Further Proof is Leaked

In an update to our story of last week we now have further proof that author Jerry Ibbotson is on the verge of releasing his new novel The Veil in Kindle format.

The urban fantasy, which has had a longer gestation period that an overdue elephant, tells the story of a Yorkshire village harbouring a distinctly dark secret.

Our expert hacker (Steve’s brother’s mate Kev) has found proof that The Veil is waiting to be uploaded to the Kindle website alongside Chosen, Ibbotson’s first novel.

When confronted with this evidence, Ibbotson said, “Oh. You didn’t look in my Favourites folder did you?”

We will continue our search for the truth.


Breaking News. Possibly.

It’s being reported in the city of York that author Jerry Ibbotson is on the verge of releasing his second novel, The Veil, in Kindle format. It’s been four years since his first book Chosen was released and there had been rumours that he’d been abducted by mutant mice and was being held in a laboratory in Papua New Guinea.

Those rumours have been dismissed amid reports that the Veil is in the process of being turned into an ebook, for release in the next few weeks.

When questioned on this by our reporter Ibbotson denied all suggestions, adding, “Now get out of this cubicle, the assistant’s fetching me a larger pair.”

Attempts to question him further have so far failed. Keep checking this site for updates.

Great new place to sit & write…

What a great morning I had, slurping Flat Whites and starting another chapter of my new book (more of that later) in York’s new Reading Café in Rowntree Park.

Basically the old (and closed) cafe building at the top of the park has been turned into a place where you can eat, drink and read. It’s an independent venture but one that’s linked to the city Library Service (they provide the books and the checking in/out equipment). You don’t have to take any books away, you can just sit and read (or write/doodle/do nowt) within the confines of the cafe while keeping your caffeine levels topped up.

It’s a very chilled out spot. I got stuck into a new chapter while Louise hooked her iPad up to the wi-fi. And if you don’t know Rowntree Park, it’s a very cool place even by York’s standards. It was built by local chocolate giants Rowntree in 1921 as a gift to the city. The fact that it was built on land right next to the factory of arch-rivals Terry’s was, of course, just an added benefit. You’ve got to love those Quakers.

Anyway, I can see myself returning  to the Reading Cafe with my laptop and doing some work there until either my arteries boil with espresso or my battery dies (it’ll be the latter).

Hit the Restart Button

What on earth is going on? The site’s looking a bit different isn’t it? Not just in the layout but in the content. I bet you never knew I worked in sound, did you? Or maybe you didn’t realise I had a sideline in writing?

Well let me explain. After twelve years running my audio production company, Media Mill, I’ve decided on a change of path. I’m now trading under my own name and am bringing together all my various strings into one super-shiny bow. Sound, writing, journalism. All under one roof. (Strings & bows, roofs – how many metaphors is that?)

It was a great 12 years in many ways but the economy and the industries in which we operated have changed and I needed to change too. Terribly profound I know, but born out of necessity.

It’s early days as far as this site is concerned but if you’ve worked with me before there’s no need to be alarmed. I’ve not had some kind of Damascun-style ‘event’, I’m just getting back to doing what I enjoy without worrying about overheads and the stress of trying to be some kind of media mogul.

And this is the best bit: I’m writing this while sitting in a very nice cafe, drinking excellent coffee and planning out an audio project that I’m working on, while filing a magazine article and sorting some photos.

Time for a refill…

You ain’t welcome here son…

The Frankfurt Book Fair is under way at the moment and my Twitter feed is awash with Tweets from people who’re attending. It’s only at times like this that I realise how many people in the publishing world I actually follow. It’s also made me think about comparisons between the book industry and others like, say, games (where I earn a living).

Buzzwords like “convergence” get thrown around a lot these days, with the growth of ebooks and other digital formats.  In fact later this morning I’m meeting some people to discuss adding audio to children’s digital books. But I think the book industry has a long way to go before it’s really anything likes the games industry. Events like Frankfurt  are a stark reminder of why. I’ve been to the London Book Fair twice and both times I was pretty much the only writer there.  Yes, an actual author at a book fair. How shocking. I didn’t exactly feel welcome.

Hold on. This isn’t just another one of my rants (note the use of the word ‘just’ there).  I know that events like Frankfurt and LBF are where deals are signed and rights are sold. Fair enough. It’s a business after all.  But how odd is it that the actual creators of the books –the writers- aren’t supposed to be there?

Compare it to games: okay, so there are conferences that focus purely on the high-end business issues like finance and rights. And there are a few individuals who seem to do nothing but write / blog / talk about the business of game development without ever having made a game. But at the really big events like E3 in Los Angeles or GDC in San Francisco everyone is there.  From the studio bosses delivering their huge keynote addresses to the legions of designers, coders, artists, sound designers and producers.   They’re all welcome because they’re all part of the industry that makes games and which entertains millions of people around the world.

And similar things happen in other industries. I know of indie film makers who go to the big film festivals to pitch their ideas to studio bosses, hoping to snag a deal. It doesn’t mean they all mix together in one room but it’s like the events run on different levels. It’s not a case of “creators need not apply”.

Funnily enough, the word “creators” was used at a talk I went to a GDC in 2008. The guy behind the music on the hugely successful Halo games, Marty McDonnell said, “There are two types of people in the world. Creators and exploiters. They creators make stuff and the exploiters make money out of it for both groups. It’s actually a good system until the exploiters get too much of the upper hand.”

So if there is going to be convergence between different media industries I hope we end up in a situation where writers (even wannabe blaggers like me) are one day welcome at the big industry events. I may bitch about the games industry (complain – moi?) but it does do some things right. Book industry take note.


Query Letter – which one has the X Factor?

I’ve decided to stop being a wuss and to try my hand at getting an agent again.  I’ve been doing this on and off since 2006 with zero luck.  Being realistic, maybe my pitch letters haven’t been exactly brilliant in the past so I’ve come up with a plan: get other people to help me.

Here are two pitch letters for The Veil, to be sent to literary agents. Which one do you think is better and why?

Letter Number One

Letter Number Two

Which one do you think it most likely to catch an agent’s eye? Or would a mixture of both be a good idea?

All opinions welcome…






Is Chasing Reviewers Poor Etiquette?

I’ve been reading a lot about self-publishing recently, particularly about hugely successful ebook-authors. (Bitter – moi?)

One thing that crops up a lot is how indie authors have to market themselves, using social networking and the like to forge relationships with readers and reviewers.  But when is pro-active marketing simply being ‘pushy’?

I’m writing from personal experience.  At the end of last year I made contact with a nice guy who’d just started a fantasy book review site.  It looked really professional and he was really keen to get hold of a copy of Chosen.  More than one in fact – he asked for a couple to give away as prizes along with a review copy.  So I duly obliged.  A week or so later he emailed to let me know he’d read it and, although he said he didn’t want to give away his views before the review came out, he seemed really positive. He also said “I am looking forward to introducing your book to our viewers and letting them know my thoughts on it – I think it’ll go down well.”

Six months on: no review and no reply to various communication either.

Now this is where it gets tricky.  At this point do you, as an indie author, walk away and just leave things alone?  Or do send a quick email, along the lines of, “Whatever happened to those books I sent?” with a promise that this will be your last attempt to get hold of him?  This was looking so promising, after all.

In the end, I opted for the latter.

Yes, maybe that is a bit pointless, given that no-one likes to be hassled, least of all by some pain in the arse wannabe writer.  But sometimes I just get the bit between my teeth.  And, given that all the marketing and promotion my work gets comes from me alone, I feel obliged to follow positive leads are far as I think they can go. And maybe a bit further.

In the end, the response I got back was polite if curious.  It turns out he didn’t like it after all but didn’t want to publish a negative review. Oh, and he’s happy to return the prize copies.

I can’t decide which is odder: my pursuit of a reluctant reviewer or his slightly baffling response.

##Idea for new novel: disgruntled writer stalks online reviewer for apparent slight.

It’ll sell a shed-load.