom line is this. Six games to go. Win them, win the league for the first time in a quarter of a century. It's consuming me and I might well cry like a girl if it happens.

Finally, since the last promo delivered such tangible results I'm doing another. From this Friday (4th April) my new book Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths will be FREE for the weekend. Tell your friends, get a copy and review it.

Bed time.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Supporting local animal charities


If you read this blog, or follow me on FB and Twitter you'll know my dog Ralph was hurt today. He's lost part of his right ear and is spending the night at the vets. The wife is beside herself and we're both missing him being here. But he's lucky because we can afford the bills and the time to look after him.

Plenty of dogs, and other animals, aren't so lucky. So for the next 7 days (at least) I'm donating all proceeds from my book sales to two charities local to where I live. Their websites are:

I do this for no other reason than I'm worried about my dog and this will make me feel better. If you'd rather not play along then just have a look at a dog charity near you and donate to them, simple as.

Either way, just so folk don't misinterpret this, I'm not going to post about it again. Either way, I'll donate what there is in the pot, and if it goes well I might just keep doing it. Whatever, have a look at the websites, your next dog might be on there waiting for you.


LIke a scene from a Scorcese movie

Afternoon gang,

So today began in perfect fashion. Stayed in bed until mid morning, full English breakfast, wife made fish pie for tea. All good.

Sales still superb for The Trust, royalties on way too and it's a decent sum too, for the first time ever.

The sun is shining so we took the dog to an off the lead walking area in nearby Heysham to let him run round. He was having a great time, playing with a few other dogs, all good. Then we got to a pond where a chap was with his dog. He warned us all that his dog wasn't friendly so I and the other dog owners started trying to get hold of our dogs. At that point I heard our dog yelp and run off. Long story short we ended up at the vets with the wife in tears. I think the photos sum it up.

Anyway, Ralph is totally fine. He wanted to keep playing with his other dog chums but as you can see there was a lot of blood. The vet has just rung to say he's come round from the operation. They've trimmed and stitched his ear and we can pick him up tomorrow. Given that it's Sunday, operation and overnight, this is going to cost a fortune. But could be worse.

Luckily this week's royalty will take a chunk out of the bill so extra thanks to everyone who has bought a copy, good timing!! Sadly I'd just got a quote for new Mercedes so I think that might have to wait until next month unless the book sales really take off.

Either way, it's been an eventful day. People do tend to steer clear of you when you're walking down the street with a dog covered in blood while you are also covered in blood.

What's the secret to successful book sales?

Morning gang,

The sun is shining here at HB Towers and the view across the bay is a reminder of why the houses here are so damned expensive. Today's' plan, after the Full English breakfast which the wife is preparing as I type this, is to take the dog for a tour of a doggy day care facility nearby. If he like it, we'll be leaving him there for a couple of days next week. If he hates, we might take him anyway.

After that, depending on the mood, we are going to test drive a couple of cars with a view to getting two new ones. We're just pondering the adult sensible option of getting two average, but well though of Fords, or chucking logic out of the window and me buying a Mercedes or an audi. The wife is being very patient as she knows I am essentially still a child and don't really understand that we might need the money for other things later on.

I want to be home by tea time because Federer is playing tennis today and you know how I like to watch Roger.

Quick blog update. As of today this blog has received 11786 views which is nice. It's only got about 33 subscribers though so there's work to be done.

As part of a project to relaunch all my paperbacks - I want them all to look the same i.e. be recognisable as my books - I have reformatted The Trust and decided to ponder a new cover, which is below. Do we like? The wife prefers the existing cover.

 Speaking of The Trust, it continues to amaze me. I woke up this morning to find it had climbed to number 14 in the crime thriller best seller chart on Amazon. If you follow me on FB and Twitter you'll be sick of the continuous and very excited posts about chart positions, accompanied by screenshots. But as I've said before, I've never sold this many copies of one book in such a short time so it's huge for me.

I've had a few days to reflect on this and decided there is no formula to it. The Trust has been available since Feb 2013. It generally sells a few copies each month as do all my books. I've done free promos before, you get a few hundred downloads, a small sales spike afterwards and then back to normal. So when I decided to do a promo for The Trust last week that's all I was expecting. But then it was downloaded over 4000 times in two days and went to number one in three countries. That was different.

Then the sales spike. Nothing in America. That's a bit different because I'd expect to see a few sales. But in the UK I did shift a few which was normal. Then a few more, and now, almost a week on the spike continues. That's not normal. I think a lot of it is down to visibility, though I'm guessing as I don't buy digital books. Since the book managed to get into the top 20 it has become more visible. Amazon display their best seller lists 20 per page. Most folk don't look beyond page 1. The people buying The Trust don't know me, and they only have the front cover and the blurb to go off before buying. But it's on the first page so that immediately tells a reader that plenty of other folk much be buying that book so it must be good, right?

I don't know. As I say this is new territory and I know enough writers to know that if we could figure out the formula for success we wouldn't all have day jobs.

As a test of this latest formula, when sales have levelled off a bit, and they will, I'm going to do a free promo for my new book Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths. It'll either take off or it won't.

Right, best crack on, breakfast is ready, the wife is also making a fish pie for tea!!!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

How do you know when you've achieved success?

Morning all,

Staying up late tonight despite being shattered. I'm off work for a week so I intend to make the most of it. Stay up late, drink ale, watch sport, sleep until lunchtime.

Sport - Fevered is continuing his awesome 2014 with some great tennis in Miami. If it looks like he might be gonna get anywhere near winning Wimbledon I'll gladly pay foolish amounts of money to get a ticket. Foolish amounts!!

Car news. Wife and I been pondering a second car, a new car, some sort of car related purchase for a while. Finally got quote from Ford and have booked a test drive next week. But, being an idiot, I've also got a quote for a Mercedes C250 AMG Sport. We shall see.

Also, confirmed date for tenant to move into house. Apologies if I've mentioned that before, there's lots going on. April 10th!

Now, book news. Regular readers will know that, for some reason, my crime thriller The Trust is selling well. In fact as of this evening it is outselling the mighty James Patterson on Amazon. In fact, it's in the top 1000 best selling books overall on Amazon. In Crime thrillers it's at number 19 which means it's on the much desired first page of results. Check this out:

#19 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Crime
#35 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Mystery > Police Procedural
#40 in Books > Crime, Thrillers & Mystery > Police Procedurals
All very pleasing, even more surprising. It won't last but I'll enjoy it while it does.

Night, and thanks to everyone (and there's a lot of you) who has bought copies. If you have a paperback, bring it to the signing next week and I'll scribble on it for you.

Friday, 21 March 2014

How important is praise?

Evening gang,

Been a hell of a week so far.

So, praise. Depends on the individual I suppose. Everyone likes to be told they've done well. Boosts morale, adds value etc, makes you less likely to snap and kill someone.

Today a colleague came into my office. I assumed he was there to talk about work stuff. But no. We went out at Christmas for lunch with a few others. We got talking about my books and he asked me to recommend one for him. He likes crime stuff, but mainly American authors. I suggested The 24 Hour Jazz Café. He bought the paperback.

He came to find me today to say that he's 50 pages from the end and he loves it. Told his wife about me apparently. Said I have an amazing talent and he can't believe I'm still working where I do. This chap has no reason to lie, we only met a few months ago and he's pretty direct as a rule. I write because I love it, because there are so very many stories to tell and because I want others to read those stories. So for someone to say such positive things about something I created means a lot.

In other news, The Trust continues to sell well on the back of the wildly successful free giveaway. It's hovering around the top 50 bestsellers on Amazon UK in proper sales which is superb.

But despite all this, my mind is consumed by the fact that I have one more day at work and then I'm off for a week. Plus Liverpool play Cardiff on Saturday which is a must win, and then it's Sunderland on Wednesday which I'm hoping I might get a ticket for.

Plans for the week off? Bit of work on the new book. Lots of bed, Lots of Tele and Xbox. Season 2 of House of Cards is top of the list on Netflix.

Right, quick gin then bed.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Are you big in Germany?


Another quick phone based update. My free giveaway for The Trust is almost over. I'll post a final tally later but it looks like the book will have been downloaded close to 4000 times since Monday. Not bad.

It peaked at number 3 in America. It's been number 1 here in the UK since yesterday and, surprisingly, it is also number 1 in Germany!

Obviously I'm pleased. It has already led to a kick in sales but what I'm after is reviews. If just 1% make the effort that 40 reviews of the book. Fingers crossed and thanks to everyone who grabbed a copy.

Finally, the new paperback version of Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths is out now and looks superb. It's about 7 quid to buy in the UK but we'll worth it if you don't do digital.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Are you number 1 on Amazon?

Just me then. Quick pre bed blog. As of just now my book The Trust is the number 1 most downloaded crime novel on amazon. Here's picture proof before I stagger off to bed.

I'm like a kid at Christmas

Evening gang,

Blogging from the pub tonight. Talking to the manager about Liverpool battering Man Utd. He's being very philosophical about it.

Anyway, quick update. The paperback of Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths arrived today and looks superb. I'll be launching it properly this week.

Also, my book The Trust is currently free on kindle. But only until tomorrow. In the first 24 hours it's been downloaded 2000 times all over the world. Mainly the UK and USA but also France, Spain, Germany, India, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Not bad by any measure. It's still stuck at number 2 in the Amazon chart though!!

Finally, my other book (I have several) is still free on Story Cartel. If you review it, there's a prize draw to win an amazon gift card.

So, to recap. Plenty of books available, paperback or digital, anywhere you live. If you can read, dive in.

Right, best get another ale and have some tea.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Do you want one of my books for free?

Good, well now you can.

While my Jazz Café promo is ongoing, I have also decided to do a separate free promo for one of my other books. The Trust is a crime thriller set in the UK around the National Health Service. The good bit is that it's based on real events. The serial killer was a particularly nasty American fellow. The asylum scenes are taken from news reports, as are the bits about government testing and the bodies they found later. All I did was create characters to tell that story.

Worth a look for free? I think so. If you do get a copy a review would be great as they're hard to come by. Just dash over to Amazon before Wednesday 17th. So far today over 500 people already have a copy. People from all over the globe including Germany, France, Canada and Australia, as well as the UK and US. Silly to miss out, go grab a copy.

So far The Trust is hovering nicely near the top of the most downloaded books charts on and as you can see from these screenshots. Be nice if they hovered a little higher.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Can you predict the future?

Evening gang,

Yes, you can. To an extent. In that if it rains you know you're gonna get wet. If you fall down the stairs you know it will hurt and if you win the lottery you know you'll abandon your friends, move away, get a big house and so on.

But otherwise no, we cannot predict a damn thing. Only last week on this very blog I was suggesting that Chelsea might have a hand on the premier league title. A week on and they've lost at Villa. As a Liverpool fan this is wildly exciting as all of a sudden winning the title for the first time in a generation is back in Liverpool's hands. Yes, you still have to favour Man City and Chelsea, but in terms of fixtures, goal difference and just pure heart, Liverpool have a shot. And it's so exciting I struggle to put it into words, but if you're a football fan, a Liverpool fan, you get it.

Bottom line is this. If we keep winning, beat Chelsea and City at Anfield and the title is ours. I've danced around this for months but, if we beat United tomorrow at Old Trafford then I'm officially going to start to believe we might do it. If we beat Chelsea at Anfield then we might even be labelled favourites. Didn't think I'd be considering that this season.

Anyway, the paperback has been reformatted and is ready for launch. Hopefully I'll have copies of Ballroom, Bars and Seawater baths in my possession ready for the book launch on the 29th of this month. If not, then it's just me hanging about by an empty table in a hotel.

Also, big step, The 24 Hour Jazz Café is now listed by Waterstones. Woo. That's step two of my three step plan complete. Next step is to somehow get an account with Gardner's books. They are the sole supplier to Waterstones high street shops. If I can get an account there, I can approach Waterstones to stock my books. Then I can ask to do a signing in my local branch etc. We shall see. The aim is to have all my paperbacks listed with them this year and, hopefully, get them into the stores as well.

Quick tennis update. Federer's 2014 resurgence continues which is ace if you're a fan like I am. He has the most points on tour this year and is in another final tomorrow. If he wins, he's back in the top 4. At 33. Best player ever. Simple as.

Finally, and I know I've mentioned this already. There are just 5 days left of my Story Cartel promo. So, if you want a FREE copy of The 24 Hour Jazz Café you simply have to go there and download it. If you commit to a review you might win a $10 amazon gift card. There's a prize draw for that bit. The reviews are a big deal to an Indie author as it add credibility and further promo. SO since the book is free, I'd appreciate the effort.

That's it for now, apart from a reminder that bits of my next book are available to read over at Wattpad should you be curious.

Carry on....

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Fancy reading my new book on Wattpad?

Evening all,

Short one tonight. First off, Chelsea looking like they might have a finger or two on the premier league title. Liverpool realistically need to win every remaining game and still need Chelsea to slip up. Huge ask. But of course it's Liverpool so we dare to believe.

Anyway, the book signing approaches at pace so I've been editing the paperback today. Very nearly there. If you want to know more about it, meet me and have a free cake, then I'll see you at the Headway Hotel on the 29th.

If crime thrillers written by blokes aren't you're bag, then how about fantasy written by a woman? Frion Farrell will be my companion on the day, reading from her debut novel and generally making sure all goes well.

Finally, Wattpad. I've just added another 3000 word chunk of my upcoming novel FEAR to Wattpad for you read for free. If you've not been to the site before, the first two chunks are there too. Hope you enjoy, it's nothing like any of my other books. I'm diverse like that.

Right, that's it for tonight. No more writing, promo or anything. I will now be drinking ale and watching films and dabbling on the Xbox until the small hours.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Did you know it's World Book Day?

Evening gang,

Chances are, if you've got kids you know all about it because they went to school dressed as characters from books today.

There's no downside to it, anything that gets kids into books and reading has got to be good. One really good aspect is that the kids get a book token to redeem against one of the World Book Day books.

In a shameless effort to piggy back on this idea, I'm offering free copies of one of my books. The 24 Hour Jazz Café is currently available for free over at Story Cartel. If you leave a review you might also win a $10 Amazon gift card which you could redeem on books!! You see what I did there?

So, free book. That's the deal.

In other news Frion Farrell and I have had our first planning meeting for our upcoming book signing event. It will take place between 10 and 12 on Saturday 29th March at the Headway Hotel on Morecambe promenade. We're going to be reading from our books, talking about them and how we used Morecambe and the surrounding area as the setting. We will also answer any questions you might have.

It's a free event and we're even throwing in coffee and cake in the hope people will feel obligated to buy a book or two. Spread the word. We're having a banner, posters, the lot. When the design is ready to go to the printers I'll upload it here as well. Woo!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Can we start to dream now?

Evening gang,

I ask this question just as Liverpool score their second goal. A goal which will likely see them jump to second in the Premier League, just four points behind Chelsea. There are ten games left to play, Chelsea have to visit Anfield. But Liverpool lack depth of squad, have no experience of winning the league, Chelsea have all of the above.

So, in terms of the league, I'm not quite allowing myself to believe, yet that Liverpool can win the title. Champions League spot? Nailed on now. Just keep ticking off the games, and we'll see. But God it's exciting.

In other sports news. Federer, remember him? My favourite tennis player, bit old now? Well he beat Djokovic to get to the final in Dubai and then, this afternoon, he won that final. Big stuff indeed.

Which brings me to my writing. I've started more aggressive promotion this year, backing myself by spending money on promotion. I think I've done as much as I can for free with Facebook, Twitter, this blog etc. If I want to sell a lot of books, especially in America, I need to outlay some cash.

My first effort, a very cheap Kindleboards promo, was crap. 1 sale, not worth the effort. So, the new plan is to build reviews, as many as I can. This will open up other promo options that rely on volume of reviews. Story Cartel seems popular and seems to deliver. It's also pretty cheap just in case it doesn't work.

Bottom line, for $30 dollars they offer my book for free, those who want a copy have to leave an email address so I can contact them (with more promo stuff) and, if they leave a review, they get entered into a prize draw to get a $10 Amazon gift card. Fingers crossed. I've started with The 24 Hour Jazz Café. If it works, I'll add my other books.

I've also got in excess of 56,000 words of the next book written so that's a bonus. I'll be lobbing that online shortly.

Anyway, I'd best get back to the football. Spread the word, free book, Story Cartel.