Publishing Platform Of The Year 2015

White shirts starched. Shoes shined. Bow ties fiddled with and fixed. Free wine on the table.

It's the night of the year that's second only to the Oscars when it comes to eager anticipation and fake smiles from the losers.

Hush. Pray silence. The ceremony is about to begin. Which self-publishing platform will win the gong will soon no longer be hidden within a golden envelope.

A quick recap of the judging criteria. Simple really. Which platform best flogged the most of my books. Innovation and publicity also have a bearing. But it's mainly about cold, hard sales.

Just five contenders for the crown. In no particular order (other than alphabetical), they are Amazon, CreateSpace, Draft2Digital, Kobo and Smashwords.

And so, enough of the preamble. Time for the drumroll to start quietly and build to a crescendo. Here are the results in a particular order - reverse.

The judges (me and er... me) almost forgot their/his books were available in print via this channel. There was no Breakthrough Novel Award for 2015. Sales have been as sluggish as a slug stuck in his own slime. Mainly down to the ridiculously high price I have to tag onto my books just to make a small profit.

4th KOBO
It's another NO GO for KOBO. Next to no one seems to go to the platform to buy my books. Sure, there have been sales, but not enough to retire on. It seems a very low profile place. I get a monthly email which harks on about someone else's success story, and that's about it.

A terse letter about sorting out my tax details aside, I've been pleased with the performance of this platform. A good few sales, and regular updates about how they are expanding by teaming up with other worldwide distributors. If only they'd made that tax letter a little friendlier.

Last year's winner was cruising, about to retain their title, until sometime in September the truth came out. Many of the downloads I had previously thought were genuine, turned out to be dastardly machines at work. Since Smashwords stopped counting the activities of the Bots, my stats have frozen as hard as a giant cryptic crossword fashioned from marble and cement. Sales through Smashwords' partner channels are still ticking over nicely, but it's not what it was, even though it's more accurate. Sometimes it is better to lie. These bots obviously know a good book when they see one.

Yes, oh mighty one. The title is yours. For the downloads you gave me when I shifted many of my books back into KDP Select. For the regular sales you've given me throughout the year. For breaking me into new territories (this year saw my first sale in Germany, the first downloads in Brazil). For the additional revenue stream provided by Kindle Edition Normalized Pages. For ideas like #AmazonGiveaway, which I really must try. Yes, you are the biggest and, in 2015, for my money you have been the best.

The wine is downed, the losers' fake smiles wiped away, the winner clutches the trophy. All over for another year. Carriages from 2am after a bit of dancing. Good night.

Previous Winners:
2014  Smashwords

Book promoters and book promotion services emails

Book Gargantuans.  Book Promoters Extraordinaire. Book Blimmin' Big Balls Agents.

There are plenty of people (companies, entrepreneurs) out there, willing to promote your book on their site and across their social channels, aren't there? So many in fact, they are running out of names for their businesses that haven't already been taken - the one's above are still available as far as I'm aware.

But how useful are these promoters? I've limited experience, myself. I did something with Ask David a couple of years back and don't remember much of a sales spike as a result.

But an email I got from one such 'business' earlier today irked a little. Here's what it said (I've removed the company details)

Dear Jon Lymon,

I just saw your book "The Diamond Rush". I would love to write a post about it and list it on my website [WEB ADDRESS]

One more thing, if you are running a promotion for "The Diamond Rush" then you can use our service called - Book of the Day to promote "The Diamond Rush" to more than 400,000 readers across the globe. 
Check it out here [WEB ADDRESS]

Thank you & all the best 

My problems with it: First up, there was no name at the bottom. Equals not very personal.

Then the opening line, or is it more of an opening gambit? My reaction to reading 'I would love to write a post about it' is, well, go on then. You don't need my permission. Go ahead, write away. Slate the book if necessary. And while you're at it, yes, you can list it on your own website too. No need to ask me. Go list crazy. Look, you've even included a link to your own web address... ah wait a minute, you want me to click on your website to take a look. So that's what this email's really about.

The next paragraph confirms my suspicions. By 'one more thing' what you really mean is here's the crux of the message, here's the real reason I'm sending this email, but I'll try and disguise it, downplay it, introduce it as an aside. You want to tell me about your Book Of The Day feature, which I have to pay for. Gotcha. Thanks. Next...

Am I just being cynical? I work as a copywriter, so I know a few tricks of the advertising trade, but there is a thing called Passing Off, where you pretend not to be selling when that's really exactly what you're doing. 

Maybe this email just arrived in my inbox when I was a bit grumpy, dunno. But if anyone's ever replied to one of these, and got their book listed and gone on to sell a million, let me know!

Amazon Giveaway

A sparkling gem with The Diamond Rush? A clubbing compilation CD with Last Night At The Stairways? A dead chicken with A Dead Chick And Some Dirty Tricks?

In case you haven't heard yet, Amazon is giving everyone the chance to run their own promotions as a way to attract (bribe) new customers.  It's called Amazon Giveaway.

So if you've got a book to sell, choose a prize, pay for it, then decide how people can win it (i.e. when they buy your book.)

Sounds simple, and interesting, and a good way to attract new readers to your book. I'm going to try it, as long as I can find good prizes that relate to the story I'm trying to sell.

There's millions of Amazon products to choose from as prizes. Which one will go best with your book?

You can find out more details here.

Amazon may have its detractors, but I'm liking their thinking on this one.

American English vs English English V

Round 5

Pacifier vs Dummy

Pray silence for a battle that's bound to end in tears and sleepless nights.

A tried, tested and frankly absolutely marvellous way of keeping a child quiet, is to give it the above.

In the United States, it's a PACIFIER. The word does exactly what it says on the tit. Tin! Tin! It turns a wailing, screaming, yelling child into a quiet, becalmed and delightful little darling.

In the United Kingdom, such a device is referred to as a DUMMY. A dummy nipple/tit if you please. Bit clunky, but you can see where it's come from. But dummy also means fake and a fool, which these wailing kids certainly aren't, for they are getting what they want by screaming their tiny lungs out.

So, by saying what it is without any subsidiary negativity, this round is going to American English.

USA 3.5
UK 1.5

Top Of The Bots - reinstate book downloads carried out by Bots.

Forget official best seller lists.

I wanna know which books are favourites with the web crawling Bots.

This follows on from my previous post, which dealt with Smashwords' decision not count downloads and sample downloads of books requested by Bots.

Crazy, or what? Maybe even a little racist. These Bots know a good book when they see it. It's obvious. Because ever since Smashwords started disregarding the actions of Bots, my downloads have hit the proverbial brick wall.

It's like these poor Bots don't count. How can that be right? These Bots must be scanning millions of books a day. They know how to sort the wheat from the chaff. The Lymons from the lemons.

So let's get their opinions back on the sales radars. Humans and Bots can happily co-exist, with everyone's opinion counting. Surely?

I'm backing the Bots.

American English vs English English IV

Round 4

Fall vs Autumn

Some topicality to the blog at last. The time of year is right for this post. It's a trender for sure.

In the USA, this time of year is called FALL, and you can see why. It's when leaves fall from trees right? And when people fall over when they slip on the fuckers after they've been lying on the ground for ages and gone all mulchy and almost become part of the pavement/sidewalk.

In the UK it's called AUTUMN, and I can't think of a single reason why.

America has this one wrapped up, which is exactly what you need to be doing at this time of year. Brrrrrr.

USA 2.5  UK 1.5

The Day Smashwords Died. It's Off To KDP Select We Go

Mid-August. Height of summer. Something terrible happened.

Smashwords, my favourite publishing platform up until then did something devastating.

They stopped counting ebook downloads carried out by search engines and web-crawling robots.

So my sample downloads fell off a cliff. Shuddered to a halt. Hit a brick wall, the size of a very large brick wall/

I don't know what's worse - the realisation that many sample downloads of my titles were carried out by machines (with great taste in the written word, it has to be said) before the change, or the fact I was getting so few downloads after it.

Either way, it was the day Smashwords died for me.

Fair play to Smashwords, though. They've done this for the right reason, so authors can be more sure that downloads actually equal a human showing an interest, rather than a bot having a laugh. But if I was Smashwords, I'd have left it alone, and let authors like me think our books were doing OK.

But it's happened, and I've had to take action, delisting a lot of my titles and moving them over to Amazon for exclusivity on KDP Select. Let's hope the bots that love my work get busy, and Amazon counts their downloads of my work!

American English vs English English. III

Round 3

Sneakers vs Trainers

Some free advertising for you here, Adidas. I'm sure the cheque's/check's in the post/post. (Whoever leaves their shoes like that and where are the ends of the laces? Anyway, onto the point of the post.)

In America, these are SNEAKERS. A covert, perhaps a little snidey word that suggests these are put on to creep around the place, avoid detection, do something a little bit naughty/undercover.

In Britain, they're TRAINERS, a straight-up no messing description. Wear these when you're in training, right? Except people don't. You can slob on a sofa in these.

Not happy with either word from either side here. So a dishonourable draw. 1.5 - 1.5

American English vs English English II

Round 2:
Diaper vs Nappy

Avert your gaze if you're averse to soiled garments.

Actually, it's OK. This one's straight out of the packet. Not been called into action yet.

West side of the Atlantic, it's a DIAPER. Quite a technical, medical sounding word to my ears, even a bit of Wiper about it, which is what someone will be required to be once the thing's been used.

East side, it's NAPPY land.  A bit of a childish sounding name (apt) with a hint of soppy and sloppy about it (the second one definitely apt).

Given the target market for these things, this round's going to ENGLISH ENGLISH. 1-1.

American English vs English English

Round 1: Faucet vs Tap

The first in an occasional series looking at objects that are called different things depending on which side of the Atlantic you're on. Whose word do I prefer? Whose word do you prefer? Who gives a sh!t?

Look at this chunky silver beauty.

On the left side of the Atlantic, it's called a FAUCET. A strong, chunky word that suggests you really have to put a bit of effort into getting something out of this sturdy edifice. Force it open, etc.

On the right side, it's a TAP. Short, sweet, but borrowed from elsewhere. Not original. If I drum my fingertips on a table, that's a tap. People can be tapped up. Shoes can be tap.

This one's going to AMERICAN ENGLISH. 1-0

Ode To Shopping’s Busiest Road.

I’m back working near Oxford Street after a while away and it seems like the famous shopping strip is being dismantled. And there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

Huge blocks along both sides of the street have gone. Disappeared, their absence disguised behind high hoardings and scaffolding.

It seems every building project in London that promises underground parking, a predominantly glass facade and excellent energy performance certificates is getting green lit.

My memory fails me most times when I try and think of the buildings that have been lost. Brick based structures with a bit of character, most probably. But no underground parking, glass facade etc. etc.

Pre 2010 London is fast disappearing. Crossrail takes a large slice of the blame, certainly around Tottenham Court Road at Oxford Street’s eastern end. The Astoria is long gone, the area currently a mess of a building site, the result of compulsory purchase orders.

It’ll look smart when it’s finished. Characterless, I suspect. But smart. Trouble is, when will it finish? Which block along Oxford St that's more than five years old faces the demolition ball next? And when will the urge to update, modernise and provide more glass frontage end?

Free Short Story. The never trending story.

Despite being one of my most popular short stories, it's never trended. Ah well, It's free to read here. Because I'm nice like that. 

Vicious Circle

Danny Gibb had a U-bend scar on his face that his girl used to like. Said it gave him character. Made him look hard. But trouble attracts trouble and soon their relationship was in it. The end came the night he hit his girlfriend for the first and last time. Hard on the right side of her face which was the wrong side because it was her good side. He hit her after finding out about

Dr Hambell, who hadn’t always had letters and women after his name. Sitting in his Harley Street practice, sipping sherry because he’s got bad news for a man whose skin graft was hard work and failed to disguise the scars. Drinking because he knows that success and failure go hand in scalpeled hand. But what the hell? The man’s appointment isn’t until 10.30 tomorrow morning. Why let that spoil tonight? Enjoy yourself. Seek sanctuary at the club, talk women and cricket with 

Gerry Spavins, who despised Australians but loved brandy. Shot a day keeps the doctor away. The season starts in April. The Windies are touring this year. Don’t fancy our chances, old boy. No slouch with the bat in his day was Gerald. Oxford vice-captain, averaged 43 as an opener. Career dreams ended by a back injury sustained delivering a stunning off-break to

George Wallace, wicket-keeper, teetotaller, Loughborough at the time. Would go on to excel as a botanist until his death at the hands of a driver drunk on eight pints of Australian lager. A driver who ploughed into him on a country road near Heathfield, East Sussex as George examined a species he mistakenly believed to be rare. The jury of eight men and four women found

Roger Baines guilty, quickly. He served his time and paid his fine, but never drove again. Caught cabs instead, to and from the pub where he downed the drinks the night it happened. He liked the place, no kids, no pool or pinball table. No quiz machine, duke box or women. Just old friends, pork scratchings and the landlord

David Vine, no relation. Expert pint-puller, glass-shiner, trouble-shooter. Tell Dave your problem, he’ll give you an answer and it might not be the one you want to hear. Boxed as a boy in the rings of East London, did Dave. Nearly made it as a pro until that fateful night against that dude from Up West. Never bet against the black man they said and they were right, because

Junior Wright had a right that decked people. It earned him local fame and small-time fortune. Childhood on the estates of Hounslow knocked him into shape, quick to get defences up and sharp to get the right out. Was destined to appear on Sportsnight until he fell for a girl who held up the square round number cards and walked round the ring with a smile, collecting stares and wolf-whistles. Short skirts and blonde she was. Strutting, some might say slutting her stuff. Good enough for page three as well as round three ding ding, seconds out. Too much, the beautiful temptress for

Warren C, ringside and wasted with his mates from Bethnal Green. Look at the tits on that. Give me fifty if I get me ‘ands on them? Nods and smiles and go ons and he made a grab for the prize. Lager had got him thinking he could have her. But little did he know that her father was near her. Sat in the same seat every fight, keeping two eyes on his luvly daughter. Before Warren got the chance to lay clammy hands and salivating lips on her

Charlie the father pounced and had him pinned to the ground, fist poised to hit face. F-words and C-words raining down like punches until the knockout blow. The pain came again, shooting up the left arm and across the chest, doubling old Charlie over, prompting calls for doctors in houses and screams of women and cries for help that

Julian Thorpe, city boy, fight lover, quick mover answered. He got to the pay phone first, before the days of mobiles. He did the free three nine business, and cool as a towel wafting a face in the corner did what needed to be done. He had money on the fight. Three-figure sum. Nine nine nine. Easy money, which he had to claim back when the fight was cancelled. Can’t say he felt disappointed. One of those things, old chap. He’d make more easy money in the City on the morrow, where he traded in tailored suits and all-pink or blue striped shirts he always brought from that first class tailor on Chancery Lane, the one that

Andy Brown tried to rob on another night when he needed money and knew of a bloke in Barking who was after some classy clothes like. Did he know anyone who could get hold of a nice drop of satin, bit posh like? Andy said yeah, course, like, smooth, but he really meant no. But not wanting to let a mate down, you know, and with a bit of experience in the breaking and the entering and the taking line of business, nudge nudge, he decided to do the job himself, and fings was going sweet as like till he was disturbed by a

PC on patrol. City of London, quiet night, all the sirens coming from Up West along Holborn. Plodding the deadbeat as usual. Past the silver vaults, the high class off licences, the legal offices. Then just saw a trailing black leg and bovver boot disappear through a window. On to the radio quick, calling for backup. ETA five. Be done and gone by then so it’s deep breath and in there alone. Torch on, stop police. In the dark a flash of silver and cutlass motion. The shadow runs with a handful of 16 and a half-inched collars, leaving a U-bend scar for life on the face of PC Danny Gibb.

Free digital books - why should anyone pay for your book?

Everyone bar the most extreme Analogue Activist can see that digital book sales will soon far outstrip revenues generated by hardbacks and paperbacks.

Good news for self-publishers like myself and a few million others. Or is it?

The way I see it is there’s weakness in numbers when it comes to self-published authors. With so many of us scribbling away and uploading our words to Amazon and Smashwords and Kobo and Draft2Digital, the market is saturated with works by authors 99.9% of the book buying public have never heard of.

Why should these people risk even 0.99 cents buying and trying our work when there are thousands of books by thousands of better known authors they can fill their preciously small amount of spare time reading?

To make someone want to pay for our work, we need to give them strong reasons to buy. Our titles need to be eye-opening and our opening few chapters need to be gripping, no, stunning, to hold their attention and get that cursor clicking on “buy”.

Or we have to bite the bullet and offer our novels for free. Yep. Free downloads. $0.00. 

No one likes giving away work they’ve spent the equivalent of six months of their lives crafting. But, as someone more wordy wise than I once said: I write perchance to be read.

If you write to be read, free is the way to go. If you write to make money, free is the way to go. Initially, anyway, until you can break out of a pack of wannabe writers that is millions strong, with words delivered in such a compelling order, you get your name known.

All this advice is freely given and, of course, you are free to totally ignore it.

The dangers of writing*

While sportsmen have long accepted injuries as part and parcel of their trade, if the last few weeks are anything to go by, it seems musicians might soon have to find room on the tour bus for a Physio.
Injuries to The Edge and Dave Grohl

Already this year, U2’s The Edge has toppled off stage, Dave Grohl has broken a leg in similar circumstances in Scandinavia, while Michael from 5SOS has sustained facial injuries from onstage fireworks. Unlike their sporting counterparts, and to their eternal credit, none of the above were seen rolling around in agony following their pretty serious injuries. Grohl, in particular, proved the legend he is by living out another showbiz legend: the show must go on.

Writer injuries hardly compare

As this is a writer’s blog, I must now give the above a tenuous writerly link - and it’s thus: are we as writers exempt from the fear of injury and able to ply our trade without having to take a few weeks off to get fixed up?

Perhaps not. Eye strain is a serious and real problem for those forced to stare at screens for hours on end to satisfy our need to write. Then there’s posture problems caused by spending those same hours on end on our asses (how time flies when the creative juices flow). But apart from the odd back ache or attack of cramp, there’s little else. And that’s one of the worst (but also the best) things about being a writer. You’re unlikely to come to any physical harm doing it. There's very little danger.

The show must go on

None of the injuries we can sustain plying our trade enables us writers to hold a candle to musicians and sportsmen in the injury stakes. All we can do is use our talent to string sentences together to express our eternal respect for performers with the talent to get out there and put their bodies on the line for their art.

*No fingernails were broken in the typing of this article.

New Children's Book Series

Like the Roald Dahl of the south (of London) I have branched out from the writing of books for adults to the penning of stories for children.

Not because I've run out of ideas for books for big people, I hasten to add. Novel #5 A Big Bluff And Some Green Stuff is still on the horizon.

I had a few ideas for children's books and wanted to see if I could make them happen.

It's been an enjoyable process that has so far yielded 8 stories of varying lengths. The books in the Is It Time Yet series even rhyme, (which is not something publishers and agents usually want to hear/read/see).

Regardless, I'm sending the stories out to publishers and agents, in what's my first concerted effort to snag an agent in a few years.

For those who are curious or with under 7s in the house, you can find the latest (5th) book in the series, Is It My Birthday Yet? here. There's no blood, guts or gore whasotever, unlike in my adult work, although some candles do get set alight and burned.

How hard is it to learn English?

My daughter is learning to read, using the phonics system, which is imperfect, but seems to be working.

Helping her learn has made me realise how tricky the English language is.

Take these three words for example:


Three similar looking words, but each with a different pronunciation that would crash any Phonics driven computer.

So good luck to everyone out there learning English. Sorry it's all a bit complicated, but don't blame me, I didn't make up the rules!

On Which Day Of The Week Do Ebooks Sell Best?

Wouldn’t it be good to know the time of the week when Mr and/or Mrs Book Buying Public was most likely to acquire your action/adventure story, shell out for your saga or hand over the cash for your horror novel?

Such information would enable us authors to time tweets, adapt ads and line-up launches to capitalise on our audience’s propensity to buy.

This is not an advertisement by the way. I’m not about to offer to sell you data that proves that 3pm on a Tuesday is a more profitable day for sales than Friday at 9pm (when everyone who isn’t writing their next novel is out having fun, surely?)

But having shifted a few copies of my books in the US and Europe, I’m noticing patterns emerging. Briefly and chiefly, these are:

Tuesday and Wednesday are the slowest sales days. 
Friday and Sunday are the strongest sales days, followed by Saturday, Thursday and Monday, in that order.

It would be interesting to discover if these figures tally with the sales of your books, or if your experiences are vastly different.

Top Ten Tweets Of All Time #1

It's been 5 years since I first Tweeted. To mark the occasion, I'm counting down my ten most popular/successful tweets for no reason whatsoever really. 



The Secretary General lacked the skills to be either a secretary or a general. #amwriting THE DIAMOND RUSH

Most Tweeted. Most Favourited. Most Retweeted. One of my favourite quotes, from my first novel. This tweet capitalised on the popularity of #amwriting and #novelquotes

I never link it directly to the sales page for the novel. I just use this Tweet to raise awareness of the book. If people like it enough, finding and buying the book is easy.

Top Ten Tweets Of All Time #2

It's been 5 years since I first Tweeted. To mark the occasion, I'm counting down my ten most popular/successful tweets for no reason whatsoever really. 


Looking for a new author? Try these #thrillers. They’re as fresh as a freshman’s air freshener. 

Can't deny that this one is salesy, but I tried to inject a bit of wit, and give readers an idea of my kind of writing style, while selling my range of novels. And, although it's hard to track precisely how many sales this tweet was responsible for, there were always spikes in downloads when it ran.

Top Ten Tweets Of All Time #3

I had to mark my 5th Twitterversary somehow. So here's a countdown of my top ten tweets I've twittered on about since 2010.


Wow. 100,000*#downloads of my novels on #Kindle and#Smashwords
*Figure rounded up to nearest hundred thousand.

Self-deprecation was an early tactic of mine. It worked to attract new followers, but didn't boost sales. But this is one of my favourites purely because of the number of followers and retweets it was responsible for. The first line made me look a hugely popular novelist back when I wasn't. The pay off delivered the Earth-shattering truth familiar to many a self-published author (I suspect).

Top Ten Tweets Of All Time #4

It's been 5 years since I first Tweeted. To mark the occasion, I'm counting down my ten most popular/successful tweets for no reason whatsoever really. 


"Who, except dicks and desperadoes, goes clubbing on a Monday night?" 

Last Night At The Stairways.

Time was when not a Monday went by without me tweeting this. Pulling a quote from my 2nd novel, this tweet seemed to resonate with plenty of people, garnering a fair few likes and helping make my nightclub horror my best seller. This isn't overly salesy, it doesn't desperately scream 'buy my book', it just gives an insight into what the reader can expect.

Top Ten Tweets Of All Time #5

It's been 5 years since I first Tweeted. To mark the occasion, I'm counting down my ten most popular/successful tweets for no reason whatsoever really. 


The #apocalypse is pretty annoying. Here’s 80 other things that’ll give you reason to #whinge and whine.

A very time specific tweet, and one that made good use of a trending hashtag. This was posted just before the world was about to end (according to Nostradamus or some such other clairvoyant.) Anyway, I thought it would be a good time to promote my sole non-fiction book Gets Up Your Nose And Curls Your Toes (The Anthology of Annoyance). It worked well while that hashtag was trending...

Top Ten Tweets Of All Time #6

It's been 5 years since I first Tweeted. To mark the occasion, I'm counting down my ten most popular/successful tweets for no reason whatsoever really. 


Straight Outta Croydon. The beerfear #thriller Last Night At The Stairways is set in these two former #Croydon bars

This one consistently generated traffic to this very blog, where I posted some background details on the influences behind my second novel. No attempt to sell the book here, merely raise awareness of the work and provide some behind the scenes info that you just can't get from anywhere else, other than the horse's mouth.

Top Ten Tweets Of All Time #7

This month, I'm picking up my 5 years' service badge. 5 years a Twitterer. That's half a decade of musings, ramblings, and the odd sales pitch. To mark it, I'm singling out 10 Tweets I've posted that stand out from the rest for one reason or other (usually other).


No book called Last Night At The Stairways has sold more copies than this book called Last Night At The Stairways

This was a favourite of mine and a few other people in my early Tweeting days, a strong claim there, but no call to action, thereby avoiding the salesyness that so many dislike. Could work with any novel title really. But did just fine for 'Stairways' until I posted it too many times...

Top Ten Tweets Of All Time #8

Five years a Tweeter me, this month. To mark the occasion, I'm listing my 10 most favourite/successful messages of 140 characters or less. Purely a trumpet blowing exercise. More or less.


So what's the new novel A Dead Chick And Some Dirty Tricks all about then? Err... 

I knew when I christened it that my 4th novel's title was not going to be Twitter friendly. To fit that wordy title and a link (even a shortened one) into a tweet was always going to be a challenge, so the message had to be direct. This one is and has been favourited quite a few times.

Top Ten Tweets Of All Time #9

To celebrate half a decade as a Tweeter, I'm counting down the top ten tweets I've tweeted, and analysing why I think they're my best.


They gave THE DIAMOND RUSH five stars. Will you? 

A little bit salesy this one, linking direct to my book on Barnes & Noble, which has gained a brace of five star reviews. The tweet is short and tweet, I mean sweet, and sets a challenge without ramming a 'buy this or else' message down people's throats. Most times I tweet it, The Diamond Rush gets another few customers. Who says tweets don't sell?

Top Ten Tweets Of All Time #10

I’ve been a Twitterer for 5 years. That’s what it says on my Twitter profile page and I’m not going to argue. To mark this Twitterversary, here’s a countdown of my Top Ten Tweets…


Al wanted a belly that would command respect from the drinkers back home - George in The William and William in The George. #amwriting

This is a quote from a short story of mine 'And Elvis Will Marry Us' about a drunken British lout in Las Vegas. It was a Tweet that got favourited a good few times, and elicited a few direct messages.
It's not selling anything (even though quite a few of my Tweets do) and #amwriting trends regularly, so I recommend it as a good place for writers to preview their work as opposed to blatantly try and sell their stuff.

When To Abandon A Writing Project

How do you know when a project isn't working?
When a short story is short of an exciting lead character or a brilliant ending, or a gripping beginning, or all three?
Or when writing a novel turns out to be not quite so novel as you imagined it when you first thought of the idea?

We've all got projects lying abandoned in drawers like shopping cart left in multi-storey car parks. We know they won't be there forever, but right now we can't get them in the place they ought to be. Maybe we'll pillage the best bits and get the hell out of there, feeling a little guilty about leaving it abandoned.

But how long do you flog the dead horse before you realise it will neigh no more?

I think it's all down to how much time you've invested in the project or, to use poker parlance, how pot committed you are. If you've planned for months and written a whole draft or two, giving up that baby there and then isn't going to be easy. You're going to try and make it work, no matter what. You may be tempted to get the script out there for others to feed back on. Maybe it's not as bad as you think? It usually is.

For me, I seldom get as far as writing a draft. I'll spend ages planning it out, hoping a spark might save it from the oblivion of unfinished-dom. Yearning for a plot twist to turn it on its head and save it from the dreaded Drawer Of The Poor.

If nothing happens for a month, I'll move onto something else. But there's no escaping that feeling of failure, especially every time I go shopping and see those abandoned carts...

Why getting a 1 star book review could be worse.

Yes, a couple of my books have had a 1-star review recently. They probably would have got zero stars had that option been available.

But, do you know what? I prefer getting the lowest possible rating than a 2 or 3 out of 5. And that's not just me trying to look on the bright side.

Two or three stars is mediocrity. It's so-so. It's this book made no discernible impact on my life. It's the white lines on the road. It's plain Rich Tea biscuits. Bland. Vanilla. Insipid.

At least if you get a 1 or zero, you know you've royally pissed off someone, or disgusted them. or disappointed them to such an extent they want to bury your book in an allotment, or set it on fire, or whatever the digital equivalent of that is.

One is a snarl. Two or three is a shrug of the shoulders.

So if your book gets a review with the lowest rating possible, look on it positively. Regard it as preferable to a 2 or 3, but obviously not as good as a 4 or 5.

Then go off and write something that everyone just has to give 5 out of 5.

Happy new year. Even to my 1-star reviewers, without whom this post would not have been possible!