A Creative Perspective on EU Membership

With about a week to go until the UK Referendum on EU Membership there have been plenty of recent articles frothing and lashing about the hair colour or the shoe size of the other side. The opportunity to add the preceding chthonic image to the debate aside, these have struck me as irrelevant to my life. However, this article by Vincent Moss setting out potential impacts on authors (and other creative businesses) advances the debate.

I suspect everyone can guess which way I’m intending to vote, and I don’t have any new arguments to add, so I’ll let Moss speak for himself.

Politic Discourse

One of the most common pieces of advice given to people who both blog and have a professional online platform (authors, musicians, bespoke-weasel-waistcoat tailors, &c.) is to avoid discussing politics and religion; indeed it is such pervasive advice that some give it to anyone as the answer to any situation. However, as with many rules that can be expressed in a brief sentence, it is usually given without an important modifier: without reason.

Going into the Nitty Gritty

This Saturday, I will be co-hosting the first ever episode of the Nitty Gritty Writing podcast with Simon Cantan.

The show will be about writing and publishing from the perspective of people who aren’t big names in author-publishing. Over the weeks, we’ll be sharing our own journeys as authors, what we’re trying at the moment, and any tips we have for avoiding or overcoming the obstacles we’ve hit in the past.

Make sure to tune in from 19:30 GMT to find out more.

Immerse or Die Story Bundle 2015

As I’ve mentioned several times, Misha Burnett’s Catskinner’s Book is one of my favourite books. And several of the other’s in this collection are on my TBR list.

Note: While I run the short-story subdivision of the Gobi Author Torture Program, I don’t receive anything from this collection – apart from the validation of having books I like publicly displayed as of high quality.


I’ve mentioned Jefferson Smith’s Immerse Or Die Report before.

The concept is brutal in its simplicity.  Every morning he takes a self-published novel or story collection and gets on his treadmill for forty minutes. When he runs across something that breaks immersion–unclear syntax, wooden dialogue, boring exposition, pretty much anything that makes him look away from the page–the work gets one strike.  Three strikes, and it’s out.  The ones that make it past the forty minute mark without collecting three strikes are considered survivors.

It’s a tough standard–kind of a Gobi torture test for literature.

Of the two hundred and five novels that he put through the mill in 2015,he chose nine survivors to be included in the 2015 Immerse Or Die Story Bundle.

As it happens, Catskinner’s Book is one of the nine.

All Covers Large

Yeah, it’s there, second row, far left.  He didn’t like my original cover (in his review…

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The Cost of Doing Business

In many situations, we need to compare the cost effectiveness of actions. For me, it is spending the limited pot of money on various ways of making one of my books more attractive or more obvious to readers. And for some of these actions, they are all or nothing: the book only has one cover, so I either pay or don’t. But, some can be done over and over: I can advertise a book and then advertise again. Gut instinct suggests doing something repeatedly would be better than once. But is it true? And how might you measure the impact in advance?

The The Impotence of Proofreading

I have spent several hours obsessing over obscure typesetting issues for the paperback edition of State. So I thought I would share an amusing monologue on presenting prose. I couldn’t pick just one favourite, so I have decided to share two. Both contain what some charmingly call ‘language’; distinguishing them from the instrumental monologue.