Wednesday 31 December 2014

New year resolutions with a difference!

New year resolutions with a difference - 5 things I am not going to do!
  1. I am not going to be sucked, or indeed suckered, into writing another astronomy book. 
  2. I am not to be persuaded to restart posting cemetery related material to the less active Facebook groups - especially by people who plainly feel that it is my job or my duty to do so.
  3. I am not going to take on a second school governor role however much the Local Authority would like me to do so.
  4. I am never going to find the energy or the time to scan my entire collection of South African postcards. This is a unique archive that I predict will just be thrown away by my nearest and dearest once I have died. The sad truth is that almost nobody in the UK or in South Africa seems to be interested in South African social history.
  5. I will never watch the entire boxed set of the X Files for a third time. I have watched the nine series of the X files from start to finish twice - enjoying it even more the second time than the first but a third attempt would not be best use of my time.

3 things I am going to do!
  1. I have been asked and I have agreed to ghost write a second book.
  2. I will continue to support the three young people who have become such an important part of my weekly routine.
  3. Over the last few months I have been looking for a new publishing project to keep me out of mischief. I have looked at a number of ideas and I had nearly decided on an old newspaper related blog and/or book. Then quite suddenly an alternative project popped into my mind. It is nothing like anything I have ever done before but in a strange way it is also quite closely linked to a number of my current interests. I'm not going to reveal any details for a while because I would like to check that the idea is as exciting and as novel in three months time as it seems to be at the moment.



Monday 1 December 2014

Writing projects for 2015

Category 1 - new for 2014

Now I have officially given up on astronomical researching and writing I have a gaping chasm in my weekly timetable which I am going to fill by returning to the safe familiarity of postal history.

I have a number of possible collecting and then displaying projects in mind, a couple of which have just started going through the "Is there enough material to purchase at an affordable price?" process.

I might, or indeed might not, consider creating a "Stamp Collecting from A to Z" blog and/or book. I have yet to convince myself that I have the motivation to do the job properly but I would rather not even start work if I thought that only something second rate would emerge.

Category 2 - continuing projects

Images from my grave-hunting blog ( will continue to appear on the plethora of cemetery related Facebook groups. There are over 30 of these groups but many are barely viable with few readers and even fewer posters.

The Social History Facebook group ( I created has over 1600 members but most don't appear to read, comment or contribute and so any quoted membership figure creates something of a false impression.

By definition ghost writers have to remain anonymous. One book I ghost wrote appeared in 2014 and it has sold much better than even my most optimistic predictions. I have had two other formal proposals and I have promised those concerned that I would make a definite decision by January 1st 2015.

Category 3 - officially kicked into the long grass

Although I have been approached to write a couple more books on amateur astronomy - one on variable stars and another on astronomical data mining - I have decided not to accept the commission. The books I published in 2014 received good reviews but the total sales have been disappointing despite me engaging in a sustained marketing campaign on the relevant Facebook groups. If the two proposals had included an element of "money up front" it might have been different but I wasn't tempted by yet another "jam tomorrow" scenario.