Friday 30 September 2011

Take a deep breath ....

I have had one of those busy but unproductive spells that sometimes jump up and bite you.

I have my younger daughter home for a few days suffering from a broken elbow.
I have decorators painting the outside of the house.
I have been having "issues" with the people who purchased our former house in Daventry. They accept they owe us £1500+ but they seem very unwilling to pay it back!
The school governors season has just started so I have been going up to Shrewsbury rather more often than I would have chosen.

All this has left me short of time and energy to write much. I have done some more E+E work and a little bit on old newspapers but nothing else of any significance.

"Must do better" as they would say at school.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

One project at a time.

My, self imposed, problem is that I lack the common sense to focus on one writing project at a time. Research it, write it, sell it - then move onto the next project.

I don't seem able to do this. I have cemetery project, the South African postcard project, the old newspapers project and the E+E project in my head at the same time and the number of jobs needing to be done seems rather overwhelming.

The good news is the the Biggles Companion - a project I did complete - is selling well. I make about £10 a week profit from Ebay and word-of-mouth sales. Not a fortune but it amuses me no end.

Friday 16 September 2011

A bit more on the E+E meeting

E+E have a wide circle of friends that they stay in touch with via Facebook and by email. Nothing too unusual in all of this except that most of their friends were either adopted, fostered or spent some years in a Childrens Home. E+E publish a newsletter every 3 to 4 weeks that goes out to over 100 readers. In many ways they count as authors just as much as I do.

E+E are both married and as all four of them work their household income in over £100,000 per annum. Not bad in your early 20's. They seem to spend lots of time and money supporting less fortunate friends and my admiration for them goes up week-by-week.

I am still hoping to make direct contact with their closest friend who recently moved to this part of the world. E+E are keen to broaden the number of contributors to the proposed book but some of their friends are very wary. We shall see.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Meeting E+E

I had a very productive meeting with E+E today. We met on neutral territory and I think we were all rather surprised that what had once been a large supermarket car park had become a small supermarket car park with a large building site on two sides. The supermarket itself, and the cafe, had also shrunk considerably thanks to all the interal building work currently being done.

I arrived a few minutes early and saw E+E "lurking" near the entrance to the cafe. It was curious because I felt I already knew them quite well. I suppose you cannot read over 150 pages of the life history of two people without feeling like this.

I now have no doubt that E+E are 100% committed to seeing this project through to publication. They feel, and I agree, that former foster children and former Childrens' Home children are an ignored and invisible minority that for too long have been under the radar.

I am really looking forward to working with them.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Meeting with co-authors

I will meeting with E+E this Wednesday roughly half way between our respective bases.

I need to feel comfortable about all aspects of the project before I invest too much more time and emotional energy on what might be a long haul. Of course E+E probably feel the same about me.

It is a time-consuming task to put all the material intended to appear in various sections into some sensible order. The basic framework of three sections - the Childrens' Home years, the post-18 adventures and friends and family seems to work and I hope will leave the viewer wanting more rather than less.

Monday 5 September 2011

Ragleth Writers

The monthly meeting of the Ragleth writers has been and gone and I think todays meeting was the best so far.

Advice from more experienced and far more talented writers has steered me away from the Kindle route and back towards the more traditional approach of paper-based publication. It was proving a utter nightmare to write graphic intensive books - like my current project "Grave Mistakes" - in the Kindle format.

I read out another couple of short extracts from my other current project. This time it was two of E+E's friends who were centre-stage. I am encouraged by the feedback I received and providing the meeting with E+E goes well then I think a worthwhile and publishable book may emerge. I am going to be very disappointed if E+E decide that they don't want to carry on working with me but as I promised myself, and them, right from the start the final decision must be theirs.

Update - January 2014    

The Ragleth Writers website can be found at
The Ragleth Writers blog can be found at

Saturday 3 September 2011

The Biggles Companion

This book has made me some money. Quite a lot in fact but it is still a good example of the "how and where to publish" dilemma.

Proper publishers were not interested so it had to be self-publishing.
Paper based pubilshing was expensive on toner and paper and postage/packing costs ate into the profits.
An electronic version (*.doc) via Ebay was workable but the balance of proof established by Paypal means that any buyer who chooses to claim non-receipt gets a refund regardless.
PDF files are harder to edit and so harder for the bad guys to pass off as their own work. Both Ebay and downloadable from a web site versions were created but both with the Paypal problem
The Kindle version has just become available - so the jury is still out on that one.