Happy publication day to Order and Chaos

Pleased and proud to announce that Order and Chaos, the second in the Breakthrough Books’ series of short story collections by various writers, is out this very day. There’s something for everyone in this eclectic mix. Sixteen stories by sixteen authors, including me. Satirical to sinister, love to loss, and mystery to mayhem. Thrills for every type of reader.

Available from Amazon and Kobo.

Why Review?

Why review the books you read? I can think of five gold star reasons.

  1. Reviews matter. They really do. Studies have shown that 95% of consumers read reviews before deciding on a purchase. I’m willing to bet that figure is even higher for books. Think about it. How many times have you bought a book without checking the reviews first?
  2. Reviews increase visibility. They are how readers discover new authors and make sure their favourites are up to scratch. Authors benefit from honest reader feedback. And yes, most of us do read reviews – the good, the bad and the occasional ugly – despite what some writers say.
  3. Success breeds success. I’m talking algorithms here. Not that I pretend to understand this dark art. But it seems common sense to me that reviews influence them. The higher a book’s ranking, the greater the number of reviews (and stars) it has, the more likely it is that readers will find it via the algorithms. And being found by new readers is what turns an unknown work into a chart-topper.
  4. Reviewing is good manners. It seems to me, if you’ve read a book, especially one you enjoyed, it’s only polite to let the author know what you thought about it and spread the word to other readers. Reviews don’t have to be long, editorial analyses – though they are welcome too! A few lines saying what you liked or disliked about a book are fine.
  5. It’s good to take a moment. I review every book I read – with the possible exception of the blockbusters that can manage fine without me. I find it therapeutic to sit and think about what I’ve read, and articulate my response to it while it’s fresh in my mind. It’s like when you’ve watched a film and just have to talk to someone about it. The experience isn’t complete without that pause for reflection. Reviews give you that space.

Obviously, here I’m thinking about my own books: Note to Boy and the anthology Taking Liberties. But not only them. Once you’ve read a book, do please share the experience with other readers on Amazon, Goodreads, booksellers’ websites, or wherever you read and write about books.  

Thank you.

Doing it for ourselves

For a writer, there’s little to beat the thrill of holding a book you’ve written. And today, I had that thrill as I unboxed paperback copies of Taking Liberties.

This has been a remarkable experience for several reasons. Firstly, it happened unbelievably quickly; the wheels of the publishing industry usually grind exceedingly slowly. Not in this case. In only a few months, a group of authors were able to put their heads together and, sharing their various skills and talents, produce a short story collection to be proud of. I was pleased to be a small part of it.

Secondly, the anthology has already achieved success as an ebook, staying at #2 in the short stories ‘hot new releases’ chart for quite some time and getting blush-inducing reviews: “wonderfully eclectic”, “funny, moving, thought provoking”, “offbeat”, and “wonderful, uplifting and sometimes surprising”. Fingers crossed, the success continues with the release of the paperback.

And thirdly, amazing though all that is, even more amazing, in my opinion, is the way in which all this came about.

It’s tough out there. I know how hard, how very hard, it is for an unknown writer to find a publisher and then, almost as important, to get their book in front of a sufficient number of readers. New authors, without an existing fanbase to call upon, can – and do – get lost in the white noise of today’s big-name celebrity marketing promotions.

But what can the poor indie writer do against such juggernaut forces? As my old granny used to say, if you want something doing properly, do it yourself.

And so the Breakthrough Book Collective was born. We are a group of friends and colleagues, all proven and published writers, doing it for ourselves. Many have other skills, such as editing, design, art, journalism, photography, podcasting, presenting and marketing, which we pool for the good of the collective. We write in different genres, have different backgrounds, but we share a commitment to putting the creative and financial power in the hands of the creators. And in producing engaging, exciting and professionally presented books, of course!

Taking Liberties is our first initiative and is now available as a paperback. You can order it here. And please do remember to leave a review. We’d be so grateful.

And if you want to read more about the Breakthrough Book Collective and other ‘commons’ projects, my fellow collective, the author, artist and presenter Stevyn Colgan has explained it better and in much more detail in his blog here.

Taking Liberties out today!

I’m chuffed to bits to let you know that Taking Liberties, the anthology of short stories by twelve writers, of which I am proud to be one, is released today and is available to order from Amazon and Kobo as an ebook. For those who prefer a real-life paperback, that will be coming along very soon, in the next week or so.

My heartfelt thanks to Stephanie Bretherton, Ivy Ngeow, Philip Whiteley and Zena Barrie for all the blood sweat and tears, and to them and my fellow Breakthrough Book Collective writers for being so flipping talented.

Taking Liberties is the first venture of the brand new Breakthrough Book Collective.

Taking Liberties Now Available to Pre-Order

Your patience is rewarded! Taking Liberties, the exciting new anthology of short stories, is available for preorder NOW, and will be released into the wild on 17th April. Each of the twelve stories in the book takes freedom as its theme. Among them, you’ll find my contribution, On The Brushes.

“A collection that is full of surprises. But it is no surprise that this talented group of authors have found so many unexpected and entertaining ways to write on the theme of freedom. A great read.” says Lulu Allison, author of Salt Lick (Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022 Long List)

Be one of the first to dip into this fascinating collection of stories from established and emerging writers by pre-ordering your copy today.

Taking Liberties is published by The Breakthrough Book Collective.