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


Writing Crime Fiction

November 16, 2018

I find writing crime fiction easy but the editing process is hard as I am slightly dyslexic.  I am also lazy which is why my stories take a long time to write.  I began my newly released novel, Magic Bullets, a ridiculously long time ago in the 1970s.

My first draft is always bad and contains all kinds of spelling, grammar and continuity errors because I am a story teller and not a literary writer.  I write ideas down as they come into my head while I sit at a computer.  I do think about the story as I go about my daily life, planning plot lines and sometimes endings.  But the story really evolves into something I feel worthwhile publishing during the editing.  The advantage of this style is that I do not recall getting writer’s block.  I subscribe to the Raymond Chandler view, “When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand”.  I don’t take this literary but I do like to throw in something to put my protagonist reader, and occasionally even myself off guard.

I self publish and therefore have to be extra vigilant with my editing.  Online and offline spelling and grammar checkers are invaluable.  Oh, if only I had these when I grew up in the years BC (Before Computers) when dyslexia was unheard of.  But even these tools are not good enough.  I get computer text-to-voice software to read my writing back to me and at least three people, whose views I respect, to read through what I consider to be my final draft.  In reality it never is.  Even after all these checks a few mistakes creep through.  But the beauty of self-publishing and publishing-on-demand means that I do not produce more than ten or twenty copies at a time.  This means that by the time my work gets to the reader the mistakes are gone and, who knows, some of the early error filled copies may eventually be worth a lot of money as collectors’ items.

Keith Jahans

http://peatmore.com/magicbullets.htm

 

 


The Mystery of the Peatmore Press Amazon Paperback Novels – Update

July 26, 2018

It is interesting to report that the staggering listing of $615.72 on amazon.com and the outrageous listing of £2,431.99 on amazon.co.uk for the Peatmore Press book, Cogrill’s Mill, have now disappeared from its book pages since I posted my blog on 23 July.  I am glad to see that someone has been paying attention to my posts.

Keith Jahans


The Mystery of the Peatmore Press Amazon Paperback Novels

July 23, 2018

Listings for the paperback versions of Peatmore Press novels have disappeared from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk with one exception; the exception being my first novel, “Cogrill’s Mill,” on amazon.com.  This novel is still listed as being available from my Company, “Peatmore Press,” as an independent trader at $10.00 plus postage and packing which is about right.  The listings of the company’s other novels have been removed from amazon.com and there are no listings for any paperback book from Peatmore Press as an independent trader on amazon.co.uk.

Peatmore Press’s status as an independent trader was removed from amazon.co.uk about a year or so ago, presumably because we did not sell enough books through the Amazon web page.  That is understandable because as a retailer Amazon has a perfect right not to sell any books it does not deem profitable.  But there is another exception which is quite staggering as one independent seller is advertising Cogrill’s Mill at a staggering $615.72 on amazon.com and an another for an outrageous £2,431.99 on amazon.co.uk. (See www.amazon.com/dp/B005NACKBY and www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005NACKBY).  I call this staggering and outrageous as Cogrill’s Mill is available through the Peatmore Press website (www.peatmore.com) and can be ordered through any bookseller for £6.99 (for peatmore.com there is an additional charge of £2.01 for postage and packing).

This occurrence is not by any means unique.  Check out the article by Shaunacy Ferro (see https://tinyurl.com/yd7m7q8x) with regard to “One Snowy Knight” a historical romance novel by Deborah MacGillivray, which at one point a paperback version was advertised on amazon.com for $2800.  This advert has since been removed, but the article makes interesting reading.  It will also be interesting how long these highly expensive adverts on Amazon stay listed following the publication of this blog.

My kindle ebook versions of the Peamore Press novels continue to be listed on Amazon as they continue to sell or have been available under various promotion deals approved by us.  My own theory is that the listings for paperbacks have been removed as Amazon would prefer it if we republished these paperbacks using their own publishing service known as Create Space.  This is just a theory so I may be wrong about this.

But if anyone who reads this can tell me how this phenomenon has been allowed to happen.  I would be interested to hear from you.

Keith Jahans

This image was copied from the amazon.co.uk Cogrill’s Mill book page on 22 July 2018.  The Kindle edition normally retails at £4.00 but on this day the price was reduced to £0.99 as part of a short term book promotion run with Peatmore Press approval.  But look how the price differs from the paperback offer, which does not meet with Peatmore Press approval!


Book Review – Book Cover Design Formula by Anita Nipane

June 23, 2018

I was invited to download a review pdf copy of this guide by the author and I was most certainly glad I did.  The book cover is usually the first feature to draw a potential reader’s attention.  It is therefore essential to make it as appealing as possible to the eye while at the same time capturing the essence of what the book is about.  It is one of the hardest ingredients of the book to get right.

Mainstream writers will probably employ a professional designer but for the self publisher this investment will mostly prove too expensive.  Some are lucky in that they may know of a student going through Art College who will produce an acceptable cover at a low fee, or even for free, for a chance to include it in their CV.  Others might know of a family member or friend who is willing to do this for them cheaply or again for free.  There are also cut price offers online from sites such as Fiverr.  But often the cover they produce will not be of good quality.  The alternative is to attempt to do it yourself which invariably leads to a mess.  But this book guides the do-it-your-self publisher through the process while pointing out the pitfalls of such an approach along the way.

I was fortunate to acquire the guide when I was about to launch my forthcoming novel, “Magic Bullets”.  I am most glad I did but only time and the comments I expect to receive from those who follow my work will allow me to reflect accurately whether I made the right choice.  However, I do know that the final cover choice was down to me and not the fault of this guide or its author.  I thoroughly recommend it for any writer even those who employ professional help as it will prove invaluable in choosing between the various designs such a professional might come up with.

Keith Jahans


Available on Amazon’s Kindle Store.

 


Engaging with Fellow Writers

April 30, 2018

During the past few weeks myself and fellow authors of The Watford Writers group have been engaging with other writers and readers as part of Watford’s Big Word Fest.  On the Friday evening of 20th April some of us read at an “Open Mike” event at Watford Museum and on Saturday 28th April a few of us exhibited some of our books and took part in a self publishing workshop at Watford Central Library.  Thanks to the staff at both venues and to those who took part, I had an amazing time.  I recommend that anyone visiting Watford should visit both venues which are open most days and are outstanding examples of their type.

Keith Jahans

 


Watford Museum

 

Watford Central Library

 

Self Publishing Workshop

 

More photographs can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/watfordwriters

 

 

 

 


Book Promotion – Bike Travelling Man

July 2, 2015

The Peatmore Press five day promotion period for its latest ebook, Bike Travelling Man (BTM) under Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select Program, has ended.  It seems that 75 free kindle books have been downloaded by customers. Just one copy of BTM was purchased after the period was stopped prematurely at day 4. The ebook, American Road, is the only other Peatmore Press publication which has been selling consistently during the last year and one copy was sold at day 5. It is still early days but it looks like the book promotion has had no effect on the number of sold books. But the situation may improve if or when the 75 customers have had a chance to read their free copies and hopefully they will find their reading of BTM such an enjoyable experience that they will purchase other Peatmore Press books.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing royalty report graph for all KDP book TitlesAmazon Kindle Direct Publishing Report for all book Titles

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing  royalty report graph for Bike Travelling ManAmazon Kindle Direct Publishing Report for Bike Travelling Man

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing royalty report grapht for American RoadAmazon Kindle Direct Publishing Report for American Road

The five day campaign has been a useful experience. It was hard work posting promotional material to websites, facebook groups and twitter accounts that accepted and agreed to promote BTM to their followers. Only two independent reviews were obtained before the book was entered into the promotion cycle. This was clearly not enough and more effort should be made to address this issue. One promising outcome of the campaign was that Book Goodies. com offered me an author interview which was gladly accepted you can check it out at http://bookgoodies.com/interview-with-author-keith-jahans.

Finally I wish all you writers and self publishers out there good luck with your book promotions. Your efforts deserve to succeed.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press


%d bloggers like this: