Book Giveaways

August 30, 2019

The best way to promote your book is to give away free copies.  The next best is to reduce the selling price to less than a US dollar or GB pound.  But only for a limited period as every author deserves some monetary reward for the effort they have put into its creation.

I have published two short story collections and two motorcycle travel books for less than one GB pound, but these have been written to showcase my writing rather than to generate much income, therefore their price is set deliberately low.  Peatmore Press has published four short audio books through acx.com but here the price is set by acx and Peatmore Press has no control over this even though it would like to set this to less than 1 GBP to bring it in line with its other showcase works.

Most of my free promotions are given away online, as ebooks since these formats entail no cost to the publisher.  It is these that generate the most take ups by readers as hundreds are downloaded at a time.  Some copies may be given free to selected reviewers, but the majority of the copies that are given free during a promotion period do not generate reviews.

I buy most of the books I read and review each one as I feel this provides the author with valuable feedback whether I like the book or not.  I find it sad that those who get hold of any free book from an author do not find time to follow my example.  It is even sadder when these books end up on pirate websites and sold for profit.

 

Keith Jahans

 

Peatmore Press Books

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Book Excerpt ‒ Cogrill’s Mill by Jack Lindsey

August 15, 2019

He stood glumly on the pavement and stared at the shop window.  It contained prominently displayed photographs of weddings as well as portraits of an assortment of people, children and domestic animals.  He agonised for ten minutes and then with great determination strode to the door, opened it and walked inside.

A bell sounded as it swung shut behind him.  The shop was deserted.  In front of him was a small counter, behind which was a stack of filing cabinets.  He approached the counter and looked around him.  More photographs, similar to those in the window, adorned the walls.  To the left of the counter a small door led to a back room and to its right, a wooden flight of stairs led upwards.  There was a clatter of feet on the stairs and a very pretty golden-haired girl descended.  She stepped behind the counter.  “Can I help you?” she asked in a polite soft voice.  Her eyes were bright blue and her smile sparkled.

George was mesmerised by her beauty but he managed to summon up some words. “I … I wish to speak to Mr Gloam,” he stammered.

“There is no Mr Gloam,” she replied.

George was confused but he blustered on. “The sign says V. Gloam.”

She nodded, still smiling.  “That’s me … Victoria Gloam.”

“I was looking for Victor Gloam,” George continued.

“Victor Gloam was my father. He died two years ago.”

George felt a surge of relief.  “Oh really,” he breathed.  Fate was on his side again.

The girl’s smile changed to a frown.  “Well there’s no need to look so pleased about it,” she said.

George’s face reddened.  “I’m extremely sorry, I didn’t mean …”

“What did you wish to see my father about, Mr … er … um?  What did you say your name was?”

“Oh, er … um … Smith,” replied George and added hastily, “I was asked to look your father up.  I’m sorry to have troubled you, good-bye!”  He turned quickly for the door.

“Good-bye, Mr Smith!”  Victoria Gloam called after him.

Once outside, George hurried across the road to a telephone box.  Life was pleasant once more. He could hardly contain himself.   He snatched open the door, grabbed the telephone receiver and quickly dialled his aunt’s number.  His call was answered by the butler. “Hello, Gumage,” said George, “is my aunt there?”

“I will see if I can find her, Master George.”

Some moments passed and then Aunt Jane’s harsh voice sounded at the end of the line.  “Hello, George,” she said.

“Hello, Aunt Jane!” George said breezily.  She would be pleased that he had acted so speedily and successfully.  “I’m calling from Tidburn!”

“Oh yes.”

“Yes.” Then George remembered to lower his voice and tried to sound not so joyful.  “I’m afraid Victor Gloam is dead.”  There was silence at the other end of the telephone.

“Did you hear me, Aunt Jane?” asked George

“I heard you, George.”

“So I can’t give him half my inheritance.”

“I realise that, George.”

“Well, I thought I ought to let you know as soon as possible.  Now I had better be going as I am phoning from a call box and I haven’t much change.  Good-bye, Aunt Jane.”

“George!”

“Yes, Aunt Jane?”

“Did he leave any family?”

George felt his heart sink. “Family, Aunt Jane?”

“Yes, George, a wife, children.”

George began to stammer. “I’m … I’m not sure.”

“What do you mean, you’re not sure?”

“I’ll … I’ll have to check.”

“Well make sure that you do, because if there are any relatives then they’re entitled to get what should have gone to Victor Gloam.  Is that clear, George?”

“Yes, Aunt Jane,” said George sadly. “Good-bye.”

“Good-bye, George.”

George slowly put the receiver down.  Well that was that.  He would have to see the girl again.  It was now clear that his quiet comfortable life would definitely change.  Well, it could not be helped.  He crossed the road and entered the shop once more.

http://peatmore.com/cogrills.htm

Photograph : 123RF konstantin32


Writing Courses

July 29, 2019

A friend recently asked me if I could recommend any creative writing courses.  I have never signed up for one myself.  There are so many it is hard to advise anyone where to start.  There are plenty advertised online and several academic courses run by Universities and colleges, one of the most famous being the MA in Creative Writing run by Malcolm Bradbury at the University of East Anglia in the 1970s and attended by both Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro.

I dabbled in writing fiction in my teens and studied various forms of biology at technical colleges and University up until middle age so I felt I knew how to write basic English and had no pressing need to follow a writing course.  But I have attended writing workshops and found them useful in gaining tips has they helped with character development and overcoming writer’s block.  Where they really come into their own is in meeting fellow authors and learning about the challenges they have faced in the course of their writing life.

Writing fiction is a solitary endeavour and to swap experiences with those who follow the same path is invaluable and so I recommend those setting out on a fiction writing career to join a local writers group.

Keith Jahans


Write what you know

July 16, 2019

This is a good maxim for any fiction writer because when one does not know a fact there is a big temptation to make it up.  Even fantasy writers base their stories on some element of knowledge which can be scientific or more commonly mythological.  As a former professional scientist I sometimes place some science into my narratives.  In the early days of my writing, I consciously steered away from this as I did not want the science I published to be confused with my fiction.  I even published my fiction under two pennames to make doubly sure that this confusion did not happen.  But now more than ten years have passed since I retired from my microbiology job so I have started to write under my own name.  This is not only because I want to be recognised by what I have achieved but it allows friends and family to easily find my work.

I am used to research and I know where to go to find the information I want.  The internet is a brilliant tool to enable this.  In my younger days I spent hours in a library to research a topic before embarking on an area of scientific study and even after the study was completed I had to spend more library time in checking that the references I used in my written reports were sound.  Then later on time spent doing this on a PC made the whole process simpler and quicker.  There is now a whole growing branch of study involved with this known as Informatics.

But the best way to seek the knowledge needed for a piece of written work is to utilise your own experience.  This may be by recalling the geography of the area where you were brought up or by remembering the characters you have met.  The latter should be carefully portrayed to avoid offence and the best way to do this is to only select some of their traits, to mix these with those from others and never use the real names of people you know.

Keith Jahans


But if: a rich man meets an invisible man

July 9, 2019

A 9 minute cautionary tale written and read by Keith Jahans

https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/But-If-Audiobook/B0182SIT7C


Medical Thrillers

June 13, 2019

Writing medical or techno thrillers requires a great deal of background knowledge.  But it has not got to be comprehensive as science is evolving constantly.  As soon as a scientific discovery is published it can already be out of date.

There are advances that are fundamental science such as the now established structure of DNA which has lead to the identification of individuals (microbes, plants, animals and humans) through genetic fingerprinting.  A number of crime writers get round having to deal with modern scientific forensic techniques by setting their stories in the past, usually before the 1960s when genetic analysis was not fully developed.  Even today separate forensic laboratories in various countries use different methodologies and these will change over time.

Novelists and short story writers have the perfect get out if the science described in their work is incorrect or outdated in that it really is only fiction.  But what they must ensure if they wish their work to satisfy the expectations of their readers is that it has to be believable.

 

Keith Jahans


Writing Reviews

June 5, 2019

I read a great deal and fit my reading around the time I devote to writing and promoting my own books.  I review books I have read on my own blog at http://wordpress.peatmore.com.  Most of the books I now read are written by lesser known writers.  As a writer myself, I know a positive review can give a boost to someone’s confidence and even help promote their work.  Most of those I read are talented at what they do and deserve a wider audience.

Writing is a lonely business so the mere fact that it is obvious that your work has been read and somebody has taken the trouble to write about it is a reward in itself.  But a bad review may have the reverse effect in which case the writer must be philosophical about it.  The fact that not everybody is going to like your work is a fact everyone working in creative art is aware of so a few poor reviews amongst many should be expected.  Most authors even those who have become quite famous have had their work rejected at some point, myself included, when trying to follow the traditional path to publication.  Rejection is part of the job.

Many of the books I have reviewed have been written by people I have met and some have been by those I consider as friends.  The question then arises about how objective I should be and the short answer is that I should be objective as possible.  After all, I am reviewing the work not the person who wrote it.  I find that most of what I read turns out to be extremely enjoyable, some not so, so the extent of my enjoyment is reflected in my review.  But if I think that a piece of writing is particularly bad, instead of writing about it, I will point out my concerns privately and don’t publish the review.  This may be considered to be a copout but I know how soul destroying completely negative criticism can be.

I think now is the time for me to share with you the worst review I have received and have pasted it below.

“Utter Disappointment”

Wasted time and money on this crappy short “book”. I wish I paid more attention to the description

This is pretty damming but I assure you that I have received many more excellent reviews – honest.  But you can judge for yourself by checking out my books on my website at www.peatmore.com.

Keith Jahans

 

Previously posted as Guest Blog for Jagged Edge Reviews on 23 May 2018
at http://klearsreviews.blogspot.com/2018/05/guest-post-keith-jahans.html?m=0


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