Agents have had the upper hand for a long time

Well I don’t seem to be selling many books, but one interesting thing I’ve discovered about many of the kind people who’ve helped me is how many writers seem to love animals, as I do. Stange how many writers seem to love their dogs and cats. Could it have something to do with the silent communication that exists between an animal and a person? You can see a strange dog, smile at him and he smiles back, he usually wants to be your friend. Cats, of course are usually a bit more reserved, but, then no one can tell them what to do – they are the boss. But cats too communicate with a flick of their tail and a glance in your direction if they like you.

As I say I love cats and dogs, also birds. Am, I alone in loving crows? I think crows are wonderful birds: stately, grand and very beautiful, the way they strut along in their black cloaks.

Enjoyed @JennieOrbell blog, as always, though I must say I avoid shopping like the plague. @DarciaHelle kindly interviewed me as a guest on her blog, due to be published just after Christmas, so that’ll be great. Darcia has been a great help and support, as has @johnson_mjj, @TerryTyler4, @mariasavva, Rachael Hale, Truda Thurai and many others.

I am now reworking the next book in this ‘Jack Lockwood’ series that I actually wrote before my latest, Rock’n’roll Suicide, with the same hero, Jack Lockwood. In this one, Doppelganger, Jack falls in love with a woman whom he’s convinced he has a connection with because he recognises her face, as if he’d had some astonishing connection with her, that goes beyond words, as if their romance was somehow preordained. However, when he discovers that the real season he had the ‘footsteps on my grave’ earth-shattering feeling when he first saw her face, he realises it was because Lucy is the spitting image of a girl who was imprisoned for murder years ago, served her sentence and given a new identity (he once saw her picture in a book). That’s the background, but discovering the truth is a much more complicated affair, tied up as it is with Jack writing an ongoing story about ‘The Bible Killer’ serial murderer who has not yet been caught, and evading the clutches of a powerful criminal whom he has offended. As in Rock’n Roll Suicide, in Doppelganger, there are plenty of twists and thrills, and action. I have been told my hero is knocked around rather too much, but my view is, he’s tough enough to take it!

Another idea I had was to write for kindle small books about house repairs – I used to write for magazines about home repairs, building, DIY and so on. Would ‘Damp, rot, and decay in our home – all you need to know’ be a good seller at 77p? Or even ‘How to build an extension to your house – all you need to know’? I’d be interested to know if anyone thinks this could be a good idea.

I would like to know what agents and publishes think about the self publishing explosion on kindle. Are they likely to rush round to successful authors such as @TerryTyler4 to offer them a book deal? That would seem to make sense to me. Is this how the 50 shades woman got her start? On the other hand, are agents and publishers wary of the development, feeling sidelined? Or looking arrogantly at what they consider to be no-hopers, struggling to be recognised? I remember years ago phoning an agent, being told they weren’t taking on any new authors, then snarling, ‘that’s you settled then!’ and slamming the phone down. Maybe the arrogant attitude of a minority of agents needs pricking. After all, they’ve had the upper hand for a very long time.

So Doppelganger will be on the way soon, will keep you posted.

Rock’n’Roll Suicide and


Arcane and murky world

Tweeting and retweeting and generally tinkering about seems to take an awful long time, and there’s the lurking feeling that it’s frittering away the day, when I should be actually doing something productive.

And yet there are always things to finish off and check and recheck.  And I feel I need to be polite, thank people individually for following me, and also for the RTs.

What strikes me most about the world of Twitter is the vast size of it.  So many people in so many different rooms around the world are tapping away at computers, writing their books, tweeting about them, reading other people’s work and so on, it’s hard to think of the scale of it all.

For about a year I have been planning to re-floor my two downstairs rooms, and this last week I finally did it, and it’s extremely nice not to have to walk on bare boards for a change – my cats certainly appreciate it.

As for Twitter and book marketing, Martin Johnson has been helping me a lot .  Since I write articles for Kent Life magazine, when I realised he lived in Tunbridge Wells, Kent (England) he gave me a really good interview for the magazine, giving a writer’s insight into Tunbridge Wells. Not so strange that a fine writer has settled near the town he’s following a long tradition: Thackeray (who wrote Vanity Fair) lived in what is now a Michelin starred restaurant overlooking a particularly green part of Tunbridge Wells, what’s more Tunbridge Wells provides plenty of scope for a writer’s imagination.  A while ago I came across a fantastically talented stained glass artists, Stoney Parsons, who lives just outside Tunbridge Wells, and the well-known  actress Louise Jameson (Bergerac, Dr Who and Doc Martin) lives there too. The town is truly a Mecca for creative people.

It has always struck me in life that it’s nearly always impossible to repay those who have actually helped you.  You can try, but in practise all you can usually do is help other people, who, in turn, cannot pay you back.  I think that the best way to look at things is to  accept help with thanks when it is offered, and help anyone else you can, whenever and wherever you can.

Darcia Helle kindly reviewed my book for Smashwords , as did a couple of other people on Amazon, so that is a good start.  I seem to have sold 13 copies on Amazon and 5 on Smash words.  I’ve tried the ‘clopouon’ method for Smashwords, where you’re allowed to sell it free for a limited period, and it does seem to work.   Darcia recommended my book for Goodreads, and I have next to look into Goodreads.

And I had the pleasure of writing a revue for Maria Savva’s Haunted, a thriller about a repentant murderer, a chilling insight into his ghastly frame of mind and his descent into madness.

So to thank my twitter friends, who all have wonderful blogs and have been helping me so much during the past weeks:








All of whom have shone powerful spotlights into the arcane and murky world of Twitter.

Getting used to things

Jennie Orbell mentioned an interesting thing in her blog, about the big difference between doing practical work and writing. I do building, DIY, plumbing, you name it. I always felt at school that working with my hands was real work, whereas reading books and writing was not.

Later in life I managed to combine the two aspects of what I enjoyed doing by writing articles about practical building and DIY for various magazines, mainly Period Living, which, in 2006, was taken over and I lost all the work, as so often happens, despite surviving 8 years of editor changes and style alterations. Luckily I managed to find work with Kent Life magazine, and am still writing for them today – and very grateful for the work in these terrible times. In 2008 I got some proofreading work from John Blake publishers, made friends with first one, then another editor there and this continued until 2011, when they both left at once, and the work dried up.

All the while I was writing fiction, and now I’m self publishing this, for better or worse. I am making friends on Twitter – but not just friends – perhaps enemies too. Part of the plot for my novel includes the details surrounding the assassination of John Lennon, and, using Lennon’s name in a publicity tweet, I got an angry message from someone referring to John Lennon’ wife and family, and what a dreadful event it was, inferring I was using his death for gain. I immediately messaged back, saying that no offence was meant, and that his death was treated sensitively and respectfully. I hope this person understands I mean this. And I hope I don’t offend anyone else.

 Every tragic situation gives scope for fiction. The twin towers disaster, I believe, inspired novels, furthermore wars and disasters are dramatised and written about ad infinitum. Nevertheless, even as I wrote the book, I was worried about using a real event to build fiction onto. I have of course thoroughly presaged the book with the statement that all events are fiction, and that real events are referred to but nothing within my book has any basis in fact. I have not trivialised Lennon’s murder in any way. And I hope I have done justice to John Lennon’s memory.

Anyway, just now someone downloaded a copy of my book (free) on Smashwords, so that is good news. (Rock’n’Roll Suicide, free now LL59Y )

Would like to mention Truda Thurai, who kindly messaged me about my blog, and refer to her excellent book, The Devil Dancers:





Why I decided to self publish

Why did I decide to self publish?

Rock’n’Roll Suicide is probably the tenth or eleventh novel that I completed – not counting the rubbish starts I made and abandoned. For several years I’ve been writing crime fiction in spare time, sending it to agents, with just cold rejection slips or mildly encouraging notes in reply.

Then in 2004 my novel Deadly Contact was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger. I went to the dinner in London, thought I’d really made it. I didn’t win the dagger, but did meet a couple of agents. However it all came to nothing, despite sending the samples to about 25 agents. But undaunted I went on writing, thinking this next novel will be better than the last, something I always say to myself.

Finally the novel I finshed last year, Doppelganger, got some attention. Three agents asked for the full m/s. I sent it with hope. And it was rejected by all three, all giving different reasons. A publisher (Tindal Street) also called up the full m/s (after I’d waited 9 months). They rejected it after another three months and never even gave me a reason, having held it for a year.

So, as I said earlier, after meeting Rachael Hale and Truda Thurai at a dinner, I looked into publishing on Kindle and went ahead.

Now I’m trying to learn how to sell my book.

I think I saw the light when hearing a talk by Lauren Parsons, of Legend Press. She said that even if they published an author, they expected them to do their own publicity – they wanted to know if they had a web presence.

Despite being a freelance journalist who has written five nonfiction titles, published by Crowood Press, I still feel as if I’m a novice at all this.

But I have made ‘Tweet’ friends of several kind people, notably, as I said in my last blog, Martin Johnson and Terry Tyler, as well as Darcia Helle from America, who kindly bought my book, having noticed a tweet about it and also RJ McDonnell, who did the same.

So I plan to do my best to try and publicise Rock’n’Roll Suicide, while at the same time trying to help anyone I come across along the way, by retweeting, getting their books, writing reviews.

As I see it, if by some remote chance a publisher makes an offer, I’ve lost nothing – in fact they would rather the book was ‘out there’, at least read by someone.

and it’s free at smashwords until 30 November, just quote LL59Y

And please take a look at my new Twitter friends’ books:

Martin Johnson:

Terry Tyler:

Darcia Helle:

RJ McDonnell:

Self publishing

This is just a brief account of how I am trying to sell my crime thriller Rock’n’roll Suicide.  Just a few weeks ago I hadn’t got a clue about Kindle, Smashwords or any other kind of E book self publishing.  Then I went to a lunch and met Truda Thurai, who had published her own book, and also Rachael Hale, who is a keen blogger, and both of them advised me about Twitter, and the prospects of self publishing.

So I went ahead and did it.  downloaded the guides for kindle and Smashwords, and loaded up my book according to their advice, coupled with the endless help of Martin Johnson, whom I happened to meet on Twitter.  Martin told me what to download and how to do things, and I did it.  And it seemed to work.
Now is the hard part, trying to sell my book.  You’re supposed to tweet little adverts for it, but not too much, or you bore people.  You’re supposed to retweet other people, which I’m glad to do, but recently discovered I’m doing it too much, maybe boring people with a raft of retweets.

And now I’m starting my first blog.  Terry Tyler is another Twitter friend who is helping me too, kindly giving me lots of advice.

But it feels a bit like being outside in a freezing wind without a coat, and everyone else wrapped up warm.  It’s all very strange, very alien.  But the only way to combat it is to have a go.

So this is my first blog.