Life’s surprises.

dads archive.JPG

My father’s archive.

It’s something of a cliché but life really is full of surprises, not to mention some truly strange coincidences.

I’m back in the UK now. Part of the reason I’m home is to help mum sort out the house she’s just moved from. In one of the many cardboard boxes that came out of the attic I found my father’s writing archive. Dad was an English teacher so he liked words. Turns out he enjoyed various forms of writing too. The box contained several short stories, many poems and other writing, some of which he’d submitted to magazines and had published. My dad was a published author and I didn’t know the half of it. I also found a bound handwritten manuscript of a novel he wrote but didn’t seem to take any further than that. (So that’s where I got it from.)

The strange coincidence: On the morning of the day I got my hands on dad’s writing archive I received an offer from a publisher for a three book deal. Bloodhound Books want to take on my two existing Booker and Cash novels and the third in that series, which is written but not published yet. Naturally, I am absolutely thrilled to have a publisher interested enough in my writing to approach me regarding collaboration. But it’s the coincidence of the two events on the same day that overtook me.

E-books and ereaders have contributed to a period of rapid change in the book publishing industry. Bloodhound Books are at the forefront of what I see as a shift in the traditional landscape. Digital publishing is big business and it’s growing. There are more self-published authors writing more books than ever before. On our own we are only so many voices in the wind. As a CWAP, if you don’t have the time or energy or know-how for the self-promotion side of self-publishing you will likely severely limit the chances of growing an audience for your work. Bloodhound Books can address that for the self-published author by working collaboratively with them to, hopefully, everyone’s benefit.

For several months Bloodhound Books have been steadily recruiting self-published authors who have proved through their writing that they are worthy of greater attention. The growing list of Bloodhound’s stable of writers is really quite impressive. (See here It’s a list that I am very proud and honoured to be asked to join.

While Bloodhound Books are primarily concerned with the digital e-book market they do also produce physical copies of books. There are currently no physical copies of any of my books. I could have made them available through Amazon’s print on demand service at any time, however, I made a conscious decision at the beginning of my CWAP adventure that if my books ever came into existence as physical objects I would not be the one to commission them. I had my reasons.

I am a book lover. I can’t think of many things that will give me greater pleasure than to hold a physical copy of a book I’ve written, something I didn’t organise the printing of. It’s one of the core dreams that I’ve had from the beginning. I’ll wager it’s one of the things just about every budding author wants when they first put pen to paper or finger to qwerty keyboard.

I’m looking forward to working with Bloodhound in the coming months and seeing what they can do for Booker and Cash. I couldn’t be happier that Booker and Cash is the series to get picked up. They are the pairing that mean the most to me and the stories are set on Romney Marsh, the place where I was born and bred and have returned to live after several years abroad. Booker and Cash are also the series that I’m determined to write more books in. Whether they will prove to be books that Bloodhound will want to take on I shall have to see, but for now I’m very happy with this week’s developments.

PS: Is dad’s novel any good? I wish I could say, but I can’t read his bloody writing.

My Amazon daily deal joy.

pasul-nash-exOn Tuesday Deep State (Acer Sansom #4) was part of an Amazon Daily Deal promotion. I was, naturally, rather excited to see how it would do. And I was pleasantly surprised.

There are four books in the Acer Sansom series. Deep State is #4. Amazon had reduced it for the Daily Deal from £3.38 to £0.99. Before the DD it had been fluctuating between 7000 to 10,000 in the overall ranking positions for a while. Its best chart position during the DD timing was #174 in the overall Kindle chart, which is pretty impressive. I’ve never had a book go that high before. In fact I’ve only ever broken into the top 1000 a couple of times and they were R&M Files #6 and #7.

What really made my day was the immediate effect that the DD had on the rest of the Acer series. Book #1 is a perma-free book that has been hovering around #1600 chart position-wise. (It does baffle me why Dirty Business doesn’t sit higher than that – it’s a free book and it’s got a great review average). Anyway, on the back of the DD Dirty Business surged up the charts to #50 in the free downloads chart and it’s still in the top 100 a couple of days later. I’m not making anything out of that, of course, but it means readers are downloading it and that increases the possibility of knock-on sales for the rest of the series.

Even better than that books #2 and #3 in the series were both in the Amazon top 1000 by the end of the day. That was a really good boost for sales and visibility for Acer. Neither of those titles has been near the top 1000. (I know that doesn’t sound much but for a CWAP like me the top 1000 is something, when you consider there are millions of books available to download through Amazon.

I get why readers would be encouraged to download book #1 because it’s free but I don’t understand why readers would also download books #2 & #3 in the series when they haven’t had a chance to read the others. I’m not complaining.

What has that image of a Paul Nash exhibition at Tate Britain got to do with my writing life? Not much. But I was standing on a train station platform on my way home from Gatwick at the beginning of the week when I noticed a big billboard poster for it. It was like the sun came out in my heart. Like David Booker, I am a big Paul Nash fan. Also like David Booker, I have a Paul Nash fake hanging on one of my walls. I’m so looking forward to going.

Say it with a killer thriller.

Just a quick post to let UK readers know that Deep State (Acer Sansom #4) should be on sale today through the Amazon Daily Deal programme. (That’s what they promised me anyway.) I won’t be able to check because I’m away from home. (This is a scheduled blog post. Ain’t technology great?)

Normally priced at £3.36 it should be reduced to 99p, just for today. So forget wasting money on chocolates and flowers for your loved one on Valentine’s Day – say it with a killer thriller. Click the link above to go to Amazon UK site. (And for anyone who sees this and wishes they could start at the beginning of the series with a free download click the link below.)

I’ve scheduled a newsletter to go out today to all subscribers. If you joined the mailing list I hope that went through OK.

Dabbling in the dark arts.


Anyone seen ‘The Money Pit’ with Tom Hanks?

Lately I’ve been busy dabbling in the dark arts of being a CWAP – promotion.

cold-kills-mediumLast weekend I sent out my first CWAP Newsletter and made Cold Kills a free download with Amazon to celebrate.

My mailing list is up and running and I’m getting subscribers signing up every day. To encourage readers to sign up for the mailing list I’m giving away Three Short Blasts (three short stories – one in each of my series).

Three Short Blasts  (Medium)

I hope I’ve been a bit ‘marketing savvy’ with one aspect of what I’ve done. I reformatted the front of Cold Kills before I listed it for free. Between the copyright page and the Table of Contents I inserted the following in the hope that while readers were still in the first flush of excitement having bagged a freebie they might see it and think, More free books??!! I’ll click on that link and subscribe to that good fellow’s mailing list and while I’m at it I might as well download those two other free books. What a great offer! What a brilliant idea! What a guy!!! Or something like that. By doing this I hoped to use the Cold Kills promotion to not just garner some attention for that one title but to increase visibility and download numbers for two other books that are permanently free anyway and attract subscribers to my website and mailing list. That was the theory.


Tap this link or the image below to receive a free ebook.



The first book in my British police procedural series (The Romney and Marsh Files) Rope Enough Amazon UK Amazon US

The first book in my Acer Sansom series Dirty Business Amazon UK Amazon US

Rope Enough Final JPEGI also included the above at the end of the book, just in case anyone reads Cold Kills and thinks it wasn’t so bad that they couldn’t stomach another of my efforts.

Cold Kills was downloaded about 1450 times during the three day promotion. Rope Enough and Dirty Business did bump up the charts a bit, but not much. Thinking about it, probably not many of those who downloaded Cold Kills will have immediately opened it to read it, and so they wouldn’t have seen my ‘savvy’ marketing ploy. But, one day they might and the books will probably still be free. There might be a trickle of downloads. Anything that can lead to something else is better than nothing.

Having given away books with Bookbub before and seen the impressive numbers of dirty-business-final-largedownloads through them, I was keen to see what a one-off weekend simply listing it for free on Amazon would do. Both books I’ve promoted through Bookbub (Rope Enough and Dirty Business) went straight to number one in the Amazon free books chart. When I went to bed on Friday Cold Kills was up to #53. Saturday morning #39. It hovered between #20 and #30 mark all Sunday. Not brilliant. Not Bookbub. But then I wasn’t emailing the offer into thousands of readers’ inboxes.


One bit of advice I’d offer anyone thinking of starting up their own mailing list with the very popular Mailchimp is send out your first newsletter at the beginning of the working week early in the EST day. (Mailchimp are based in the EST time zone). Why? Because I didn’t. I sent mine out late on the EST working day, last day of the working week and wouldn’t you know it within seconds of pressing send I got an email notifying me that my account had been suspended for breach of use regulations. Panic ensued. And was then compunded when I saw from their website that they work 9-5 five days a week and that because of time zone differences the working week was almost over.

As it turned out things were sorted quickly – their automated systems suspected me of spamming because I’d sent out one notification to everyone in my mailing list. After checking by a human the account was cleared. But another hour or two and I’d have been in limbo all weekend with an Amazon promotion already running. Doesn’t bear thinking about. Get things in place early.


Something else I did this week – I re-enrolled all my books, except the ones I give away, in the Amazon Kindle Unlimited programme and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. I quit that ages ago because Amazon requires exclusivity for selling titles through it. I had ideas that I’d make the books available on other ereader platforms such as iBooks and Nook and Kobo. But I never got around to it, so I’ve signed back up with Amazon for another 90 days because I definitely won’t have time for all that in the coming 90 days.

All the above put together has seen a significant spike in my KENP figures. What, I hear you ask, is KENP when it’s at home? KENP stands for Kindle Edition Normalised Pages and it counts towards earnings. As far I as I understand it Amazon introduced KENP to combat the ‘writers’ who were uploading short books to Amazon (ten or twenty pages, perhaps) and charging for them and making money on them. KENP makes sure writers are paid on actual pages read. A fairer system. Anyway, whatever the ins and outs of that my KENP stats went from averaging a couple of hundred a day to over 3k a day (best day this week was over 6k). I have no idea what that’s going to mean in the long term or how it compares with anyone else. But my thinking is a spike in figures that contribute to visibility and royalties is something to be glad of.


And the above has also contributed to healthy spikes in my blog visitors and views. In the week since I posted my last blog post regarding the mailing list and free books, traffic has increased significantly – over 500 visits in a week amounting to over 1000 page views.

stats 1.jpg


Deep State (Large)Deep State (Acer Sanson #4) got a Kindle Daily Deal on Thursday in the Amazon Australia marketplace. See here for background on that Another Promotion. The book is published by Kindle Press, an Amazon imprint. They set the price. It was marked down from $4.56 to 99c. It got to #61 in the paid Amazon AUS charts. That was pretty good. I’ve never had book in a paid top 100 before. It’s not the UK or the US market but I’m not complaining (anymore). It gave the title and therefore the series some visibility and sales a boost.

Dirty Business #1 in the Acer series is also a free download in Australia and downloads for that got a good shot in the arm on the back of the promotion. Maybe I can hope for more knock-on for the other books in the series.

I wonder how many Kindle ereaders there are in Australia.

Amazon are also doing a Kindle Daily Deal for Deep State in the UK next Tuesday (Valentine’s Day). The price will drop from £3.38 to 99p. If it does half as well there I will be thrilled. I’ll post on the day to remind anyone and I’ve scheduled a newsletter to go out to subscribers, too.



Poor Hands (Booker & Cash #3) is ready for uploading to Amazon. Finished. So why isn’t it listed? More on that next time.

I’m back in the UK from Monday for a couple of weeks to catch up with the image below. ‘Bookers’ is receiving some much needed attention. I really hope book sales pick up soon. Has anyone seen The Money Pit with Tom Hanks? I can’t wait to try out the new slide.

I also can’t wait to drink real ale, ride my bike round Romney Marsh visiting pubs, spend loads of money in book shops, run on Dymchurch beach, watch crap TV with my sister stuffing my face with Viennese whirls, visit London, eat bacon and sausages and roast dinners and… I’m ready to go home.


Another promotion!

Deep State (Large)Yes, another day, another cut price book.

Many of you may remember that last year I was successful in getting Deep State (Acer Sansom#4) picked up by Amazon’s Kindle Scout programme and then published by Kindle Press, an Amazon imprint. You may also have seen the blog post I wrote some time after detailing how disappointed I was with the outcome.

Eight months ago my book went live with Amazon (published by them) and in all that time I’d heard nothing and got none of the promised ‘featured Amazon marketing’ that made the Kindle Scout programme such an attractive proposition. I emailed them from time to time and they never answered. I sent them another one last week. I was getting a bit shitty (surely ‘shirty? ed.). They sent me an email soon after saying that they were going to promote Deep State. Yay! For one day. Oh. In a Kindle Daily Deal. Yeeeees. In the Amazon Australia marketplace. What? (Tumble weed). FFS. Well, at least I discovered that someone over at KS has a wicked sense of humour. Gits. It could have been worse, I suppose – Amazon India.

I wrote back. I was a bit sarcastic.

My disappointment boiled over in a series of rants on the Kindle Scout winners FB page. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

Tonight I received the following from Amazon:


The Kindle Press team is excited to let you know that Deep State will be promoted via February Kindle Daily Deal in the UK marketplace, starting 2/14/2017 and running through 2/14/2017. Your book will be offered at 0.99 GBP during the promotion period.

This is a one-day deal on customer favorite books or sets of books featured on the Kindle Daily Deals webpage in the Kindle Store. Titles included may also receive high-visibility presence in subscription emails, on the Kindle eBooks homepage, and on Kindle device special offer advertisements, but this is not guaranteed.

Getting listed for a Kindle Daily Deal in a country where the book might be of interest to readers is, I understand, quite a big deal. I would hope for knock-on downloads for other books in the series, especially as it’s Valentine’s Day – show that you love them with a killer thriller. (If you really love them, you’ll buy all four – book #1 is a free download. Terms and conditions apply.)

I look forward to reporting how this went. Anything for a blog post.

I just had a thought: it will give me an excuse to put out another CWAP newsletter.

The moral of this story is everything comes to he who… bitches and moans and complains until the only way to shut him up is to give him what he wants.

Yet another free book!


Cold Kills is free to download this weekend. See links at the foot of this blog post. But please read the post first. It does contain important information for readers looking to be made aware of other free and discounted offers I’ll be making in future. Thank you.

As most of those who follow this blog will know I have recently set up a mailing list. The purpose of the mailing list is to centralise information for readers regarding forthcoming publications, discounted books and giveaways. Until now I have been using the usual social media suspects to inform readers about what’s going on in my CWAP life.

The mailing list is different from the blog, which is essentially my writer’s diary, and the other social media outlets. That there will be some cross over of information is inevitable. However, to be absolutely certain of not missing anything regarding forthcoming publications, discounted books and giveaways I urge anyone interested in those things to subscribe to the mailing list here  (Click the big blue button at the bottom of the page that says, ‘Click Here’. There is a free book offer to all subscribers.)

I wondered if I might be able to import blog followers’ email addresses into the mailing list list but I’ve discovered that is a big no-no. People must voluntarily sign up to these things or it can constitute spamming and a violation of human rights punishable by unspeakable things. Makes sense.

Anyway, because of any confusion for readers who might think that following the blog is enough to keep abreast of those offers, I’m posting here in conjunction with the first newsletter, which I’ve sent out today to subscribers. In the newsletter I’ve mentioned that I’m celebrating the setting up and wonderfully encouraging reader response to my mailing list idea by giving away a book this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s never been free before. Sorry if you’ve already bought it. I can only thank you sincerely for your support.

In future I will be giving away to subscribers to the mailing list original short stories not to be found anywhere else. Another good reason to sign up, perhaps.

Because I don’t want any of my readers who haven’t yet had a chance to sign up for the mailing list to miss out on anything here are the links through which you can pick up a free copy of Cold Kills. If you download it and read it, please think about leaving an honest review and rating at the Amazon store you got it from. Thank you.

Amazon UK  and   Amazon US


It’s only taken me four years. Better late than never. When I started out on this CWAP adventure I had a strapline on my blog that went something like: on the road to either self-publishing, fame and fortune, or self-publishing, obscurity and destitution. Four years later and if I squint very hard into the distance using one of these

I can just make out… more dusty road. If I look over my shoulder I can see this without my glasses. But not for long. I have a plan. At last.

Branding. I’m going to brand myself. Not like that. I’m going to promote as a CWAP brand. I’m not going to push individual book titles of series (there’s a short shelf life with that approach) – I’m going to push my CWAP outpourings in my three series as a brand under the banner above. That way, for one thing, everything gets promoted every time I engage with readers old and new – old and new books and old and new readers.

I’ve had enough feedback now to understand that each of my three series has been fairly well received. And I’ve had a lot of readers who’ve read one series and gone onto another and enjoyed that too. Some have even read all three series and said they’ve enjoyed them. That tells me that what my readers have enjoyed is my writing as much as anything. So that’s what I’m going to push – my CWAP writing.

Last weekend I participated in an online webinar run by someone who has made it quite big, not through churning out book after book after book and hoping but by getting a series going and then marketing the brand. The webinar was very interesting. I learned a lot. Or rather I had a lot reinforced, but because of that kick up the bum and the step by step help he offered to get things going I pulled my finger out and set up a few things.

I am not going to lament the wasted time, opportunities and the readers I have missed. There would be no point. But… if I could have my time again I would have implemented his ideas much, much earlier on in my CWAP life.

NS advocates setting up a mailing list using the lure of a free download to get readers to sign up. I’ve now done that. Every visitor to my website now will land on that page. The idea is to grow the mailing list so that when a new book comes out, in theory, you have a ready made audience many of whom will download it.

I’ll soon have B&C#3 available for release. When that’s out I’m going to make B&C#1 permanently free to download. I’ll then have the first book in each of my series as free to download – try before you buy – with more books in each series available. I’m sure a lot of other authors would criticise me for that – giving away three full length novels and a collection of short stories.

With those three free and other books in each series available to download I can try some low level advertising and see how things go. Again, not individual books but the brand. My header at the top of each of my social websites encompasses that brand – three series and the website. I have some other ideas, too, for pushing things. But that’s going to involve me being back home in the UK and personally, physically active.

I bought the domain a couple of years ago but never got around to mapping it to my website. That’s now done. It looks more professional than

I’ve been writing short stories for a while. I have four quite good ones that I was going to add a couple more to and then self-publish. I might still do that but not before I have used them as giveaways for readers who sign up to my mailing list. NS says you must keep readers interested in you and he’s right. What I thought I’d do is every time I get ‘x’ number of new subscribers to the list I’ll send everyone one of the short stories or maybe a photo of me in the shower. (Might be time for a survey.)

I haven’t worked out what ‘x’ will be yet. We’ll see how it goes. When I’ve done Bookbub promotions I’ve had literally thousands of downloads. I’m going to try a couple more Bookbubs and I’m going to do some days of free downloads through Amazon. I am hopeful that this will really boost the mailing list. If I update the front matter of any book I promote with info on the mailing list and links to free books for subscribers, as suggested by NS, then, again in theory, I should see some traffic. (Of course, I had to update the front and back matter on every book [15!!]. What a laborious task.)

In the meantime I keep writing. I wrote a good short story of five thousand words last week. If I can produce a few more of those I can keep on top of any commitment I make to subscribers for giveaways. And then I can always bundle them and self-publish them at a later date.

So, if anyone reading this would like a free copy of Three Short Blasts and a free short story (every time I reach another ‘x’ number of subscribers) please go to my mailing list sign up page and… sign up. I promise I won’t ever spam you. 🙂 Click on the banner image below. 🙂

(I announced this mailing list idea yesterday on my Facebook pages and the response was really encouraging. So, this weekend I will send out a newletter to those who have subscribed so far letting everyone know about a free book promotion I’m doing this weekend only. It’s for one of my books that has never been offered for free before. So sign up or miss it!)