Tag Archives: comedy

Tales from my father. Volume One

Derek Brimstone, father, folk singer, comedianMy father died recently, he was 84.

I won’t go into the medical details other than to say that whilst it wasn’t exactly unexpected, his ultimate demise was quite sudden but it was also very peaceful. I know that, because I was with him when he died.

He was a great man my dad, a legend in fact. I know many people says that about their fathers but in his case, it was true. Indeed, he is cited by many of his peers, including Billy Connolly and Jasper Carrott, as being one of the most influential figures on the British folk scene that exploded in the 60’s and 70’s.

However, it wasn’t simply his undoubted abilities as a musician that earned him that accolade, it was as much his skills as a story teller. Oh yes, the old boy could certainly tell a tale. Indeed, a quick search of Facebook will reveal numerous threads containing ‘my favourite Derek Brimstone’ joke.

I mention this now because one of the questions frequently thrown at me is how, and indeed why, I made the transition from humble serviceman to best-selling author and screenwriter.

Usually, my answer is something along the lines of ‘it was the only way I could think of to earn a living sitting at home watching football’ but the truth is, it was because of my father. For he was the one who taught me not only how to to weave a tale, but to construct humour. Be it as a simple one-liner or in a full length novel such as Billy’s Log.

Sadly, I never really acknowledged that until recently and I certainly never thanked him for it. But the truth is that every book and film I’ve ever written has the DNA of my dad running through it and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

RIP old man. Thanks for everything but especially the laughs. On which note…  Derek Brimstone at his finest. 

@dougiebrimson

Dad’s funeral will be on the 24th March. If you would like details, please drop me a line at dougiebrimson@me.com

derek brimstone, folk singer, banjo, guitar, musician, comedian, cockney, cambridge folk festival

The joy of Screenwriting. Honest guv.

writer, brimson, lazy, ebooks, amazon, itunes, screenwriting, author, novel, green street, sex, monkey, imac, windowsThe other day, whilst talking to someone about the process of writing, the subject turned to Top Dog and the task of adapting my own novel to the big screen.

This, they claimed, would be easier than writing a ‘real’ film because I already had the advantage of knowing both the story and the characters inside out.

Later, as they were recovering in Accident and Emergency (well, they certainly were in my head) I pointed out to them that the exact opposite is true. Primarily because it ceases to be ‘my’ story the second a producer shows an interest.

Instead, from that point on it becomes about writing a treatment and then a script which would excite and entice directors, financiers and actors and as a result, things have to be tweaked, added and/or deleted to give it that wow-factor and make it appeal. And by things, I mean scenes and roles all of which meant work for me.

The whole process begins again when people actually do start to come on board for each of them have their own ideas and thoughts all of which relate to the script and all of which involve additional writing. It becomes even more complicated when the director becomes attached because from that point it becomes his movie and as such, I as the writer, am at his beck and call.

Now I know there will people reading this thinking that I’m exaggerating but to put it into perspective, tomorrow I will be working on the fifth rewrite of the script for Top Dog. A script remember, which is based on a novel I actually wrote! By any stretch of the imagination, especially for someone like me who still has no idea how they’re getting away with it, that’s a tough ask.

And at times, it has been tough. Sitting and listening to your work being ripped to shreds gives new meaning to the term soul-destroying but -and this is the lesson I’d give to any writer who finds themselves in the same position- when you are confident in the people doing the shredding and know that all they want to do is improve your work, it becomes an incredible learning experience and when it all comes together, is fantastically rewarding.

But boy, will I be glad when it’s over. Although the truth is that this is only the first stage. There are things lurking on the horizon which are already giving me cold sweats! More of that nearer the event!

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football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green streetI’m delighted and not a little excited to announce that I have signed a deal with publisher Caffeine Night to put Wings of a Sparrow into print. The book should be out in August and will be available in all major bookstores.

Caffeine Nights will also be reissuing The Crew later this year and will be producing a movie-tie in of Top Dog next year. More news on that here

And on the subject of Top Dog, there should be some big news announced within the next couple of weeks so please keep an eye out.

Exciting times!

How I discovered the most unique eBook marketing tactic ever.

ebook, marketing, social media, kindle, facebook, twitter, brimson, trolls, money, amazon, itunes, booksMy previous blog regarding eBook marketing generated a quite astonishing response and in doing so, inspired me take a fresh look at my own performance in an effort to examine what has and hasn’t worked for me.

As I said in that blog (which can be found here) I am a firm believer in the notion that there is no magic formula for eBook success and that for the most part, it boils down to one simple thing: how much luck you can create for yourself. And if you need me to explain that to you, then I would suggest that marketing really isn’t your strong point.

For the most part, I’m quite happy that the majority of what I am doing is proving effective and am also confident that I’m meeting the right balance between marketing and writing given that fresh output is vital to maintain an authors platform. Something that is fundamental to long term success and, by extension, my income.

However,  as someone who is prone to thinking laterally, it also got me thinking about ways of selling books which might not have been tried before. And then it struck me. Potentially the greatest marketing idea ever.

You see like every author who writes for money, my focus has always been on how to reach potential readers and hopefully, encourage them to buy books. This after all, being the very point of eBook marketing.

Thus far, I have done this by exploiting my USP and utilising the tactic of target marketing with to be fair, a reasonable degree of success. But like all authors, like all businesses in fact, I have more than one USP. I actually have several.

So what I did was to write them all down and consider the ones I hadn’t used before and as soon as I did that, one in particular jumped out and punched me square in the face.

You see, I am hated. Seriously. This hate originates from the fact that when I began writing, I wrote about a subject and within a genre which was, to say the least, controversial. Not just to those on the outside, but to many people on the inside.

As a consequence, I received all kinds of abuse ranging from hand gestures at football matches to death threats on the telephone. Just as importantly, whilst after 16 years as a writer (and having seen off 99% of the people who jumped on my writing coat tails) that hatred has dissipated somewhat, there is still a huge amount of dislike for me and my books and this most often manifests itself, not surprisingly, on Facebook. Usually in the form of posts urging me not to write any more books because they are (quote) crap.

The key of course, is how to exploit that hate and the answer was fairly simple. Don’t look for people who want to buy my books, target my greatest and most vocal critics and offer them the opportunity to actually stop me writing. And so to kick start this process, I posted the following on Twitter and on areas of Facebook where I know they lurk:

I’ve had an epic idea. If everyone who hates my books buys just one, I can retire from writing which means there will be no more…. ever. That has to be worth 99p/$2 of anyone’s money yes?  So why not do your bit and buy one here!  

Time will tell how successful it will be. But it will certainly be fun finding out.

.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysIronically, given the above post, my sales seem to be increasing across the board. Billy’s Log and Top Dog in particular have shown steady growth whilst The Crew continues its 18 month run at number one on the free sports book download chart. Proof, if any were needed, that what I do continues to work.

Maybe I should write a book about my methods! Now that would be funny…

Finally, the picture on the left is the sales poster for the movie adaptation of Top Dog which will shortly go into pre-production hopefully ahead of filming in the summer. I really like it, but what do you think?

How I discovered the most unique eBook marketing tactic ever.

ebook, marketing, social media, kindle, facebook, twitter, brimson, trolls, money, amazon, itunes, booksMy previous blog regarding eBook marketing generated a quite astonishing response and in doing so, inspired me take a fresh look at my own performance in an effort to examine what has and hasn’t worked for me.

As I said in that blog (which can be found here) I am a firm believer in the notion that there is no magic formula for eBook success and that for the most part, it boils down to one simple thing: how much luck you can create for yourself. And if you need me to explain that to you, then I would suggest that marketing really isn’t your strong point.

For the most part, I’m quite happy that the majority of what I am doing is proving effective and am also confident that I’m meeting the right balance between marketing and writing given that fresh output is vital to maintain an authors platform. Something that is fundamental to long term success and, by extension, my income.

However,  as someone who is prone to thinking laterally, it also got me thinking about ways of selling books which might not have been tried before. And then it struck me. Potentially the greatest marketing idea ever.

You see like every author who writes for money, my focus has always been on how to reach potential readers and hopefully, encourage them to buy books. This after all, being the very point of eBook marketing.

Thus far, I have done this by exploiting my USP and utilising the tactic of target marketing with to be fair, a reasonable degree of success. But like all authors, like all businesses in fact, I have more than one USP. I actually have several.

So what I did was to write them all down and consider the ones I hadn’t used before and as soon as I did that, one in particular jumped out and punched me square in the face.

You see, I am hated. Seriously. This hate originates from the fact that when I began writing, I wrote about a subject and within a genre which was, to say the least, controversial. Not just to those on the outside, but to many people on the inside.

As a consequence, I received all kinds of abuse ranging from hand gestures at football matches to death threats on the telephone. Just as importantly, whilst after 16 years as a writer (and having seen off 99% of the people who jumped on my writing coat tails) that hatred has dissipated somewhat, there is still a huge amount of dislike for me and my books and this most often manifests itself, not surprisingly, on Facebook. Usually in the form of posts urging me not to write any more books because they are (quote) crap.

The key of course, is how to exploit that hate and the answer was fairly simple. Don’t look for people who want to buy my books, target my greatest and most vocal critics and offer them the opportunity to actually stop me writing. And so to kick start this process, I posted the following on Twitter and on areas of Facebook where I know they lurk:

I’ve had an epic idea. If everyone who hates my books buys just one, I can retire from writing which means there will be no more…. ever. That has to be worth 99p/$2 of anyone’s money yes?  So why not do your bit and buy one here!  

Time will tell how successful it will be. But it will certainly be fun finding out.

.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysIronically, given the above post, my sales seem to be increasing across the board. Billy’s Log and Top Dog in particular have shown steady growth whilst The Crew continues its 18 month run at number one on the free sports book download chart. Proof, if any were needed, that what I do continues to work.

Maybe I should write a book about my methods! Now that would be funny…

Finally, the picture on the left is the sales poster for the movie adaptation of Top Dog which will shortly go into pre-production hopefully ahead of filming in the summer. I really like it, but what do you think?

The one fact all authors should know about eBook marketing.

life, work, money, sex, military, football, marriage, kids, writing, ebooks, author, marketing, blogging, Writing is, by its very nature, an odd profession. After all, if you strip it back to basics it involves spending most of your time on your own making up stories.

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.

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football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceDougie 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.

Authors need love too (and a bit of help sometimes).

readers, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, twitter, facebook, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew,

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! 😀

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readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, 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… 😉

Why adapting my own novel for the screen is so traumatic!

top dog, brimson. hooligans, author, film, screenwriting, violence, crime, thriller

As you may have noticed, it’s been over a month since I last blogged which is, to say the least, somewhat tardy. I do however have an excuse as I have actually been working flat out on a screen adaptation of my novel, Top Dog.

I won’t go too deeply into the background of how this came about but suffice to say, the whole thing happened and progressed extremely quickly. Indeed, I actually mailed off the completed first draft yesterday so am now in that horrible no-man’s land where I am waiting for feedback from the producer and lead actor and hoping that not only will they like it but that this isn’t the script or book which finally exposes me as a talentless hack.

That said, it’s all very exciting stuff and if you would like further details, they can be found here in The Hollywood Reporter.

The interesting thing for me has been revisiting an old friend, the central character in both Top Dog and The Crew, Billy Evans. Although now he isn’t the slightly chubby dark haired bloke I had always imagined him to be, he is now… well, Bovver from Green Street. Or to be more precise, the awesome Leo Gregory.

This has actually been quite a difficult thing to get my head around. After all, Billy has been part of my life for a very long time now and whilst people you care about come in and out of your existence for all kinds of reasons, young Mr. Evans has not just featured in two novels, but is also in the third I’m currently working on.

So as someone who actually pictures scenes in my head as I’m writing them, whilst in essence his identity remains the same for him to suddenly take on a whole new form has been extremely confusing. Not least because many of the mannerisms and much of the banter I associate with him is no longer relevant.

But I think I’ve pulled it off and as it stands the script stays quite close to the plot of the book in most respects which is after all, the most important thing. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how much of it actually makes it to the screen. If not a little disconcerting.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceAside from that, I’ve been busily doing media work to promote my latest comedy novel Wings of a Sparrow and, not to put too fine a point in it, sell books. On which note, thank you to everyone who has downloaded one of my books and my eternal gratitude to everyone who has taken the time to leave a review somewhere. I know I have said it a million times but they really do help in all kinds of ways.

If you would like to purchase any of my numerous books, links to all the various online sites can be found here.

English for English. It’s common sense!

england, english, language, dialogue, sport, football, soccer, racism, racist, NHS, hospital, police, brimson, hooligans, ebooks, kindle, amazon, itunesI was going to write a long rant this morning about a subject which over this last year, has become an increasing source of not just irritation, but actual anger.

However, the more I talk about this particular issue with other people the more I realise that this is one of those rants which is becoming increasingly universal. Indeed, once you get to the end of this blog my guess is that you will at worst have a degree of empathy with the point, at best simply say ‘about effing time someone said that!’

So with that in mind, here we go.

If you walk into any government building or have any kind of contact with a major commercial organisation, you will be informed at some point that any or all information is available in a variety of languages. Indeed, in the case of somewhere like a hospital, council office or police station, there will be posters and leaflets imparting that knowledge pretty much everywhere.

This is of course, how it should be -after all, we live in a multi-cultural society- however, it is a fact that any nation is defined by various things one of which is its language. Therein lies my problem.

You see I am and will always regard myself as English. Not British, not European, English, And last time I looked, I live in England and the language of my homeland is English which just happens to be the most widely spoken and understood language on the planet.

So with that in mind, if I contact an organisation of any description which is based in England and find myself dealing with an individual who can barely speak my language let alone impart the often complex knowledge I require, why am I made to feel like either an idiot or a racist if I ask to speak to someone I can actually understand? Or for that matter, who understands me? Isn’t that a perfectly fair and reasonable request?

Of course it bloody well is!

Yet too many organisations seem quite happy to place people in customer facing positions who, whilst they might be perfectly competent in most respects, are clearly unable to carry out their function correctly simply because of their inability to communicate. That isn’t good enough, not in this day and age. However, the only way things will ever change is if we, as both taxpayers and consumers, start to demand it and on a regular basis.

So do it!

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceThis will be my last blog before Christmas and so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday and a brilliant New Year.

I’m not normally one for the festive season but I’m really looking forward to this one not least because it will herald in 2013 which for all kinds of reasons, is already shaping up to be a quite amazing year.

So to all those I have met, worked or had dealings with in 2012, especially those who are involved in new or ongoing projects, please take some time to relax, have fun and recharge your batteries because I don’t know about you, I’m planning on next year being the really big one and if you can’t keep up, you may well miss out!

And don’t forget, if you are lucky enough to receive an eReader as a gift on the 25th, you can download all of my books for around about £10.00 and that includes my latest, Wings of a Sparrow which is currently receiving great reviews and is already the subject of movie talk!

Enjoy!

Nets, coins, hooligans… you couldn’t make it up. But you don’t have to.

hooligans, ferdinand, football, soccer, violence, lads, fans, supporters, manchester united, manchester cityOver the years, I have heard a lot of people talk absolute bollocks about the issue of hooliganism and in particular, the reasons why certain individuals behave as they do.

The pathetic hand-wringing and ‘it never went away’ type drivel which inevitably follows an incident of trouble inside a ground -be it racism or violence related- all too often leaves me shaking my head in amazement. It genuinely baffles me how supposedly intelligent people can be both blinkered and stupid at the same time.

This week however, has surpassed the lot.

Events in Manchester were terrible, that is true. The fact that a premiership footballer was almost blinded by a coin thrown from amongst rival supporters is something everyone involved with the game should be ashamed of just as we should be ashamed of the coins and missiles which were being thrown all the way through that game in much the way as they are at games up and down the country on a far too regular basis. Not just at players, but at rival fans, stewards and the police although this seems to have been largely forgotten (or ignored) by the back page mafia.

Yet what has amazed me has been the nature of the response to this particular incident. Not least the idea that to prevent such a thing happening again, we should hang nets from the front of every terrace roof in the land. Nets… for fucks sake.

Yes, a physical barrier of some description between fans and pitch would certainly minimise the risk of players being hit but let’s be practical shall we? Let’s think about this sensibly and talk about why it is quite possibly the most stupid idea to combat crowd problems since Ken Bates and his electric fence.

First, it wouldn’t work. You’d still get things thrown at the pitch only this time those that didn’t make it through the gaps in the mesh would bounce back onto the crowd. The legal consequences in the ‘duty of care’ sense would be immense.

Second, it would have no impact on missiles being thrown at rival fans.

Third, have you ever stood and watched a sporting event from behind mesh when the rain is pelting down? I have, and it’s like watching through fog. And what happens if it starts to sleet? Or you are required to evacuate the stand in a hurry? Or it falls onto the crowd?

The argument of course, is that such things would be considered during ‘development’ of any such system. Yeah right. Goal line technology, safe standing… how long have these things been being ‘considered’ and just how close are we having to either appearing in an English football ground?

Fourth, and possibly most importantly, if you put up a physical barrier you also put up a visible one. In this case, it would be akin to a flashing neon sign which might as well say ’Hooliganism: 40 years on and we’re back where we started.’ You can almost sense the victims of Heysel and Hillsborough spinning in their graves at the very suggestion.

Fifth and finally, the idea completely misses the point. For instead of finding a way of stopping missiles hitting players, why not consider the revolutionary concept of addressing the mentality of those who think throwing them is a good idea?

That of course, is the obvious thing to do. But of course football has been trying to do that since the 70’s and…. oh no, that’s right, it hasn’t. Because footballs answer to deal with the problem of hooliganism was to get the police to shove it out of the grounds, tell everyone things are better than it was in the 80’s (how many times have you heard that this week?) and hope the boys in blue would solve it. Which they didn’t because Old Bill’s job is not actually to change attitudes it is to enforce the law of the land. Something they continue to do and with some vigour whilst at the same time using football as quite possibly the best real-time crowd-control training facility any police force anywhere in the world has ever had.

That’s another debate entirely (read Barmy Army and Kicking Off if you want to know more about my views on the policing of football) but the fact remains that despite its claim to the contrary, the game as an entity has actually done little or nothing to combat hooliganism since the problem first began to show its fangs.

The coin which bounced off Rio Ferdinand’s forehead proved that conclusively and that is without a doubt the most shameful aspect of this whole sorry saga. (And before anyone mails me asking ‘so what would you do?’ I’ll be blogging about that very thing in a day or so.)

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceThanks to everyone who has downloaded Wings of a Sparrow this week. Sales are even better than I could have hoped for and the reviews thus far have been amazing. I certainly never thought my writing would be compared to the legendary Tom Sharpe!

If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will get around to it soon and if you have please leave a review somewhere and help me to spread the word.

In these days of digital books, word of mouth is the best advertising any book can have which is why authors such as myself are so keen to get those who read our work involved in the publishing process.

After all, current thinking is that a self-published author needs to spend 20% of their time writing and 80% of their time self-promoting! With at least two books to write, I’d rather have that the other way round but only you guys can help me with that.

So come on… get on with it!

Everything you wanted to know about being the ex football hooligan author Dougie Brimson (but were afraid to ask)

football, soccer, books, brimson. hooligans, violence, coin thrower, matt haig, manchester city, manchester united, violence, racism, amazon, itunes, ibooks, writer, author, self-publishing

As I sit here, pondering my navel and doing pretty much anything I can to avoid actually writing, I often stumble across things which not only make me laugh, but strike a chord. One of the most recent items to achieve this double whammy was a blog I read today entitled ‘Everything you wanted to know about being an author (but were afraid to ask).

The reason this caused such mirth in Brimson Towers was because only this morning I received not one, but two emails asking me about that very thing. Now in both cases, given that Matt Haig, the author of said blog, is a far better and more accomplished writer than I will ever be and had pretty much said everything I would have said and more anyway, I simply passed on the link and wished the individual well.

However, as I mulled it over whilst standing in line at Tesco’s an hour or so ago (I’d had an urge for pie. Seriously) I decided that if I was going to accurately apply this excellent list to my own writing life and process, it would need a tweak or two.

So what follows is a bastardised version of the list in question. I have included the original in italics for reasons which will become obvious and hope that Mr Haig will accept my apology for brutalising his excellent efforts which, if you would like to read them, can be found here: 

1.     We live on toast. And cereal. And caffeine. And wine. But mainly toast.   Since I am banned from eating bread due to my lard arse frames dislike of wheat and rarely drink alcohol of any description, I only survive at all thanks to a daily plate of eggs and bacon, this being supplemented by a ready supply of Bourbons. On reflection, this could explain my aforementioned lard arsed frame.

2.     By the time our book comes out, it feels like a childhood memory. But more distant.   As an author who is intent on spewing out ebooks on a scarily regular basis until such time as readers finally suss out that I am a talentless hack (a fact I am already well aware of), I am no longer hindered by the agonising time it takes publishers take to get books from emailed file to the shelves of Waterstones. Hence, when a book is released into the marketplace, or as I prefer to call it, Amazon, it is still scarily fresh in the memory.

3.     Our daily word-count was approximately three thousand words higher before the arrival of Facebook and Twitter.   Absolutely true. Indeed, there is a whole heap of irony to be found in the fact that whilst the world wide web provides the engine for what passes as my writing career, it also does all it can to slam it into reverse on an almost minute by minute basis. Proof of which can be found by looking at my Twitter and Facebook timelines.

4.     At parties someone will always say, ‘So have you written anything I’d have heard of?’ Or, ‘How are the books going?’ Both questions end in awkward silence.   Again, absolutely true although the reality is that I rarely get invited to parties. In fact for rarely, substitute never. I suspect people assume I will turn up, get pissed and wreck the place. This being as far from the truth as you could possibly get.

5.     If we were number two in the bestseller charts, the only book we would ever be thinking about is the one selling more.   Partially true. Well OK, mostly true. Although in some instances, I do look at who is languishing below me and mutter a contented ‘take that you fucker’ to myself.

6.     We never know if the book we are writing is the right one until we have written it. And even then we are not sure.   In my case, I know it’s the right one because I ask my readers in advance and they tell me what they want. That’s the joy of being a digital author who actually talks to the people who buys his books.

7.     It is harder to make friends after you become a writer than it was before. But way easier to make enemies.   True and very true.

8.     People think you are automatically a bit weird. (Or is that just me?)   No, it’s not just you. Although in my defence, I am actually a bit weird.

9.     We need editors ‘like a fat kid needs cake’ – to quote that sensitive literary soul, 50 Cent.   This is golden rule number 5 in Doug’s golden rule book of writing. It is so, so true.

10.    The best day is when we get to see our book cover. Unless we don’ t like the book cover in which case it is the worst day.   Being a digital author, my publishers involve me in developing covers from day one and often I have the final say so this isn’t the case for me. My best day is usually when I write ‘the end’ and the worst is when I realise that it usually isn’t.

11.    ‘Royalty statement’ is Latin for disappointment.   Thanks to the web, I see my sales figures on an almost daily basis. Sometimes they are orgasmic, other times I want to kill myself.

12.    We get stomach pains every time another writer wins something. (We have continual stomach pains).   Not only have I never won anything, I’ve never even been nominated. Come to that, I’ve never even been invited to anything where any author won anything. My stomach pains are entirely due to my Bourbon intake.

13.    We all want to be Hemingway, minus the suicide part.   I’m quite happy being me.

14.    We would probably all be writing poems, if people actually bought poems.   If I could earn a living writing football chants or perhaps greeting cards for lads, I’d be happy with that. Who wouldn’t?

15.    We spend a lot of our time going on five hour train journeys to events where eight people turn up (and only three of them buy the book).     The only events I get invited to involve court or family and generally speaking, I tend to avoid both of them like the plague anyway.

16.    We chose not to choose life. We chose something else.   This is true. It’s called solitude.

17.    We are generally quite bad at dancing.   Untrue. I have the moves! Or at least I did before my back gave out.

18.    In most cases, the person we don’t like more than any other just happens to be another writer. But then, the person we admire most is one too.   This is true. Although in my case it is more to do with personality than the nature of their output.

19.    We may have our name on the front of a book but we always feel slightly outside the publishing industry, looking in. Like Keats at that metaphorical sweet-shop.   Despite my apparent success, I am firmly on the outside of the publishing industry and always have been. I fear that is unlikely to ever change.

20. If we were a neurotic wreck before we were published – and we were – we remain one afterwards. Our brain chemistry doesn’t fundamentally change.   This is absolutely true although my insecurities tend to be more about my other efforts at writing than about my books. Screenplays are terror inducing.

21. If we get good reviews, we want good sales. If we get good sales, we want good reviews.   I want both. Is that too much to ask?

22. We are happy for five whole minutes after a book is sent off. Then we realise all the mistakes we made.   True. Although thanks to the magic that is the eBook, we can if need be, continually edit!

23. We start off wanting to be published. We get published. Then we want a nice review. We get a nice review. Then we want an award. We get an award. Then we want a film deal. We get a film deal. Then we want a film to be made. And so on. For ever. (We are never happy).   Well as previously discussed, I know I’ll never earn an award although I have had a movie and plenty of film deals. Another première would be nice though as I wasn’t actually invited to the first one… (long story)

24. If someone reads our work midway through the writing process we need them to faint in awe or it goes in the bin.   People are constantly reading my work at every stage from one-line idea to final manuscript. As a consequence, if they are happy, I am happy. If they’re not, I listen to what they say and change things until they are. They are legends!

25. We are a little bit lonely.   True. Thankfully, despite coming from a large family, I have always been a bit of a loner and my favourite company is er… me. That has stood me in good stead over the years.

26. Bad reviews are always taken personally. Always.   Totally and absolutely true.

27. Writing a novel is like a relationship. During the early stages every other possibility looks incredibly attractive. But commitment pays off.   True. And since manuscripts, like screenplays, are always females, occasionally, when you get to the end, you’re glad to see the back of her.

28. We rarely write in coffee shops.   True. Instead we watch and listen and use the fact that we are writers as an excuse for loitering. Or is that just me?

29. Writing is heaven. Re-writing is hell.   Oh god yes.

30. We are rubbish at other jobs. And DIY. And most other things too.   I was an engineer in a previous life so I can do pretty much anything. The biggest problem I have is getting myself motivated to actually do it whatever it is that needs doing.

31. We say the wrong things at parties.   I refer the honourable reader to the answer I gave some moments ago. I don’t get invited…

32. The definition of discomfort is the moment after your mother reads your semi-autobiographical novel.   Substitute ‘mother’ with ‘daughter’ and you’re about right.

33. There is no praise more treasured than that of an author you worship.   I wouldn’t know about this. It’s never happened.

34. The best book we have ever written is the one we are about to write.   It better be!

35. The best ideas we have are the ones that arrive accidentally.   True. In fact the idea for my next book actually arrived thanks to an accident. I was in hospital with my wife who had broken her arm when the plot came to me!

36. There is no email in the world nicer to receive than the one from a reader who has been moved by your work.   Oh yes. Thankfully, I have had many of those over the years and each and every one is valued.

37. We know, in our heart of hearts, that we have the very best job in the world.   The truest of all truths. On which note, thanks to everyone who has downloaded my new book Wings of a Sparrow. Feedback and reviews have thus far been brilliant which makes all the effort and late nights worthwhile.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceWork is progressing on getting more media exposure although many publications are reluctant to give reviews to eBooks and of course, as many of you know, I am banned from certain magazines and TV shows on account of my criticism of them in the past. The only thing I can ever see changing that would be if a book becoming too popular to ignore and since Wings of a Sparrow is a hooligan free zone, it provides possibly the best opportunity for that to happen so could I once again be cheeky and ask you all to keep spreading the word because the more people who know about it –and buy it- the better.

One other thing which would help is of course, the film version and I am still working hard to make that happen. The stumbling block at the moment is the financing although we are making progress with that so fingers crossed. I’m also in tentative talks about a new movie based on my previous novel, Top Dog which would be quite awesome!

And finally, on the subject of Top Dog, work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy is progressing nicely. It’s much darker and more violent than the first two books but the plot line is quite possibly the best I’ve ever come up with. I’m aiming for a publication date in the spring and will release more details closer to that point.

Laters…