Thursday, 31 May 2012

It's time to refocus

Available Soon For Kindle and Epub

There is a reason why I have been quiet on the blog front - I have had to get a real job in the real world to ensure that all the bills are paid.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a case of " I know, I'll get a job this morning!!", and got one.

No.. I have actually been looking for work for nearly three years, but apart from a hardcore following no-one else seems to be impressed with the fact that we have written, produced and published a brilliant children's book.  Not only that, but I have got to grips with EPUB, Adobe and other bits and pieces that us mere mortals are not meant to understand.  So after over 180 job applications (I am told that this isn't that much) and subsequent rejections I decided to return to the industry that has already played a major part in my development to this point.

I haven't mentioned it before but years and years ago, I used to be a real life croupier adept at delivering the player a great experience on the card and roulette table while, at the same time trying to relieve them of a couple of pounds/dollars whatever.. in the process.

So when a new Casino,opened up close to where I live, I decided to bite the bullet and return to a profession that I vowed never to go back to.   I could bore you with the details of my job, but I wont - suffice to say it's 40 hours of my life each week that I am not spending sat at the computer trying to become the next big thing, but instead I am at a gaming table dealing roulette and black jack to all and sundry.  (regardless, I am still pretty good at it.)

Perhaps a far greater reason for being 'bloglustre' is that I haven't had anything tangible to write about.  Having flicked through my blog posts over the last three years, I have noticed that most of them talk about projects and collaborations that are in progress which for the most part relied on others to fulfil their part of the deal or at least be honest and above board.

I did a quick review and found that there was a pattern emerging.

Swerve Records - Writing and producing music in a studio for artists.

Fail:  ( no engineer and ultimately no studio)  This includes a 6th month spell working with Elliot trying to develop his material who then decided he wanted to become "Radiohead"  and went his own way.

Zombie Aid - Collaborating with Carl Whiteley, James Lawrence  on producing an animated version of Zombelina.

 Fail: (Carl decided that he wanted to buy the story but not actually pay for it, his last email contained threats of violence, so I left it at that.)

En -cycle-opedia - Attempting the resurrect a cult cycling journal.

 Fail.  ( despite being supplied with a new computer and publishing software, the editor lost interest, so the project has been suspended indefinitely. On the plus side,  I got to keep the computer and CS4 package)

There's Something Wrong with Grandad - Collaborating with Paul Alderson and Steve Garry to produce an audio book based on the collection of "Spooky Tales".

Fail. ( While making a brilliant start with the voice over for Zombelina, Steve's other attempts at reading weren't very good, and I have shelved the production until a suitable voice can be found and studio time arranged.)

Rough and Ready - Supplying the soundtrack to the film produced by Jim Dickinson

 Fail: (Having met Steve through the Zombelina project, he asked me if I was up for doing the soundtrack for a film he was starring in and naturally I was more than interested.  Having completed a near perfect score, Steve then decided that the music didn't belong to me at all and I had to sign the rights over to the film.  Again another 'death by email campaign' followed until I decided that enough was enough and withdrew my music.

Miles and Connor Ryan - Songwriting for BGT finalists.

 Fail:  Having met the Ryan family at the opening of the Levenshulme Centre, I offered my services as a musician and songwriter and composed a couple of tracks for them to record in the studio just before Christmas 2010, by January 2011 they had already signed with another record label .  In fairness though the songs I wrote were a bit twee.

There's Something Wrong with Grandad - Collaborating with Jodie Muir to use her illustrations for the proposed ebook

Failing:  I have had three pictures which are absolutely brilliant but have been waiting for the other 4 for at least a year.  I have offered to publish a collection of her work on epub and kindle but she is still going slow.  Her sister tells me she's in love !!!!

Sign and Shine - Collaborating with Adswood Primary School's Head Teacher and Art Teacher  Kath and Jim respectively to produce a series of books

Fail:  I haven't heard from either Jim or Kath since January, after we were all a bit disappointed with the first draft of " Can you do this?"  Jim was going to reassess the artwork and get back to me.

And that's about it.   This is why I haven't been writing a blog!!! I became aware of how much I had written about my projects and not delivered on a single thing.   At the very least this shows a lack of judgement on my part for choosing projects which may have been left well alone.  Again I could blame everybody else for letting me down in some way. 

That's all going to change - I have just finished my part of a collaboration, that has seen HPM Media Ltd publish it's first novellist  Carol Leith both on Waterstones Website in Epub, and on Amazon's Kindle (available for download very soon.)

I have managed to find the extra hours each night to further my knowledge of this murkey world of publishing, finding out the finer points and pitfalls and can now offer my services to anyone who is interested in seeing their novel published to Amazon and Waterstones in Dual format....

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A lost blog from February

A lost blog from February
( I wrote this just at the end of January and was waiting for some photo's from the reading.)  Anyway, they forgot to send me them - and typically, I forgot what I was waiting for. ....

It was a brilliant day for all concerned thanks to Urmston Bookshop.

Following on from my initial visit, I returned to Urmston Bookshop at the end of January to perform another reading of the HPM and other stories.  It was a tricky billing as I was going head to head with the 4th round of the FA Cup and the remnants of the 2nd test in Dubai. 

It was also a bit cold,

Any of these factors would usually contribute to a poor turnout and I expected to be reading to just a couple of kids and their parents.

How wrong could I be?  The owners Peter and Frances Hopkins had done their utmost to ensure that the event was well publicised and even went as far as notifying all the local schools in the area and making a display in the front window.  

They even created a range of stickers with the "HPM at Urmston Bookshop" for the children to have, which went down a storm and provided cushions and a blanket for all the kids to sit on while the parents could sit back and relax on the chairs.

Needless to say, that the event was pretty successful with me selling all my books and having to return to the car to get more.  (and to check on the football score as well. . . we lost !!)

Given that the book business is in the doldrums and has independent booksellers falling by the wayside almost on a weekly basis, Urmston Bookshop is like a breath of fresh air, a modern bookshop offering "good old-fashioned" personal service and dedicated customer care.  They seemed to know almost everybody that came in and were buzzing with enthusiasm and energy throughout the afternoon.