I read somewhere that the Christmas holidays are supposed to be a joyous time when we are all apparently meant to be... well, joyous. Given that my twitter and Facebook timelines are awash with people moaning about everything from chaotic shops to equally chaotic weather, joy is something that is clearly in short supply today. It’s certainly absent here in Brimson towers although to be fair, I’ve never really been a fan of the festive season anyway so ironically, having something else to moan about is actually a bit of a positive. However, in the interests of fair play, I have been giving the point of Christmas some thought over these last few days and whilst I appreciate the religious significance (even though I am not in any way shape or form religious) I am increasingly baffled as to why we bother with the rest of it. After all, there can be few more stressful times than late December and let’s be honest, if you have kids or grand kids, the impact on the old bank balance can be catastrophic. More to the point, now that we can buy Brussell spouts pretty much all year round even the delights of Christmas dinner can be replicated whenever we feel like it. Yes, I know there are all kinds of other reasons why the holidays are ‘special’ but when you sit down and think about it, most of them are bollocks. We’re all far more mobile these days so most family can get together relatively easily and even if we can’t, the internet allows communication in forms we couldn’t even imagine when I was a little ‘un. Equally, thanks to Netflix, Love Film and catch-up even the once highly anticipated post-pig out TV experience is largely a thing of the past. OK, there’s the issue of time off work but when when you’re self-employed and work in an industry which tends to commence winding down at the beginning of December, the fact is that the whole month is lost which can be a pain in the arse. The more I think about it, the more it strikes me that as a society we are being led not by the church, but by the supermarkets and the online stores and in these times of austerity, the question is, why do we do it? Would we not be better of binning the annual spend-fest that Christmas has become and holding it once every four years instead? It works for the World Cup, the Euro’s and even the Olympics and would it not be better all round to have something to really look forward to as opposed to dreading? . A couple of bits of news: the editing on Top Dog is well underway and a rough cut should be ready for viewing soon. I’m actually dreading this as it’s the first time I’ll have ever seen one of my books brought to life but I have every confidence in Martin Kemp so I’m sure my worries will be unfounded. More to the point, once the rough cut has been viewed firm decisions will be taken regarding release dates etc, so as soon as I have news of those, I’ll pass them on. I’ve also taken a positive decision about my next book. I don’t want to say too much at the moment as things may change but suffice to say that it’s an idea I’ve had ticking over in my head for a long time and in many ways, it will be the book that I’ve always wanted to write. Finally, could I take this opportunity to wish everyone who reads this a very merry Christmas and if you could do me one favour over the coming week it’s to take the decision not to drink and drive. 2014 is going to be a massive year and I’d like to think you’ll all be around to share it.
My response was seemingly the cause of some angst to my inquisitor who, from what I could gather, was hoping their question would illicit a rambling and angry diatribe about the evil empire that is traditional publishing. What they got instead, after about a milli-second of thought, was the response that not only do I not know, I don’t actually care.
However, since the question was asked I have actually given it some consideration and eventually I goggled the obvious question; what is an indie author? The response was extremely interesting with the top answer being provided by the Alliance of Independent Authors who define it thus:
- You have self-published at least one book.
- You recognise that ‘indie’ does not necessarily mean ‘self-publishing only’ and acknowledge that even the most indie-spirited self-publisher works in collaboration with other publishing professionals (editors, designers, distributors) to produce a good book and reach readers.
- You are open to mutual beneficial partnerships, including trade publishing deals where appropriate for you, so long as the author’s status as creative director of the book is acknowledged.
- You expect your status in the partnership to be reflected in contracts and terms, not just lip service.
- You recognise that you are central to a revolutionary shift in publishing which is moving from seeing the author as resource (in the new parlance ‘content provider’) to respecting the author as creative director.
- You are proud of your indie status, which you carry into all your ventures, negotiations and collaborations for your own benefit and to the benefit of all writers.
Now if that’s the standard definition, I’m actually none the wiser. After all, I’ve never self-published a book and I certainly don’t do anything for the benefit of other writers (why should I? They’ve never done much for me!) so that pegs me firmly in the NOT camp. However, I most certainly do involve other people in my work and since without me, there will be no more Dougie Brimson books, it’s fairly obvious that I am both the creative director and very much my own boss which puts me squarely in the AM category.
But, and here’s the key point, as anyone who knows anything about me or who has taken the trouble to read a blog post or two will know full well, I’m barely comfortable calling myself an author let alone prefixing that with anything else.
I write books and I sell books, that’s as far as it goes for me and if someone wants to tag me as this or that label, that’s their business. It’s certainly not mine because I’m too busy writing.
Which is actually how it should be.
I’ve been receiving lots of questions about Top Dog and in particular, requests for information about when it will hit the big screen.
The answer to that is that I don’t actually know for sure and whilst that sounds hard to believe I promise you it’s true. I might be the writer but the whole thing is in the hands of the editor at the moment and until he’s worked his magic, I’m firmly out of the loop. Rest assured though, as soon as I have news, it’ll be all over Facebook and Twitter. In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into my next movie project We Still Kill The Old Way which is starting to look really exciting.
On the subject of books, both The Crew and Wings of a Sparrow are now available in both print and eBook format from all online and high street book stores. Top Dog will also be re-released next spring as a movie tie-in.
Finally, could I say a huge thanks to all those people who have contacted me about Billy’s Log lately. For some reason (and I wish I knew what it was) it’s started to sell really well again and I’ve had a flood of mails asking me about a sequel.
I’m happy to tell you that there is indeed going to be a second instalment and indeed, it’s all mapped out so as soon as time allows, I’ll get my teeth into it. Promise!
Just a very brief post to inform all those who keep asking that Martin Kemp, best known for being pretty much everything from Spandau Ballet legend to star of The Krays will direct the forthcoming big screen adaptation of Top Dog.
I won’t go into the details as they can be found via the link below but suffice to say, I’ve been working with Martin for a while now and it’s been both a real pleasure and a great learning experience.
More details of the project will be released as and when they can but in the meantime you can read pretty much everything here at The Hollywood Reporter
PS: This is not what I was referring to in my previous blog! That’s something else entirely! 😉
I won’t go into the reasons why as they would make for quite dull reading but suffice to say, this laptop and I have been spending an awful lot of time together writing, rewriting, plotting and developing.
However, the decks have now been cleared, projects completed and time has not only been freed up, but will be better managed so expect a return to normal service at any time now. Thankfully, with the way things are, I certainly won’t be short of things to rant about.
Just as importantly, I have lots of news on all kinds of things both books and films so will start to throw that out as well.
Exciting times! 🙂
As a Watford fan, it pains me to say it but we didn’t turn up on the day, pure and simple. Anya, big Al and Lloyd Doyley (I know shock horror, praise from me!) are the obvious exceptions with the addition of Fess who should have been brought on at half-time, if not at the start.
Crystal Palace were average at best with the exception of Zaha who was different class. How many times did he take the piss out of our defence? Phillips… well you just knew he would do it but fair play, I wasn’t the only one to notice that he didn’t give it large in front of us as many would have.
The Palace fans were awesome, ours less so. Ok, much less so. Indeed, if yesterday highlighted one thing it’s the issue of our support and the lack of any cohesion. I know that there are plenty who have tried to sort it out but clearly, it has failed badly and so maybe it’s time for the club to actually step in and become directly involved with the fans to see what can be done. With so much good will toward the team and the owners, I think that we could potentially do something really creative if there was the will on both sides to actually do it so let’s use this moment to kick start some proper open dialogue. After all, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Wembley… amazing stadium but the transport situation away from the place is dire. Not simply because of the logistics but because the organisation is so poor and information so lacking.
But however down we feel today, it has been an amazing season and the journey from the horrific event that was the game against Wycombe to walking up Wembley way yesterday proves that being a Hornet is always going to be eventful and certainly never dull.
However, the truth is that we aren’t ready for the premiership yet -I think anyone with a brain in their head will acknowledge that- and the idea of a season being spanked week in week out is not one that held an appeal for me. And that’s how it would have almost certainly been. As I said, Zaha ran us ragged at times, imagine what 10 of him could do.
So it’s onwards and upwards and all eyes on the 13/14 season in the championship which arguably, is the best league anyway if you like your football in the blood and guts style as I do.
The loan situation and the forthcoming rule changes to that side of things is going to mean the close season will be eventful (aren’t they all for Watford?) but I have faith in the owners and in Zola & Co so I have no doubt we’ll be stronger as a consequence so then watch us go! Who knows, we might even finish our stadium!
Come on you Horns!
Thanks to everyone who has been posting reviews of my books lately. They really are hugely appreciated and extremely useful. On which note, thanks to a huge demand, I’m delighted to tell you that my most recent book, Wings of a Sparrow, will shortly be released in paper format.
OK, I own up. The title to this blog is slightly misleading because if you were expecting a writing lesson, you are going to be disappointed. In fact, to be perfectly honest anyone seeking a writing lesson from me is going to be disappointed because as I’ve written many times, I don’t actually know how I’m getting away with it so I am hardly qualified to advise anyone else!
No, the title to this blog refers to them actually taking on a three dimensional form in the actor sense. Because after what seems many years of what feels like post-Green Street herculean effort, it appears that one of my projects is finally making the leap from ‘almost there’ to ‘off and running’ with the announcement that Universal Pictures UK have signed as the distributors of my adaptation of Top Dog. Full details of that can be found here.
So, how did this happen? Well the truth is, like many of the events which form what can laughingly be called ‘my career’ it was down to moaning. And to a lesser extent, Twitter.
I won’t ramble on too much, but the short version is this. One day, as I was trawling Twitter in an effort to avoid actually writing, the name Leo Gregory popped up. Now Leo, as many of you will know, is the actor who played Bovver in Green Street and gave, quite simply, the stand out performance in the movie. He’s also a top bloke and so I dropped him a note and asked if he fancied taking a look at a project I thought he’d be perfect for.
Luckily, he agreed, loved it and so at the back end of last year, we met and chatted. Inevitably, talk turned to Green Street, the many imitators it spawned and the fact that in both our opinions, no movie thus far has actually failed to pull off the whole ‘hooligan’ ‘lads’ thing convincingly. This moaning led into discussions about my novels The Crew and Top Dog which in turn led to a meeting with the legendary producer that is Jonathan Sothcott (which is a tale in itself). The rest as they say, is history.
Now, the point of all this is that like all writers, when I set out to create something, be it a book or a screenplay, it gets to a point where it takes on a life of its own. Up to now, I had always believed that there was only so much I could do after that point had been reached but this is clearly not the case at all.
Because as I have recently discovered, the key to success is moaning. And thankfully, it’s something that I’m not only exceedingly good at but which I also enjoy with a passion.
This morning, whilst staring out of the window at the white-out that karma is continuing to inflict on me to keep me off my motorbike as punishment for my former ill-deeds, it occurred to me that I hadn’t blogged for a while.
To be fair, not that many people actually read my blog anyway and so my failing to post anything is no great loss to humanity. However, shortly afterwards, a notification mail landed in my inbox from one of the many writing sites I once subscribed to (yet never take any notice of) which contained a link pointing me toward an article about the importance of blogging to authors.
As a believer in omens, I took this as a sign and gave the article a read because the thought struck me that it might contain some golden nugget of information which would change everything and propel my blog numbers into the stratosphere. It didn’t. It was instead, bollocks.
Now I’m not knocking blogging and indeed, am well aware of the irony to be found in the fact that I am er… blogging. However, there is a massive difference between blogging as a way of letting off steam, entertaining or even showcasing and blogging to ‘teach’. Because speaking as a professional author with a degree of experience about what does and doesn’t work, I can say with some authority that 90% of the blogs I’ve ever read relating to writing are inane drivel. I’d even go so far as to say that most are written by people who have little or no actual experience of anything except rewriting other people’s articles and passing them off as their own which is little more than a con.
The reason it continues of course, is that so many people want to be authors and make their living selling their books. Yet the simple reality is that if you want to sell books then there is only one thing that will do it for you and that isn’t reading about how to sell books or even writing about how to sell books, it’s actually sitting down and writing books. And if you want to sell lots of them, write good books because if you do that, the rest will eventually take care of itself.
That my friends, is as good a piece of writing advice as you will ever read anywhere.
I am not a little delighted to say that my novel The Crew continues to hold onto the #1 slot on both its Amazon and iTunes chart which means that it is now approaching 18 months as the top downloaded sports book in the UK. That’s none too shabby even if I say so myself so could I say a huge thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed it. It really is most appreciated not least because as I have said many times, nothing sells books like word of mouth (and that includes blogs! – see above).
Of course the recent news that Top Dog is heading for big screen has helped immeasurably and we have taken huge and very exciting strides with that project in recent weeks. All being well, I’ll be able to reveal details of where we are with it quite soon.
And on the subject of Billy Evans and his exploits, work is progressing well on the third book in the series and I am still battling away to get my latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow, to the screen. Ironically, I receive more mails asking me about that than almost anything else which is really most gratifying because it means that the story has actually struck a chord with people which is kind of the point!
That said, it’s also a pretty cool way of earning a living not least because I get to spend most of my time on my own making up stories.
Now obviously I’m not the only person to see this as a positive attraction because there are seemingly many people out there who wish to follow in my footsteps and fair play to them I say. Indeed, thanks to the growth of self-publishing it’s never been easier to make your work available to a hopefully eager public.
The problem of course, is that writing a book (or film for that matter) is only half the story, some would have you believe it’s barely a fifth. Because once you’ve finished the actual writing process and everything that goes along with that, you have to sell it. Yes, that’s right, as a self-published author, everything falls on your shoulders and that includes the role of salesperson.
Personally, I enjoy this side of the job because it provides me with the perfect excuse to piss about on the internet and whatever I am doing seems to work because I am, apparently, doing OK. I could possibly be doing better but I have no way of knowing that for sure because I’d much rather be writing, sitting in coffee shops or going on holiday than writing ‘guest blogs’ or taking part in blog tours. These apparently being obligatory for authors who want to sell their self-published works. At least it is according to the so-called experts.
This leads me nicely onto the point of this blog because yesterday I read an article about writers marketing their work which left me not far short of incensed. It wasn’t simply the subject matter which was actually about screenwriters putting their screenplays for sale on Amazon (although if you need me to tell you why that’s a bad idea you deserve everything that could possibly befall you) it was the bit at the end about the author of said article. This bit in fact: (I have deleted her name because I refuse to give her any publicity)
XXXXXX XXXXXX is an author and screenwriter. She is the author of “Publish Your Screenplay on Kindle.” She plans to publish several of her screenplays on Kindle before year’s end.
So, she’s written a book and an article telling us to do something which she hasn’t actually done herself… yet. Do you really need me to tell you what I think of that?
The sad thing is that there are thousands of people like this who are making money off the back of the writing community by selling experience that they do not actually have and indeed, there are plenty of so-called ‘professional authors’ who actually derive most of their income from talking about the subject of being a ‘professional author’ as opposed to earning money from actually selling books. Or to put it another way, frauds.
This is especially true of the subject of self-publishing because take it from someone who actually knows, the truth is that whilst the web is awash with articles telling you how to do it, there is actually no magic formula. More often than not, what decides if a book is going to sell or not is good old fashioned luck.
Yes, of course there are things you can do to help get the stars if not aligned, at least visible and these range from exploiting social networking sites to writing blogs but the bottom line is that for a self-published book by a relatively unknown author to be a success it generally comes down to the same old thing; right book, right time, right reader.
And that my friend is the secret. You can have it for free.
Dougie Brimson is an author and screenwriter. Thirteen of his fifteen books are available in electronic format including The Crew (which was the most downloaded football title of 2012 and has held the #1 slot on its Amazon and iTunes chart for almost 18 straight months) and his latest comedy, Wings of a Sparrow.
His screen writing credits include the multi-award winning feature Green Street and the forthcoming adaptation of his own novel, Top Dog.
As a twitter obsessive (@dougiebrimson if you didn’t know) I see a lot of tweets relating to both writing and publishing many of which contain links to articles or blogs.
Generally these will fall into two categories. Either it will be a rehashed version of one of three articles (How to get published, how to get an agent or five/sex/ten ways to market your work) or it will be total and utter bollocks that’s been written by someone who clearly has no idea what they are talking about.
For obvious reasons, I tend to dismiss most of them out of hand or, if I am in a particularly grumpy mood, will comment accordingly. I know I shouldn’t, but not only does it make me feel better, it helps maintain my image as a grumpy and obnoxious bugger.
Every so often however, I read something which actually strikes a chord with me and out of a sense of fair play, after first cursing the author for writing something I wish I’d written, I’ll pass on the link in the hope that whoever reads it will actually learn something. On very rare occasions, so impressed will something leave me that I will steal the idea. Or rather, I will rewrite it to put my own slant on it, although not without asking permission first!
And so, with the very kind permission of author Barry Hutchinson whose website, as well as details of his excellent new book, The Book of Doom, can be found here, what follows is a plagiarised version of his original and most brilliant blog.
Now, as anyone who knows anything about me will know, I adore my readers. It is because of them/you that I am able to continue doing what I do which is why I am always so eager to hear from them/you. Indeed, I actively encourage people to contact me if ever they feel the need or have something they want to get off their chest.
This author/reader relationship is incredibly important for all kinds of reasons, one of which is that it helps to build what has become known as ‘a platform’. This being all but essential in these days of electronic books because it is a fundamental part of marketing. Or to put it another way, it sells books.
In the old days when I used to write books which came out on paper, this wasn’t something I generally became involved in as it all fell on the shoulders of the publishers. I wrote them, they pushed and promoted them, people brought them. That was how is basically worked. These days however, things are very different because it is all down to me and one thing I have learnt over the last few years is that key to the art of selling books is word of mouth. Indeed, as someone who receives little or no coverage in either the mainstream media or even the sports press, word of mouth is my best selling tool. But obviously, I can only do so much and whilst Twitter and Facebook are great, there is only so many times I can plug a book before people get bored of it. Therefore whilst I can give a new book a shove, I am dependent on help from my readers to get it really rolling.
So with that in mind, if you’re one such individual and actually like my work, what follows are four things you can do to help if you fancy giving me a hand.
1. Buy my Books. This is fairly obvious but you will be amazed how many people have read a couple of my books and don’t actually know that I’ve written 15 in total. I’m not insisting that you buy them all of course (although that would be nice) but if you’re missing any, a brief look at one of the on-line stores or even my website may well turn up something that you’ll enjoy.Just as importantly, by buying books you help me eat which means I can carry on producing more titles as opposed to lying on the sofa dying of malnutrition. It’s a win-win!
2. Review! In these days of eBooks and eCommerce, reviews are the engine which drives word of mouth. So if you’ve read a book and like it, then please take the time to leave a review on either Amazon or iTunes. If you blog, then why not blog about the book? I’ll even provide an interview if you like. All you need do is ask.It doesn’t have to be a 5* review, just an honest review.
And if you didn’t like it, then you have every right to say so. I won’t mind. Honest. Well, I might mind a bit…
3. Talk! To family, mates, people in the street. I don’t care. Share your enthusiasm and spread the love. It all helps!
4. Tweet! Social media is a brilliant way of spreading the word about books but it’s especially useful if you include links because that way you are actively driving people in my direction.
The same thing applies to Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and all the others. It’s all about making people aware and raising the profile. Well ok, my profile.
That’s it really. It’s not too much to ask is it? I mean, I’m doing my bit by churning them out, the least you can do is give me a hand! 😀
Talking of new books, work on the third title in the Billy Evans series is progressing well and I’m hopeful that it will be out by the summer. It’s a cracking plot which picks up on his story in modern day Britain, ten years on from the events at the end of Top Dog. I’ll release more details, including the title, nearer publication day.
Work is also progressing nicely on the movie adaptation of Top Dog, the poster of which can be seen to the left. This is actually the artwork being shown to investors and not the actual movie poster but it is incredibly effective I think.
Leo Gregory might look very different from how Billy looks in my head, but I have absolutely no doubt that he’s going to be just awesome in the role!
Finally, lots of people have been asking me about the movie adaptation of Wings of a Sparrow. All I can tell you at the moment is that I’ve written a script which is receiving a lot of positive feedback and we’ve got it in front of various production companies.
At the moment, we can do no more. Although if more people knew about the book, it would certainly help! Which takes me back to my original point… 😉
I am a Watford fan. That’s not an admission of guilt, it’s a fact. One of which I am especially proud and always have been.
Now as some of you will have noticed, after a slightly shaky start, the Golden Boys have gone on something of a run. Indeed, as I write this we sit in second in the championship after beating Derby 2-1 yesterday albeit with a somewhat dodgy performance.
However, despite our success this season we are, as a club, currently facing something that we have rarely faced before. You see in the past we have always been regarded as ‘the family club’ and as such, have been thought of in many circles as being either neutral or even bland. That is not the case at the moment for everyone seems to hate us.
The reason for this change stems from the takeover of the club by the Pozzo family who also own both Udinese and Granada. For with amazing foresight, when they took over they decided to bolster our squad by sending some of the fringe players from their other teams to Vicarage Road on loan. And by some, I mean quite a few.
This was apparently fine whilst we were losing 5-1 at Derby early on in the season, but when the side began to gel together people began to take notice. When we started winning (and scoring for fun) it began to wind people up. Big time.
Things came to a head when Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway ranted on Sky Sports about our loanee’s prior to our live game a few weeks back and seemingly within hours, various journalists at TalkSport had jumped on the bandwagon. By the middle of the following week, Watford had taken on the mantle of everything that was wrong with the English game and my fellow Hornets, many of whom had jumped to the stout defence of their club, were bordering on scum because they could not, or would not, listen to ‘reason’ (sic).
I won’t go into the hypocrisy of the statements made by Holloway whose own team is full of loanees including one he only sold on the proviso that Palace could borrow him back for the rest of the season, nor the ridiculous statements made on the terminally ill station that is TalkSport, most of which were only made to chase listeners. Nor will I provide a breakdown of the actual Watford team to disprove much of what has been alleged or even talk about the phenomenal youth academy at Vicarage Road which is already churning out a steady stream of quality young players. All of whom have benefited markedly from working with world class players. I won’t do that, because it would amount to my appearing to defend my club, and the reality is that there is nothing to defend.
What I will do however, is make three simple points on this issue;
- Neither Watford as a club nor the Pozzo’s as our owners, have done anything wrong.
- Almost every single club in the English game (including Palace and Peterborough) would welcome a ‘Pozzo’ to their club and would not hesitate to do so.
- We don’t care. In fact, we are loving it.
And that about sums it up.
And for those who have asked, yes, it was originally written with Watford and L*t*n in mind but our near neighbours wouldn’t give me permission to use their name in the text and so to avoid any potential legal issues, I had to switch to two more generic clubs.
If you would like a copy, please click on the cover to the left and it’ll take you to Amazon. It is however, also available from all online retailers including iTunes.
Finally, work on the movie adaptation of Top Dog continues apace. Watch this space.