Which market should I write for?

As a reader have you ever thought where the books you love fit in the great scheme of things? 
Reading tastes are constantly changing. It would require a brave person indeed, who is willing to predict what the next bestselling subject will be.
It may not matter to you. But if you are a writer, where your book fits is always at the back of your mind. Every genre has multiple compartments within it, where discerning readers, critics, reviewers and publishers like to place your work. People are people after all, they love to pigeonhole things.
At this moment in time, while one of my books is selling well, the one I personally prefer which has earned nine straight five star reviews on Amazon is not. Why – because its subject has become a shrinking market. If I had written it forty years ago it might have enjoyed a modicum of success. While folk like it, not many are actually buying it. It fits into a small niche market which is currently out of fashion you see.
In its particular case, all I can hope for is a wholesale rediscovery of fantasy tales about goblins sometime in the future. At the moment people don’t necessarily want to read an anthology like ‘Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales for Adults,’ no matter how friendly I made them. And yet for some reason they are willing to read about a rebellious young archaeologist out to save the world before the deadline to destruction for the Earth and the entire Solar System of December 21st, 2012 in my book ‘The Seventh Age’, which is selling well. Who knew it would take off – certainly not me.
If one of your books gets taken up by an establishment publishing house, more power to your pen. That’s not for me – never was. 
With the changes, some would say unnecessary upheaval, going on within the publishing industry; at least the ebook versions of our work are always available over the internet, therefore in the public eye, unlike their physical cousins who have a short shelf life in the bookshops of this world before they are remaindered and forgotten.
But all this still doesn’t answer my question – which market should I write for? Want my advice? Change your approach and simply write what you would love to read. Chances are if you love it, others will too – eventually.

Who Invented Dust?

I just stopped briefly from working on my latest novel’s manuscript for a comfort break, a cigarette and something to drink while I wait for my grocery delivery. While I was waiting I became aware of the inordinate amount of dust on the floor around my chair, illuminated by the rays of the morning sun.
We all live with dust. It’s inescapable. What purpose does it actually serve? Millions across the world wage war against it on a daily basis. Why? The minute your back is turned there it is once again!
I surrendered to the ever present dust invasion decades ago, deciding that fighting it was a futile occupation and a monumental waste of my time. Instead I simply resorted to putting up with it as an inevitable consequence of daily living, looking upon it as a constant companion.
I’m darned sure dust was actually invented by the manufacturers of vacuum cleaners and the countless household cleaning products, merely to foist their wares upon the unsuspecting, brainwashed and gullible.
Unlike the countless millions of house-proud individuals out there, I no longer carry on the endless fight against dust. Instead I have called a truce with dust, choosing to coexist alongside it. Dust isn’t so bad. At least it doesn’t interfere with my daily life too much. Granted when it combines with fluff and hair into furry balls, usually under an item of furniture, I do pick it up and put it in the bin. I’ve got far more important things to occupy my time than to endlessly fight on the front lines of the war against dust.
Am I house proud – don’t be stupid. To me a house is nothing more than a box in which you live, protected from the elements and from unwanted undesirables like travelling salesmen, those collecting for various charities, god botherers and potential candidates for your next town council election, or even worse, that of your next government!
I am about to make all house proud individuals very angry with me, but I don’t care. If I’m brutally honest I prefer to see dust on every surface. To me it proves that this house is lived in by a human being (me) who doesn’t give a damn about mindless social expectations. I’m sorry if this offends you, but my home is not a sterile pristine space to show off to the neighbours while having morning or afternoon tea together – not that I do, you understand. As far as I know, no one actually lives in a show-home. They are only to be found at open days on new housing developments. This dusty house is where I live for goodness sake – get over it!
I can just hear all the tut-tutting going on as you read this folks. Well tough, I don’t care!
Neither does the dust I might add.

A Claytons Review

Claytons is the brand name of a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated beverage coloured and packaged to resemble bottled whisky. It was the subject of a major marketing campaign in Australia and New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s, promoting it as “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink” at a time when alcohol was being targeted as a major factor in the road toll.
Although the product is no longer being actively marketed, the name has entered into Australian and New Zealand vernacular where it represents a “poor substitute” or “an ineffective solution to a problem”. It can also be used to describe something that is effectively in existence but does not take the appropriate name, e.g. a common-law couple might be described as having a “Claytons marriage”.
I recently received what can only be described as a Clayton’s revue for the paperback version one of my books – Globular Van der Graff’s “Goblin Tales for Adults”. 
After making pointed enquiries I found out the reviewer in question had not even read the book. It turns out that he has been told by his publisher to write Claytons reviews with a hyperlink back to his own books. They told him that while a few will be deleted, many won’t. Talk about shameless advertising tactics!
It begs the question – how many other reviews are genuine? Fortunately in my case, most are. This unsavoury practice needs to end and fast. Climbing on the backs of others to shamelessly promote your own books is beneath contempt!
Most of us work hard promoting our books without resorting to using such underhand practices. I could mention the name of the writer in question, and his publisher, but that would only be playing into their hands.
If anyone reading this has a review with a hyperlink back to someone else’s book on their book’s page, check it out and challenge whoever wrote the review, voicing your strong objection. Above all, don’t be surprised if the said review disappears, especially on Amazon. They take a dim view of such practices.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat…

Over the past four years, the number of fellow writers I have had conversations with via social networks numbers in the hundreds. Most are like me, simply happy that other people read our work. But there are a few who delude themselves into thinking that writing equals fame and fortune. The simple fact is that fame and fortune via writing happens to only a chosen few, whether they are in an establishment publisher’s stable, or are independent i.e. self-published, like yours truly.
In the past seventeen years I have written dozens of short stories, hundreds of articles and posted about all kinds of topics over six hundred times on my blog. I have also written four novels. Am I famous and rich? No. Will I ever be? I seriously doubt it.
One thing I do know for sure is that my readership has slowly but surely grown as evidenced by the sales figures for my novels as well as the feedback I get.
By publishing your work you automatically expose yourself to criticism, some good, some not so much. It is fair to say that there is a lot of bitchiness in the world of the written word, as evidenced by recent articles on the internet too numerous to mention here. While certain people within the publishing industry snipe at one another, no matter whether they are in the traditional or indie camps, the fact remains that we all have one thing in common – our love of the written word.
To survive you need to develop a thick hide and refrain from entering into the many bitch sessions, no matter how incensed you may feel.
Do you still want to write? Then in that case go ahead, but know that you are entering a world of jealousy, both professional and private, envy, intolerance and even hatred. Will your work be taken up by an agent – probably not? Will a publisher have the time or indeed the inclination to want to read your book’s synopsis? Again – probably not. Why – because most establishment publishers are highly selective due to financial constraints and their own publishing targets. After all, they are running a business which needs to show a profit if it is to survive.
One thing is certain; the world of literature is a tough one with no room for the faint hearted. Enter at your peril.


Glob the Paperback

At long last Glob’s tales are now available in paperback. Just hover over the Amazon.US, or Amazon.UK links to the right of this post. Be careful though because both versions are there – ebook and paperback lol.


I’ve already ordered a couple of copies for two close personal friends of mine here in the UK. 

Indie or traditional, the choice is yours?

The ebook and self-publishing has inevitably impacted on sales within the closed snobbish world of traditional publishing and not before time. 
Inevitably it has drawn an awful lot of criticism recently. A minute percentage of it is justified, but most is not. 
I read recently where ebook sales far outweigh conventional paper books. Former readers of traditionally published books are now embracing ebooks, particularly in the United States. Here in the United Kingdom prejudice still rules. As a consequence ebook sales lag behind.
From the point of view of a writer who has enthusiastically embraced the new way over the almost claustrophobic rigidity of so-called conventional publishing, I for one am happy to be considered an Indie.
The rules which most writers within the traditional publishing scene have to agree to when signing that contract, in effect means they are nothing more than poorly paid slaves, dependent on the whim of their publisher.
If a writer is in the stable of one of the big six, the idea of an advance measured in the thousands of pounds or dollars may sound good at first, but the royalties they get is pitiful compared to what an Indie earns.
Yes, I agree that a lot of self-published books should never have been published. But equally, a large number maintain a high standard. The same can be said for traditionally published books. 
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James is a prime example of utterly abhorrent trash published traditionally. You know that the big six publishing houses are desperate when such a monumentally bad book becomes a multimillion best seller. Am I jealous? No not at all.
If all writers are honest, none of us, whether Indie or establishment, can truly say we are happy with the final version of our work, be it hardback, paperback or ebook. On reading the product of all our hard work, each one of us can see areas within the book where we could/should have made a correction, or either added or deleted a section.Releasing our work as an ebook, means we can make those corrections at no cost while the big six cannot.
So, for all of you in the traditionally published world out there, before you heap anymore bile and invective upon indies, why not clean up your own back yard first?

What’s Happening with Globular Van der Graff?

After hearing constant requests asking when Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales for Adults will appear as a paperback, I can now tell you I am slowly but surely preparing it. Like anything worth doing, it takes time.

Meantime, here is a complete list of all the characters and some of the places in Glob’s Tales.

             Byzantine du Lac
Globular Van der Graff, (Glob) 
Makepeace Terranova (Make), 
Byzantine Du Lac (Byz) 
Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous) 
Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo)
Glob and co usually add an s to most words like likes for instance. They use I’s instead of I. 
All goblins have green blood and leathery skin, pointed ears, long pointed noses and long bony fingers. Their mouths have sharp pointed teeth.  
Simpleminded Byz uses fresh oak leaves in his armpits to battle body odour. 
They all wear felt jerkins, kerchiefs and willow-bark boots. In winter they wrap spider web mufflers around their necks to keep out the cold and wear squirrel fur mittens. 
The lads prize willow-wand above all other types of timber. They use it for things like crutches for example. They use hazel twigs as tooth picks. They all love acorn cake. They use honey as a salve, and dried sphagnum moss as an antiseptic bandage. Their favourite foods are: dried toadstool, dried mushroom, dried fish, wild onion, mint, honeycomb and Neo’s mead.
They always refer to the youthful as youngers, or yung. 
Glob – oldest of the Goblins, leader. Has an ash staff tipped with a magic Emerald to summon Yathle the Wyvern. He loves to read ancient chronicles. 
Byz – simple minded, apt to wander off if not tethered. Plays reed pipes, loves playing with spiders, snails, worms etc.  
Mous (accident prone) always substitutes z for s. Prone to sulking often has bitter arguments with his best friend Make. 
Neo – severely cross eyed, extremely bad tempered, love’s Miranda with all his heart. Makes and excellent mead and is responsible for manufacturing their willow bark boots, sewing them together using a bodkin and thread made from the best spider silk. 
Make – Pipe smoker, portly; normally content with his lot. Loves honeysuckle flavoured tobacco. His most prized possession is his bestest briar pipe. Often despite regarding him as his bestest friend he accuses Mous of stealing his possessions. 
Limberespan Van der Graff (Lim) – a distant cousin of Glob. On the run from a convict gang

Cazophen – black witch

Grizweavil Bragsbill (Brag) – mountain goblin archer and overseer of the gang Lim escaped from, intent on killing him.
Giath the Minotaur – set free from beneath goblindom by Byz forgetting his promise, never to play the tune again. A mythical beast from the underworld, who lives on the other side of the barrier.  He is freed by Dill and rampages through the world. The humans living beyond goblindom’s magic barrier are dying in their droves.
Dillfeather Fairglorn (Dill) – a mountain goblin, who raids the nearest human settlements. Fierce and warlike.
Artemus Wainpin (Mus) – goblin Shaman, seeks help from the brothers and Yestin to combat Dill.
Monkwig Gribblehang (Monk) – chief of the mountain goblins
Miranda – Mica’s old mare, the love of Neo’s life is totally infatuated by the old cross eyed goblin. Her heart beats faster whenever she senses him close by. 
Agnitha – Mica’s beautiful wife, daughter of the village shaman Yestin
Ylesse – daughter of Mica and Agnitha, dotes on her goblin uncle Neo
Mica – Humin and friend of Glob and co
Verig – Humin warrior
Cantor – Humin warrior
Jasper – Humin warrior
Manx – Humin warrior
Bejuss – One eyed lisping raven with a deformed beak always says me for I. 
Yathle – wyvern, and her two sisters, Maeve and Iolanthe. Black slit pupils set within mesmerizing golden eyes, armoured head, similar in shape to her distant dragon cousins, snakelike tail with vicious barbs, metallic coloured scales, thick and powerful legs, two toed feet, armed with razor sharp claws – friend to all Goblins. 
Main weapon – fiery breath in the form of bolts of fire. Always comes to their aid when summoned with Glob’s Emerald topped magical staff. Lives beyond the edge of the world. Wyverns are the mortal enemy of griffins.
Ariadne – Yathle’s cousin 
Brilith – Plump, kind hearted, white witch of the East   
His Esteemed Magnificence Obadiah Fingletook, Grand High Goblin – lives in the ancestor oak with the mother of all goblins, arrogant, childish, loves admiring himself – lazy. 
Hermione Fingletook, the mother of all goblindom and the real power in Goblindom 
Yestin – village shaman and father of Agnitha, grandfather of Ylesse
Crellen – Black arts wizard, teacher of Cazophen
Morweth – White Wizard, friend of Brilith
Lox – friendly female wood elf
Boggis – near sighted one eyed mountain troll – wicked, partial to snacking on goblins after fattening them up. Lives in a cave in Stone Mountain.
Slyth – griffin, friend of Bejuss 
Garr – griffin  Slyth’s brother  
Griffins are the bane of all goblins – terrible creatures who think nothing of ripping off the legs of the goblins they catch.
Kilycke – black dragon
Grimefleet Binglenook (Bingle), the last elder goblin, lives to the south of the valley, who Neo loves dearly. Deaf as a post, bad tempered, almost blind – uses a carved snail shell as an ear-trumpet.
Grimsdyke Mugwurzle (Mug) northern plains goblin – purveyor of seeds. Upright, honest as the day is long. Large wart on the end of his nose sprouting five black hairs, thick animated bushy eyebrows – weather-beaten countenance – doesn’t appreciate a joke, nor mead. Jet black eyes. Uses ‘thee’ and ‘thine’ for you and yours. 
Smikewhistle Pontigle (Pont) – goblin tailor 
Witch’s-cage made from Elvin gold, Bejuss’ home. Whoever is trapped inside it is powerless to tell anything but the truth.
Grassnit Thimblefoot – Hermione’s chief scout
Figblaster Cornshuffle (Fig) Bearded mountain goblin – bounty hunter – gruff, frightening acquaintance of Neo

Fleetwood Cranberry (Cran) quick change artist, sly, devious, extortionist, thief and robber
Peesmold Grifflemew (Mew) goblin sage and leader of the wise council- friend of Bingle
Gropewort Winglemite esquire (Wing) aged plains goblin- toothless, cataracts – forgetful – always says ‘at yer service and so forth’ whenever he introduces himself.
Spindlenook Winglemite(Nook) – Wing’s pipe smoking younger brother. Tarred platted pigtail, long silver grey beard, smokes Elderberry flavoured baccy. Nook spent his whole life in the goblin navy on the great river, rising to the rank of captain. One eye, one arm, one leg.
Piemite Sweedlenewt (Mite) – travelling storyteller – 1’4″ tall
Pigwort Minkclaw (Mink) – ex miner who ran away. Blind and dumb – dying from the toxic effects of Crellan’s mine
Grythle Snickweed (Snick) – mountain goblin mercenary – employed in the pressgang for Crellan’s mine
Broglik Cantfurgle (Brog) – plains goblin mercenary – another member of Mordern’s band of thugs
Mordern Bigsnook (Dern) – plains goblin and escaped felon. Leader of the pressgang – sly, devious, presses you into service.
Snailwort Dewthorn (Dew) – goblin seer. He predicts the future via his massive throbbing bunion.
Oliphant Wiseblat (Oli) – rogue plains goblin. Murders and robs all across Goblindom
The Widow Spires – a chain of mountains on Goblindom’s eastern border where Crellan lives
The Wise Council – a body of learned ancient goblins entrusted with carrying out the laws as laid down in the Great Book. 
Morag – queen of the humans accepts the help of Goblindom
Olin – human chief, son of Morag.  Sees Bejuss as either Huginn, or Muninn – Odin’s raven messengers.