Monthly Archives: February 2014

Adventures in writing…what happens when social media doesn’t work?

It’s almost March already. I can’t believe it, can you?

Where did February go?

Do you often find yourself asking these questions? I do, all the time. And it happens with books too. I had an arrangement with a local market-holder to stock some of my books, so I ordered a few. When they arrived I half-heartedly picked one up and leafed through. I began to read, and was hooked! Had I actually written this? I couldn’t remember. Eighty thousand words, where did I find the time?


Well, as for February, it was pretty crud. Things got the better of me. I’m in a job I no longer love and I’m stuck in a country I want to get out of. To do that I need a job, and I can’t get one. I’m too old. I posted some of my feelings on FaceBook (which is not to be recommended, and in the cold light of day I was an idiot to do so) and fairly soon people were telling me I am depressed and should go to the doctor’s for some medication.

Dear God.

Me, on medication…FOR DEPRESSION.

No thanks.

The whole point is, I am fairly hacked off with all this publishing business. Note publishing NOT writing. I’m not self-published, by the way. I don’t ever want to be. I have nothing against self-published authors, but the sudden explosion of such authors has had a negative impact. Some are good, I concede that. BUT, there are hundreds of thousands of folk out there who believe all they have to do is sit in front of a keyboard and bash out any old gloop in order to earn a million. This has done irreparable damage to all of us. Readers, a discerning bunch, are now wary of ‘new’ writers. Too many badly written, and dreadfully edited, self-published books are out there. So, trying to break through is virtually impossible. All you can really do is write GOOD books, a lot of books. Keep going and try…

I write and submit to agents and independents. Some of them have seen something in what I do to offer me a contract. And here comes the reason for my current low, which I touched on last time but want to go into further detail here – one of my publishers has refused to publish the sequel to another work because the sales have not been so good.

I was crushed by this. He even said I was ‘a terrific writer’. My books receive 4 and 5-star reviews, so it’s not like I’m crap. BUT…it’s all about money, isn’t it. Sales.

Sales. Jeez, I hate selling. I hate all this marketing and promotional stuff. I can’t do it; it simply doesn’t fit well with the sort of person I am. I have little self-belief, lack self-confidence, am the sort of guy who sits in the corner at parties and nobody notices. There is no way I can suddenly leap up and start sounding off about how great I am. Because I’m not. I’m just a grunt, down in the trenches, working every day to put together stories that people might enjoy.

The problem is, not enough of them are buying to discover this for themselves.

So, I’ve tried. I offered free books. Imagine, a free book and in return all the reader had to do was post a review. Because reviews help. Well, I posted and posted, and I’ve submitted my books to review sites, promotional sites, endless, endless posts on FB and Twitter…over 9,000 people saw one of my posts. NINE THOUSAND! How many people actually responded? Two.

So, I’m close to giving up. Not writing, I’ll always do that, but I’m just about rock bottom…and then, oh glorious, wondrous day…something GOOD came out of all of this. One of the few people who responded asked me a simple question, ‘Have you got an agent, because if you haven’t I can introduce you to mine’.

A good friend told me something good always comes out of something bad. And it looks as though it might. I wrote to the agent, sent them one of my books and…she says she is interested! Now, I’m not jumping up and down because she is still reading it, but… So, I’m now gnawing my fingers to the bone, waiting, waiting, waiting.

So, I could turn it around. I could break through. I could.

February? It disappeared in a blur of mixed emotions.

Perhaps March might prove to be filled with sunshine!

Why not visit my websites and find out what I do. And don’t forget, by dropping me an email (at you can receive a free copy of any one of my books!



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Adventures in writing…some news and updates

Just an update this month, together with some thoughts about being a writer, but no spouting off I promise! Well, maybe just a little…

Being a writer is so hard, it really is. Every step of the way there are insurmountable obstacles put in your way, preventing you from ever moving forward. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’ll try and put this into some sort of context.

Yes, I’m published, but that doesn’t really mean very much. I’m published by Indies, so I’m not well known, nor do my books appear in bookshops. I’ve been published by seven publishers, so I guess I must be doing something right. This gives me some little cause to be grateful. I only wish editors from one of the big six liked my writing as much!

Only one of my publishers is proactive, forever giving me all sorts of advice, helping me to get myself out there in the cold, hard world of fiction, but others do nothing; they don’t even keep their websites up to date. Strange. I see it as a partnership, but I seem to be alone in that idea. Surely, it would be in their interest to help, perhaps do some marketing themselves, arrange something? Everything is down to me. And finding the time is the biggest obstacle of all and it would be nice to have a little help now and then. But no. Like I say, ‘strange’. But they are all different. Some have gone out of business, one was a crook, one is great, the others indifferent. And contracts, my God…contracts are such an obstacle. Being ‘locked-in’ is something for us all to be conscious of. Some own your characters, others own YOU. This can be somewhat scary. Just make sure you read the small print.

Other obstacles are purely personal. I write of a weekend, getting up early on Saturday and Sunday, wiring until around one o’clock. In that time I can get down anything from three to ten thousand words, depending on how swift the creative juices are flowing. During the week I come home shattered and rarely do I feel like sitting in front of the keyboard. For my latest book, I am trying to do that, as I’m gripped by the story and want it done. I love writing thrillers. They are so escapist. I don’t have to research a thing, nothing but my own imagination to push me forward. Historical fiction is tremendously hard work. I love it, but it is a much slower, more involved process. So, right now I’m writing a new thriller, and editing the second in my Harald Hardrada books at the same time. When done this will go to the publisher, and I’ll work with them to get it ready for publishing.

I’m so busy. I’ve just been reading a writer friend’s programme, and he is even busier! But, he is a full-time writer, successful, published by a top-notch publishing house with all that means. I’m so envious of him. He’s a great writer, a great bloke, but I am worn out by his energy. And humbled.

I’ll never be able to do all that.

I’m locked inside a profession I no longer respect, and a dream I can never fulfil.

I tried to get one of my publishers interested in a sequel to a book I wrote last year. But they say they will not handle it as sales have been so disappointing. So, right now I’m offering readers a free copy of one of my books if they will place a review on Amazon. An honest review. However, hardly anybody is taking up the offer. I remember this happening to me at a market once, when I was giving away free bookmarks. One man looked at me with such utter distaste I thought I had somehow offended him. ‘No,’ he said, and turned away. I followed and said, ‘It’s totally free. A bookmark.’ He turned and glared, ‘No.’ He had with him his son and daughter, and I looked down at the boy, smiling, and said, ‘Do you read? Some of my books are aimed at young people. Would you like a bookmark?’ I thought his father would explode, but the boy took it, and the girl read it. I watched them all move away, and saw the father tear it up and throw it in a bin.

So…what hope is there convincing people to read a free book, when they cannot even accept a bookmark?

It’s a hard, unfathomable world at times. Obstacles abound, and in writing they forever mount up, from the disinterest of agents and public, to the apathy of publishers. Even bookshops never reply to my requests to do book signings. Perhaps it’s me. Yes, it must be. What I need, of course, is a secretary. Unpaid of course!

Any offers?

Thanks for dropping by. Catch up with outlines to my books and where to buy them by visiting my website. And please, don’t forget, a free book awaits if you can do a review. Just drop me a line and I’ll get a copy to you as quickly as I can.


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