Manchester United – what is going on?

As a Liverpool fan I am both amused and a little sympathetic for Man U’s plight this season. While it might sound like hindsight, I never thought Man U would do well this season. Nor next. Why?

1) Sir Alex did not rebuild last season – how they won the Premiership was a minor miracle. They needed to replace five major players last year and somehow came away with the trophy. And they have yet to replace those five effectively.

2) David Moyes has yet to win a major trophy, so does he really have the ability to build and guide a team to win at the highest club level? Really?

3) Sir Alex is watching his every step, that can not be great for Moyes’ confidence or freedom to be himself. It is in my opinion a poisoned chalice in that respect. Take over and be judged by the legend who is still sat in the stands watching and commenting…… who has ever succeeded with that brief?

4) Man U allowed a great manager to be a recruitment consultant – why? Is a great surgeon also a great nurse or a great car mechanic?

5) Everton’s performances under Moyes were workmanlike and difficult to beat , not exactly Champions League standard was it? And no I do not accept the ‘not enough money’ argument. When you are with a club for that length of time it is entirely possible to scout and develop a number of players. Which in fairness they did with Rooney and maybe one or two others. After how long though?

6) The game has moved on. It is now all about rapid passing to feet through midfield and incisive forward movement by the whole team in 3’s and taking turns to move positions. Because Barcelona and Spain have been a massive influence. It is not about 4-4-2 and dogmatic positioning. And nor do Man U have a viable 4-4-2 without the talent in midfield, one moaning striker and one want away ‘in the hole’ player (yes VP and Rooney)

7) The now greatly depleted coaching staff at Man U is not experienced enough at the highest level. They needed some proven top class brains to replace the staff they allowed to leave / pushed. New ideas and fresh thinking.

8) Wayne Rooney – he’s good, but he is not capable of carrying the whole team, as he has also proved with England. Plus can you really build a team around him? Far better to have a style of play with 2 of each position ready to slot in – as Man C have, Arsenal nearly have, Chelsea nearly have and Liverpool aspire to. Man U have been comprehensively left behind in this respect.

9) Where are the talented youngsters? Where is the next Giggs, Scholes, Beckham? Has the pipeline run dry? Can all those scouts and development squads seriously not offer anyone for the first team without a health complaint (sympathies due) or confidence issues?

10) Questionable transfer and retention policy – Pogba was let go which has proved to be a bad mistake. Signing Fellaini? Are you serious? How much for Mata? A Chelsea reject – you know the team Man U have to beat….

11) Where is the vision? Where are the principles upon which the next era will be built? Crossing from the byeline until Fulham die of boredom?  That’s so 1980’s. How many times have Man U players played 1 : 2’s or dribbled into the box this season? Or made space for shots from the edge of the box?  Man U used to be all about counter attack and pressure on the ball, quick passing and penetrating runs – now what? Amble forward, wait for the oppo to park ten buses and then complain if only one of fifty attempts goes in. Duh!

12) My personal favourite and England’s continual blight – playing people out of position. Why do managers do this? If a player is blatantly a central or wide player let them take those positions. It must be soul destroying to be told you can only play in the wrong role for your talent. And then put your goalscorer on the touchline….. Duh!

Bottom line – severe cock-up all round. 

Solutions -

Leadership – decide on the vision – Man U  is mega brand not a plaything, it’s value can also go down.

Sir Alex – take a long deserved holiday and leave the club alone for a while.

Replace Moyes with a proven international winning manager who can speak English, is happy and is not Scottish.

Spend on young players and develop them from within, stop plugging holes with under standard players, bit part players who can not deliver two games in a row.

Build some enthusiasm and fun at Man U – fear only works when people are genuinely afraid, it is not the only way to motivate people. It is not the modern way to motivate players.

Sell off the poor and uninterested to clear the decks

Keep Vidic for as long as you can

Let Rooney go if he wants to, you can not build a team around him and nor should you try. NO PLAYER IS BIGGER THAN THE CLUB – ring any bells?

Play out the season as hard to beat instead of mixed up and hopelessly adrift

Buy one world class ball winner and build a team around rapid passing and counter attack or something like it

i.e have a vision, have some balls and stop being so dour and unadventurous, anyone would think Man U played in a lower league!

BTW – I was not bowled over by Liverpool’s choice of Brendan Rodgers when he was appointed. But I eat my words. The man has a vision and the guts to stick at it. Allegedly he presented a dossier of how to develop Liverpool when applying. Even late last season they began to improve when playing for no honours. And stuck with Suarez the biter…. brilliant and yet what was he thinking?

About time Man U did the same – take a bold step forwards…… or just carry on being a mess for another season.

Gloat? Not yet, Man U’s pockets could be deep if their owners stopped playing funding games for something they clearly can not afford and should never have been allowed to buy.

How to sell books, write a book about, writing a book about how to sell books, about…

And next up – how to become rich – devise a scheme to tell people about how to become rich,   for the bargain price of only £50 and that’s a $200 dollar value pack for no extra outlay people. Concert tour to rub your noses in it – no problem? Cash taken at the door. Currency exchange while you wait. Gold preferred, sell yours here for cut down prices. Bow down before the ones you serve. God money I’d do anything for you.

Cynical? I’m several light years beyond that. “Perhaps another being will feel differently, but I lack the passion to be bothered to represent your work.” Remember everything counts in large amounts. I’ve been low, real low down. Who hasn’t been there before?

Yep it’s the same old stuff in a different brand and size, available now from your local online store, ’cause the shop went bust. You need this new pair of whatseveritscalled to fill the massive vacuum in your space time where reality might somehow claw a way in. Where’s that giant asteroid when we need one? And yes the sun shall become giant and engulf us. Eventually. And lo there shall be a giant sigh of collective relief that the whole thing is done and over with. No more working for the man and fighting against relentless inertia, indifference and entropy. Mid life crisis? Which one. Which year? Lost count. Bored counting. Dressed up like a car crash. A good day is being alone with sunshine, trees and space. A vampire or a victim? Neither one of the lucky ones.

For the children, for the children we shall live. For their innocence and spark of energy. Their not yet knowing about all the crud. Bless em all. Their enthusiasm and passion.

And that my friend (if I may call you my friend) is why I write energetic, fast paced escapism. One day I hope to vanish inside it.

Take care







Print is coming……. to an online retailer near you








I’m excited to announce that very soon the Sean Yeager Adventures series will have two books in prints. They will be high quality, paperbacks with matte finish covers.

They will be available from Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble and many other outlets.

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

For a free preview of the first two chapters see the ‘Look Inside’ feature that Amazon offer.

As a quick re-cap for the uninitiated, these are Middle Grade to Young Adult titles akin to Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter and similar works:

Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief Cover


DNA Thief is a high speed chase into mayhem and brave deeds. It introduces the world of Sean Yeager and his dilemmas with being a protected person for unknown reasons. It also poses questions – Who are the villains and why are they chasing him?


Hunters Hunted Text 2lHunters Hunted is a step upwards in many respects and answers most of the questions raised in DNA Thief. Sean’s world has moved on to Kimbleton Hall and he misses his friends. He schemes to catch up with them and meets a new friend Emily. Together they explore a legend of lost treasure which drives people to insanity. They are unaware of a danger which approaches them from every direction. Can they survive? And will they be able to find the treasure?

Sean Yeager Hunters Hunted is a many layered work that mixes adventure, mystery and espionage with sci-fi and supernatural themes.

I am thrilled with the covers and for the chance to factor reader feedback into both titles. DNA Thief is now at Edition two and includes additional scenes and corrections. Hunters Hunted has received some very encouraging reviews and I’m very pleased with how it has turned out.

Happy reading

David Jarrett


Sean Yeager print editions are on their way…. hold back the crowds

Hi all,

I’ve been beavering away of late preparing for a double book launch. So here’s the big news of some launches heading to the great Amazon and Ingram’s networks from July 2013.

Edition One of Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief in print will soon vanish. So if you are interested in collector’s items now is the time to act. (I’m only half joking) The gloss finish and larger book size will soon be replaced. Forever (and that’s a mighty long time.)

From July, Edition Two will be the only version of DNA Thief available. It will be a standard paperback format and will feature a matt cover finish. The story itself has been ‘remixed’ with some additional scenes, some corrections and a slight re-ordering of chapters. This is in response to reader feedback and raises the game for book one of the Sean Yeager series.

Also from July, Sean Yeager Hunters Hunted will be launched for the first time in print format. It will also be a standard paperback size with a matt cover finish. I have the proof with me as I write and it is simply ‘yummy’. The story is essentially the same as the current e-book version, but features some additional scenes and it smells great. (Yes really).

For those who have yet to hear about or read the books:

Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief Cover


Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief:

Is a high octane, fast paced, roller coaster of a book. It introduces Sean Yeager and his predicament with The Foundation and its enemies.


Hunters Hunted Text 2l


Sean Yeager Hunters Hunted:
Is an incident packed and mind bending mystery quest. It follows Sean and Emily’s path to understanding their precarious situation while they seek a very unusual treasure.


To round off the announcements, I have also completed the plot draft for the third Sean Yeager Adventures book. It promises to be pretty epic if the story boards hold up. If DNA Thief is a town and Hunters Hunted is a county, book three is shaping up to be a whole country. We shall see.

Happy reading

D.M. Jarrett

Inspiration to Hunt…… soundtrack to a novel







You see it’s been all a big misunderstanding. I don’t write books, I write films. Sean Yeager Adventures are written for the big screen. This is the soundtrack I used to explore Sean Yeager Hunters Hunted through the eyes of its cast. I listened to these tracks while I was writing and they led me through the plot, mood by mood. Let’s take a ride.

We begin our journey on a planet far from earth, come with me on a voyage through the ‘mood writing’ process for Hunters Hunted.

Beyond the Blue by Hammock

This track helped me to write a couple of key sections of the alien sub-plot. Click the link and read on.

Two suns are setting and already the moons are glistening. Around you the atmosphere is becoming bitterly cold and yet beautiful. You are stood beside Klesus Deijan and his alien pet, scarcely believing your eyes. You follow them to their shelter. Dust is rising and fragments of light splinter into shafts of orange and purple. Stars are already piercing the twilight sky.


Welcome back to Earth. We’re driving in a Foundation car. Can you feel an approaching menace?

We’re in this Together Now by Nine Inch Nails

I knew this track for a while and channelled it for some key chase and battle scenes. Click and read on.

Something’s not right. Check the mirror. Check it again. Are you sure what you saw? ‘Boom!’ A vehicle explodes. You react, adrenaline pumping. Pedal to the floor. You steer to avoid the traffic. We can’t be under attack? Not here, driving toward a shopping mall? Think again! We are in deep trouble. The Androbots are on our tail. And they only want one thing: Sean Yeager. We my friend are expendable. DRIVE!


It seemed like a great idea following that secret tunnel right? Well, right now I’m not so sure….

In this Twilight by Nine Inch Nails

Another staple track from my collection helped with the scene and mood setting for the forest scenes.

A door slams shut behind us. Our sense of euphoria comes to an abrupt end. The sun is beginning to fade between the trees. “Where are we?” In the middle of a forest of course! “So, how do we get back to Kimbleton Hall?” Don’t ask me, I didn’t drag us out here. Oh great, it’s starting to rain. Come on let’s trudge through the fallen leaves and mud. Yes, you’re favourite shoes will be ruined. Not my fault. Come on, we need to find our way home.


“Have you read that strange old book yet? The one our tutor left us. I think it’s opening by itself….”

Maybe Next Time (Chillout mix) by Robert Nickson

I found this track in a compilation of instrumental chill-out tracks that helped me to focus on the written word. I must have replayed this over a hundred times. It helped me to visualise a magical scene:


Light blinds our eyes. We stumble into furniture. Above us an incredible sequence of pictures is projected onto the ceiling. What on Earth? Is it even Earth? How can this be happening in an old mansion? We’re stuck in the middle of nowhere in darkest England. Read the book our tutor said. I think it’s taking us on a visual quest. I’ve no idea what it means. What do you think?


“I thought I heard the gates open, it can’t be….”

Burn it Down by Linkin Park

While I was writing Hunters Hunted this track found my ears. It’s beat and intensity took me straight to a pivotal battle scene.

“Look! Out of the bedroom window! Row after row of black figures are marching down the driveway. How did that happen? This place is a fortress. Some Androbots at the front are starting to run. Oh my God, we’re under attack! Heavy weapons are appearing out of the ground on all sides. The fountain has gone. Plasma cannons are pounding. It’s mayhem out there! Find Emily, we need to leave!”


“In here, quickly….”

Stripped by Rammstein

This track suggested the tone for my villain’s approach. Not quite what Depeche Mode had in mind I’m sure:

“I hate to break this to you, but we’re surrounded. Somehow they’ve found us. Shush! Keep down! Don’t listen to him Emily, it’s Darius Deveraux. He’s pure evil. Please help us someone! Anyone?”


“The Founder wants a word with you. I’m sure it will be okay.”

Higher Power (Defying Gravity) by Shawn Pierce

Another track I replayed over and over while compiling the major reveal scene for Hunters Hunted.


“Sit down and relax. You’re safe here. What is it that you’ve always wanted to know? What nagging doubt have you always wanted to quash? Open your mind and everything will become clear to you. Follow where the pictures lead. Ask them anything. This is for you and you alone.”


“Your ride home is here. Cheer up, it won’t be long until you return….”

Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey (Reich and Bleich remix)

Our car rolls down the driveway and we wonder about where our characters may venture next.

Roll credits. Fade to sunset red.

Thanks for tuning in. And to all these amazing artists for their awe inspiring music.

D.M. Jarrett is the author of Sean Yeager Adventures.

When not sleeping, he likes to watch films and enjoys writing to a wide range of music.



Hunters Hunted Text 2l

How to write a book review……. advice from an author



One of the ‘perks’ of being an author is that you gain insight into writing in all its forms, including book reviews. Authors typically read widely and write everything from books to blurbs to blogs to marketing promotions and of course book reviews. They are also on the receiving end of positive and negative book reviews (regardless of commercial success or failure).

Here is some advice about how to write a well constructed book review. If you wish to help others, then you (the book reviewer) can also put on a writer’s hat and consider how to improve your writing and build a reputation for being a talented book reviewer.

Tips about structure and content – in order:

1) You are writing a mini-thesis, build up your ‘case’

Your viewpoint is a subjective perspective which is valid for you – and probably for people like you – it is not a universal ‘fact’. If other people agree with you they will say so in their own way. Others may not agree with you at all. You do not speak for them. You are making your ‘thesis’ in support of your viewpoint. To have validity, you need to balance and support your considerations and arguments. You also need to have a measure of consistency and coherence in your review.

e.g. ‘It’s brilliant/rubbish/boring/amazing’ etc. says very little. Instead consider explaining why you hold your view.

I found it boring because…. I liked it when…..  I was lost halfway through when…. I thought the x parts were amazing because…  I loved the twists because…  I hated the book because….

2) Describe the work you are reviewing upfront.

Otherwise people will be none the wiser what the book is about, who it is aimed at, or what it is intended to be.

e.g. ‘I read this book and I loved/hated it.’ Tells us nothing about the actual nature of the book.

‘This is a Young Adult/ fiction novel about vampires/sci-fi/relationships etc’  Gives the reader something to go on. It demonstrates that you know what you have read. It also provides a context for your later comments.

Most readers of a review would expect a serious piece of literature to be reviewed in a similarly considered manner. They would not expect such a high brow approach when reviewing a children’s picture book. A non-fiction book may appear superficially ‘dull’, but if it is a reference book about detailed facts what would people reasonably expect?

3) Describe and explain what you like about the book and why

If you have read and finished a book it must have some merit to it. Talk about what you liked. Explain why you liked what you liked. Where are the strengths or stronger points in the book?

If you loved a book then clearly this section will be longer and more detailed. However, be careful not to gush too much. Explain what you liked and why you liked those aspects. This will be more helpful to other potential readers than ‘it’s brilliant’ type statements. Give reasons for your emotional reaction and support your ‘thesis’ that the book ‘is brilliant’.

e.g. I once reviewed a children’s book which was not overly well written. However, it had some good characters, some funny moments and some enjoyable scenes and settings. As a courtesy for all the hard work that went into writing the book, I described these strengths. To  omit these would also undermine my review. A good review should be balanced whether you   love, hate or are undecided about a work.

4) Describe and explain what you dislike about the book and why

Whether you have a glass half empty, half full or objective approach, this section should still be present. No works are perfect and neither are they completely awful. Again, you are making a case for your viewpoints. Other readers may completely disagree with you, as is their equal right.

A well constructed criticism will explain the nature of your dislike and the reason ‘in your view’ that this was a negative point.

e.g. ‘I hated the characters in this book’ Is ambiguous, lacks explanation and does not help to  build your case.

‘I disliked the main characters because they seemed unrealistic and their actions were not believable’ Makes a statement in support of ‘what’ you disliked and ‘why’ you disliked it. (This principle applies equally to positive statements.)

e.g. ‘It’s too slow and I found it boring’ Is an okay statement, but it fails to specify what was too slow.

‘I found the first part of the book slow to develop and struggled to read on’ Gives a far better statement of what the reviewer disliked and why they disliked it. A consequence (struggled to read on) adds support to their case that the slowness was a problem for them.

5) Summarise your conclusions

On balance, your conclusions should reflect your earlier statements and you may wish to elaborate on your view. However, be careful to be consistent in the conclusions you make. They should follow on from your earlier points. Your summary is like the final statement of a lawyer in a trial case. To suddenly switch opinions would look laughable. And to begrudgingly concede that a book is quite good in the last section of a review, having slated it for pages, gives the impression that the reviewer is being biased or miserly for the sake of it.

Consider these two examples:

a) I found the book an okay read. It was boring to begin with and then sped up too much towards the end. I enjoyed the twists and I liked the characters.

b) Overall, I quite enjoyed the book. There were some good twists in the plot. I liked the way some of the main characters were portrayed. However, for me the pacing was too slow in the early part of the book and too fast at the end. I felt it had a rushed ending and I found some of the characters unconvincing because they were only sketched out.

Neither are ‘wrong’. However, b) supports a ‘case’ that the book is ‘okay’ and expresses personal feelings with reasons rather than stating ‘facts’. And a) appears to be inconsistent – if they enjoyed the twists and liked the characters why was the book only ‘okay’ ?

We can debate these points, but hopefully you can see the contrasts. Explain, give examples and be fair minded in your review. Even if you don’t like the book!

6) State your recommendation (or lack of one) with a context

Ultimately, your review serves to help other potential readers decide whether to buy and read a book or not. Your case or thesis will help guide their decision. However, people may still disagree with you, hence the need for context. Not everyone wants to read a murder mystery/thriller/vampire/erotic/sci-fi book. Equally there are fans of each genre who read a lot of works with an open mind and forgive ‘errors’.

e.g. A useful close might look like:

‘I recommend this book to all fans of dystopian science fiction, particularly the hard-sci-fi fans’

Or something along the lines of:

‘I would caution Harry Potter fans from reading this book. It is not a patch on the genuine article and I did not enjoy reading it.’

I also suggest that book reviewers should be balanced in their final statements. It is only fair to other potential readers and to the author. Avoid statements like these:

‘This book is rubbish, I binned mine.’
Unhelpful, vindictive and a poor explanation of why to avoid the book.

‘I found it boring, but I suppose it might appeal to younger readers.’
Suggests the reviewer has no grasp of what the book was intended to be and read a book aimed at ‘younger readers’ through the eyes of someone who was not a ‘younger reader’.

‘It’s fantastic, buy it!’
While energetic (and no author would object too much) this statement reads like a paid for review or one from a close family member. They don’t explain why it’s fantastic or relate it to other books. The demand that people ‘buy it’ is also over the top. Anyone can understand that a great book is worth considering. It is for the reader of the reviews (i.e. not just one reviewer’s opinion) to draw their own conclusion.

Much better would be something like:
‘I really loved this book. It reminded me of The Great Gatsby and I thoroughly recommend it.’

7) Now review your text and make corrections

Your first draft book review will contain errors. We are all fallible. So scan it, correct it and look up any spellings you are unsure about. Also, check that you have told a consistent and compelling ‘case’ about the book you’ve read.

‘I luv this book its realy grate.’

Will make you look like an illiterate person (whether you can actually spell or not) and will also undermine your recommendation. Spell checkers and dictionaries are never far away. Text speak in a book review looks really lazy in the context of someone commenting on a completed  book.

Hope that helps any budding book reviewers out there.

Happy reviewing

David Jarrett


Pros and Cons of Self Publishing


This article is based on my experience writing and self-publishing two titles to date. My research cuts across many sources: published books, online learning, social media groups, verbal sharing of experiences and lessons learned at the coal face. It is my intention to ‘tell it  how it is’ and of course this is my perception to date.

1)      You have complete control

You can choose what you write, how you package, how you market. Everything. And you can retain all your rights, provided you are wise to not signing them away to a vanity publisher or service company along the way. You don’t need to, so don’t. Read every letter of every agreement and if it looks ‘bad’ for your interests find a better route to market. Self publishing means that you own all of your book rights, that’s the deal. If you decide to sell some of them, make sure you take legal advice and receive payment.

2)      You can sell your own product in the market

No one can stop you selling your works directly to the public. For example, if your ‘Memoirs of a Frog Prince’ is complete, you can publish pretty much everywhere via Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords etc. without anyone else approving your work. You can also publish for relatively little outlay in e-book and print. (But that does not mean you will necessarily sell many copies, most titles sell less than 100 ever).

3)      You can sell product to readers (almost) directly

It is possible to sell product from your own website, but you will probably reach a far greater audience via Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords etc. These platforms will take a cut, but that cut is far less than a traditional publisher would take if you were signed-up. (However, your book would be likely to reach far more sales outlets and territories in print with a good deal at a good traditional publisher).

4)      It is possible to succeed

If your work is good enough and you work hard enough to find your audience, you could succeed all by yourself. However, not all books will be good enough and not all reader audiences can be found online. The proportion of ‘winners’ in this game is relatively small. You will need luck, a strong sequence of products and a lot of hard work to succeed commercially.

Before you write I suggest studying BookBub’s advertising rate chart for several days. See it here:

I wish I had seen it a lot earlier. Basically, this is as close as you’ll get to understanding the real potential market for your books, pro-rata. Of course the total world market is bigger than this, but the proportions are valid and representative for the UK and US markets. For example, you may wish to compete in a more widely read e-book genre than ‘Teen and Young Adult’ if you are just starting out. (I wish I had).

5)      You can achieve commercial success without the gatekeepers

The definition of ‘success’ is probably a case by case matter by writer and genre. Certainly, there are (some) professional self-published writers who make a decent living from writing books. They tend to be writers of multiple books for adult genres. They tend to be very hard working and strong minded, as well as good, solid writers.

For many writers, self-published (or indeed traditionally published) books are likely to be an additional source of income rather than a primary source, at least for the early part of their careers. And this is not unusual historically. Many famous writers held substantial jobs while writing their major works. J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis being two notable examples.


1)      It is all down to you

The flip-side of control is that you have to do it all yourself. Or you need to find people you can pay who can assist you. Editors, cover artists, e-book designers and print book designers being essential services you will need. Most of your competitors will be using professional help as well, so be aware. You are all competing for repeat readers!

You also need to learn as much about online book marketing and promotion as you do about how to write a quality book. Omit this step at your peril. If you hope to sell in volume, you need to know how to oil the gears of your own selling machine. And that learning continues for years…

2)      Big companies will block you

It is a fact of the world we live in that big businesses will block out smaller businesses until the start-ups somehow ‘breakthrough’. At which point, they will consider buying them out, if they can. Sorry to kill off the romance, but you are basically selling a product which the world does not  want to know about until it sells a lot of units. Yes, it is a catch-22. So to slay some more dreams in the bud while I’m on a roll:

  • Chain stores will resist all attempts by you to stock your books in preference for their deals with established publishers and authors. (Independents are still an option.)
  • Libraries will resist attempts by you to stock more than a handful of ‘local books’ in their county.
  • Online libraries will refer you to their partner – probably Overdrive – who will refuse to deal with you directly and will refer you to an ‘aggregator’ such as Smashwords.
  • Bookbub will refuse to take your advertising unless you meet their criteria or are very fortunate. (They won’t elaborate on why) This is because they have plenty of other paying customers for their advertising space and can afford to pick and choose their customers (lucky them).
  • Agents will send you standard rejection letters (or emails) unless you are incredibly diligent and lucky. Because they have plenty of other books to sell. By the way ‘Not suitable for our list’ means ‘we don’t think we can (or want to) sell your book’ . It’s a sugar coated ‘no way’. (And many of them also rejected J.K. Rowling – so what do they know?)
  • Publishing companies will likewise reject your work, unless you are incredibly diligent and lucky. Because they also have plenty of other books to sell. And they listen mostly to Agents.
  • Publications will blank your attempts to request reviews in print or online. Because they have plenty of other published books to review and are (probably) paid in kind for such reviews. (It’s easily done in this world).
  • If you have personal contacts in any of the above use them!!!!!!!  (And then share them with me please)

3)      You will have to give away and heavily discount your product

Because everyone else does. Therefore you will end up giving away hundreds or thousands of units in the hope of picking up ‘visibility’ on Amazon and climbing sales charts. The precise details of ‘why’ vary with the manner in which Amazon compile their sales charts. However, the premise is simple – your work is unknown and will remain so until it appears on some ‘best selling’ lists. If it is seen and reviewed well, people will buy it. To achieve that push you will need to give away some copies and discount some copies. (Ouch!)

You will also have to provide an incentive for people to subscribe to your newsletters. A discounted or free book being an appropriate ‘gift’.  Likewise to gain those illusive online reviews, readers and bloggers will expect free books in exchange for their time and (hopefully) their kind words.

4)      It is also possible to fail commercially

You may succeed in writing a great book, your best ever book etc. However, commercial failure is entirely possible. Even if you learn and work hard at marketing and promotion, it is not a certainty that enough people will buy your books to make you more than 100 sales. Life is not fair, there are no guarantees and it does hurt. Sorry, but that is the truth.

It is also possible that you may not be cut out to be a writer in a commercial sense. That is not to say that you have ‘failed’ as such. No. Simply, that you will need to have other income available to live on while you write for your own pleasure or for other goals. At some point, a competition win or a big name review could change your fortunes as an author, but until that time….

Consider this: A writer produces a quality book that is well presented and does not fit easily into an established genre. They try all the regular routes to self-publish and promote. However, what they may not realise (ever) is that their work might be an acquired taste or a niche work. That is not to say that their writing lacks merit. It simply means that – like the vast majority of books – it will sell in trickles rather than floods, because that book’s market is relatively difficult to find or is quite small.

Or this: A writer markets their work to the hilt and writes for a genre that sells well. They produce a few books, promote them well etc. What they may not realise (ever) is that their work basically ‘sucks’. It falls short of the standards their potential readers require to pass on a recommendation. This may be incredibly tough to accept, but it happens. And no one will tell you for fear of causing offence. (You may not believe them anyway). On the plus side you can always improve! And in time, you will recognise on reading back your own work how good it really is. Meantime, keep up the day job!

Luck, hard work and persistence remain key factors for any ‘overnight success’ and writing is no different. (I’m very much at this stage right now).

As an informed guess, you will need at least three titles to make a serious impact and probably four. The first will likely fail, but you will learn from it. The next two will be better quality and you will be better placed to promote them. By the third you have enough product to ‘sacrifice’ to giveaways and heavy discounts. And you will gain in cross-sales with your other titles. Plus, you will have built a name within your reader population. Blog followers, subscriber lists, twitter followers etc. all add up and provide better chances for you to directly promote your books to interested readers.

5)      You will still need to negotiate with ‘gatekeepers’

It would be great to think that ‘gatekeepers’ with approved ‘lists’ will go away when you self-publish. (Agents, Publishers and PR people run a ‘list’ of work they represent or are trying to sell for). Unfortunately the ‘gatekeepers’ won’t go away, instead they morph and change.

To succeed as a self-published author you will still need endorsements and acceptance for your work from a number of people. Not all of who will be as open minded to the merit of your work as you are. These include:

  • Book bloggers – generally they want genre and quality consistent with their values and interests. (Vampire bloggers are not ‘into’ sci-fi for example)
  • Book advertisers – ditto with their audience goals and their income models.
  • Amazon – can (in theory) reject/take down works which have reader complaints against them. It may be rare, but it can happen.
  • Customer book reviewers – need an angle to want to like your work. It is not a level playing field (sorry) An ‘okay read’ will not usually result in a review. A high profile book will attract far more sales and therefore far more reviews. Not all of them good I hasten to add.
  • Your first readers – will obviously judge your work against their own likes and dislikes
  • Your social media contacts – will generally want to associate more with ‘rising stars’ than ‘unknowns’
  • Your potential ‘fans’ – by definition will like the work that ticks their boxes. If they are ‘your’  fans you will want to look after them. Nurture them. Hug them even.

In conclusion, while there is no one recipe for success in an ever-changing world of book publishing (thank goodness), there are some truisms:

  • The winners take almost all of the cake – see the published book sales figures for any given year
  • The harder you work, the luckier you will become
  • Success breeds success – fiction books (like pop music) is a very polarised market with a very ‘long tail’ of low volume selling titles.
  • Successful titles come from the most popular genres – which is de facto a statistical certainty and relates also to demographics.

Good luck and happy writing

David Jarrett

Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief Cover, available now at Amazon, Kobo

Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief available now at Amazon, Kobo

Sean Yeager Hunters Hunted. Available now at Amazon, Kobo etc
Sean Yeager Hunters Hunted. Available now at Amazon, Kobo etc