Thursday, 6 March 2014
The bodyguard of the Sultan of Brunei’s ex-wife allegedly knew her employer was losing a million pounds a day at the gaming tables and helped her to sell jewels to cover her losses. The personal assistants of Nigella and Charles Saatchi revealed uncomfortable domestic details in court when put on the spot. Somebody knew how many pairs of shoes Imelda Marcos was storing up because it was their job to align them correctly. A select few knew exactly what was happening within the palaces of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. No doubt there are many who know the secrets that lie buried in the palace of newly ousted Ukrainian dictator, Viktor Yanukovych.
These trusted retainers have the real stories that the rest of us, including the media, can only ever speculate about. They know the truths that lie behind the media distortions and the propaganda put out by both the supporters and enemies of their employers. As long as they hold the secrets they hold the power while at the same time being dangerous liabilities to those who need the secrets to remain buried forever.
The Italian Gardener might seem like no more than a wise old man working in the palace gardens, but he and the toppling dictator have a past together which means he knows exactly where the bodies are buried – everywhere.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Monday, 3 March 2014
Friday, 28 February 2014
Thursday, 27 February 2014
I believe it would be helpful for the many thousands of authors venturing into self-publishing if those who have gone before would be a little more open and transparent about how much they are actually earning for their efforts.
Thursday, 19 December 2013
No one is ever going to give us or our careers as much thought and attention as we are - why would they? - so no one who wants to earn a living from their writing can hope to escape the responsibility of being their own marketing department on a day-to-day, year-on-year basis.
Having said that, when the big boys do wade in with some promotional help the power of their clout can be stunning.
This month Amazon put the price of “Secrets of the Italian Gardener” down to .99p in a promotion negotiated through their White Glove Service and the book went straight to number one on Kindle’s political books list. Whenever Wattpad puts “The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride” or “The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer” on their “featured” pages, the number of hits soars from hundreds to thousands per day.
The only individual authors who could hope to rival this sort of promotional power would be celebrities with millions of followers on Twitter, or people, like J.K. Rowling and E.L. James, who manage to become front page news stories.
Authors once longed for their books to be picked as Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 or to be selected by their publisher for window displays in Waterstones, but the potential power of the great digital promoters now bestriding the globe makes such efforts seem quaintly parochial.
Monday, 2 December 2013
Digital publishing has called our bluff on the first two because we can now publish and promote our own stuff, so we have no one to blame but ourselves if things don’t go as well as they did in our dreams.
Now a young author called Daisy White has gone one step further and is running pop-up bookshops, not just to sell her own books but also those of other participating authors. Any author who thought they could do better than Waterstones now has a chance to put their money where their mouth is and back Daisy White’s “Booktique”.
This Christmas Daisy can be found in Tunsgate Square Shopping Centre in Guildford, nestling up amongst blue-chip names like Barbour and Heals. She will be there until January 12th.
If authors can be their own agents and their own publishers and their own booksellers we will never be able to complain about anything ever again – apart from the readers of course, and no author ever complains about their readers, only the lack of them.