SYA recommends – The Bartimaeus Triology by Jonathan Stroud

Hi there passing interweb traveller,

In a departure from the norm, I’d like to remind readers about a great series of books –  The Bartimaeus Triology by Jonathan Stroud, which is in fact a quadrilogy. These books are every bit as good as Harry Potter and in my view, better written.



‘What makes these books worth a read?’ I hear you cry

  • A wicked wit and humour running throughout
  • High quality writing, use of  language and atmosphere
  • A great alternative history setting
  • Superb characters, especially in Bartimaeus

All in all, reading at least one of this series as a ‘must’ for anyone writing for teens, young adults or children, especially if you write about themes of fantasy or magic.

For readers – just enjoy these books and the wicked fun Mr Stroud brings to fiction. These are so much better to read than many I could mention *cough* Walliams.

Happy reading

D.M. Jarrett




Calling all Sean Yeager Adventures readers – please share your feedback

Hi there,

I hope you are well and thriving, and enjoying the warmer weather.  Amongst all the craziness of Covid and world issues, I have a friendly request. If you have read a Sean Yeager Adventures book (or would like to) could you please share your feedback? Either in a private message to this post or in a book review on Amazon or Goodreads. All constructive thoughts are really helpful, and by all means go anonymous. Criticisms are also really valuable, and often ‘mistakes’ or oversights can be easily resolved – hence the revisions made to date to books 1 and 2.

At the time of this post, I am writing book 4 – Sean Yeager Mortal Thread – and I am very interested in what readers of books 1 to 3 have to say. Your thoughts matter and I take them into account when writing and improving each book. For example, it would be great to hear about the following or similar thoughts:

  • Who are your favourite characters?
  • What would you like to see more of in book 4?
  • Which story line or book have you enjoyed the most so far?
  • What is your favourite thing about the SYA book(s) you have read?
  • If you could change two things about a SYA book, what would you change them to be?
  • If you think you have spotted a mistake or plot hole, what is it?
  • Who are you routing for in the series?

Many thanks to everyone who has supported the Sean Yeager journey so far. It is a labour of love, and I’d like to send a big thank you to everyone who has bought and read an episode. I sincerely hope you are enjoying the series.

Best wishes

D.M. Jarrett

A welcome to new Sean Yeager Adventures readers




Happy New Year!

Welcome to the world of Sean Yeager Adventure, a series of exciting, action, adventure, mysteries written for young minds and guided by young minds. Yes, the secret, inner circle reader group advises on key elements of the series and suggests improvements.

Many centuries ago, two spacecraft reached Earth and fought high in the atmosphere. Both were critically damaged. Their crews crash landed and sought to survive as best they could. They may have upset history a little. but they always moved on when the going became tough. Invasions were best avoided, and temples proved to be safe havens. The trick was to stay one step ahead of the primative Terrans and their empire building. The crews were stranded with no hope of returning, or even finding, home. But they still had a grudge to settle. A small matter of life or total annihilation. For a time, things were calm.

In reality, humans were too busy fighting each other to notice.

Fast forward thousands of years, Sean Yeager and Emily Campbell discover strange things happening in their unconventional English lives. Convinced these events are connected to their missiing fathers, they embark on a series of escapades while exploring the Foundation and avoiding its enemies. Their mums will not be impressed. School will not be understanding (or standing). However, there is a future awaiting their discovery, if only they can stay alive long enough to reach it/

A lot of fun has been had creating (and expanding) the SYA universe. Some of it has even been written down in books:

Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief.
Sean Yeager Hunters Hunted
Sean Yeager Claws of Time

Sean Yeager Mortal Thread (work in progress)


D.M. Jarrett



Record sales for Sean Yeager Adventures children’s book series

Hi there,

Just wanted to share the good news – Sean Yeager Adventures is taking off in a big way. Treat the youngsters in your life to an exciting new series. Heroes, villains, spies, and mishaps abound in a series conceived and reviewed by youngsters for youngsters. Treat them to a fast paced read with loads of action, surprises, great characters, and comedy.

Wondering what to read after Harry Potter, Percy Jackson or Artemis Fowl? In need of a book to inspire reading in a 7 to 12 year old who enjoys gaming?  Look no further.

Check out Sean Yeager Adventures on Amazon ‘Look Inside’. Available now in print or ebook.


8 tips for effective book promotion using Amazon Advertising

Hi there, passing web traveller,

Welcome to the eye candy that is Sean Yeager Adventures – exceptional books for 8 to 12 years+.  Treat a youngster in your life to a fresh, new book series.

Here are some tips for using Amazon Advertising for book promotion. These are based on hands-on experience of the tool.

First, a brief glossary of terms.

  • Advert – a picture and text to promote your chosen product (book)
  • Custom text = an option to write your own copy for your advert.
  • Impressions = views of your Amazon advert by passing browsers or in a long list of product pages (i.e. potentially unread search results)
  • Campaign = your single advert and its settings, run with a budget for a timeline and with an on/off switch
  • Clicks = selection of your advert by a browser, a possible buyer, who is directed to your product page
  • Order = sale noticed by Amazon and linked to your advertising.
  • Placement = where the advert appears on Amazon search results
  • Targeting = where you manage keywords and bids after setting up your advert/campaign
  • Reporting = graphic measures per campaign or all campaigns for a selected timeline
  • Bidding = how much you are willing pay for a possible click when a keyword leads to an advert being clicked and a read of your product page
  • Manual bidding = you choose the bid cost (click cost) for each of your keywords.
  • Keyword = a search term or collection of search terms, much like on Google etc. Specifically, what the Amazon customer keyed in to search for a product
  • Negative keyword = a search term (or part of one) for which your advert will not appear.
  • Budget = how much you are willing to spend per day – from $1 minimum per advert per day
  • CTR = click through rate – percentage of impressions leading to clicks. Higher is better.
  • CPC = cost per click – averaged across the number of clicks per campaign and for a time period. Lower is better.
  • ACOS = average cost of sales – averaged from number of sales and the cost of clicks for the same period of time
  • Territory = Amazon Advertising is territory specific ie. US .com, UK

1) To generate the most impressions: use broad keywords based on a title or author or stem of a keyword; use manual bidding within the recommended ranges; and refresh your adverts and bids at least weekly.

To promote your title go for stem keywords and keep them broad. The more keywords you include (up to 1000) the better to build an understanding of what works for your campaign. Think laterally about your book genre, competing titles, authors, series, collections, franchises, and variations of descriptive terms.  For example: ‘mystery book, Agatha Christie, Agatha Christie series. mystery series, crime novels, crime series, crime book series’ etc. It can be surprising what keyword combinations pick up the best traffic. Recent best sellers and generic descriptive terms seem to attract good volumes of impressions. Of course, the more relevant these terms are to your book,  the better. There’s little point promoting a non-crime book to people searching for crime novels. However, if you go too specific you are unlikely to attract enough impressions for your advert.

2) Pay attention to the recommended bid levels – they matter, they change, and they can be  expensive. You need to keep tweaking your keyword bids, daily if possible, to keep your impressions volumes up. High impression volumes mean a greater chance of clicks.

Bid levels seem to vary from about 39c to $1+ for most keywords based on authors and book titles. The highest I’ve seen was a recommended bid at $37!  What is strange is the lack of keywords with a recommended bid range 20c to 30c. However, if you set your bids lower than the recommended bids, you will still pick up a small volume of impressions. Bear this in mind. You need to target 1000+ impressions per day, per Campaign. And the best way to achieve this is – a wide range of relevant keywords, and going with recommended bids on manual bidding.

To update your bids in volume, select Campaign, Targeting, click the box next to ‘Active’ and either Adjust Bid to your selected bid. Bear in mind Pages are per 50 keywords, so you’ll need to navigate through your pages to update all your kyword bids.

Note: you still need to check that you have no ‘rogue’ recommended bids suggested e.g. at the crazy levels of $5 to $37 per click if you use ‘Apply Suggested Bid’  Your daily budget limit will be applied and kept within, but you will still spend that $1+  I would avoid those rogue keywords completely.

3) How to attract clicks – use a lot of keyword combinations to find the best impression counts and hone in on your audience. Also, try varying your approach to the custom copy you write for your adverts. What leads to a click through is not always predictable. A good image and compelling text will help.

Review your keywords by the volume of impressions over say three days – this is your audience. Now you could consider revising your bid prices for only the top performing keywords and switching off the rest (on / off control on the left tab of the Target screen) this will save you time and give you focus. OR you could run a wide range of keywords and pick up a trickle of impressions from the ‘long tail’ of lower performing keywords.

Your strategy is key here – it’s your money. Try a few approaches and see what works for your campaigns. It tends to be the higher bids that pick up the largest volumes of impressions and hence stand a great chance of clicks.

4) How to sell books?  Write compelling custom advert text, choose relevant and performing keywords, and be prepared to bid and spend highish click bids (80c to $1)

I’ve found that only with bids up to 80c or $1 and pitching them for ‘Top of Search’ using Placement (+10 to 30%) was there any meaningful action in terms of sales. The Custom Advert Text option is a must. Placement of the Ads seems to be key to gaining sales – top of search for browsers interested in your genre are important, BUT watch out for the cost of advertising. Your costs are likely to be at a click through rate of about 6% and a conversion rate of about 10% (at best), which adds up at a bid cost of 80c or higher.  (10 * 80c = $8 per sale). This is expensive and therefore not great value for money.

5) How can I get value for money? And how do I know when there were real clicks?

The only proof is when you make a sale. Beyond that, you are completely trusting Amazon Advertising and their reporting. You can slice and dice the reporting information by campaigns and timelines. There are also tools which claim to discover keywords that are more cost effective – based on books that sell. However, your impression counts for a broad range of keywords will show you directly how your adverts are performing on Amazon itself. Amazon uses bid demand, relevance and advert performance in its rules. This means you have to experiment and refine your campaign settings regularly. What worked last week might not work this week. Can we check the clicks are real? Unfortunately, no.

You could try to find evidence of your ad appearing as an impression on your own Amazon session. Good luck with that one. I’ve yet to see any of my own live ads. And don’t click it if you do see your own advert – it will cost you.

Bottom line – manage your budget and spend with care, experiment and review click and order results.

6) Keep your adverts fresh – and use Copy Campaign on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

After a time, a Campaign will fall below 6% click through rate and it will go stale. You’ll see this because there will be very few impressions on a daily basis. The way around this is to copy that campaign (right hand control on the campaign targetting grid) and create a clone of the original. It’s also an opportunity to try – fresh copy, perhaps a new image, new keywords and a different bid strategy. Also vary the Placement options. The new campaign will have to be approved, but it is worth the effort to kick-off a fresh start.

7) To maximise sales, regardless of cost

I’m not saying this is a great long-term idea, but for a period of time you could try:

  • Going broad and numerous with keywords – up to 1000
  • Use negative keywords to eliminate DVDs, toys, t-shirts etc. Anything irrelevant to your aims
  • BId high in the quoted keyword ranges – higher than the recommended range
  • Bid Upwards and put in a 30% percentage for Top of Search etc. on Placement – this is expensive so beware
  • Manage your bids daily, based on changes to Amazon’s pricing of bids and your impression counts
  • Target the highest impressions count and highest click through CTR – go after the maximum number of eyes to ensure clicks
  • Set your budget per campaign to not run out of funds – but within your budget of $x per day
  • Hone your custom copy and experiment with calls to action in the custom ad copy
  • Remember to refine your product page as well – buyers need to be impressed there too
  • Focus on what you see working and vary that on the next cycle of Campaigns.
  • Be prepared to spend $5 per day,

This approach will cost you $’s, but it will generate some sales. Whether it is economic, you’ll need to assess based on your campaign’s performance and total sales. In other words, it’s your rodeo, so it’s your call based on your ‘success’ measures.

Warning : I found this approach did not break even.

8) Amazon Advertising is a ‘black box‘ , so beware –  it really is a case that the ‘house wins’ so be cautious and start bidding at a cheap level until you learn the ropes. The click / order results are not always predictable. It is not a given that the bid levels are reliable when quoted to you. I cite the lack of Amazon recommended bids in the range 10c to 30c as evidence of this. The minimum bid level is 6c. Some recommended bid levels are crazy e.g. $37.

Consider this situation. Why would a campaign generate clicks priced at 22c with the following settings?

  • Impressions of about 1k per day
  • All bid levels set to 36c Manual
  • Placement set to Bid down
  • No Placement bid up percentages

In this case, Amazon Advertisings rules seem to have led to a favourable cost of click. A cheaper than expected advert and cheaper than expected clicks. Except, there are never any sales. Strange, huh?  Both for Amazon and for the source of the reported clicks.

The reason I mention this is as a cautionary note. We don’t know what Amazon Advertising is actually doing under the hood. The lack of recommended bids 10c to 30c 38c is a symptom of this. For less popular keywords, all you will see is ‘No information available’. There are also times where you will bid relatively high and receive no impressions for a popular keyword.

Therefore, as the advertiser – you need to be aware and manage your advertising spend with care when using Amazon Advertising.

Best of luck

D.M. Jarrett



Rebel books for rebel readers




Hi there, passing web traveller,

You have reached the eye candy of Sean Yeager Adventures. Exciting books written for children with a mind of their own. If you are a parent, you really should treat a child in your life to a Sean Yeager book. Why? Because these books ask questions of the reader and encourage 8 to 14 year olds to figure things out for themselves. You see, modern publishers often iron out books into – three act plots, plot armor, dumbed down themes, and feed our children the current ‘right-on’ adult tropes. I don’t believe in blanding out. I believe in taking them on a rollercoaster ride to places they want to explore. (In an age appropriate and wholesome way, of course). A world full of gizmos, action, science, history, twists and surprises. Modern stories for modern times. Heroes and villains who don’t explain their every move. Characters who know who they are – there is no hint of cross-dressing, gender fluidity, or tokenism here. A world where mistakes are made and things go wrong. Adventures where children strive to do their best with help from their friends and adults. These are rebel books for rebel readers. And the feedback from the real audience of 8 to 14 year olds has been incredibly positive. They enjoy the craziness and surprises. They relish the mysteries and clues. They want to read these books.

How did I achieve this? Simple. By working with children and listening to what they want to read about. By including characters, twists, subjects, and surprises that work for them. By ignoring recent trends and writing books for youngsters based on their actual interests. And above all, by writing exciting plots which are unpredictable, every bit as good as a movie or video game, and written to professional standards.

The youngsters in your life will get it. Will you treat them?

introduce them to the world of Sean Yeager Adventures and feed their imaginations,

D.M. Jarrett

Explore ‘look inside’ here

Reading challenging books quickly, helps weaker readers to catch up – it’s official


From time to time I have debates with people who defend easy read books as being fun and a great introduction to reading. And for younger readers (5 to 7) I tend to agree with them. However, what next? What is the best approach to natually coax along young reading skills and maintain their interest in reading while they learn?

I chanced upon a very interesting article in the TES (Times Education Supplement). It reports on a study looking at adolescent readers and their reading progress. The study’s conclusions are interesting – reading challenging books quickly (within 12 weeks) helps weaker readers to catch up. The study also dispels the myth that ‘poorer readers need simpler texts’ and supports the idea of letting the reader crack on with the reading. It seems so obvious doesn’t it?

The challenging books referred to in the study were: The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, Once by Morris Gleitzman, and Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams.

Here is the link so you can read directly what is reported about the study:

TES article about a reading study

As you may already suspect, I fully support an ‘aim for the stars’ ethos as opposed to ‘pigeon-holing’  or ‘dumbing down’. There are so many great books out there waiting for enthusiastic young readers. To the above list we could easily add Tolkien, Pullman, Morpurgo, Blackman and so many others. I recommend friendly chats with librarians and second-hand book staff to discover great books. At first, there may be a little resistance along the lines of ‘it’s boring’ and ‘I don’t want to read that.’ However, with the right themes, books, and writers, this can quickly turn into ‘light touch-paper and let them get on with it’. Which I believe this study confirms.

Happy reading.

D.M. Jarrett



10 tips for promoting your independent, self-published books – ideas that work

Hi there,

While there are many tips out there about how to promote your self-published books, I thought I would share some ideas that have actually worked, to help cut through the noise. Perhaps you’d like to check out a Sean Yeager Adventures book for a youngster in your life. Please do.

1.  On your email footer add your book title (or series) and your choice of ‘author’ ‘writer’ ‘publisher’ and your website or blog link

People will then pick up on the fact that you have written books and ask you. They will also research the book out of their interest in you as a person. It’s free. It works. You are a walking person of interest when people are intrigued. And if they don’t say anything – no problem.

2. Run an informational website or blog with an easy to remember title

To tell people about what you do, where it is, why they should care. The benefits and strap lines of your work. It needs to have strong visuals and interesting content. If all else fails, share your learnings about promotion. (Yes, the irony is not lost on me). This blog site can be free or cheap. Obviously, if you intend to attract a lot of traffic and cross-sales (how to guides) you’ll need to build and invest in this website as a brand. Who knows, perhaps you want to video-blog and post to YouTube?

3. HIre a really good book cover designer and hone your book covers and titles

These are two of your most important promotional assets. These images and titles will be used everywhere. Learn to get them honed and professional. Dare to be a little different. If your covers can stand up beside professional equivalents, you have achieved your goal.

4. Go social – on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc.

There is a theory that people who ‘see you’ online will read your books. Frankly, I’ve not found this to be true. I suspect this is because there are loads of social media echo chambers out there of people promoting books left, right and centre. However, when you engage with people as people, over time a tiny proportion of them might become intrigued. Especially if you seem interesting and have something to say about the craft of writing, promotion, life or your favourite themes. And, your covers will be seen when you do (inevitably) add them to profiles, posts and such like.

5. Run paid adverts within your pre-set budget

Big publishers do this all the time. The simple reason is – you need to be taken seriously and your book covers need to be seen about seven times for someone to become familiar with the idea of buying or at least researching your book. Where to advertise? Take your pick based on where you believe your audience to be actively open to buying ideas  (facebook, twitter, goodreads, amazon, instagram, magazines, paper, billboards (pricey), TV appearance (if connected), websites, popular blogs or tours). At the time of writiing, I am running an advert in ‘How it Works’ magazine. I’ll leave you to figure out why when you browse this amazing magazine.

How it Works magazine link

6. Write a great strap-line for each book and tune your keywords

The web is pretty much run by keywords. You need to select a good cloud of words which place your book in the right relevancy bracket. Think of these as like hast tags but for web browsers, web crawlers, internal search engines and the algorithms that power the big sites – like Amazon, Google, etc. It is both an art and a science. You may need help with this – the buzz words are SEO, keyword search and relevance. Go research books in your own target market. Also, align your keywords across all your online presence.

7. Write and edit a really great read

This should go without saying, but there, I said it anyway. If the product, price, promotion and placement are strong, you could be onto something. A weakness in the chain will not help your longer term prospects. A weak book, well promoted will lead to one sale. Not the follow-on sales of your next books. You do have a next book, right?

8. And write another one

If you are promoting yourself as a brand – which is often suggested – your brand needs a number of books. One book looks okay, not great. You might want to gradually ramp up your efforts over three or four books. Many successful independent authors write and publish several books a year. Their catalogue is growing all the time. It helps. Others, myself included, work at a more sedate pace and focus on our own take of quality. Ideally, you want both a good volume and quality of books out there.

9. Giveaways and free e-book samples

These can help. However, be aware of the consequences. You will need a volume of next books to make a giveaway worthwhile. It is all about the cross-sell (to other titles) and up-sell (to your print copies). Another consequence is that your ebook freebie may never go away. It will linger on semi-dodgy sites for a long while.

10. Appearances, visits, talks, stalls

Attend anything you can to gain visibility. But, ensure you have something of interest to say. ‘I am writer’ does not cut it. There are several angles – helping other writers, talking about trends, commenting on your learnings, literacy for children, book clubs etc. A word of caution – a paid for stall at the wrong event could waste both money and time. Flyers given away at a book fair, could help if anyone spends time engaging with your messaging and researches your work.

11. As a bonus – bring it all together with a plan

A clear approach and tag line will help you to focus on your target audience. Who are they? Where do they hang out? What benefits does your work bring them? How can you entice them to be curious about your books? What angles do you have to stand out from the vast swathes of people doing the same? The better you know the answers, the better you can refine your approach across all the above. If one approach does not work, reflect, regroup and try a different angle. For example, if you want to collect email addresses and send out newsletters, you’ll need a plan about what you’ll be sending out – promotions, tips, news, insights.

Best of luck and feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts.

D.M. Jarrett

Author of Sean Yeager Adventures.




An epic, fantasy, action, adventure series for ages 8 to 14+

Sean Yeager website


Smart books inspire smart youngsters 🤗 Say ‘no’ to dumbing down

Hi there,

This is a message to all parents, carers and mentors of children. Children are amazing and talented. They can achieve pretty much anything with guidance, learning and practice. Please inspire them and raise the quality of what they are given to read. As the saying goes – aim for the stars.

My message is simple – rubbish in, rubbish out. You create what you shape. If you genuinely want the best for the children in your care, please think it through carefully. A child of 8 could easily develop a reading age of 12 and be at an advantage in their development. Give them a book with a reading age of 5 and where will that lead? Whereas, inspiring a love of learning and reading will broaden their horizons and inspire them to greater things.

Are you in need of convincing? In case this sounds like ‘elitist nonsense’, here are some links from well established sources expressing their thoughts on the subject:

Anthony Horowitz article

Geraldine MacCaughrean – Carnegie Medal Winner

New York Times – smarten up the kids

Stop dumbing down books for teens

And so, over to you. We can choose wisely and help guide the young minds in our lives. We have that opportunity and there are plenty of great books out there from all eras – often in libraries, secondhand and charity book stores. What were your best reads?  I shared Biggles with my 7 year old son, and in later years, Asterix, Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemmingway, and a little Shakespeare. Reading can be fun as well as mind food. Next, he read through Percy Jackson, Harry Potter and moved on to Tolkien. Once a love of reading has taken root there is no stopping it.

Enjoy the challenge.

D.M. Jarrett

10 tips for getting your child away from their video games and productive.

What can you do about your son/daughter’s gaming habit? They spend hours on their device and refuse to come off.

We’ve all been there. I suspect all parents of tweens and teens have. Your son/daughter is passionate about the latest video/computer/phone game and refuses to come off it. When they do, their mood has changed, and all they can think about is playing again. Here are some tips for how to manage the situation and strike a balance. From experience, this approach works provided we as parents are firm, fair and consistent.

1. Change the rules – so your child has to earn all game time on each and every platform.

Yes, that will be a sea change for some. No earning means no game time. The most important currency then becomes ‘how’ to earn game time. It can also be a valuable lever for getting homework, etc. done. It will most likely lead to a reduction in gaming time as well.

2. Enforce the ‘earning’ of game-time by making your child earn it upfront before they play.

No earning = no game time. Harsh at first, but guess what? Your child will learn and adapt provided they know you mean it.

3. Agree start and end times to gaming – and give a count-down ten and five minutes before ‘off-time’.

This is important. It is the deal. It goes something like – ‘it’s now seven o’clock, you need to come off your <device> by eight o’clock. Agreed?’ And when that time arrives – ideally on a clock next to the gaming screen – the session is declared over. Fresh air and exercise straight afterwards is a great idea – to calm them down.

4. Off means off – pull out the plug if necessary and be strong.

When the pre-agreed session is over, it has to end. By reason, then cajoling, and if all else fails by pulling out the plug/broadband. There are limiter devices out there if needed.

5. 60 minutes a weekend day maximum – and mean it – beware the 60 to 90 to 120 time creep. Should there be any game time allowed during the week? Your call.

It’s your call on how long a gaming session is allowed to be. My view is that 60 minutes a day at weekends is plenty. Week day gaming is probably not a great idea, because of homework, focus on school etc. Or perhaps you could agree the frequency upfront. Daily to me is a straight no way. Late night gaming is also a no, no. Sleep is important and gaming impairs sleep.

6. Bring in healthy and fun alternatives as well.

A reading hour – with a physical book (it’s why I began writing btw.). A walk. A sporting activity. A visit to somewhere fun. A fun TV program with the family. It’s your choice. I suggest including some of these as the means to earning gaming time as well. e.g. read a decent book for an hour. Swim ten lengths, etc.

7. Share their passion (within reason).

I suggest it is better to know what games they are playing, and to occasionally join in, than to disapprove of their gaming altogether. If their choice of game is completely unsuitable (e.g. 18 and immoral) withdrawing/uninstalling the game is clearly a good idea. You are in charge and you set the limits.

8. Grounded also means no gaming time.

If our child has earned a grounding that also means no gaming time. It may well be the most valuable currency you have to barter with for better behaviour.

9. No gaming machines in their bedrooms at night. And avoid outright bans if possible.

Whatever we think about gaming, I suggest it is better to suggest/promote a healthier game than to try and eliminate gaming from children’s lives. Prohibition tends to lead to rebellion, stand-offs and finding ways around the ban. Just as with adult bans.

That said, a gaming machine (of any kind) in their bedroom is just asking for an all-night session when you are asleep or the babysitter is in charge. If you allow it, you are allowing free-reign for your child in my humble opinion. Remember, games are fun and addictive.

10. The currency they have to ‘earn’ is what you decide. It is also your biggest bargaining chip.

I suggest it should include a mixture of: doing their homework, instrument practice, chores, having a good attitude, going for a run, working hard at school. walking the dog, tidying their room. Anything within reason provided the measures are ‘fair’ and ‘measurable’. This is where the balance comes in – which is where you set the standards as parents. Work = reward. Just as in life. You may find they work harder to earn the currency they want. If not, take a step back and review your options. Putting the games in the loft for a while is a possibility…

I hope you find these tips useful. From experience, they can lead to a win-win, with a few (inevitable) tantrums along the way.

I write books to encourage youngsters to read (and also because I enjoy it).

Best of luck,

D.M. Jarrett