Authors: Are You Clockwatchers?

Good post on clock watching in its many varied forms



A clockwatcher is someone who frequently looks at the time. An employee might do this on the job, constantly checking to see if it’s time for break, lunch, or punching out. Someone who wears a watch can fall into the habit of glancing at it.

An author may be a watcher of a different sort.

If you’re an author, you may be a:

  • royalty clockwatcher. Do you check your royalty report several times per day? (Hey, you might have sold a book in the last minute. You never know. Better go check, just in case.)
  • sales rank or review clockwatcher. Do you check your book’s detail page at Amazon a few times per day to monitor the sales rank and see if there are any new reviews or comments?
  • media clockwatcher. Do you check your views, followers, reblogs, and comments throughout the day at a website, blog…

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Collection Book of the Week – Five go to Mystery Moor

As most of you know, I enjoy books, not in any creepy or immoral way, naturally, but I do enjoy real books. The smell, the feel and the look of them on my shelf. A couple of years ago I decided to start trying to build a small collection of first editions. I have always been interested in Enid Blyton’s children’s adventure stories and decided that I would see if I could start acquiring some of these. I now have a very small collection of first editions, built around Enid Blyton books, along with a few other random books that I have picked up here and there.

I thought that I would like to feature one book from my meagre collection each week and include some pictures and some brief information about where I acquired it and any relevant information about it. Hopefully this will interest some people and if anyone has any ideas about further information that they would like to see included please let me know in the comments. I will call this series of posts ‘Collection Book of the Week’, I think. The order will be totally at random.

Since I make no claims of being in any way an expert, if anyone notices any false or incorrect information please let me know. Sometimes identifying true first editions can be very tricky and most of my information has come from internet searches and from talking to dealers at book fairs. Obviously I would prefer it that you told me something I thought was only worth a few pounds was actually worth thousands, rather than the more likely reverse situation, but either way I would like to know.

So unsurprisingly we will start with an Enid Blyton book, one of the Famous Five series. The book is ‘Five go to Mystery Moor’ and was one of my earliest purchases. It is the thirteenth book in the original series of twenty one books. Here are a few photographs, sorry about the quality, I am most certainly not a photographer.

P1000043 P1000044 P1000045 P1000041 P1000042

So this book was published in 1954 by Hodder & Stoughton. It is in reasonable condition, and was available for a very reasonable price, being one of the later books in the series and thus less rare than the earlier ones. This book basically started my collection and was purchased at a small (eighteen dealers) Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association (PBFA) book fair held at Hylands house in Chelmsford. This was purchased in late 2011 and only cost £35.

Many factors affect the price of first editions, but condition is one of the most important. One important point to remember is that without the dust jacket most of these books would be considered pretty much worthless. It is generally recognised that having a dust jacket (wrapper) is responsible for in excess of 80% of the value of the book. Anyway, this one has one, and while not in perfect condition, is far from terrible. Many of the first editions I have seen have had large chunks of the dust jacket missing and are really just separate pieces held together by a protective plastic cover.

So there is the first book featured in the ‘Collection Book of the Week’ series. I would be interested to hear any comments that you have regarding anything related to the format and content of this post or the book itself. I will be back with another exciting book for you next week.

Marketing and publishing with Harry Steinman–farewell post:(

Despite finally managing to write my own meagre post, yesterday, I cannot resist reblogging the final thrilling installment of Harry Steinman’s great series. What am I going to do on Thursdays now.

readful things blog

All good things must come to an end eventually I suppose. This is the farewell post of the marketing and publishing series with Harry Steinman. I would like to personally thank him for sharing his insight, humour and overall knowledge and experience with all of us over the course of these weekly posts. Harry! You are one of my very best friends. Would be lost without you. (Enough mush.) Put your hands together for Mr. Harry Steinman. If you are all really nice we might be able to get him back for a random guest post here and there:)

How to Break Into Amazon’s “Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store”


(Advice On Staying There, Not Included)


A Farewell Post By Harry Steinman




Anyone with a damned good book, blurb, and cover can have a Kindle best-seller, if only for a few days.

Is Kindle too…

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Homer and Greek Gods


I have now, finally, completed Homer’s, ‘The Odyssey’, and having completed ‘The Iliad some time back I am quite satisfied with my progress. As I did with ‘The Iliad’, I have been having a few problems with the names of the gods. Surely in a Greek epic it would make sense to use the Greek names for the gods, but no, they had to use the Roman ones. I guess that this is because George Chapman’s translation was based on an earlier Latin translation.

So for a little light relief after finishing these epics, and they certainly are, I decided to muse on which of the Greek gods, which Olympian, I would consider my favourite. Would it be one of the big three, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, or one of the others. Then I thought that I would ask you guys which one was your favourite and why, so here’s mine.

My favourite has to be Poseidon (Neptune) purely because I have always been drawn to water in general, and the sea in particular. He’s pretty good with oceans, and I could do with his help at the moment. He also has a pretty fancy trident, that I would just love to be able to stroll around town with, although I am sure the law would take a pretty dim view of it.

Anyway who is your favourite Greek God and why?

Creative Writing Tip: Read Outside Your Genre

As always I applaud anything that suggests reading more.

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

1179701_old_books_2While reading in your genre is a wonderful tip–in fact, it’s very necessary–for any author, today I want to explore the benefits I’ve received from reading outside my genre: specifically, the benefits I’ve gotten, as a writer, from reading literary fiction and classic British detective fiction (looking your way, Agatha Christie)

As you all know, I’m a fantasy writer. I write sword and sorcery fantasy, and I have a blast doing that.

I also read a lot of fantasy, as is evident if you read my fiction. My magic system in Herezoth (for full-blooded sorcerers, at least) is a lot like magic in Harry Potter, except it isn’t wand dependent and is affected not only by genetics, but by the extent to which your bloodline has used those powers through the generations.

Still, a number of my greatest literary influences don’t come from fantasy. Reading outside your genre will help…

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Reading Goals

So, I have been generally absent from posting here recently, other than the odd reblog. I have been pretty distracted of late, rather euphoric, and have been ignoring the blog almost entirely. My reading has also been rather slow, but I thought that I would return to the way of the blog, with a general update as to my current progress and goals.

I am still stuck on the three books I have been reading for a while, but intend to make some progress today, if possible. So currently trying to finish Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’, Zola’s ‘The Fortune of the Rougons’ and Stephen King’s ‘Joyland’. With  a bit of luck I will actually finish Homer this weekend and then be able to concentrate on the others during the week.

So what is next, you may ask? Probably you won’t, but I shall tell you anyway. I want to start on the next book in  Zola’s ‘Rougon-Macquart’ cycle, which in order of publishing, which is kind of the order that I am going to read these in is ‘The Kill’. As to other books, I am intending to take a look at the sonnets of Edna St Vincent Millay that have been recommended to me, and I am looking forward to experiencing.

So there it is. My altogether inadequate reading goals for the next few weeks.

37 Conversation Rules for Gentlemen from 1875

Some good words of advice here.

Writer, Wizard, Sensei, Boy

See on Scoop.itDirty Little Writing Secrets

Editor’s note: The excerpt below comes from a book published in 1875: A Gentleman’s Guide to Etiquette by Cecil B. Hartley. Hartley’s rules may be over 100 ye

David M. Daniel‘s insight:

Resource articles like this are great for writing convincing characters from different time periods or social strata.  Also, it isn’t bad advice for life in general either… 🙂

See on

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Marketing/Publishing with Harry Steinman

My weekly reblog of Harry Steinman’s words of wisdom. Love this series!

readful things blog

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is particularly true for the indie author. If you do not have a great cover, chances are no one will really be interested in reading your words. Please welcome Harry Steinman back to Readful Things for his thoughts on this subject. He is a fount of wisdom, and also one of my dearest friends.

Back Cover Shot Compressed


People Judge a Book By Its Cover:

How to Get a Fair Shake

By Harry Steinman, a Guy Who Almost Got It Right

If you are going to self-publish, and you want your book to enjoy healthy sales, then you need a top-notch cover designer. It’s crucial. Cover design will attract or repel readers.

Take my novel, Little Deadly Things, as an example. At the time of its publication in August, 2012, no one knew me from a hole in the wall. In…

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The Always Here If You Need Me Award


I was especially honoured to be nominated for this award by Kevin over at Creative Mysteries. To be made to feel that people are reading what you write and enjoying it and that you have in some small way had an effect on someone’s life and been of help to them is fantastic and I think that this award indicates this, at least it does to me.

The rules of the award are as follows:

Post a picture of the award somewhere on your blog.

List 5 things that make you happy.

Choose 3 people to nominate who have been a virtual shoulder to cry on, checked in on you when they knew things were rough, or have always been there for you.

Comment on their blogs and let them know of the nomination.


So first of all five things that make me happy

That strange little sound on my mobile phone that means a message has arrived, and that strange buzz of excitement

Watching the waves crashing on the rocks at the coast on a summer’s day

Finding an exciting bookshop somewhere you weren’t expecting it – in fact any little independent book shop really

Seeing my friends happy

Talking about books and literature with someone that feels the same way about it as I do

and as a bonus something that makes me both happy and sad:

Finishing a good book


I would like to nominate the following as they have all been there for me and in particular they have made me feel extremely welcome in the blogosphere commenting on my posts and being supportive.


Ionia Martin



I would also like to mention Charles Yallowitz as he has always been one of the first to comment on my posts, since the beginning. He has always been there with a funny comment or to provide support. I do however know that he has retired from awards so I haven’t nominated him, but felt that he deserved a special mention due to the nature of this award. I do hope that none of the others have retired from receiving awards yet.

Thank you so much to Kevin for nominating me and congratulations to all of my nominees, I hope that they will all accept this award as they have been a large part of making blogging such an enjoyable experience for me.