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Why is publishing so scared of Lad-Lit?

As some of you will know, the Edinburgh Literary Festival has just been and gone.

Regarded as possibly the foremost festival on the publishing calendar, it brings together authors and ‘thinkers’ from across the globe and over a week long period, stages all kinds of events ranging from impassioned debates to creative workshops.

Now I’ve never actually been to Edinburgh, or any other literary festival for that matter, but I mention it here for a very specific reason. You see a while back, I stumbled across a website which provided a guide to getting published. It was written by someone who described themselves as a ‘literary coach’ and was quite informative but actually contained little or nothing that any published author could have provided free of charge.

However, what did interest me was a list of services provided for potential authors and a range of prices charged for those services. It wasn’t cheap but I guess if you are desperate to get into print, you will do whatever it takes, or costs.

Anyway, seeing these prices, I researched said ‘tutor’ and discovered to my astonishment that they had a backlist of… well I hesitate to call it a list at all. Let’s just say it was less than five…a lot less. From what I can gather, their sales haven’t exactly set the world on fire either.

Initially bemused at how someone was getting away with earning between £25 and £50 an hour teaching about writing when they seemingly have so little actual experience of it, further research uncovered the fact that this person is a regular at festivals, including Edinburgh, where they are given a platform to inform the public about the process of getting oneself into print for the first time. At which point I shook my head and went back to doing something more constructive. I’ve been around publishing long enough to know how it all works. If your face fits…

Now I don’t say this through any sense of hurt or indignation, but it is a fact that in spite of having written 15 books, shifted many hundreds of thousands of copies around the world and as the person widely regarded (wrongly in my opinion) as the father of the genre known as ‘hoolie-lit’ I have only ever been invited to two literary events in the UK and one of those I had to get myself invited to. The other had been organised by a group of disgruntled authors keen to complain about the appalling PR provided by our publisher. Aside from that, with the exception of the odd writing group, I have never been asked to talk about anything relating to my experiences of publishing let alone give my opinions on either the industry or writing generally.

I used to ponder the reasons for this quite a lot and believed that much of it stemmed from my reluctance to play the ‘networking’ game. For just like the TV and film industry, publishing tends to be more about who you know rather than what you can actually do.

However, the real reason was explained to me in extremely blunt terms by a very famous and very working class Cockney female author who told me at the aforementioned moan-a-thon, and I quote; ‘look at all these fucking snobs. I feel like I should be walking round with a tray of drinks’.

Yes, that’s right, snobbery runs through the literary world like a cancer and in terms of a clique, it makes the freemasons look like a youth club.

To be honest, I have always kind of understood why they might be reluctant to invite someone like me in. After all, I write primarily about blokey things and to those who don’t know me, I probably appear as if I can’t string two coherent sentences together. I’m also prone, as you may have gathered, to saying things as I see them which doesn’t always go down well.

However, in recent years I have begun to consider another possibility. One that might not actually be as personal as I always suspected.

You see I write for a particular market and that market is me and people like me. In other words, working class lads. This, to me, is what ‘lad-lit’ is all about yet for whatever reason, it is a genre which even as a concept, the publishing world have never fully seemed to grasp properly. A simple truth underlined by the fact that it often refers to Nick Hornby as The King of Lad-Lit.

Now I have nothing against Nick Hornby who is after all, an awesome writer. However, I’ve always struggled with the notion that his output is targeted at the same market as the one I inhabit. Yes, we’ve all read Fever Pitch but no one I know has read Funny Girl or Juliet, Naked or for that matter, would ever want to.

The question of course, is why does the publishing world seem so desperate to steer itself as far away from the lad market as is possible? After all, with the economy as it is these days you’d have thought that they’d have looked at the success of ‘chick-lit’ and given more serious thought to how they could fully service the other 50% of the population.

Sadly, if they are looking at all, the only answer they seem to have come up with is to pump out ever more pallet loads of sports or gangster related autobiographies. Great if you like that kind of thing but not so great if like me, you regard 90% of sportsmen and gangsters as relatively uninteresting. However, the fact that they cannot or will not look beyond these increasingly bland and repetitive genres is, in my opinion, entirely down to anti-male snobbery.

You may laugh at this but it’s something I have heard referred to many times over the years and it stems from an unspoken belief within the publishing world that ‘blokes don’t do books’. The truth however, as ‘hoolie-lit’ conclusively proved, is that they do.

Quite why this incredibly patronising view of a section of male readers continues to impact on the industry escapes me but from where I sit, there is a lot to be said for the idea that publishing is still a somewhat elitist world. Therefore the last thing it wants or needs is to become infested with working class oik novelists who, perish the thought, might actually manage to become popular. I know that’s a contentious accusation but think about this; can you imagine a ‘chick-lit’ author with 15 titles and a three quarters of a million sales to her name failing to attract invitations to literary events? No, I can’t either.

If true, it is a tragedy.  Not least because there are some great male authors out there who, if given the chance, could actually forge a decent career for themselves by providing some fabulous and inventive popular fiction for male readers. OK, they might not win any Booker Prizes, but that’s not what it’s about at all.

You see somewhere along the line those individuals who make editorial decisions seem to have forgotten one fundamental and inescapable fact and it is this: The single most important person in the publishing industry is the reader. Keep them happy and you do the one thing that everyone in the industry is desperate to do, you make money. And if the phenomenon of hoolie-lit proved one thing, it’s that there is money to be made. Lots of money.

You just have to look under the right rock. Or rather, you have to want to look.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

Just in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information can be found at dougiebrimson.com

 

How to beat an online troll.

amazon, itunes, ebooks, author, brimson, football, soccer, troll, bullies
An Amazon troll.

Much is being made about the subject of trolls this morning and as someone who has endured their fair share of troll wars over the years, I thought it worth exploring one aspect of this issue which rarely receives any mainstream media coverage. The issue of the amazon trolls.

Now I love Amazon, it’s amazing. Not simply for the fact that it offers brilliant prices on just about everything but because it’s where I sell most of my books. Not just in the UK either, but around the world.

However, my favourite online retailer does have a dark side and it is one which all authors need to be aware of; the forums.

As an idea of course, a place where readers can talk about books is brilliant. Not just to enhance the experience of readership but also because a lot of people like to support authors and promote new ones which is not something to be sniffed at. Conversely, it is also a great way to let people know that you might not have enjoyed a particular book as well as hopefully, providing an explanation as to why. This however, is where the problems can sometimes arise. Primarily because of the trolls who lurk there.

Now I always advise authors to avoid responding to reader reviews and especially to comments for the simple reason that reviews are an individual’s opinion and are generally posted for the benefit of other readers. And whilst they can be incredibly useful to authors for all kinds of reasons, they are not written for them/you/me.

There are obviously exceptions to that, the primary ones being to thank someone who has been particularly complimentary or to point someone who has loved a book in the direction of a sequel if such a thing exists. However, when someone posts something negative, be it about the story, the writing or even the grammar, whilst the natural instinct is to respond, it is imperative that you avoid the temptation and instead, bite the bullet and take it on the chin. If you don’t, you potentially open yourself up to a world of pain for nothing excites the amazon trolls more than a sniff of a stroppy author.

As a result, before you know it, you could find yourself under attack and those attacks can very quickly get very personal. They can also become relentless as the literary trolls are prone to hunting in packs. Don’t think they will confine their activities to Amazon either. Oh no, upset the trolls and they’ll fairly quickly be rubbishing you on Goodreads, Facebook and even Twitter. And those attacks can go on for weeks, months, even years.

Indeed, so bad can they get that they don’t just damage the book, they can easily undermine the reputation and even confidence of the author. I know of numerous writers who have actually withdrawn their books from sale simply because they can’t handle the abuse they’ve received. Occasionally, they have got so bad that the police have had to become involved.

Quite what drives these people on escapes me. Although I suspect both jealousy and sad, empty lives have a lot to do with it. However, to delve into the psyche of these bullies gives them exactly the kind of power and importance that they crave so it’s far better to simply laugh them off, ignore them and simply keep churning out good solid work. Because ultimately, that’s what they want to stop you doing, which is ironic given that they all claim to love books.

.

top dog, brimson. hooligans, author, film, screenwriting, violence, crime, thrillerDougie Brimson is the author of 15 books, the bulk of which are now available as eBooks. These include the thrillers, The Crew which has held the #1 slot on its Amazon chart for approaching 5 years and is now FREE, its sequel, Top Dog, which is also an award winning movie and the new football comedy, Wings of a Sparrow.

Details of all books as well as links to buy can be found by clicking here!  

How to write: Motivation.

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fartAs someone who earns their living by writing, I am often asked what motivates me. Is it for example, a burning desire to create or is it a desperate need to put my thoughts into print? Or is it a hope that I can somehow make a difference or possibly even a yearning to leave behind a legacy of some kind?

Truth is it’s none of those things. I might have written 15 books and a few movies but there are three simple reasons why I write.

  1. I’m a lazy bastard who likes sitting down all day.
  2. I need to make money to facilitate item 1.
  3. I live in desperate hope that one day soon numbers 1 & 2 will combine so successfully that I’ll be able to retire and live out my remaining days watching sport and riding motorbikes.

And to be fair, I reckon that retirement will be well earned. Growing up the son of a comedian was certainly an education but it was hard work and being one of 6 kids (with four brothers!) was certainly instrumental in my leaving home at 16 to begin what turned out to be 18 years as an engineer in the Royal Air Force.

As anyone who has served will know, military life isn’t suited to everyone but I loved every single day of it. Not just for the places it took me to and the people I met, but for the myriad of experiences I enjoyed. From going to war to swearing at royalty and all points in between.

Thankfully, my subsequent career as a writer has added considerably to those experiences but it has also provided me with an excellent way of cleansing my soul. Or to put it another way, telling everyone else. Not just about my life as a football fan but as an average bloke. 

Indeed, of all my books, my comedy novel Billy’s Log is the one of which I’m most proud chiefly because it’s the closest to my own persona. It could even be called semi-autobiographical given that so many of my own experiences are included which is one of the reasons why, as my 60th looms ever closer, I have decided to revisit it. In fact the preparation is already underway as I’m gathering anecdotes whilst also working on In The Know and another movie or to. 

The plan is to have both books out by the end of the year however I am not walking away from the world of film just yet. In fact the project I’m currently working on will be my biggest to date. Watch this space.

PS: I’ve given a few interviews recently and on a variety of subjects but one I really enjoyed allowed me to vent on the subject of publishing an ‘lad-lit’. Click here to take a look…      

@dougiebrimson

Just in case you didn’t know already, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

Decisions, decisions. The joy of writing professionally.

ebooks, self publishing, veteran, writer, screenwriting, author, indie, film, green street, football, soccer, actor, script, sex, men, women, sexism, racism, homophobia,As anyone who does it regularly will tell you, writing is a curious business. It is after all, one of the few activities where you can spend weeks, months or even years baring  your soul only to then throw it out into the public domain where people you don’t know will quite possibly, and often happily, tear you to shreds.

Unattractive a prospect as this might be, writing professionally is even worse. For in addition to the above, you also face the joyous prospect of starving.

Having been doing it for over 20 years now and with a girth which suggests that it might actually do me good to miss a meal or two (OK, three or four), I think it’s safe to say that malnutrition is not something I need worry about any more but that does not mean I don’t face other concerns. Indeed, I have one right now and it’s one I need to address, and fast. It is, quite simply, what book to write next.

The problem is compounded by the fact that whatever decision I take will not be driven by a deadline but will in fact, be a spec project. As such, I get to choose it for myself which is fine until you consider the stark truth that not only do I have to ensure that I’m going to enjoy writing it, but that there is going to be a market for it. Trust me, the two are not necessarily the same thing.

I also face the problem of having three, possibly four distinct projects in mind all of which are totally different from the other. Two of those being sequels which have already been started but which fell victim to the demands of scripts which required urgent attention.

So do I, for example, finish the third book in the The Crew/Top Dog trilogy or do I carry on with the follow on from Billy’s Log?? Or do I venture into new genre, possibly with the supernatural thriller which has recently taken root in my increasingly confused brain?

Whatever it is, I need to make a decision and fast or I face the very real prospect of doing pretty much nothing. Which has its merits, but doesn’t pay the bills.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s a tough job being a professional writer. But it’s even tougher being me.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

My boring writers life…

A couple of years ago, I penned a blog about the idea of my writing my autobiography.

Recently, on more than one occasion in fact, this subject has been broached again but just as I did back then, I dismissed the idea not simply because I can’t actually imagine why on earth anyone would be interested  enough to read it, but also because I have led a life which has been, shall we say, eventful. Indeed, back then I made the point that were I to commit it all to print, large portions of it would be disregarded as some kind of Walter Mitty fantasy.

However, as the completion of my 16th book approaches, and having recently passed the ’20 years in the job’ mark, I thought it might be worth listing some of the events that might make it in should I ever decide to take the plunge. I also threw in a few things which not many people actually know about me and purely for a bit of self-indulgence, thought I would share them.

In the interests of common decency I have edited out anything involving either women or sex (thank god I hear you cry!) as well as anything which might incriminate either myself or anyone else. I can however, assure you that everything listed here is absolutely true. And then some!

So, in no particular order, I…

used to smoke 60 Marlboro a day but gave up cold turkey. I would start again tomorrow if I was allowed.

once fell asleep whilst riding a motorbike and only woke up when I left the road and went through a hedge. I didn’t come off and yes, I was drunk, very drunk in fact. I’ve never again ridden or driven with alcohol inside me as I am terrified of losing my licence.

have eaten all kinds of odd things on my travels but the weirdest are Elk liver pate and sliced Reindeer tongue. Both were quite nice.

have only ever broken four bones and they were all as a result of sport. Nose (boxing), two ribs (stock car racing) and back (football).

once dropped a car on my hands and the only way I could get myself free was to simply wrench them out.  Sadly, not many of my nails made it and yes, it really was as painful as you imagine.

rarely drink these days because I am useless at it (and as previously stated, am terrified of losing my driving licence).

love giving random people compliments.

receive at least one email or tweet a day asking me something relating to Green Street. And no, I had nothing to do with 2 or 3 but would write 4 if they offered me enough money.

have taken part in all kinds of different motorsport with some success, but my proudest achievement was 8th place in the 1988 world banger racing finals.

was, on two separate occasions, in the exact spot where just 24 hours later the IRA carried out  assassinations of British servicemen.

have only ever been arrested three times; Once for theft of my own property from my own motor vehicle (!) and twice on the TV show, ‘The Bill’.

would love to write a proper full-on romance from a male’s perspective.

have ridden a motorbike at 150 plus and driven a car at over 140. Both were my own.

have only ever taken my daughters to one football match and specifically chose it to dissuade them from ever wanting to go again. It worked. Thanks Norwich.

love a good conspiracy theory.

regard Billy’s Log as my best book to date but had most fun writing The Art of Fart. However, the best thing I’ve ever written (and of which I’m most proud) is a film I’m currently developing about a British soldier.

am a firm believer in all things spiritual and have had all kinds of ghostly encounters over the years.

have always wanted to own a Range Rover. I don’t. Yet.

rarely refer to myself as a writer as I still don’t think I’ve earned the right to that title.

have only ever been invited to three literary events during my career. Two of those were to do with moaning about something, the third came about purely because I asked why I hadn’t been invited! I do like talking to book clubs and schools though, when the ask me. I have never even been invited to a screenwriting event!

was just over a week away from leaving for a four month tour of the Falkland Islands when a psychic told my wife that I wouldn’t be going. I didn’t, I developed a stomach ulcer instead.

once ended up in court as a defence witness in a case against someone who was accused of assaulting me (think about that for a moment).

have seen not one, but three planes crash.

was scheduled to be on the ‘Herald of Free Enterprise’ when it sank outside Zeebrugge but cancelled the trip at the last minute as my wife was asked to go on a girlie night out.

once had a German policeman point a gun at my head and switch the safety catch to ‘off’.

have been involved in a (very) high speed car chase with the police. I was being chased, not chasing.

once had a bounty placed on my head (not the chocolate kind either!) and was targeted by an extremely nasty political organisation.

used to co-host a late-night radio show for Liberty Radio in London which was, at that time, owned by Mohammed Al Fayed. We were actually on air at the time of Princess Diana’s death.

once swore at Lady Sarah Ferguson (by accident, not because I don’t like her).

was once involved in a fight during a live TV show.

have only been a best man once and that was at a same sex wedding (and it was brilliant!).

am all but blind in one eye which is why I can’t watch 3D movies.

have a desire to run for public office and almost ran in the first ever ‘Mayor of London’ election. I still have plans to form my own political party.

once set up a charity for British troops serving on the front-line and managed to provide them with almost 22,000 free books.

once got up and walked off of a live prime time UK TV news programme because they described me as a ‘football hooligan’ when I had repeatedly asked them not to and warned them I would walk if they did.

never play computer games (boring) and never watch horror movies (coward).

sell more books in Russia than anywhere else bar the UK.

have had two mates die in front of me. Both were on motorcycles.

am terrified of heights.

once stole a parrot. I did take it back.

secretly inserted 14 things into the initial script of Green Street which were either ‘in-jokes’ or referred to something very personal. They all made it onto the screen but only half of them have ever been worked out.

once spent an afternoon all alone in a little cove on Ascension Island swimming naked amongst a swarm of little black fish only to discover later on that they were actually sea water Piranha’s. Barely a week later, that same shoal (or their mates) stripped the face off someone who fell off a ship into the sea.

once sold condoms for a living.

adore America but my favourite city in the world is St. Petersburg in Russia.

once appeared fully naked in front of a platform packed with Russians on their way to work.

was one of the first, if not THE first, person in the west to know about the Chernobyl disaster.

was once held hostage by a cow (bovine, not female).

was once involved in an actual UFO related incident (and no, I wasn’t abducted or probed!).

turned down the opportunity to invest in the setting up of a very famous website which was subsequently sold for many millions!

was once trapped in my car for 24 hours by the snow.

am a Falklands Veteran and was the first RAF member of the South Atlantic Task Force to have his post disestablished after the War.

have been a guest at Buckingham Palace on three occasions.

once punched a donkey on the nose. It hurt. Me, not it.

have flown in a Harrier jump jet (not by myself obviously!).

have never knowingly taken, sniffed or smoked any kind of illegal substance!

appeared in the James Bond movie, Goldeneye and once had a screen test as a potential presenter for ‘Top Gear’ (I didn’t get the gig).

And finally….

As anyone who actually knows me will testify, I am actually quite boring, quite shy and am utterly useless at small talk.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Meet Georgina, my latest troll. (plus news of Mr. Sothcott).

I awoke this morning to discover that I had a new troll. Her name is Georgina Arapi and she’d apparently taken exception to my recent blog, It’s time for charity to genuinely begin at home.

Now I have no problem with people holding different opinions to mine and indeed, have been called many things in my time and been accused of holding all kinds of beliefs. However, I learnt long ago that the second you start trying to defend yourself against such accusations, you’ve lost. Conversely, if you stand your ground and come from a position of confidence in your own beliefs, you usually disarm the accuser leaving them with nowhere to go except into the world of reasoned debate or onto the other side of a ‘blocked’ button. Or so I thought.

For what Georgina did was to avoid any direct contact with me and instead, began to trawl through my Facebook friends list and send people the following message:

troll, politics, europe,refugeesThat, I do have a problem with. 

Thankfully, someone did the decent thing and let me know what she was up to but given the nature of the attack, I decided that rather than deal with it privately as I would normally, I would fight fire with fire and expose Ms Arapi as the cowardly troll she obviously is. So I posted details of her activities on my Facebook page together with the screengrab you will see at the top of this page.

To say she wasn’t happy at being publicly outed is an understatement -not least because the response to her was far from complimentary and within a few hours, obviously in response to complaints from her, Facebook deleted my original post meaning that everything vanished into the ether. However, it proved two things to me.

First, my Facebook friends list is inhabited with all kinds of awesome people and secondly, I hit the nail pretty much on the head with the original post. Because if people on the left are being forced to resort to such a pathetic tactic as sweeping through Facebook in an effort to try to undermine those who don’t follow the same fanatical beliefs as they hold, it’s pretty obvious that they’re running scared. As of course, they should be.

For despite what they believe, caring for veterans and wanting our taxes spent on our elderly, our schools, our public services and especially the NHS isn’t racist, nor is it bigoted. It’s common sense, it’s fair and it’s the right thing to do.

Speaking of Facebook, as some people are well aware, I am one of a number of people involved in a legal dispute with Jonathan Sothcott, the producer of Top Dog.

I won’t go into details here as it’s now a matter for HMRC and the police who have already interviewed him in connection with our allegations. However, both Top Dog Films Ltd and We Still Kill The Old Way Ltd, have recently been wound up on account of unpaid invoices and as a consequence, the investigator for the Official Receiver has contacted me and requested that anyone remaining unpaid for work on Top Dog, We Still Kill or for that matter, any film made by one of Jonathan Sothcott’s companies, contact him direct as a matter of urgency.

His details are: Andrew Beckett, Official Receivers Office, The Insolvency Service (London), 2nd Floor, Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT .

Tel: 0207 637 6337 email: andrew.beckett@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers, The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Georgina Arapi, refugee, brexit, politics, author, screenwriter, racism, racist, hooligans, blogger


10 things all writers should know before signing a contract.

author, writing, screenwriter, screenwriting, amazon, ebooks, epublishing, publishing For some reason I’ve never been able to fathom, I receive a lot of mails asking me for advice about contracts, both publishing and screen.

Now to be clear, whilst I have done a lot of deals during my agent free days, I am certainly no expert in this field and should not be considered as such. In fact, what knowledge I have accrued is generally a result of my own mistakes and trust me, I have made some corkers over the years. However, as someone who’s always happy to help if I can (and as long as you don’t hold me accountable in any way should you choose to follow my advice and it all goes wrong) here are my top 10 tips. Take ’em or leave ’em.

1.  Arguing with editors or producers over terms can cause some serious rifts in a working relationship which is obviously best avoided. Therefore, if you have an agent you should leave everything, and I mean everything, to them.

It stands to reason that their job is to get you a great deal because whilst they might be fabulous people who you adore with a passion, the stark reality is that the more you earn, the more they earn. So if they are happy with the deal they put in front of you, you certainly should be.

2.  If you don’t have an agent, then you are in a weakened position because the people you are negotiating with will inevitably assume that you are either naive and/or desperate which gives them the upper hand. Therefore, you should write the following three words down and stick them somewhere which places them in your eye line at all times: TRUST NO ONE.

Believe me, no matter what anyone else might tell you, when it comes to deals there is only one person who has your interests at heart and if you don’t have an agent, that person is you.

Remember, it’s not personal, it’s business. The film BUSINESS, the publishing BUSINESS. As such, everyone you negotiate with might well come across as your best mate but the truth is that they are desperate to give you as little as possible or better still, strike a deal which means they don’t actually have to give you anything at all. This is because the less they give you, the more they keep for themselves or their employer. So read everything as many times as you have to and question anything you are unsure of. When it comes to contracts, there is no such thing as a stupid question, there are however, plenty of stupid writers who didn’t ask the questions they should have.

3.  It’s human nature to avoid asking for what we think we are worth and since most negotiators know this, their first words will be ‘so what do you want?’ thus putting you on the back foot from the off. Therefore to avoid this, it is vital that before a deal is even discussed, you take the time to work out what you have and how much will get it from you.

Remember, everything has a value be it your finished manuscript, your experience, your time, your backlist or even ‘From the writer of Green Street’. So be professional, quantify everything and work out both a starting point and a bottom line because pound to a pinch, the person asking you the question you will have.

4.  Publishing royalties should be on a sliding scale. For example, 7.5% for the first 10 thousand sales, 10% for the following 40 thousand and anything over 50 thousand should earn you 12.5%. All publishers will baulk at that but the reality is that most novels won’t get anywhere near sales of 10 thousand anyway so what have they got to lose? 

Should your novel be a success however, you’ll be quids in. As of course, will they.

5.  Unless you are knowingly going into an agreement for a film which is designed to kick start a career or you are willing to work on some kind of profit share, a contract for a screenplay with a production company should always include a fee on signature for one very specific reason; commitment.

If someone is prepared to put their money where their mouth is, it’s fairly obvious that they will be a lot more enthusiastic about taking your script through to the day the camera’s roll than someone who has nothing invested save a couple of lunches (if you’re lucky). Indeed, if someone is asking you to sign something but are not prepared to invest in you, you should be asking them (or yourself) why.

The remainder of the total fee will be staggered anyway so make sure you know what will be due to you and when.

6.  Unless a major star or studio is involved, back end payments are generally worthless so take whatever is offered with a pinch of salt and laugh at any offers of increased back end payments in lieu of a smaller front end fee. This is generally a simple tactic to save money so you should always squeeze every penny you can from the front end.

However, always make sure that a back end payment is included just in case it’s a smash and the creative accountants can’t cover it up.

7.  Watch the clauses! You want invites to premieres, involvement in promotions (at their expense), a cut of any soundtrack profits and if there’s a sequel, you want to be the one to write it. If not, you want a slice of the action including payment for the use of any characters you have created.

If there’s a chance of a novelisation, you want to write it but if you don’t, you want a cut of any profits, etc, etc.

If it’s for a book, you want details of the marketing publicity budget as well as an approximate publication date if at all possible.

Seriously, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

8. If the deal is for a screenplay, always ensure that there is a clause in the contract whereby if the film isn’t made, the rights to your work revert to you (for free) after a reasonable period. That way, if nothing comes of it, you will at least have a script you can try to sell somewhere else.

9.  Always, always, always get everything read by either a lawyer, the Writers Guild or the Society of Authors before you sign it. That’s what they are there for so use them.

If a lawyer comes back with some concerns about a contract, act on their advice and fight your corner. Producers are used to brinkmanship so take them all the way if need be and always be prepared to walk away if need be.

You might well come under pressure to avoid this step and just sign on trust or good faith and this will come in many forms from threats that the financiers are about to pull out if you don’t sign to female directors sobbing on the phone in the middle of the night. You should treat all such tactics as bullshit.

If someone doesn’t want a lawyer to see a contract they’ve put in front of you it’s almost certainly because they have something to hide (see point 2 above). Therefore, resist this pressure, stay cool and make them wait until you are ready to sign on the line. It’s your time, your money and your future income.

10.  Believe me, signing a dodgy deal is an awful experience so only sign on the line when you are sure that it’s as good as it can be for all sides, but especially you!

And finally, always trust your gut because if something feels wrong, it usually is.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

author, writing, writer, screenwriting, screenwriter, publishing, indiefilm, low-budget, self-publishing, brimson, hooligan,veteran 

A writers life: The joy of people.

I doubt this will come of much of a surprise to anyone who has ever met me but the truth is that I am not exactly a ‘people’ person.

It’s not that I don’t like people, I really do. It’s just that far too many of them seem to do or say things which annoy me. Admittedly most probably don’t set out with the intention of winding me up me personally but that doesn’t excuse it. Indeed if anything, it actually makes it even worse because if they’re unwittingly annoying me then chances are they are unwittingly annoying lots of other people as well. Thus, they are clearly either stupid or worse, ignorant. And why should I or anyone else put up with that?

The problem for me of course, is that if I take the trouble to point out to a woman the simple fact that when I go into Starbucks for some peace and quiet, I do not expect nor want it to be disturbed by her screaming brat, I’m the one perceived to be in the wrong! How does that work? Surely it’s only by pointing out the error of people’s ways that they will ever remedy their social inadequacies!

Similarly, whenever I’m out and about with someone, I have a habit of commenting on what people are wearing –and yes, I am aware of the irony in that statement! Mostly, this is for my own amusement but I do wonder why it isn’t socially acceptable to walk up to someone and point out that they look a mess or that they would be better served either dressing to suit their age or simply stopping at home. After all, would it not be better to know? And if someone like me, who’s getting on a bit and has seen a bit of life can’t tell them, who can?

To be perfectly honest, the older I get the more difficult it is to keep silent and things become even harder when I am directly involved because adding the element of ‘personal’ into the equation takes it into a whole new dimension. Largely because there are certain things which drive me up the fucking wall –ignorance, rudeness, simple lack of manners and arrogance being the big hitters- and I do seem to encounter them a lot these days. As a consequence, there have inevitably been the odd occasions where keeping my own counsel has not been an option. For example, my one and only visit to the Cannes Film Festival resulted in my throwing some smug little shit into a swimming pool because he had clearly only crawled out of his own arse long enough to be incredibly patronising to both me and the people I was with.

Now reading this might well give the impression that I am one of those loud brash people who think nothing of gobbing off to all and sundry about anything and everything and it’s fair to say that whenever I meet people who know something of my background, that’s kind of how they expect me to be. Sometimes, I do actually step up and play that particular game although more often than not, it is for my own entertainment.

However, for the most part the truth is actually quite different because in the flesh I am actually quite a shy soul. That’s why whenever I am introduced to new people I never like to be introduced as a writer unless it is directly relevant. Not because I am embarrassed about it, but because I actually don’t like talking about myself or my work that much. I’m far happier sitting in the background observing as opposed to indulging in the loathsome activity of small talk. Something I am incredibly bad at.

Then again, writing this down has given me food for thought. After all, ever since I’ve been writing people have been happy to take any opportunity to comment on pretty much every aspect of my life and there are plenty of people making a very good living out of stating the obvious or merely moaning for the sake of it. So maybe there is something to be said for a bit of reciprocation. I do after all have a degree of what called be called ‘a profile’ or even ‘fame’ so telling it as I see it could be just the USP I’ve been looking for!

After all, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that if everyone was more like me, this world would be a far happier place.

Surely that stands to reason doesn’t it?

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

The Myth of Writers Block!

It’s not often I write about the actual process of writing because I tend to think that to do so would infer that I actually know what I am talking about. 

So, when people mail me asking for advice and/or guidance, what I tend to do is to be either as supportive as I can or point them in the direction of the seemingly endless websites, blogs or even perish the thought, books (old school I know, but I am old) concerned with the world of penmanship. That way, I can’t be blamed if it all goes horribly wrong. There is however, one exception.

You see when it comes to writing, there is one topic which is guaranteed to get me going and that is the thorny subject of writers block.

Wikipedia defines writers block thus: a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand or, at the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite.

Well I’m sorry, but I’ve written a lot over the years and with 15 books on my backlist as well as three features on IMDB, I feel reasonably qualified to comment on this subject and say that as far as I’m concerned, writers block is bollocks. It’s merely a term invented by writers as an excuse behind which they are able to hide. 

So with that in mind, if there is anyone reading this who actually thinks that they are ‘suffering’ please take note of the following:

  • Not being able to sit down and write is not writers block, it is called laziness. So either man up and get on with it or give up altogether and do something else.
  •  Not being able to get past a blank screen or empty page is not writers block, it means you are devoid of ideas. So either get off your arse and get out into the real world for a while to find some inspiration or forget the idea of writing and find another hobby.
  •  Not being able to get over a hurdle in your plot is not writers block, it means that either your idea doesn’t work or you’re simply not clever enough to make it work. So again, either find a way to get over it or give up on it and start afresh.
  • Thinking that what you’re currently writing is inferior to your previous work is not writers block, it means that it probably is. So trust your own judgement, bin the lot and start again rather than flogging yourself to death.

I could go on, but you get the general idea.

Now I’m not saying people don’t get stuck and to be honest, I’ve hit an obstacle in pretty much everything I’ve ever written. But for me, dealing with problems is part of the creative process and in many ways, one of the most exciting. Not least because it forces you to look at your work from a totally different perspective and in my experience that’s always a good thing for a writer because it’s often where the best ideas are lurking.

 

@dougiebrimson

My numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers, The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

writing, screenwriting, writers block, author, hollywood. green street, 

Why this photo haunts my writing life. 

Harrier, author, writing, football, filmOn Dec 31st 1975, a week short of my 17th birthday, I left the confines of my happy, if chaotic, family home and headed off for an adventure. Or to put it another way, I headed off to begin my basic training in the Royal Air Force.

I have written about my time in the military many times and no doubt, will do so again as I become more and more involved in all things veteran. However, the more I think back to those days, the more I have one very specific regret; I never kept a diary. As a consequence, I’ve forgotten far more than I can remember.

Take the photo at the top of this blog. Yes, that fresh faced lad on the left is me, standing alongside a gentleman (and I use that term loosely) named Pete Cutler. It was taken in approximately 1980/81 and the fact that we were on deployment with the Harrier Force and flying out of a forest somewhere in Germany are about the only details I can remember with any degree of accuracy.

On the face of it, that would be enough. It is after all, a relatively simple picture. However, that single photograph serves as a portal into a unique world that very few people ever got to experience. I’m not talking about being at the sharp end of the West’s response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union or the fact that we were working with what was possibly the greatest military aircraft of all time. I’m taking about what went on when the flying stopped and we were free to relax. And when I say relax, I mean get up to mischief.  

Indeed, it’s safe to say that were I ever to write my autobiography, life out in the field with 4 Squadron RAF (and Mister Cutler for that matter) provided that young fresh faced lad on the left with enough anecdotes to fill more than a chapter or two.

Blagging a flight in the rear seat of a T2 Harrier, living in an abandoned Nazi Hospital, swearing at Fergie (the Princess, not the manager), waking up in a lake (literally), encounters with the SAS, getting shot at and even late night visits to live sex shows are amongst numerous tales I have rattling around my head from those days but sadly, thanks to the obligatory intake of vast amounts of duty-free alcohol coupled with the passing of far too many years, the details of most are at best sketchy and at worst, vague. Yet had I kept even a simple diary, all of this history and more would be at my fingertips ready to be transcribed.

The fact that I didn’t is one of my greatest regrets and not just as a writer or even as a veteran, but as someone who has lived and enjoyed their life. Then again, if I were able to put it all on paper, it’s fairly safe to say that it would be quite a read!

So please, whoever you are and whatever you do, keep a diary, even a basic one. And urge your kids to do the same. You never know when it might come in handy.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.