Is now the time to halt all environmental schemes?

A message from Jim…

Jim Webster

At the moment we are not in a good position. The west has said to Putin, ‘You’re not the Messiah, you’re a very naughty boy. We’re not going to let you play with our football.” It’s then added, “Oh but you’ll still sell us wheat won’t you?”
Perhaps Putin is going to just say, “Obesity is a major problem in the west, it’ll do you all good to eat less.”

The trouble is that Russia and the Ukraine have been vying for the position of the world’s largest grain exporters for some time. From 2019

To quote, “Russia has been the global grain exporter top dog for the last three years, but as the agricultural marketing year ended on June 30, it looks like Ukraine has snatched the title back from its rival.”

The problem is, it’s awfully difficult to plant grain when somebody is fighting a major war…

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Self Publishing versus Traditional







When it comes to competing in the eBook market, without exception, all Indie writers struggle to keep their heads above water. While my books sell relatively well each month via, when it comes to the Amazon outlet here in the UK, the same cannot be said. All you have to do is look at the Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store List as well as the Top 100 Free in Kindle Store List to see what the UK based Indie is up against

The former list is mostly inhabited by traditionally published writers like Bernard Cornwell – Sharpe’s Rifles, or David Boyle – Allan Turing: Unlocking the Enigma. As for the free list, you are once again in competition with the likes of Messrs Cornwell and Boyle and a whole host of others, none of them Indies.


I offered Goblin Tales for free from last Wednesday 3rd December, until yesterday, Friday 5th of December. As usual the greater number of free copies were taken via – 80. Compare that with 31 here in the UK, 13 in Germany, 3 in Japan, 1 in India, 3 in Canada, 1 in Brazil and 3 in Australia. It would have been nice if the figures were for bought copies. Whatever the case may be, the figures above don’t lie. This is a fairly typical worldwide spread for me when it comes to give aways. The really interesting thing is when I look at actual sales, so far its just 1 via and 1 via

Why didn’t I publicise the fact that it was free? There is no need these days. The ‘Get It Free Brigade’ are always trawling the Amazon eBook list for their next free book. These are people who don’t believe in paying for the priviledge of reading your book, preferring to wait until it becomes free. Whether or not they actually read them is an entirely different matter. It’s as if somehow or other these individuals perceive the Indie as not a real writer, just because we are not published by a major publishing house, therefore why should they actually buy a copy of your book(s).

No Indie can fight that peculiar kind of mindset, especially here in the UK, meaning that even giving away copies is difficult. Had I conducted the give away from today (Saturday) through to Monday, undoubtedly more free copies would have been taken. But the figures would remain in the same proportions. As far as the literary establishment of this country is concerned, Indies are lower in the food chain than pond scum. Plus this is a nation that still likes to hold a physical copy of a book in their hands and not an eReader.

All I can say is, thank goodness for the enlightened US market, and countries like New Zealand and others who buy through it. As you saw above, actual worldwide sales for Goblin Tales, are practically non existant. Not to worry, once a few more people have read their free copy, hopefully its sales will pick up if they liked it and spread the word.



Click on the picture below to go to my Amazon. com Author Page



Click on the picture below to go to my Author Page






Age Test

Remember these?


I saw a nostalgia photo-post online, and it made me smile. If you remember all these things, you are as old as me, or close enough.

We had this same model on top of our Christmas tree every year. My mum’s pride and joy.

The ubiquitous school clocks, and the pencil sharpeners I used every day.

My first cassette recorder. How I loved that!

8-Track music tapes. When I bought a car that came with an 8-track player, I had to go out and buy some to play as I drove along.

The first camera I owned in my teens. An Instamatic with flashcube!

The machine for making card transactions. The flimsy paper was rubbed over your card placed in the carriage, and you got a copy as thin as a tissue.

Halcyon days!

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Criticism versus Reviews


What any writer dreads the most are attacks by members of the public, often with an axe to grind…

In days gone by every writer knew that the only individuals who offered opinions about their work were journalists working for leading newspapers, in the guise of literary critics. Back then they encapsulated the essence of a new work of fiction in one line of carefully chosen words taken from the text in question. Never once did their newspaper’s editor allow them to speak harshly against a given work. Instead, they chose to beguile future readers with the use of a single sentence from the book in question as an enticement like the following:

“A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.


Sadly those days are no more. Today, every reader has the freedom to criticise by writing whatever they believe is a review, knowing that they can get away with blue murder, then posting it on book sites such as Amazon. Most are not true reviews at all. Instead what you will see are endless examples of critiques, or far worse! The vast majority believe it is their god given right to tear apart any and every book, in particular ebooks by both traditional and indie authors.

It isn’t! All you are doing is showing your ignorance to the world at large. Some, not all, make it their business to harangue the author of the work they have just written about. A small number will insist that they could have made a far better job of writing the story!

To all of them I ask this – how many of them have ever written anything longer than their own signature I wonder? Have any of them ever had a book published? How would they feel if the boot was on the other foot? Would they feel outraged about the product of all their hard work being considered rubbish by hateful individuals? These people who go on the offensive are too cowardly to use their own name, preferring instead to remain anonymous by hiding behind a pseudonym.


When Sales Dry Up


No matter how vigorously you may advertise your books. No matter how many advertising outlets, sales gimmicks like giveaways and any other method you may dream up, inevitably your book sales will dry up. It stands to reason that the good times cannot last forever, despite the fact that your books are still available.

From 2012 when I first dipped my toe into self-publishing until January 2014, I enjoyed monthly sales in the low thousands.

No more!!!

Am I rich because of the thousands of copies sold? Very definitely no. The total amount of earnings via royalties from all of my books still hasn’t broken through the £1000 barrier to this day. Nor will it. These days I consider myself fortunate indeed if I manage to sell one or two units per month.

Despite what some people may believe, when it comes to royalties, they are a tiny percentage of the purchase price.  For example, on an eBook priced at US$0.99, the royalty minus tax in the US and in your own country is less than the pre-tax amount of US$0.35 by the time it arrives in your bank account each month. As with conventional publishing houses, when it comes to eBook publishing it is the company that offers your books who makes the lion’s share from any and all sales.

It is a fact that for any writer to make a living, the number of units sold has to exceed a minimum of a quarter of a million p.a., no matter the purchase price. In that case why not raise the price or even change the cover, I hear you cry.

Raising the price is a big no no!!! Changing the cover achieves absolutely bugger all. Both options can and do prove detrimental to your sales. By deliberately keeping the price of my books low (never more than US$2.99) makes them attractive to someone who has never heard of me before. Encouraging them to sample my writing. When it comes to the covers of my books, they strongly relate to the story. In their case I adopt the policy – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?

Early on I took the conscious decision to publish all of my books via one system – Kindle. Why? Because people were, and still are, buying Kindle readers in their hundreds of thousands. Plus, increasingly Amazon’s tentacles are spreading far and wide across the world. And yet despite eBooks now being read by people from many countries, whether via a Kindle, or a Kindle app for your computer, or indeed another eBook application in countries including my own (the UK), by far the largest market for eBooks is still the United States. By comparison my UK sales have always been pathetically small. Why? Because my stick-in-the-mud fellow countrymen and women still prefer to hold a paperback or hard cover book in their hands. The same goes for my sales in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

While Amazon’s publishing arm, Kindle Direct Publishing, makes eBooks available via Amazon in the following countries, the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, India, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Australia, when it comes to books written in English, the market is severely reduced. It doesn’t appear to make any difference which genre you favour when writing, the result is the same.

But that wasn’t why I became a full time writer in the first place. I still tell myself that I just love creating a story that I enjoy, and hopefully others will as well.

Nurse? Nurse? Sorry about that. I need my daily happy pill. I’ve got a book to carry on beta-reading for a fellow writer/ nutcase…

A Brief Tribute To Common Sense

More wise words from Peter. 😉


Charles Junkett, a surname he hated by the way, and Samantha Prigg met on the first day of University at a ‘Freshers’ gathering where both were meant to throw caution to the wind and drink deeply from the froth filled chalice of freedom and irresponsibility. Charles, dressed in a suit and sipping carefully at his lime cordial and mineral water, noticed that the girl beside him, dressed in a brown below the knee skirt and matching blouse was also supping from the same cocktail, if we can hurl that name at such a concoction.

“Great Minds” he said to her raising his glass, and she replied, “Wished they were somewhere else”. “Don’t they just. “ he said, “I say, do you fancy wandering off and having a coffee somewhere else!?” and she did not mind. So began a courtship which had lasted for fifteen years. They both lived in the…

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Keeping Track of Those Characters

The largest number of characters I ever created.

Have We Had Help?

The Time Before Map


Have you ever wondered how any writer, let alone myself, manages to keep track of however many characters we may employ in each novel, or in this case, anthology? Purely for your interest, here is the almost full compliment of characters for my anthology Goblin Tales, and my brief notes about them, in no special order. When you are dealing with so many, believe me, you need notes like these with the key points about each one.

Count them up. 😉


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…

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Plot, characters or both? Which is the most important element?


For me its a no brainer. I was brought up on plot driven books. Consequently I far prefer them to the character driven variety. Why? Simplicity itself. You can have the most appealing/ intriguing/ baffling characters ever dreamt up. But unless the plot is strong and compelling, your characters are going nowhere. Remember that you are writing a book not a screenplay!!!

Whether you like it or not, plot is king!

I’m criticised ad nauseam by the same pair of writers masquerading as self-styled experts on Amazon, whose own works have yet to sell more than a couple of dozen copies in any given year, over the fact that my books are purely plot driven. In that regard they are perfectly correct. Consequently the individuals concerned constantly whine about a lack of emotional depth to my characters.

To them I say – tough!!!

If like them your idea of a good book is driven by the need to have every nuance and character flaw spelt out for you, instead of allowing your imagination free reign, I suggest that you stick with movie and television programs…

I’m a bloke. I write what appeals to me. If you don’t like a strong story, then clearly my books are not for you. Were I ever to produce the kinds of books those two wanted, quite frankly I would deserve to be locked up. If like them, you are looking for endless mind numbingly boring deep and meaninful dialogue between the characters in my books, so that you can figure out what makes them tick – I’m sorry it won’t happen! While it is true that my books do contain various intriguing characters, as far as I’m concerned they are secondary to the story.

The proof is in the pudding. What do I mean by this? Easy – its the regular monthly royalty payments to my bank account. Proof that my books sell and that I know what I’m doing. Finally, to those two individuals, all I can say is that if your own books aren’t selling, then perhaps its high time you asked yourselves why?

PS – I’ve only ever written one character driven book – a fantasy anthology entitled Goblin Tales. I’m lucky if it sells one copy a year…


So Sensitive

Must be bad if Tallis is involved!!!

Tallis Steelyard

I wonder now if anybody remembers the young Tullian Var-Truckswallen-Snee. At one time I had him on my list of ‘the ten most irritating people in Port Naain.’ Now to be fair, he wasn’t in and of himself, irritating. He was charming, but in what you might describe as an honourable manner. You never felt he was trying to flatter you, he just naturally seemed to see the good in people. Similarly if on the rare occasion one might meet him in town, he wouldn’t hesitate to bring to the table a glass of wine, or coffee and an iced bun, depending upon the circumstances.

In this matter Tullian was fortunate. He had inherited a small but comfortable house and enough money to live on decently if he were careful. Give he had no servants, not even a ‘woman who does’ and cooked many of his own meals, he was…

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