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Always nice to get a positive review for one of my books and even better when it comes from another 'ex-pat' Burtonian!  Carol post...

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Slim Chance

This is the continuing story of how Steady Past Your Granny's found its way into print, and eventually an e-book format - Steady Past Your Granny's - Kindle Edition (UK) or Steady Past Your Granny's - Kindle Edition (USA) - that commenced in Booked Up!

There is nothing quite so frustrating as waiting for something that you have eagerly anticipated, to arrive through the post.  Each day I irrationally expected my parcel to appear, and each day I was disappointed.  Days turned into weeks and then months.  Christmas (which was when I hoped to have them) came and went.  I chased the marketing company responsible for the promotion and was fobbed off with vague promises of the books arriving shortly.  I even found a discussion forum in which hordes of other prospective authors were venting their spleen about their missing books.  Eventually, in April, 2006, the books finally arrived.

I have to admit that the books were impressive.  They looked the business (see Booked Up!) and were reassuringly weighty.  Even the pictures had transferred successfully.  The only downside was that I had been forced to choose between single or double spaced lines and had opted for double spacing in a desperate attempt to make the book look better value than it actually was.  The end result was something like those Janet and John books of my childhood.  Nevertheless, I now had a book of my own in my hot little hands.  After foisting a number onto my friends and relatives, I naturally began to think about selling the remainder.  However, I soon came up against a snag in that the major bookshop in our town (whilst quite supportive of my attempts) could not stock the book without an ISBN.

I seemed to be back to square one again, until a friend of ours in the same village said that he could help me to self-publish the book.  The only problem would be that it could not be in a conventional book format, with a spine.  As a home published effort, it would be more like an expanded booklet.  To keep the number of pages down to a level that could be realistically stapled, it was no longer possible for each chapter to start on a new page.  Nevertheless, the book could be published and printed (after a fashion) and I hurriedly applied for my set of ISBN numbers.

Casting around for a suitable photo for the cover, I remembered that the urinal that featured in the final title story had just been rescued, refurbished and granted pride of place in what was then the Bass Museum of Brewing.  It was too good a chance to miss.  Armed with a camera and a ticket to the museum, my long-suffering wife captured a picture of me striding purposefully toward the Convenience, thus creating a picture that would baffle and perplex potential readers for years to come!


More in the same vein in the next instalment - Slim Pickings

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Completely Booked

This is the continuing story of how Steady Past Your Granny's found its way into print, and eventually an e-book format - Steady Past Your Granny's - Kindle Edition (UK) or Steady Past Your Granny's - Kindle Edition (USA) - that commenced in Booked Up!


In a desperate search for material to fill the book, I started to cast around for anything else that I had written.  I became increasingly aware that, despite the fact that I had always thought of myself as a writer, I hadn't actually written much at all for years.  It was quite a sobering realisation.  Apart from something of a flurry in my teenage years,  most of my writing since that time had been limited to funny doggerel in birthday cards (see Occasional Showers), and the occasional attempt at a novel that had never survived longer than half a dozen pages.


The only reason that there was anything to put in the book at all was as a consequence of a competition run by a local bookshop for stories about growing up in Burton upon Trent.  My effort, "The Wreck", didn't trouble the judges much but did make it into the compilation book.  Inspired by this limited success, I submitted an article to a nostalgia magazine published by the local newspaper which was favourably received and I was given the opportunity to have an article included in the bi-monthly publication on a regular basis.  So, with a handful of articles published and one or two more in preparation I had the basis of a book but by no means enough to fill it.  


I found one or two pieces that I had written whilst on holiday, contemporary observational humour which I thought might amuse people.  I also had a story written to amuse my friends the previous Christmas (A Stable Upbringing).  It was a bit of a mish-mash but it got me above the required word count.  I was aware that the book might work better if it was focused solely on nostalgia but  I was concerned that I might just be seen as a 'one trick pony' and never again get the chance to show what else I could do.  


I sent the lot to the Daily Mail, with my batch of clipped out vouchers, and awaited my books anxiously.


More in the same vein in the next instalment - Slim Chance

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Booked Up - Part 2

This is the story of how Steady Past Your Granny's found its way into print, and eventually an e-book format - Steady Past Your Granny's - Kindle Edition (UK) or Steady Past Your Granny's - Kindle Edition (USA)


I thought this customer review on Amazon.com beautifully summarised the content of the book and I'll explain how it came about in the next post:


"Side effects of reading this book may include frequent chuckling and occasional guffawing - at least that's the effect it had on me. I do like a book that actually makes me physically laugh.

The book is a collection of reminiscences of English boyhood during the fifties/sixties, one or two amusing short stories and some curmudgeonly reflections on growing older and modern life. The book doesn't really have a point, mainly it's an enjoyable meandering memoir of a different time and place with some sharp observations thrown in. The stories have an English sensibility (that gentle British humour I alluded to) but I think that the stories will have universal appeal to anyone of the baby boomer generation.

If you are waiting to see the dentist this would be the ideal book to cheer you up
."



Find out more about how the book came about at Completely Booked