Monthly Archives: June 2012

…Mister Publisher, tear down this wall!…

Among the hardest things on earth are diamonds, and even harder, trying to get a prospective fiancee to buy a large-carat sample. Japanese arithmetic…that’s hard. Harder still, getting politicians on opposing camps to agree …, (well-near impossible). These all fade into mediocrity on the hardness scale when compared to a new author’s quest to find a publisher. Particularly if the scribe is an indie, with no agent stroking the literary feathers. I’m told that madness consists of doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. On that score, I have to ‘fess up. Guilty of imbecility as charged, m’Lud. Sending trillions of submissions all over the world and many other places, in some areas singlehandedly helping the local postal authorities achieve their revenue targets, is right up there with throwing dollar bills from the stern of an ocean-going liner in mid-Atlantic. Submissions sent versus rejections received, parity—the first seeds towards abject suicidal thought. But wait, as ol’ Billy Shakespeare used to say (or so I’m reliably informed), “what light from yonder”.., etc…That beacon growing large on the horizon, that light through the tunnel isn’t an oncoming express train, No…it’s the new dawn. The advent of the strongest growing phenomenon since Justin Beiber’s Twitter account…the eBook is here! What was scorned and scoffed at a mere twelve months ago is battering at the doors of the established publishing bastions. The new kid on the block has more new toys than Uncle Publisher has been able to match. With a click of millions of thumbs, (and that’s a lot of click) the magic of the web unites every single heretofore isolated wretch of a writer into a vibrant molecule in the brave new world of self-publishing. Anyone who’s been reading my  recent offerings here will be aware of how REALLY dumb I am on computers, ( a day without an exploding laptop is a bonus)  but even this old dog is now happily immersed in the magic of Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Blogg-y stuff et al. The need for agents and publishers may never recede completely, but the worldwide tsunami that is the indie movement seems unstoppable. The genie is out of the bottle. The new creed is, ‘If you write, you publish’ (and be damned or not, at least you’ve got some pleasure in doing your own thing). With all the postage I’ve saved, I’ve had my warders buy me ice cream, lots of ice cream… now where’s my spoon?…

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I’m all over the place, like a bad suit, really…

A year ago I was sitting at home, minding my own business, not bothering anybody, doing a bit of business here and there, keeping the proverbial wolf from the door, you know the sort of thing, don’t you?…I’d written a novel three years prior to that and successfully failed to get any agent to touch it with a barge-pole… end of story, right? Wrong! Some malevolent soul introduced me to something I’d never heard of up till then, called Kindle. So now I understand that ALL you have to do to become a self publishing author is stick it on to Kindle, join a few social networking channels  and then JUST CHANGE YOUR WHOLE B#+&@*Y LIFE…Living in Abu Dhabi has made it even more essential to reach out on the web to make the touchy-feely stuff happen, and at my age ( I get my free Camel Pass this year ) this old dog had a whole new encyclopedia of stuff to learn. Some of you out there may remember a time nearly fifty years ago when a Mr Timothy Leary exhorted the world to Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out, Flower Power…fast forward to the present, and now  it’s …Turn On, Tune In, Connect with a Billion Followers, Apple Power… the era of handwritten notes to one’s correspondents sent with nice coloured stamps and drawings on the scented envelopes has been subsumed to an instant ‘build me a thousand followers, and I’ll take Manhattan, and all points East of Belgium’ philosophy…what to do? Ignore it? As a writer, new or established, I think it would be ignored at great peril…the smart money now seems to be pointing at letting the writing and authorship meld (I like that word, don’t you?) with a real business approach to the ‘getting your work out there and known’ amid the noise and clamour. Hence, ‘all over the place, like a bad suit’…Hark back to my previous missives on this … Connectivity is the big thing. Now, just because I’m a wonderful ( and very humble ) human being, I’m going to share with you just the start of a list of great people who’ve helped this fledging scribe in the past few months…you would do well to note and connect with them…for indies and others who wanna be immersed in the A-Z from the writing all the way out to the marketing and selling of their priceless masterpieces…Indies Authors’Advice Blogs to jump on: @Susan_Buchanan @Rachel_Abbott @eBookBuilders  : Indies Promotional Platforms ( some paid , some unpaid )  @squidpublishing @WiseGreyOwl  I know many of you will have others… may I suggest that recommending your own favourites and  sharing these with our fellow Laptop Tappers will be a boon to us all…Turn On, Tune In, Word-of-Web Power… oh, now my brain hurts with all that thinking.. I’ll have to go lie down for a bit…where’s that  aspirin, nurse…?

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Bright? Sharp as a billiard ball, me, with all this stuff…

The next stop on the lunatic express to Writer-dom for this old buzzard is my catching on, slowly…ever so slowly… to the truism… if you put nothing in, expect to get nothing out… So now we’re still mulling over the author’s bane, the ‘building a platform’ bit…in the old days, they used to say, ‘build it and they shall come’… well whoever the ‘they’ are supposed to be, didn’t know toffee about how the social media works. You CAN’T just build it and they’ll come, you’ve gotta work your sweet butt to hell and back to make it happen, kiddo. That means. at least for me, getting connected. Then staying connected. After that, connect some more. They tell me authors don’t like to push themselves on to other people. A-hem. Are you kidding me? I’ve been talking, in the virtual sense, y’understand, to hundreds of fellow nutters, disguised as writers, on here. And y’know what? Most of them LOVE to communicate. That’s what we do, guys and gals! So don’t hang back on your ReTweeting on Twitter, and FaceBook and Goodreads etc. Get in there with pushing your message out into the ether, whisper a murmured blessing of thanks to Messrs Gates and Zuckerberg (and Al Gore) for building all this marvellous web medium to ‘reach out and touch, somebody new, etc’…What if, I hear you plead, folks think I’m too pushy, that this is like spamming? Hell, if you were in any other business you’d be screaming at people about your work, and your prowess, and your Grannie’s connection with this great name and that wonderful fella, and so on. If people don’t like your messages, they can simply vote with their thumbs and click it away. Simple. There’s thousands out there just like you and me who DO understand the rigours and blog, blood, sweat, and tears that goes into your literary masterpieces, and THEY are more likely to use their thumbs and ReTweet and forward your message to a waiting and grateful world. And you know the best and most wondrous thing of it all? We… me… and you… and you…and yes, you too… can play a large part in it by ReTweeting as many forwarding request messages as you see from others on the Timelines, even ( and maybe, particularly) names that you don’t even know. Then you’re helping somebody else, and it costs you nothing but a movement of your thumb…Sharp as a billiard ball I still am, but the lights are slowly getting brighter… now where did I put that bucket of ice cream?… it’s time for my nap… see you all later…

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A-hem, (slight cough to get your attention), Ladies and Gentlemen, permit a slight departure from normal transmissions ( which WILL be resumed shortly hereafter…

My dear friend and fellow scribbler, @Susan_Buchanan, she of the outrageously successful novel, SIGN OF THE TIMES, has decided to put my new-found computer and web-by skills to the test by goading me to respond to a challenge that goes like this:-

The Lucky Seven Challenge

The Challenge

To post seven lines from an unpublished work of fiction or non-fiction. My seven lines are taken from VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK, due out around the end of July this year. VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK is the second in a series featuring Jack Calder, an ex-SAS soldier and his former colleagues in their specialist security company, ISP, as they use their black ops skills to tackle triad drug mobsters and East European gangsters.

So, the rules:-

–Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript, fiction or non-fiction

–Go to line 7

–Post on your blog the next 7 lines or sentences as they are–no cheating

–Tag 7 other authors to do the same–and have fun.

Here are the 7 lines from page 7 of VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK:-

“There,” Jules pointed to a mangled part of what had been the man’s chest. Jack eased away a two inch flat piece of dark grey metal. “And there.” Another part, curved this time, about one and a half inches across. His partner nodded as Jack slipped the two pieces into separate jacket pockets. Whatever evidence the local bomb squad would get, ISP at least had a comparable start. Just then the dying wail of sirens announced the arrival of the Metropolitan Police SWAT guys. Reaction time from the blast to their arrival was only four and a half minutes. Jack nodded in approval. Good team. Response doesn’t get much better than that.


My nominations for those I would like to display their 7 lines or sentences for the world to see go to:-

Stephen Edger

Mike Thomas

C.R Hiatt

Anya Lipska

Kate Laity

Colin Baines

O.G.Tomes

Post it on your blog or failing that on Facebook or Goodreads ( or ALL of the above). Will you accept the challenge?

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Once more unto the blogging breach, dear friends…

Undaunted by visions of an exploding laptop, we trundle on with the next epistle. There’s none so dumb as those who haven’t a clue about what’s going on around them…I readily plead that I am the unrivaled leader of that pack. In Glasgow when I was growing up a thousand years ago, we used to have a saying, ‘act daft and you’ll get on the trams for free’… Fast forward, and read, ‘if you’re clueless on computers and web-by stuff, barge on regardless’. The mystical science for the new indie self-publishing author ( and probably for some of the established grandees too ) includes what seems like a straightforward phrase, ‘building a platform’. For those of you who hail from a construction or show business background, this may seem weird, but it has nothing to do with either of these. What it refers to is having the gall to stick your name in front of people, (who would normally call the police if you turned up at their doorstep), and expect them to embrace your labours of lyrical love with open arms. minds and wallets. “Easy” I hear the insane amongst you mutter, covering your sniggers with a half-closed fist. The nearest corollary to this kind of campaign was Samson’s seven improbable tasks. Already shorn of locks and brains, I stepped up and dived headlong into it. This week saw the prising open of the Pandora’s box that is the modern day Facebook. Getting in and on was relatively simple ( in fact, maybe far too many relatives). Then the toughie …who to invite? How to invite? It is strewn with booby traps. The capacity to upset or insult a legion of people simultaneously lurks at every press of a keyboard cypher. In the end, I merely tapped my finger on every name thrown at me by Facebook itself, until they had the audacity to tell me I might get blocked for asking too many fellow travellers to join my happy trip. So, now I pause for Facebook breath, not wishing to upset Mr Zuckerberg and his zillionaire associates. How does that compare, Mr Samson? Check it out. Twitter, Done. LinkedIn, Done. Goodreads, Done. Facebook, Doing. Blog, Done, Kinda. That writers’ Nirvana may be no closer than this time last week, but heck, it feels like fun, and that probably makes it illegal…so much the better. I hear the scraping of the key in the cell door lock, time to stash this under the pillow. The breakout’s planned for next month. Until then, snicker bars and ice cream, please, tons of ice cream.. pretty please… sound and picture fade…

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Excuse me, ma’am, am I doing this right…?

Okay, so here I am, a fully-fledged certifiable nutter with a one percent chance of getting any of this stuff right first time. The first two blog posts surprisingly resulted in neither an arrest nor any report of mass suicides anywhere on the planet. So far, so good. Let it not be thought, however, that I actually understand any of this gobbledegook we call home here on the web. Familiar? Stay aboard, there’s more. Tweet Deck is now up and if not actually running, maybe stumbling along fairly well…at least I don’t have to scroll through ten zillion tweets every morning to see if anything’s relevant to me. I’ve caught the infection of RT-ing other authors’ works and am pleasantly surprised as to how good that feels, helping other lost souls like me on here. Generous writers who can really write have been open-handed with their blogs and interview/review posts to include some of my lunatic ramblings ( see “NICE FOLKS SAYIN’ABOUT ME” page attached to my blog… neat sophistication right there, huh?…sounds almost like a genuine author’s blog, heaven forfend). Now comes the biggy… my next novel is nearing completion, well, it should be done before 2018 at any rate and the pros are telling me to start nudging it out there already. Notices in the local supermarket and telling my next door neighbours is a good start I think, as well as alerting Uncle Fred and Auntie Mabel to stand by ready to purchase on day one and send it rocketing up the best seller charts. That’s the theory anyway. And like everything else I’m told on here , of course I believe it. VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK (already copyrighted, so pirates be gone), should be ready for Kindle-ing toward the end of July (this year…only kidding earlier). I suspect my faithful followers (both of them) will support this bludgeoning of the scribblers art with all the impact of a chocolate teapot on a stove. Oh, the triumph of hope over mundane practicality shines undimmed in this poor Scottish breast o’mine…meantime, the minders are letting me type even with my pajamas on, so it should get finished on time…don’t forget to send the ice cream, lots of ice  cream…until later……..picture of candle-powered writing desk with quill pen fades into sepia…………

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