What can I do… sometimes?

What can I do… sometimes? This might not mean much to anyone outside Turkey but in recent years this English phrase has become integrated into Turkish everyday speech. It is often followed with much knowing laughter by those around who ‘get it’. And just about everyone does.

It is a phrase that was coined by Fatih Terim, the manager of the Turkish national football team. He said it in a TV interview. It’s been adopted into popular culture by millions to explain away things that they feel they can’t do anything about – situations out of their control. It’s usually accompanied by a shrug and a countenance of resignation.

What can I do… sometimes is the phrase that occurred to me when faced with my dilemma of when to self-publish A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7). It sums up my feelings perfectly.


The issue is that it’s almost spring and the book, as the title and cover suggest, has a winter/Christmas backdrop. Will readers want to read a book about winter and Christmas in the spring? I gave this more thought than I really should have. Because the answer is a simple one for a CWAP writer like me: self-publish and be damned.

Look, the book is written. It came back from the menders this week. I’ve formatted it and it just needs a read-though. It’s almost ready to leave the nest.

It’s a Romney and Marsh File, it’s not exactly Harry Potter, is it? Why would I wait another nine months to publish it? OK, so it might lose some impact because of the time of year. I will have to accept that. But I wouldn’t mind betting that in ten years time if this book is still floating around in the ether readers won’t care when they read it. I read winter-themed books in the summer and summer- themed books in the winter. The same goes for watching films and I always manage to enjoy them out of season if it’s something I can enjoy in the first place. Believe it or not, this week at the gym Wham’s Last Christmas was played over the sound system. In February. And guess what? As I bench pressed my usual 10kg I caught myself singing along.

I’m a CWAP. I can’t afford to have a finished novel sitting on my computer for the ‘right time’ to publish it. Being a CWAP is as much about momentum as it is about anything. And anyway, one of the primary reasons I write is to be read. There are a good number of R&M Files readers out there who I know want me to release this one as soon as it’s ready – for them, like me, the R&M Files is about the characters. It doesn’t matter where or when in the year they are. Why would I disappoint them with a commercial strategy? Something that could, ironically, end up back-firing and hurting the R&M Files as a commercial entity, if we must look at them in that way. Let’s face it, I’m not such a successful CWAP that it’s going to make that much difference when it comes out.

And what if I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow? I do live in Turkey you know, where to fifty percent of the drivers at large a red light at a traffic crossing  means proceed with caution (ha!). Who would put R&M#7 out then? The sobering truth is there is no one. I’m not kidding.

For any one who doesn’t want to read it now, for whatever reason, I suppose I would just have to hope that if you like the R&M Files you’ll download it and keep it for Christmas or download it at Christmas when you’re in the mood for a cover with a snow-storm on it.

A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7) is going to soon be available for pre-order. I just haven’t decided on a release date yet. Having Three Short Blasts coming out on the 12th is a spanner in the works. I’ll probably have made a decision by next week.

Maybe I can whet an appetite or two with the blurb:

A particularly nasty series of crimes is casting a pall over the members of CID and an unusually white Dover in the run up to Christmas on the south coast of England.

The festive period is further marred by the report of a pair of suspicious sudden deaths on the frozen outskirts of the town.

Detective Inspector Romney and his loyal team are dealing with evil on all fronts and against a ticking calendar.


Three Short Blasts is still available for pre-order here Amazon UK and here Amazon US

Three Short Blasts  (Medium)

Three Short Blasts is a collection of three original stories that are not to be found anywhere else. There is one story in each of the three series that I write: The Romney and Marsh Files, Acer Sansom and Booker & Cash.

Going on industry standard word count, the three stories range from forty to sixty pages of a paperback novel in length – significantly longer than short stories but not quite novellas.

There’s also an introduction in the book where I explain the motivation behind it. You can skip that bit if you like and get straight into the reads, which I hope you will enjoy.



Deep State (Large)Regular blog followers will know that I have enrolled a book in the Kindle Scout programme. Deep State (Acer#4) has got a couple of weeks to go. For any one who hasn’t seen about it and who would like to know more, please see this blog-post and follow the link therein. Kindle Scout – Deep State (Acer#4)

This week I’ve been back working on Booker & Cash #3 Waifs and Strays. It’s been slow going as I get back into a B&C frame of mind but at least it’s moving forward again. I do get grouchy if I am forced to go for long periods without writing something new.

Six weeks and counting.

Spinning yarns.


Another week slips by in my CWAP life. And another busy one. I know how this guy feels. Just replace the plates with books. Oh, and replace the smile with an exhausted grimace.

I have three finished books in various stages of post-production. Three Short Blasts is available for pre-order. Still only 99p and 99c while stocks last. Available here Amazon UK and here Amazon US

(Interesting fact: did you know that three short blasts is a maritime signal for ‘I am operating astern propulsion?’ [snigger] In other words ‘I’m going backwards’. Here’s hoping that doesn’t turn out to be a portentous title regarding the consensus of opinion for this offering.)

I ummed and ahhed about how to release this and when. In the end I chose the release date to coincide with the date that my Kindle Scout campaign finishes – Saturday, March 12th. My thinking is that if Deep State doesn’t make it through to consideration for publication then I’ll have something to cheer myself up with, and if Deep State does make it then I’ll be celebrating with a book release. Sound like a plan? It works for me. (If you have no idea what I’m on about, see further down the page.)

Three Short Blasts  (Medium)Three Short Blasts is a collection of three original stories that are not to be found anywhere else. There is one story in each of the three series that I write: The Romney and Marsh Files, Acer Sansom and Booker & Cash.

Going on industry standard word count, the three stories range from forty to sixty pages of a paperback novel in length – significantly longer than short stories but not quite novellas.

There’s also an introduction in the book where I explain the motivation behind it. You can skip that bit if you like and get straight into the reads, which I hope you will enjoy.

Deep State (Large)


Deep State (Acer#4) is with the Kindle Scout programme. Please see this link to an older blog-post for details. Kindle Scout – Deep State (Acer#4)

That’s still got nearly three weeks left to run and I’ve just about run out of people to hassle to vote for me. Bugger! (Ha! I’ve even asked my children. I repeat: ha! My son said, ‘I didn’t know you’d written a book.’) I would like to say a huge thank you to all who have nominated the book for consideration by Amazon and please consider a cherry on top if you were able to retweet me or re-blog me or post my begging letter on your FB page. (This is now reading like a foreign language.) It’s all helped tremendously and I am very grateful. If you haven’t YET, I would be very grateful if you would consider doing so. Deep State needs exposure and nominations!!!

The Kindle Scout programme is quite demanding on the social networking side of things. It’s important to keep the profile of the entry in question in the ‘Hot and Trending’ list for as long as possible during its 30 day campaign for it to have any chance of the Amazon team even looking at it. There are no guarantees that they will publish anything, no matter how popular a book has seemed with nominators.

A WHITE-KNUCKLE CHRISTMAS 1030 1.jpgAnd this week I finished my final read-throughs of A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7). That’s now gone off to the menders.

Regarding R&M#7 I have a question for anyone who might have an opinion to share regarding the answer.

R&M#7 is set in the run up to a very white Christmas on the south coast. If all goes to plan, the book will be available for submitting to Amazon in March. The book has a Christmassy title and a Christmassy cover. Is it something that readers will want to read in spring, with the winter well behind us? Or should I keep it back and make it a Christmas 2016 release?
I have my own view, but I would be very interested in the views of others.

What am I up to now? Let me just have a look at that little list I made for myself back in early January.

1) Release Deep State Acer#4 – check, sort of.
2) Release A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7) – nearly there.
3) Finish and release Booker & Cash #3 Waifs and Strays (provisional title).
4) Finish and release the short story bundle. – check
5) Devote some serious time to getting my books more widely known about and doing some promotional work. – check

Looks like it’s back to Booker & Cash #3 – Waifs and Strays. I’m actually looking forward to doing some writing again.

I’ve got seven weeks left before I’m out of here. Yikes!

Kindle Scout

Deep State (Large)

Hello all my dear readers/followers.

I have submitted a book that I’ve written to an Amazon publishing scheme. The book is called Deep State. It’s the fourth in my Acer Sansom series. The Amazon scheme is called Kindle Scout.

How Kindle Scout works is that readers with an Amazon account can view the submissions made by writers like me and select up to three books that they’d like to see published by Amazon. It doesn’t cost the reader anything to participate except a bit of time. In fact, if one of the books that the reader shows their support for gets taken on by Amazon at the end of the process then that reader receives a free ebook copy of that title.

If you have an Amazon account, please would you take a look at my submission here Kindle Scout – Deep State and if you think it’s a book you would be happy to support, I’d be really grateful if you’d click on the ‘Nominate’ button. That’s all there is to it. Oh, and if you could see your way to sharing this post on your social media, I would be sincerely thankful for that. Thanks. 🙂

Best wishes and thanks for reading.
Oliver Tidy

A Bookish Valentine’s Day…blog-post.




Say it with simit.

When I went to pick up the morning simit bread today the woman behind the counter popped this little gift into my bag. (I know it looks like a heart-shaped turd, but it’s bread.)

After I stopped panicking that I’d forgotten it was Valentine’s Day, it got me thinking about the occasion (and about how I could rescue myself from the promise of a bad day at home because of my forgetfulness). I could have presented my wife with the heart-shaped simit and pretended that I’d paid for it, but by the time the idea occurred to me on the walk home from the shop I’d already eaten it.


A flower in bloom, like first love, is beautiful to behold: fresh, fragrant, perfect. It is no surprise that they are chosen by many a romantic to give to the apple of their eye on Valentine’s Day. But… they wilt. They become ugly and smelly and depressing to look at. A metaphor for our chosen loved one, perhaps? Eventually, we can bear to put up with them no more and they are discarded, thrown away on life’s rubbish heap. It’s one of the reasons I don’t give flowers. (The other reason is, I’m tight.)


Chocolates! Mmmm… another safe staple for many a Romeo to fall back on and many a Juliet to get fat on. Remove the cellophane of the packet, lift the lid, inhale the trapped scents of long-sealed  c h o c o l a t e… it’s almost sexual, isn’t it? The box is full, virgin, unspoilt, unmolested, a treasure of tastes and torment, treats and truffles. But wait… chocolates get eaten, they disappear, soon they are all gone, there is nothing left… a bit like love, perhaps? And then, like love, it all turns to shit. Literally. That box of chocolate, that token of love is turned by your insides into poo. You squeeze it out and flush it away. A stinking mass of waste, again, literally. Gone. Forgotten. It’s one of the reasons I don’t give chocloates. (The other reason is, I’m tight.)

Flowers and chocolates: landfill and shit. What a waste in every sense of the word.

This is the speech I made to my wife this morning before she stopped speaking to me and threw something heavy in my direction. It was only half of my intended speech. She didn’t want to hear anymore. I don’t think that she could have over her sobbing behind the locked bathroom door.

Three Short Blasts  (Medium)The rest of it went like this. A book. Is there a more complete, more personal, longer lasting, more multi-sensory pleasure, more multi-layered gift that one civilised person can give to another with whom they experience feelings of deep and enduring love for than a book – new or old? I don’t think so. As well as all of the above a book is a present that can be opened again and again. That’s why I pre-ordered you, my sweet, a copy of my latest book Three Short Blasts.

Her response probably would have gone something like: It’s not even a real book. It’s a crappy electronic file. You only pre-ordered it to get your sales figures and your Amazon chart position up.

Despite marrying me, she’s not completely stupid.

For anyone out there looking for a late Valentine’s Day gift for the love of your life, here are pre-order links. Amazon UK Amazon US

And at £0.99 and $0.99 a copy you won’t find many cheaper presents out there. Say it with an electronic file.

Here’s the Amazon sales page blurb in case you need a little more convincing.

Three Short Blasts is a collection of three original stories that are not to be found anywhere else. There is one story in each of the three series that I write: The Romney and Marsh Files, Acer Sansom and Booker & Cash.

Going on industry standard word count, the three stories range from forty to sixty pages of a paperback novel in length – significantly longer than short stories but not quite novellas.

There’s also an introduction in the book where I explain the motivation behind it. You can skip that bit if you like and get straight into the reads, which I hope you will enjoy.


As regular followers of this blog will know, last Sunday Rope Enough (R&M File #1) was the subject of a book promotion excercise that saw it go to #1 in the Amazon free charts. That’s the chart for every single free book on Amazon. Quite amazing. I’m still trying to get my head around that. There must be thousands of free books on Amazon. Maybe tens of thousands. In its first twelve hours it was downloaded nearly 6000 times. I thought it would quickly drop back down the charts but it stayed at #1 for 24 hours (awesome) and then hung around in the top 10 for most of the week. A few thousand more downloads later and today it’s at #20. Still good and a great boost to the book and the R&M Files’ profile for a mere $50.

There have been some good knock-on sales for the other R&M Files. That’s what it was all about.

Hits on my blog were also up. Before the promotion I was averaging about 30 or 40 hits a day. All this week I’ve been averaging over 100 hits a day, presumably from downloaders of Rope Enough checking out my links. Great stuff! Lots of exposure.

Talking of the blog: a small milestone this week: I posted my 200th blog-post. By my calculations that’s quite a lot of CWAP.


Get ready for launch!!!

Deep State (Large)

Another great cover in the Acer series. Worth a vote, no?

Fiends, Romanians, country-bumpkins…that doesn’t seem right.

Readers! Lend me your… support.

I can’t remember the last time I left my writer’s desk. Plates of food just turn up. I clear them. They disappear. There’s a bucket under the desk for you know what. It gets emptied. Don’t ask me who by. I smell and I need a shave. These are busy, busy days in my writing life. And now I have something else to attend to.

Consider this a cry for help, a call to arms. I’m seeking assistance from my lovely readers. (I’ll even accept it from the horrible ones. No names – Betsy.)

I’ve enrolled Acer #4 in a fairly new Amazon initiative. It’s called Kindle Scout.

Here’s a link to see what it’s all about. Click on ‘How it works’. Pleeeeeeease look.

Kindle Scout

Here is my submission page. Pleeeeeeeeease look.

Acer #4 Kindle Scout submission.

I truly believe it would be a great boost to me the writer and to the first three of the Acer Sansom novels if my campaign was successful. (Does anyone who reads this blog really want me to have to go back to teaching little children? Would you want that on your consciences? I’m thinking of them for a change, not me. No one wants someone who took a year’s sabbatical to follow a dream and who failed to end up in a room with thirty screaming five-year-olds. That’s never going to end well. Just think about what could happen. You could be legal accessories to something terrible if you don’t help me.)

Before you all rush off to share this link and re-blog and spread the word. I have one word to say. STOP! PLEASE, DON’T SHARE THIS BLOG-POST ANYWHERE. That’s eight words.

Why don’t I want it shared? Am I insane?

Apparently, the best thing to do when running a Kindle Scout campaign is to spread out any votes you can hope to count on from readers, friends, family etc. If everyone votes on day one then the book might become ‘Hot’ for a day and then end up as frozen as a snowman’s todger by the end of thirty days. (I wonder how many votes that simile just cost me.) It’s up to me to try to find a way to keep my submission on the boil so to speak. I will be sharing on Facebook and Twitter etc. But later. NOT NOW! This campaign lasts for thirty days. I thought I would make my blog followers my first port of call. (Feeling privileged or disgracefully used?)

OK. All that said, and I hope understood, I want to say this in all seriousness. I’m only asking you to look at my submission. If it’s something you would like to support please do so. If you don’t like what you read who will know if you vote for someone else? (God will know, that’s who. And He and I are in regular contact. JOKE!) You get three votes by the way.

What’s in it for you? Whoever you vote for you’ll know you’re helping them to achieve a dream. And if they get taken on by Amazon, if you voted for their book, you get a free ebook of it when it gets published. Good, eh?

I said please don’t share this blog-post but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want all of you who will back me to tell everyone you know who has an Amazon account to get stuck in. Just whisper it or text it or stop people in the street or make a quick call to a family member. It’s not a secret!

Now don’t waste another moment. Follow the link above and vote for ME!!!!! (or whoever.)

Do it for the children or be prepared to live with the consequences, maybe while rotting in jail.



In yesterday’s blog-post I talked about some self-promotion work. I shared that through a mention on Bookhippo (a site that costs nothing to advertise with) Rope Enough (Romney and Marsh File#1) scrambled into Amazon’s top 100 free books for an hour or two. It then fell away quite rapidly so that by last night it was back to #275 in the free charts. Rope Enough was downloaded just over 200 times on its best day. I’m not complaing. It was a boost to downloads.

Last night at 8pm GMT another promotion kicked in – one that I’d paid $50 for. This time with Bookbub (another book promotion site). When I went to bed at about 9pm GMT (I live Turkey, which is 2hrs ahead of UK so don’t start on me) Rope Enough was still in the low 200s. It didn’t look particularly encouraging.

When I woke up this morning I reached over for my Kindle on the bedside table and had a quick look to see if there had been any impact on downloads overnight.

Anyone who is looking for a new way to go from a state of half-sleep to instant-wide-awakefulness, write a book and sign it up with Bookbub. I haven’t gone from the horizontal to the vertical that quickly since my little boy crawled in the bed in the middle of the night and peed all over me. (At fifty-something that is not to be underestimated as an horrific experience. Especially when for a few agonising, confused, fleeting seconds you think it was you who wet the bed.)

As can be seen from the screen grab above, Rope Enough started my day at #1 in the overall Amazon Kindle charts. For a free book it cannot get any higher than that. That seems to me to be $50 well spent. Time will tel if there is a knock-on for sales of the other books.

So, the question I’m sure all my reader and writer virtual friends are screaming at their computer moniotors is: how many downloads did it take to get to the #1 spot?

What do you think?

Another stab at self-promotion.

I’ve finished with the revisions of my books. I’ve uploaded all of the new versions to Amazon. With most of them it was just a matter of updating the front and back matter and the blurb. With others there were some small errors readers had taken the time and trouble to point out to me (sincere thanks all). With the first three R&M Files I did some quite intensive editing. I’m quite happy to have done the job, and I’m very happy that it’s finished. I feel that I can move on. It’s all been hanging over me for too long.

Something else that I’ve also been meaning/needing to get more into is promotional work. It is something that I’d shied away from because of the way I felt about the first three R&Ms. They weren’t as good as they could be. They needed that work that I’ve done. Now that they are done to my satisfaction, I’m ready to do some promotion. My feelings for self-promotion have not helped. I still carry the mental scars from this episode: A Stab at Self-promotion.

I have submitted Rope Enough (R&M File #1) for consideration to Bookbub. Bookbub is a site that has a massive email list of readers. Authors pay money to Bookbub and Bookbub emails thousands of genre-specific readers with details of your book. As I understand it, one of the requirements is that the book in question must be offered at a reduced price. Rope Enough is free at the moment and has been for months. They accepted it anyway. It’s going to be live on their site today: Sunday 7th February.

It costs $50 for Bookbub to email UK readers. If you want them to email US readers as well it’s hundreds of dollars. I just went with the UK.

I’m really interested to see what sort of download figures this promotion generates and whether there is a knock-on for the other books in the series. That’s why I’m doing it, of course.

Recently, Rope Enough has been hovering around the #300 mark in the Amazon charts free books. Not good. No one sees it there. To be honest I could probably shift more copies if I started charging for it because it would be something new in a different chart.

A fellow writer also made me aware of a site called Bookhippo. They are similar to Bookbub, but they don’t charge for the service. I signed up Rope Enough with them a few days ago. They got back to me on Thursday with a message that my book was live on their site. I saw the message pretty quickly and was able to look up the current stats for the book so that I could have some figures to judge the promotional campaign against.

Rope Enough was #341 in Amazon free charts and #14 in free police procedural novels. Up until 2.30pm, which is when the message came through, I had given away 19 copies that day.


First thing in the morning the book had gone to #87 in the overall Kindle free charts. Signing up with Bookhippo had been worth it. Getting in the top 100 is an opportunity to get seen by other readers. The book had been downloaded over 200 times, which is about 150 more than it was downloaded the day before the promotion started.

Friday evening Rope Enough had fallen outside the top 100. It was at 104.

Saturday morning it was at number 133.

Sunday morning (now) it is a 226.

So the spike in downloads was effective but fleeting.

Let’s see what today’s Bookbub promotion does.

Sticking with promotion, because my books are in the Kindle Unlimited programme at the moment I have the opportunity to take advantage of Amazon’s promotional service. There is a choice of two options: give your book away or do a Kindle Countdown deal. I’ve listed Dirty Business as a countdown deal. I’ve never done a countdown deal before. This means that starting yesterday for a week Dirty Business will be 99p, the clock ticks down on the listing page and then it reverts back to it’s original price £1.99. I’m doing this because I think that Amazon probably highlight their countdown deals somewhere, so it’s an opportunity to get one of my covers seen, maybe some more downloads and some attention for the series.

When the Kindle countdown deal started, Dirty Business was at #15100 in the overall Kindle charts. One day in and it is at #3572. (I’ve only just this minute learned that and I have to say I swore, out loud.) That’s a big jump and I didn’t do anything other than reduce the price. I’ll be very interested to see if this is just a spike of if there is some mileage in the promotional tactic, maybe some knock-on for the series. That would be nice.


While following a Twitter thread last week I discovered that there is a crime fiction conference in Deal, which is just a couple of miles down the road from Dover where the R&M Files are set – about an hour’s drive from my home on Romney Marsh. I looked closer. It’s called Deal Noir. This year will be its second year. Last year they had some very well-known crime writers attend. Same for this year. It’s the kind of thing I should be attending, especially as it’s on the R&M Files doorstep. Maybe next year.

I can’t help feeling a little sad that the R&M Files aren’t at that party in an official capacity. Like I say, they are set in that area (Romney and Marsh do stray into Deal occasionally) and they have proven popular with a good number of readers. I suppose that it’s just another reality check for me – I joke about being a self-published nobody and the truth is that I am. (Tune up the string section.)


For anyone with Facebook who is interested in UK crime fiction there is a new FB group started up called UK Crime Book Club. It’s very supportive of writers like me: indie and self-published. It costs nothing to join (you need to be accepted) and they are a really friendly bunch. Please think about supporting it.

UK Crime Book Club


And finally: another reminder for me that you can’t please all the people all the time. This week I got a 1* (no comment from the reader) for Unhappy Families on Goodreads. The same reader had given me a 5* for Particular Stupidities (no reader comment). #justsharingmyincredulitythatanyonecouldfindUF4*worsethanPSWTF!