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Adventures in writing…a month of commemorations!

This has been an interesting, and moving year, so far.

Interesting because it has been a steep learning curve for me with regard to publishers. I knew they worked slowly, but never quite how slowly. Of course, this is because they have lots of work with mountains of authors in the queue before me, I understand that, but nevertheless it is frustrating.

But I’m philosophical. I have now reached the stage where I don’t care.

If it takes them three years to get round to me, then so be it. I’m not going to worry. What will be will be. When they ask me to promote, get in touch with the press, libraries, Twitter and Facebook…I might just wait myself. Wait and wait.

Let me reiterate. I DO NOT CARE. I forked out a lot of money for a virtual book tour, a Twitter campaign, etc., etc., Result? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. So, no more of that thank you very much. I’m not wasting another penny on any of these awful campaigns. They don’t work. End of.

Now, the moving bit, for which I DO care. Quite a lot.

2015 has been an extraordinary year for commemorating some of the most important dates in our calendar.

April was a time to remember the horrors of Gallipoli, Churchill’s dream of knocking Turkey out of the Great War and putting immense pressure on the Germans. It was a disaster. battle_of_gallipoliToo many died in what was to become a nightmare campaign. But we need to remember; for the men who gave their lives and to instruct our youth about the utter futility of war.

June. What a month (as I’m writing this, it is not yet over!). The fifteenth saw my school joining in with many others in the commemorations going on all around Runnymede for the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. Actually, that is wrong. King John didn’t sign it, he couldn’t read or write. He put his seal on it. Anyway, my school asked the question and were given the answer, and named, by Dan Snow, who is a cool guy.

Then, the 18th June. Waterloo. waterlooThere is not much more to be said about this battle, one of the most important ever fought. A terrible day, but even so I would have loved to have gone to Belgium to watch the re-enactment, but of course I couldn’t. I have bought all the stamps and the coins…and a French army in 10mm however, so that is something!

In October, it is the 600th anniversary of Agincourt…

What a year…and next year…2016, is the Somme, and the Norman invasion (950 years since Duke William came a-calling!).

Mm…I might have to buy some more figures!


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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 sg.yates@yahoo.co.uk) you can receive a free copy of any one of my books!




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Adventures in writing…why I can’t promote.

As with most mornings I’ve been checking my emails. A few listings from job agencies – yes, I’m desperate to get another job – and one or two announcements from Amazon trying to get me to part with the little money I have (sorry guys, but I’ve just about done with shopping online for this year!), but amongst it all are one or two mails informing me some people are following this blog. That’s so great, it really is. But, when I go to their blogs and see them being so successful, with so many admirers, with links to books published and a trillion and one reviews, all so positive, I feel so depressed. How do they do it? Why are they so successful, and I’m not?

I can’t market.

That’s the bottom line. Self-promotion is alien to me. I can’t. It’s the same when I’m in a social gathering; I’d rather sit quietly and not speak, listening to others ranting on with their opinions about life, all of them the great philosophers of the modern world. That’s not for me. I’ll keep my opinions to myself for the most part. I’ll only be shot down in flames any way. So, no. I can’t do it. I write my books, I get them published, I post them on the social sites, put in the occasional ad in the local press, do an interview, appear on radio, go to book signings in bookshops…but I hate it. I’m not comfortable with it, and I don’t know what I’m doing. The idea of standing up and saying, ‘Hey, my book is so great, you’ll love it. Just buy it, read it, and you’ll see,’ is impossible for me. I should be more positive, of course I should. Confidant. Yes. Everybody loves confident people. I can’t. I’m none of those things. I let my words speak. They are all I have. But I guess I’d better try harder…so, here goes:

The cover for my historical novel 'Varangian'.

The cover for my historical novel ‘Varangian’ which is receiving some wonderful reviews, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Yes, of course I’ll continue to post pictures of my books on here, and on Facebook, but nobody takes a blind bit of notice. I did a talk the other day in my school library. About thirty kids turned up (I’m repeating it next week for another thirty!) and as I went into the library a colleague stopped me and asked me what was going on. I said, ‘I’m doing a talk about my books.’ He looked at me, pulled a face. ‘Your books? You mean, books you’ve ordered for the library?” Now, given I have been at this school for 7 years, and have been writing for much longer, isn’t it simply amazing he doesn’t know I have published 16 books? So I simply shrugged, ‘No, books I have written,’ I said. And his reply? ‘Oh.’ Then he walked away with not even a flicker of interest.

Says it all really.

I’m depressed by it. I don’t know what to do. Yes, I could sign up for all sorts of wonderful agencies. Pay the money, listen to the crap. Sign up for one of those ‘boot camps’ ( God, I SO HATE that phrase. Boot camp? What the hell have boots got to do with writing?). As soon as I see those words, I scroll on by. You know what I really want to do?  I want to grab hold of my old Olivetti, run away and live in a cave somewhere and simply write. Maybe I should do a George Orwell and find a Jura of my own. But seriously, I have a simple choice. I can either join the merry throng and take on board the pontifications of the noble and the just as they tell me with so much arrogance what I really need to do (because they know it all, of course) or I can continue being me.

I think I’ve already made the choice.

I’m not a sheep. And with that acceptance I also have to accept that my approach is going to take a long, long time. But that’s ok, because in the meantime I can continue to write stories, stories which entertain me and which I love to write. One day people will begin to pick them up in bigger numbers. Until that day comes, writing is what spurs me on, not any polishing or marching of boots in a camp!

Visit my website for links to my books. I write as Glenn Stuart for Young Adults, and as Stuart G Yates for adult thrillers, both contemporary and historical.



A personal PS on this sad day…Nelson Mandela inspired a generation with his love and capacity to forgive. May his memory inspire us all to seek tolerance and understanding and over-turn the hard and the un-caring thoughts and actions of so many. Our world is losing its way; let us try to bring it back on course through his example. Rest easy, the world will never forget you.




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