What if money was no object?

Today on Facebook, an old school friend shared the above video, in which the late British philosopher, Alan Watts, in a gentle, fatherly and wonderfully mellifluous tone, makes a strong case for pursuing whatever activity we would desire if money was no object.  This beguiling thought inevitably got me thinking about the dilemma faced by most first-time or would-be authors.

Most people I know seem to have, at one time or another, thought of writing a book. And while the flood of self-published e-books appearing on Amazon might suggest that an increasing number are now moving beyond the “thinking” stage, I wonder if we’re just seeing more of the iceberg that was always there, and that Amazon has merely raised the specific gravity of the sea in which that iceberg floats.

So why this reluctance to move from thought into action? Continue reading “What if money was no object?”

Why do we like Music? – Part 2 – Answer: Fractals?

In part 1 of this essay, we looked briefly at the history of music and at possible explanations for its universal appeal.  Today, I want to discuss three recent pieces of  research which further support and expand on what we’ve already discussed. Continue reading “Why do we like Music? – Part 2 – Answer: Fractals?”

Why do we like music? – Part 1

listening to music
listening to music
Listening To Music by Petr Kratochvil

Music seems to have a been a part of human culture since the beginning of culture itself. Earlier this year, researchers excavating caves in southern Germany found ancient flutes carved from mammoth ivory, subsequently shown via Carbon dating to be between 42000 and 43000 years old. This means we were making music at least as far back as the time when we shared the Earth with Neanderthals.  But why? Continue reading “Why do we like music? – Part 1”

Is self-publishing redefining the rules of book genre?

Photo by Westcott Phillip, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Like many début authors, I didn’t really think too hard about the genre of my first book until I’d finished writing it. And looking back, with large parts of the story seemingly writing themselves, I’m not sure I could have moulded it to fit a predefined literary pigeon-hole even if I’d wanted to.

So it was only when I started the laborious and disheartening process of seeking representation that I began to realise the importance, at least to the traditional publishing world, of fitting neatly within a recognised genre. Of course, you only need to consider browsing the aisles of a traditional bricks-and-mortar book store to understand why this is – they need to know in which aisle and on which shelf to put your book.

Publishing genre fiction also removes some of the risk since publishers already understand how the overall market is subdivided into groups loyal to each of the categories such as crime, murder-mystery, science-fiction, fantasy etc. and roughly how many they can sell into each. Consequently, agents and publishers tend to shy away from novels which fall between genres. Of course, there are the so-called cross-over novels, but the very small number of these which actually get published rarely come from new authors.

This is when I realised that my novel, CONNECTED, didn’t fit so neatly into any existing recognised genre. Continue reading “Is self-publishing redefining the rules of book genre?”

Secrets of Self-publishing and eBook promotion – Part 1

Photo by Bernd Meiseberg

This is the first of a 2-part article.
In part 2 I will share the results of my Author Survey, posted 2 weeks ago.

So, for many months if not years, you pour your heart and soul into a book, edit it to the point where you feel you have a winner, and then what?

The Old Way.
Unless you have connections in the publishing industry, you soon realise that finding a publisher willing even to look at the first page is about as likely as winning the Euro-millions lottery. So you borrow or purchase a recent copy of the Writers & Artists Yearbook and begin the laborious process of targeting literary agents. Having exhausted the relatively small fraction of these modern enough to accept email submissions, you reluctantly move on to the laggards. From these you try to select those representing authors of a similar genre to yourself and begin posting off printed samples (with strict adherence to each one’s specific submission guidelines). And then you wait… And you wait… Continue reading “Secrets of Self-publishing and eBook promotion – Part 1”


I published my first novel, Connected, in June 2012 on Amazon. As a launch promotion, I offered it free for the first five days, during which, to my great surprise, over 4500 copies (Kindle version) were downloaded. This sent it straight to Number 1 in the Amazon UK rankings for both Thrillers and Science Fiction. I was even more astonished when, following the free promotion, people continued to purchase the book in surprisingly high numbers! Encouraged by this unexpected success, I am now busy planning my second novel.

Synopsis of Connected      What others are saying       Where the idea came from

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