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




First steps in self publishing

April 3, 2013

Treating your writing as a business is a must for anyone taking first steps in self publishing.

New technologies in printing have made it possible to produce books in small quantities at low cost.  Authors can be their own boss, have editorial freedom, be responsible for pricing and advertising and keep all the profits.  The disadvantage of this means that as they have no track record in the publishing industry they become a small fish in a big pond and their publications thought of as “vanity publishing” and inferior.  They can make basic editing errors and are responsible for all losses.


Self Publishing

More Tales of Successful Self Publishing.

December 10, 2012

Mainstream publishers are cutting back so self publishing may now be the way that struggling authors will get their work into print.  Digital technology and social networks makes this easier than ever for novice writers.  For little cost they can produce printed books on demand, ebooks to download, audiobooks, podcasts and even video trailers.

Self publishing has always existed.  There are many examples out there.  The key to success is for writers to get their books noticed and that means strong marketing.




Ways to Self Publish

June 15, 2010

There are now many ways open to the writer to self publish that cost next to nothing or are free.  Most of these utilise the internet and the worldwide web.  Establishing one’s own website is now very straight forward.  It is probably the easiest way to present your work to the world.  Website costs range from free of charge with limited memory to expensive host options where there is sufficient memory to upload video and animations.  Creating a website is an essential necessity for the first time self publisher.  It is the way I began when the internet was young.  Now there are millions of sites and it is easy to get overlooked.

Writing one’s own site is not that difficult.  There is a variety of software available to aid you and many consultants who will help for a fee.  Social network sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter are a good starting point and are again mostly free and straight forward to use.

Print on Demand (POD) is the most expensive option.  It is now easier than it once was and there are reputable companies that provide a good service.  However, there are still some cowboys so make sure you know what you get for your money.  If you form own company, you will have more control over, printing, design, distribution.  It is more work but will be cheaper than if you use an established company and probably more satisfying.  However, if only you have only one book using such a company is probably the best option.  Whichever route you take network with other self publishing writers and learn from their experiences.

Other options include ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, video and Braille.  If you are going the POD route then you are already producing pdfs so ebooks entail little extra cost to produce.  They have the added advantage of little or no material or distribution costs.

Author David James and my self are running a Self Publishing Workshop at this year’s Winchester Writers Conference on 25th and 27th June and I will report what we will have learnt in future blogs


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