To be a hybrid.

I am not a religious person. But I do love a good hymn. One of my favourites is ‘To Be a Pilgrim’ aka ‘He Who Would Valiant Be’. What a stonkingly rousing number. Stirring stuff. I’m adapting it for my campaign – ‘To Be a Hybrid’.

Since I started out on my journey as a CWAP a fair number of aims/targets/goals have come and gone. Some I’ve achieved; some I didn’t/haven’t yet; some I discarded. I have a new one. I feel quite strongly about it and have done for a while. It’s linked with one of my original core aims. I want to be a hybrid author. What does that mean? Possibly not what you’re thinking.

Before I even thought about writing I was a book collector. I love first editions. That’s my thing. I love the physical book in its first published state. I love everything about a real book. For me books are multi-sensory pleasures. The only sense in which a book doesn’t appeal to me is taste (as in food). This is based on my experiences of licking books – don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it, although be careful where you do – I got thrown out of Waterstones for running my tongue up the spine of a certain JK Rowling. (Book not author. But I’m up for it if she is.)

Among the things I love about first editions is seeing them displayed on a bookshelf, spine out, the gaily coloured dust-jackets with the (to me) all important publisher’s name standing out – a seal of industry approval. When I started writing that was one of the things that I wanted for my books – a dust-jacket with a proper publisher’s name on the spine. I still want it. (But I’d settle for paperbacks.)

It seems quite popular in self-publishing to activate the Print On Demand (POD) facility with Amazon. And why not? It’s a way to get your book into print. It’s a way for readers to find you, to appreciate you, to share you, to fund you. It’s another way for an author to spread the word about their work. I haven’t gone down the POD route yet. There are no physical copies of my books out there. I have probably hurt myself by choosing not to get involved with POD. I really do want to have physical copies of my books. But I really do not want to be the one who commissions them. I want my physical books to have a proper publisher’s name on the spine – not Createspace or blank. I’m not yet ready to strangle my own dreams.

Am I a snob about it? I think so. Is it a form a vanity? Undoubtedly. People can think what they like about my position and my personality. I don’t care and I’m not hurting anyone (except myself.)

It get’s worse.

I don’t just want to be traditionally published. I want my cake and I want to be allowed to eat it. I want to be a new kind of hybrid author. A ‘trindie’. It could become trendy. I could be the first trendy trindie. I want a traditional publisher to take control of my physical books but that’s all. I want to retain control of the digital and audio rights to my books. I’m sure there are those who know something of the way things are in publishing these days who now need to go and change their underpants because laughing long and hard can do that to you.

I’m sure there are dozens of reasons people could give me why this isn’t ever likely to happen. (Someone probably once told Neil Armstrong that he should stop dreaming.) I’m sticking behind the reasons that it could work. Everywhere you look in the book-selling industry people are saying that the players need to adapt to new opportunities and new ways of doing things. This is a new way and the only reason it couldn’t work is because people wouldn’t want it to. That’s all. I’m still hoping to find the forward-thinker who is open to something different.

A WHITE-KNUCKLE CHRISTMAS 1030 1Did I mention that A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7) is out tomorrow? Yeah, I know – it’s the Easter weekend. What can I tell you? I can be unconventional.

Available from all good ebook retailers spelt like this Amazon.  Pre-order here Amazon UK and here Amazon US .

I have two weeks left in Turkey. Yesterday I hit 50,000 words of B&C#3. It will be touch and go whether I finish that before my bell tolls.

After the horse has bolted…


For a fiction writer, sometimes I’m such an unimaginative divot. Mind you, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Yesterday I posted about my Kindle Scout success. After three years plus of blogging, yesterday’s post generated the most hits and most social media attention of any blog post I’ve written. I’ve written and posted over 200.

Why didn’t I think to tag a bit on the end mentioning the imminent release of the next and possibly last installment in the Romney and Marsh Files? Maybe a couple of links? Talk about missed opportunities. With such a demonstrative lack of awareness regarding the chance for a bit of self-promotion it’s no wonder I’m not a household name for the right reasons.

A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7) is available for pre-order here Amazon UK and here Amazon US . Release date is 26th March. Less than a week away.

This might encourge a few fence sitters: for anyone who looks forward to an R&M File in the hope that the author has finally grown out of including ‘funny’ scenes set in toilets, you’ll be sorry to learn that #7 has not one but two! I’ve spoilt you. Write about what you know, they said.


NB: Today is a special day for Kurds of the region. Official government announcements warn of the danger of incidents of terrorist outrage in the country today. Any one who watches the news will know the sort of thing I’m referring to. One common direct result of that sort of thing in Turkey is that Facebook and other social media outlets can become virtually impossible to access. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to tag this post. If I don’t answer any comments today that’s why.

Some good news to share.

Deep State (Large)

Many of you will know that last Saturday, 12th March, my Kindle Scout 30 day campaign ended for Deep State (Acer Sansom #4). For any one who doesn’t know about Kindle Scout here is a link that explains things. Kindle Scout

This week has been a waiting game to see whether the book would be chosen by Amazon for publication through its Kindle Press imprint . Yesterday, Friday,  I received an email from Amazon letting me know that the campaign had been successful.

Those of you who nominated the book should receive a thank you notification from Amazon, but I would like to repeat my sincere thanks to all those who nominated, shared, encouraged and helped to otherwise spread the word. Once again: writers are nothing without readers (and supporters).

Just a reminder, all who registered a nomination for Deep State will receive a free ebook in advance of publication day.

Despite best intentions to not get too ‘involved’ with the minutia of the campaign it was difficult not to: check ups of page views, Hot and Trending stats, pestering readers and supporters for nominations, for examples.

I’m going to devote this blog-post to providing some feedback on my experience of the process in case any one ‘out there’ is looking for information on what to expect and what they need to do to be successful. (Disclaimer: apart from the screen grabs of my stats it’s all guesswork.)

During the campaign, nominees get access to three stats in graph and chart form below. A bit ignorant, I went into the campaign believing that one simply must perform well every day to be in with a chance of getting chosen. My stats show you that you don’t need to. This leads me to consider other reasons why DS was chosen.

  1. I have a fairly healthy publishing history with Amazon. You might say a proven seller. (I believe that in my case this would have had a siginifcant influence on Amazon’s decision.)
  2. The cover is, I think, very good. (It’s looks professionally produced not home-made. First appearancess and all that.)
  3. My campaign stats are OKish. Probably just OK enough to get whoever makes the decisions to take a second look at the book.
  4. DS was properly and thoroughly prepared for submission. (I would be happy to self-publish it tomorrow in its current state.)
  5. I think DS is a good read. (I know. They all say that.)

As can be seen from the chart below DS did not spend a lot of time in Hot & Trending during the campaign: 206 hours out of a possible 720. That is not particularly encouraging. It received a good boost at the beginning because I posted on my blog and social media and supporters responded wonderfully. The spike in the middle was a Facebook post trying to reach any one who had missed news of the campaign. The spike at the end, I suspect, came because on the last day of campaign all books feature on a sidebar category ‘Ending Soon’ and many Kindle Scouters will only look then and if they have a vote to use up will take a punt on a book in the hope of a free copy. Just my feeling for the system.



Campaign views per day graph. Nothing to get too excited about.


And finally the ‘where did the traffic come from’ pie-chart.


Based on the above stats it would be a confident person to bet on their book getting through. But selection is, obviously, not just a matter of stats. I did some digging, like you do, and found a couple of other successful candidates who had not set the world alight with their campaign stats. This, I believe, should give encouragement to anyone thinking of submitting to KS who does not have a huge social media reach or the time and energy to spend thirty days and nights badgering the online world to support their entry. Get the other things right (see 1-5 above) and you are in with a chance.

It’s worth mentioning that I came across a few past candidates who have also shared their experiences and their stats. Some had not been successful and their stats put mine in the shade (more than double my time in H&T and one guy claimed to have over 6000 pages views.) I’m not speaking about them individually when I say that it’s good to know that just because someone is able to drum up a lot of support for their book they will not automatically succeed.

The bottom line is stats are not the be all and end all of a Kindle Scout campaign. Getting yourself noticed with some H&T hours is not a bad thing and something everyone should aim for.

The main advantage that I associate with being selected for publication is that Amazon will, probably, want to make the most of their investments by giving the books it takes on some valuable exposure in the world’s biggest-by-far, highly competetive ebook marketplace. That will be good for the book in question, the author’s name (so long as the book is reviewed favourably by readers), and possible positive knock-on effect on an author’s other books.

In my particular case, I hope that the other three books in the Acer series will receive some benefit from having Amazon get behind #4. We will see.

Other details involved are: there is a $1500 advance on future sales. Advance being the operative word. It’s not a prize. Who knows how long that will take to make? Royalties are paid on a 50/50 split on the net revenues, as opposed to 70/30 in the author’s favour when you self-publish. The contract states that Amazon reserve the right to produce an audio book. What fun that would be but realistically as the book is #4 in a series, it’s unlikely that Amazon will choose that option. (If they do I want to audition.) As I understand it, successful candidates also get a Kindle Scout T-shirt.

Another potential benefit of being selected is that it’s something to go on the writing CV. I am thinking seriously about touting something of mine to agents because I do still and will always want to be traditionally published. (Just one book. Is that too much to ask?) When the time comes to make my submissions the Kindle Scout submission will be something to put in the covering letter along with a copy of my Cycling Proficiency certificate.

It’ll likely be a few weeks before the book becomes available. Amazon and I have some paperwork to attend to and, as I understand it, when I have had a chance to review the manuscript I submitted one last time Amazon will then pass it on to their editorial services who will go over it looking for ‘improvements’ that can be made. I notice from the Kindle Scout page that some books have been in the production stage for several weeks.

Lastly, I want to say what a truly wonderful community the writing community is. Readers and fellow writers. Within minutes of posting my news on social-media I was inundated with messages of congratulations and good will. In what can sometimes be a rather unpleasant world it’s good to be part of something filled with goodwill, encouragement and positivity.

Three Short Blasts – out today!

Three Short Blasts  (Medium)

Two things have happened in my CWAP life so far today and it’s only seven o’clock in the morning! Three Short Blasts went live with Amazon and my Kindle Scout campaign for Deep State (Acer Sansom #4) ended.

Three Short Blasts can be ordered here Amazon UK and here Amazon US

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.

I’m happy with each of the three short stories. And it feels good to have done something different.

Thanks to all who have pre-oredered a copy of this title. I sincerely hope that you find something in the stories to enjoy. Be sure to let me know, please.


Whether Deep State gets taken up for Amazon’s Kindle Scout programme will depend on how those who make the decisions at Amazon view the potential profits to be made from the book and probably that’s all that matters. And why shouldn’t that be it? Bookselling is a business. I’m really not sweating their decision. It could be good for me if they say yes and it would certainly be something different for me to get involved with. But if they say no then I’ll just self-publish it. It’s ready to go.

My sincere thanks to everyone who ‘Nominated’ the book on Kindle Scout and who helped publicise the campaign. I’m very grateful to you all for all your efforts and support.

Once more I would like to repeat my writer’s mantra: writers are nothing without readers. (It’s a mantra. They’re supposed to be repeated.)


A White-Knuckle Christmas (R&M File #7)


A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7) is now available for pre-order here Amazon UK and here Amazon US . Release date is 26th March. Just three weeks away.

Here’s 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.

It’s a little bit amazing to think that there are now seven books and a short story featuring Dover CID. These books and the characters have been a prominent part of my life for nearly five years. Good years. (The earliest saved file I have on my computer is June, 2011. Rope Enough was originally going to be called An Open Mind.)

I moved to Turkey seven years ago. I started writing in the second year (I think.) The R&M Files were not the first books I wrote. The first was Dirty Business (Acer Sansom #1).

Romney and Marsh were not originally the names of my two central characters. They were called Moses and Stone. My thinking was that I would write ten books involving crimes based on the ten commandments. (That didn’t last long.) So it was Moses as in Mount Sinai and Stone as in set in. I can’t remember how long I kept these names for but it must have been a good while. (I wrote the first three in the series before I self-published any of them.)

Then one day I was watching the news and saw that a guy called Mitt Romney was running for American president. I remember thinking that Romney was a good strong name for a character. Because I was born and bred on Romney Marsh it is impossible for me to hear the name Romney without then associating the word Marsh. I had my epiphany on a settee in front of the telly eating a kebab. I have never regretted the decision to change the names. Not for a moment.

I don’t know if there will be another Romney and Marsh File. That’s not me being anything other than honest with myself. Don’t worry, there is no Reichenbach Falls incident in #7. I’ve had a very good run with them. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every one and I like #7 too. I might just quit while I’m ahead and #7 has a sort of ‘Christmas special’ feel to it for me.

Why would I make the decision to bring the series to a close? Look at the picture below. My head is full of writing ideas. And now the walls around my desk are. It’s like I put a shotgun in my mouth and pulled the trigger. I have three other projects that I’m really keen to have a bash at. (One of them will be at least two books.) And none of them is in my usual writing genre. It seems a strange thing to think let alone write (this is my writer’s diary where I share just about everything) but I almost feel like I’ve served my apprenticeship and it’s time to move on.

new projects

I’m leaving here in five weeks. I will not be living a writer’s life for the next four or five months. I hope to find time to write but it won’t be like it is now. I have more pressing commitments of the property maintenance variety to be getting on with. (Groan.)

So assuming I get back to writing full-time next September and I crack on with one or two of my other projects, I would not be looking at another Romney and Marsh File for well over a year. What kind of writer will I be then? Will I even want to go back to them? I could. I’ve left it open for them to return. I just don’t know how I’m going to feel.

So that’s two series of mine that might well have seen the last book in each. I’m currently still hammering away at Booker & Cash #3 and I have a start on Booker & Cash #4 in the bank. They are both high on my list to finish. And I can see myself writing more in that series.


In other CWAP news. Three Short Blasts will be out next Saturday. I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes down. Copies can be pre-ordered 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 week 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)

Alternatively just click on this link and then the blue ‘Nominate’ button if you would rather not subject yourself to my begging letter and you’d just like to support me. Nothing wrong with that. 🙂

Kindle Scout – Deep State


That’s all folks! Have a good weekend everyone. 🙂