Tag Archives: publishing

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.

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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… 😉

If you want to write, write! (but here’s why you mustn’t ask me to read it).

writing, author, books, ebook, screenplay, publishing, sport, football, soccer, amazon, ibooks, top dog, the crew, brimson, EnglandIn my last blog I made the point that in my humble opinion, everyone has the ability to write a book or even a screenplay. All they needed was the time and the commitment to put in the effort to make it happen.

This, not surprisingly, generated a lot of emails. The vast majority of which contained a variation of the same question; if I write it, would you read it?

Now this is a perfectly reasonable question and in truth, it is always nice to be asked. However, the answer is and always will be a firm NO! And I say this not because I am lazy, rude or a mixture of both, it’s for a number of very specific reasons.

You see I am, in writing terms, fairly talentless. I never set out to be a writer and certainly never trained in the craft and as a consequence, my skills are fairly limited. So much so in fact that if I am working on a project, I have to be 100% focussed on whatever it is I’m doing.

As a result, with the exception of Classic Bike, I never read anything else whilst I’m writing because either I end up writing in the style of whatever book it is I’m reading or I begin to develop feelings of inadequacy based on the simple truth that whatever I’m reading is probably better than what I’m busy creating.

The other problem of course, is that if I read unpublished work I lay myself open to accusations of plagiarism and this is especially relevant given that many of the manuscripts I’m asked to critique are within my own genre. And the last thing I need is some hairy-arsed Celtic fan* (substitute any club here) battering my door down because he thinks I stole his story.

So please, by all means write that book you’ve always dreamed of writing and if I can help you in any way I can, then I will be happy to do so.

Just don’t ask me to read anything.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceMy latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow, is continuing to sell well and if the stars align as I hope they might, I could well have news of a movie version in the very near future.

And on the subject of movies, the first draft of the screenplay for Top Dog has been completed and has attracted some wonderful praise from the team so all being well, we’re on our way!

Finally, for some reason I cannot fathom but about which I am delighted, Billy’s Log has suddenly become extremely popular again. So much so in fact that I’m becoming even more excited about writing the sequel which I will be later this year.

If you’ve not read them and would like to, links to all the on-line book-stores can be found by clicking here.

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…

Happy days!

Happy Days, Wings of a sparrow

Yes, you read that right… I am indeed happy!

The reason for this astonishing change in my mood is that I have finally finished work on my 15th book, Wings of a Sparrow. A comedy about a fanzine editor who inherits ownership of his hated local rivals (think Brewster’s Million’s meets Fever Pitch).

I first had the idea for this book over 6 years ago and indeed, actually posted the first few chapters online to see how people would react to it. Yet in spite of the feedback being universally positive, I became sidetracked by other projects and it kept getting put on hold. Now, thanks largely to the freedom provided by epublishing, I’ve been able to go back to it and well, it’s done!

The plan is to release it just before Christmas but I will of course post all news of that both here and on my website at dougiebrimson.com

Just to remind everyone, I recently dropped the prices of all of my titles across the board with, it has to be said, huge success. When it comes to eBooks, price low, sell loads definitely seems to be the way to go!!!

Most, including The Art of Fart are now just 99p with Top Dog and Billy’s Log being pegged at £1.99. The Crew is, as always, totally free to download and remains at #1 on all of it’s charts. That’s well into 14 straight months now!

See, happy days! But don’t worry, it won’t last. My normal grumpy service will be resumed shortly!

I don’t have one internet troll, I have loads! And they picked on the wrong person!

Dear internet troll, you are fucked.
Dear internet troll, you are fucked.

I have recently become fascinated by the issue of trolls. Not the Peter Beardsley kind or the big hairy creatures featured in Lord of the Rings, but the people who haunt the internet and all too often (but not often enough) end up in court for saying things they really shouldn’t say.

However, I have a confession to make. I am also a troll. Or at least I am if you use the definition of a troll as being someone who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument. Because I’ve been doing exactly that.

But my target hasn’t been some poor kid, sensitive woman or celebrity sort, oh no. My target has been people who are clearly trolls themselves. And boy, do they get the arsehole when you give them a taste of their own medicine.

I won’t go into the reasons how I became involved in all this but suffice to say, I became a ‘victim’ a few weeks ago shortly after I posted something on a forum relating to writing and in particular the issue of self published authors. Naively, I assumed that as an author who has enjoyed a bit of success, some experience might be welcomed. Oh no.

Within a few hours I’d had everything from my ‘claim’ to have been at #1 on the Amazon sports charts for ever with The Crew to my role on Green Street dissected and dismissed. Not just as irrelevant, but by one individual as downright lies. Yes, that’s right, I made it all up. It’s all a dream.

And this continued, for days.

Now I’ve had to put up with some crap in my time from lousy reviews to death threats from extremist nutters and so a few idiots hiding behind ‘tags’ on a message board don’t bother me at all. I actually found it all quite amusing and so being me, I had a dig or to back.

This of course wound them up even more not least because they quickly realised that as someone who was already established, didn’t care, took everything with a pinch of salt and wasn’t adverse to saying what I thought, they were powerless.

Then, out of the blue, I began to receive emails from people talking about these people who were trying to have a dig at me. And the more I read, the more it became clear that these people weren’t just acting like dicks, they were  up to no good.

In short, they are a small group of people who using numerous fake identities and hiding behind some spurious ideal of ‘policing’ the quality of self published books, get their kicks from ripping apart the confidence of amateur and particularly first-time authors.  They do this by various means including posting bogus and extremely critical 1 star reviews of their books on websites such as Amazon. These being backed up by other members of the clique as well of course, by themselves using their numerous fake ID’s.

And some of these reviews are vicious, personal even. The very definition of trolling.

The more I dug into what they were and are up to, the more uncomfortable reading it became and so I made an allegation that there was some kind of review mafia operating on Amazon.

*Boom*

They were at me like a pack of hounds with more attacks. I was anti-woman, anti-American, sexist, racist, a bigot, etc, etc, but when this didn’t work they began to employ diversionary tactics. Every time a legitimate discussion would begin or a sensible question asked, it would be hijacked by debates about biscuits, sea monkeys… anything. A typical bullying tactic.

So from that point on, with the help of a few other people who they’ve also had a go at, I began digging into the background to some of these people and what I uncovered staggered me.

In a sense it’s no different from the hooligan world. I’m often asked about the type of people who become involved in football violence and people are always shocked to discover that very few are the knuckle dragging right-wingers they expect them to be. They are instead, relatively normal members of society who simply get off on what goes on at games.

The same thing applies to the reviewing trolls. Amongst the people I’ve traced are kindergarten teachers, lawyers, engineers, IT professionals, you name it. Some are even authors themselves and indeed, are acting in the very manner they are so quick to condemn in others.

But what they all are, are people who you would normally regard as respectable. And here they are for all to see acting in a way which is as far from respectable as it’s possible to get. That is quite scary.

Now I don’t like bullies and I’m certainly not fazed by them. I’m also of the belief that the best way to deal with a bully is to not simply stand up to them, but to name and shame them. This time is no different and in the fullness of time, these people will be exposed.

I already have the real names of some as well as the list of identities they use on various forums but I will only make that public once I am absolutely certain that the evidence I put forward is indisputable.

Not that it matters of course. After all, as I tell everyone who wants to write, if you can’t take criticism, don’t do it. Because sooner or later someone somewhere is going to rip you to shreds and that is often extremely difficult to handle especially when it is based on things which are fundamentally wrong.

The trolls who have infected Amazon and Goodreads will experience how that feels very soon and I hope they’re ready for it.

Then again, I don’t really care if they’re not because it’s coming anyway.

*

crew, violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, necrophilia,
The Crew. Still #1

I never get bored of saying this, truly, I don’t. A huge thanks to everyone who is keeping The Crew at #1 on the Amazon and iTunes sports charts. We’re now into out 9th month at the top of the tree which however you look at it, is quite something.

Top Dog is also sitting pretty in the top 3 which proves what I said years ago, that if you give people what they want as opposed to what you hope they might like, they’ll buy it.

My next book, Wings of a Sparrow, is almost finished and then, thanks to the success of The Crew and Top Dog, I’ll be starting work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy.

Trust me, it’s going to be the best one yet!

Why I’m the Forrest Gump of Lad-Lit (and a moan about EURO 2012)

truth, blow jobs, anal sex, football , euro 2012, racism, hooligans, writing
The truth, the whole truth……

As a writer who doesn’t exactly shy away from contact with the outside world, I receive a steady stream of emails from people asking me questions. These range from requests for advice on writing to comments about books and all points in between.

All are welcome, all appreciated and all replied to. After all, if someone has taken the trouble to mail me, it’s usually because they have taken the time to read something I’ve written so the very least I can do is respond. Time is, after all, the most valuable commodity any of us have.

However, there is one particular question thrown at me, and on a fairly regular basis, which always provides a warm glow of satisfaction; ‘what’s the next book about?’

The great joy of this question is that it provides both affirmation and confirmation in equal measures. For it provides proof that not only is my work liked, it’s anticipated! Could any author ask for more than that?

What makes it even more special is that my back list isn’t just varied, it could even be described as manic. I certainly can’t think of many authors who’ve published books about subjects as diverse as racism in football and farting although I’m sure there is much a decent psychiatrist could make of that!!

Yet as many people have told me, the eclectic nature of my work is part of the attraction. I am, as one reader put it, the Forrest Gump of lad-lit. I think that was meant as a compliment, it’s certainly how I took it anyway!

This ‘box of chocolates’ reference inevitably leads me onto another oft asked question, how do I pick the subjects for my books? The answer to that is simple, or at least it was.

Like most authors, I have a list of books I intend to write at some point. Some are based on personal experience, a few on a passion for something and others which stem from a simple nugget of an idea I have locked away in what passes for my memory. This list has always been fairly flexible and it’s fair to say that it contains books which will never, ever get written for no other reason than I simply don’t have the required skill to pull them off. And before anyone asks, yes, my autobiography is on there and no, it won’t ever get written. There are lots of reasons for this but ‘no one would ever believe half of it’ and ‘guilty your honour’ are two.

But in the past the underlying reason for the subject matter of a particular book was always purely and simply what I could persuade my publishers to print. A process which all too often was incredibly time consuming and frustrating involving arm twisting, deviousness and even grovelling. Indeed, it is a fact that Billy’s Log, which remains one of my personal favourite books (and is also one of my biggest sellers!) was only published at all because I insisted on having it tacked onto the contract for Barmy Army. But that process took two long years!

However, since the move into eBooks and the speed with which that allows me to both write and publish, things have changed immeasurably. For with the decision on what to write and when being mine and mine alone, not only am I in total control but I can be much more reactive to what my readers are telling me. The astonishing success of both The Crew and Top Dog since they went online (and however you look at it, almost 8 months at number one on both Amazon and iTunes is an astonishing feat) is a case in point. For with Wings of a Sparrow almost complete, I had already taken the decision on what to write next but such has been the volume of requests for a third book in that series, that has now become my next project.

That said, only yesterday I had a ‘bolt-of-lightning’ moment which got me so excited that I had to pull over and send emails about it from a lay-by on the A1 so it might be that things change again!

But that’s the joy of epublishing over traditional publishing. It allows me that flexibility which as a writer, is incredibly liberating.

And as long as my readers are happy to indulge me, I’m only too happy to continue along my meandering path.

God bless ‘em all!!!

*

One final thing I have to say. Just prior to EURO 2012, the BBC aired a documentary which made all kinds of accusations relating to the potentialfor racism and violence in the Ukraine and Poland and featured amongst other things, former England international Sol Campbell claiming that he thought some black and Asian fans might come home in coffins.

As I write this, it is the morning of the England vs Italy quarter final and without wishing to tempt fate, there has not been a mass outbreak of mass racism at a single game nor has there been a single England fan arrested.

We are all used to this type of media fed hysteria ahead of major tournaments but that does not make it right and it most certainly does not make it acceptable. Surely the time has come for the FA to make a stand against this ridiculous, insensitive and above all insulting style of sensationalist reporting and let it be known that it won’t put up with it any more.

But above all, Sol Campbell has done a huge disservice to his country and the many black and Asian England fans who stayed away from the tournament because of his ridiculous assertions. He was also incredibly insulting to the tournament hosts.

Thankfully, the England fans have already let it be known what they think of him with the brilliant ‘coffin parade’ in Donestsk but if he had anything about him, he’d have the balls to come out and admit he was wrong.

I won’t however, be holding my breath.

crew, violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, necrophilia,
The Crew. Still #1

Why I love my readers (and why their reviews are so important!)

I love my readers.
I love my readers! Come on, give us a cuddle!

Over the last couple of years you might have noticed that the world of the ebook has changed publishing out of all recognition. This is particularly true for mid-list authors such as myself.

No longer under the control of editors or publishers we are now free to go it alone to write what we like and publish it when we like. Trust me, for all kinds of reasons that freedom is liberating!

For the reader, it has been equally revolutionary. Who would have thought five years ago that not only would there be a genuine alternative to good old paper but that there would be books available to download for free at the touch of a button!

But the rise of the ebook has added a new and very important element to the reading process and it is one which not everyone seems to have grasped. It is the power to review. Be it on amazon, iTunes, Goodreads or any of the numerous reader websites, if you enjoy or even dislike a book you are now able to tell the world.

That my friends, is power, real power. And I will tell you why.

As a professional writer of ebooks, whenever I release something new onto the market the promotion of that book falls not to the publisher as it used to, but to me as the author. As a consequence the normal routine is to bombard media outlets, social media, related websites and blogs in the hope that someone will help by providing some publicity.

This, as you can imagine, is an extremely important part of the publishing process because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good a book might be if no one knows about it no one will buy it! But this work can consume an extraordinary amount of time and whilst it can be fabulous fun, it can also prove to be both frustrating and soul destroying.

However, after a certain amount of time you have to get back to the actual process of writing which means that you have to let your latest stand on its merits and fend for itself. It’s at this point that all authors hope that their readers will kick in and take up the task of spreading the word on their behalf. Fundamental to that is the review.

From the readers perspective a review can have many functions but for the majority of authors reviews are promotional tools and in that sense they are almost unrivalled which is why we all ask, plead and even beg readers to post them. It isn’t that we want you to boost our self-esteem (nice though that is!) it’s because the simple truth of the matter is that nothing sells books like word of mouth and these days, that primarily means what readers have to say on the online outlets.

Of course there are people who would never review a book for all kinds of reasons. The usual three being ‘I wouldn’t know what to write’,’ I’d be embarrassed’ or ‘I can’t be arsed.’ But by thinking in this way they are actually missing out on what to me is one of the most exciting elements of the ebook revolution and that’s the potential for the reader to become directly involved in the publishing process.

Because when you download a book be it free or paid, you earn the right to have an opinion. And since your opinion is as good as anyone else’s, rather than keep it to yourself or simply share it with your immediate family why not share it with the global community? You don’t have to say much, just a sentence or two, but anything is better than nothing. Believe me, it can be a great deal of fun!

Equally and just as importantly, by posting a review on one of the online stores such as Amazon and iTunes –and this is the crux of the matter- you instantly become a part of the promotion for that book.

I won’t try and explain the mysteries of the various ranking systems and why every single review counts but think about it in its most basic sense; your glowing review could be the one which introduces someone to the delights of Billy’s Log or The Crew! Surely that has to be worth a few minutes of your time!

And speaking as an author, reviews have other benefits. One of which is that they help me to decide what to write next. For example, I had no idea that there was so much interest in sequels to both Top Dog and Billy’s Log but now, thanks to both the sales figures and the fabulous reviews posted by readers, I do. Which is why you will hopefully soon see both, possibly within the next 12 months.

For me that last sentence encapsulates why I place so much importance on my readers opinions. Because by posting a review and helping to keep a title or titles selling, they/you allow me to concentrate on the actual process of writing and turning out fresh material.

At the end of the day, I hope that’s what people actually want me to be doing as opposed to trying to climb up some journalist rear end in the hope

Me at work
What I would much rather be doing!

that they might say something nice about my latest. It’s certainly what I’d much rather be doing.

So please, if you have ever read a book and like it, take the time to leave a review somewhere or even mention it on Facebook or Twitter. As I have said a million times each and every one of them genuinely helps and as someone pointed out to me today, a review is a fabulous way of thanking the author for his or her efforts.

One final point on the subject of reviews and just to confirm the importance of what I’ve said above, could I say a huge thanks to all the people who have been posting such kind things on Amazon and iTunes lately. It’s because of you guys that The Crew, Top Dog and Billy’s Log in particular are selling so well and sitting at the top of their respective charts. I am both humbled and eternally grateful for your fantastic support.

sexy lads romance love
Billy's Log - autobiography?

Two quick things I would like to add, I’m aiming to have a new book online by the end of May or early June  (details here) and I have just agreed to take part in what I hope is going to be a fabulous new project aimed directly at lads everywhere.

Watch this space or keep an eye on my website for more details.

The perils of a pantser. Who’d be a bloody writer?

writer, brimson, lazy, ebooks, amazon, itunes, screenwriting, author, novel, green street, sex, monkey, imac, windowsStrange though it might seem given my lowly standing within the literary world, I am often asked for advice on different aspects of writing. However as someone who has never received or sought any kind of formal training (no need for any comment there thank you!) I have nothing much to fall back on and so in the majority of instances I can only offer advice based on my own experience. Not that there is anything wrong with that of course.

But these last few days, I have been the one seeking advice because I’m confronted with a major quandary and truth to tell, I’m still some way from making a decision.

You see when it comes to writing non-fiction it’s all fairly straightforward. Basic idea, outline, research, tweak outline, write. Easy.

Fiction however, is a different matter and the way I write it very much depends on the genre. For example, if it’s a comedy such as Billy’s Log, I’ll develop a plot and then work on constructing my characters until I know them inside out. For me, that starts with a name, a face and a voice. Once I have those (and they can be based on absolutely anybody from Vinny Jones to my mum) I’ll develop a back story for each of them until they become pretty much real people in my head and only then will I start the actual process of writing the book.

However if it’s a thriller such as The Crew, it’s all about the ending. That after all, is what people tend to remember (and if you doubt that, read the reviews of The Crew on Amazon and see how many people mention the ending) and so I take a great deal of time to get that right before I sort out my characters and start finalising the basic plot which in many respects is only there to get you, the reader, from the beginning to the ending I already have tight in my head.

At that point, I’m ready to start the actual process of writing and the first thing I’ll tackle is the ending. Always. Only once I am totally happy with that will I head for the opening line and go from there.

Now be it comedy or thriller, I always write the actual story in the same way because I’m what is known as a panster. And by that I mean I write by the seat of my pants. I know my characters intimately and I know exactly where they (and by default, the reader) are going but I’m never totally sure how I’m going to get them there.

The joy of writing in this way is that it allows me to be totally flexible with every aspect of the plot. I can add things in, take things out and even go off on completely odd tangents if I want but no matter what I do, I’ll always find a way back to the all important ending. That makes the process much more exciting for me and if I’m excited by what I’m writing when I’m writing it, that can only be a good thing when it comes to the finished product.

However, whilst being flexible is generally a good thing, occasionally it isn’t. And that’s where I am right now.

You see I’m currently working on a new comedy novel and up the two days ago I was more than happy with the way it was unfolding. The story is great, the characters believable and both the dialogue and humour sound. I’d even sent some to a couple of fabulous people who provide me with totally honest feedback on in-work projects and they were both extremely positive. All was looking good and then an idea suddenly hit me.

You see like The Crew and Top Dog, this new book is written in the third person. However, given the emotional journey the central character has to go on coupled with the fact that there will be a lot of ‘me’ in there, it suddenly occurred to me that it might actually be stronger and funnier if it were written in the first person.

Quite why I hadn’t considered this before continues to escape me but the fact is that for whatever reason I hadn’t and so I am now faced with the aforementioned quandary. Do I carry on with my third person version and end up wondering if I made a wrong decision and delivered a weaker book or do I start from scratch on a full first person version even though I’m still not sure if it would work properly.

Of course the obvious thing to do would be to write a new opening in the first person and show that to a few people to get some feedback on which works best. Well I’ve done that and all I’ve ended up with is a 50/50 split. As if that’s not bad enough, the more I read both, the more each version actually feels right.

But I still have to make that all important decision and I have to get it right because once it’s made there will be no going back. If I do decide to change my approach it will require pretty much a full rewrite and whilst that would usually be no problem, I actually have a very tight deadline because this book has to be out ahead of EURO 2012. However in the back of my mind is the nagging thought that if I make the wrong choice I might not realise it until after publication. Can you imagine the horror of that?

Who’d be a bloody writer!

writing, thriller, author, screenwriting, uk film

Could I once again say a very humble thank you to everyone who has kept my books so high up in the various online charts. I really do appreciate that you guys spend your hard earned cash on my work and utilise your valuable time reading it which is why I answer every single mail, tweet or Facebook message.

I think that’s the very least I can do!

Oh, and in case you hadn’t realised, this is an old blog and it refers to my latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow which is now available in ebook and print formats.