The Blog Posting Wherein I Remove Myself from the Self-Publishing Debate



It all started with my smart phone, you see. It buzzed and then a little blue light came on telling me that I should pick up my phone, which I did. A quick swipe told me that Twitter wanted me so I swiped the app and learned that my blog posting entitled “Two Years since My Book Deal: What Have I Learned” was being featured on a blog about self-publishing entitled, The Passive Voice.

Cool, I thought. Someone actually noticed my blog! (I don’t get boatloads of comments because I’m still a relative unknown in the book world, but I try to blog regularly because I do have a few people that like to interact with me.) Exciting, right? Anyway, I clicked on the link and to my surprise, I found not my entire blog posting, just lifted portions and that’s about it. I should also add that nobody asked me if they could quote my blog in their blog post. Confused yet?

Fine, I thought. Let ’em quote my blog post. Then I scrolled down and read the comments. This led, of course, to me putting in my two cents and VOILA! Forty-some comments later and I learn that I’m basically a twat, I’m misinformed and apparently, living on another planet entirely.

I consider myself reasonably social media savvy. It’s pretty clear that I’m not and my mistake was in commenting and engaging the self-publishing folk.  Now, I’ve said on this blog many times that I don’t recommend self-publishing but that was based on my interactions with some authors who’ve met with little success self-publishing a book. I have said, and will continue to say, that many many many many (see … I didn’t say “most” this time) self-published books are atrocious because it’s true. In fairness, many many traditionally published books aren’t all that shit hot either, but at least they have better cover art.

Look, to all the people who think I’m an ill-informed twat because of my blog post and because of my comments on The Passive Voice, get a life. No, seriously … get a life. If you feel threatened by the observations from a tiny wee little blog written by a bald author who has had marginal success in traditional publishing, you really are barking up the wrong tree. I’m about as influential in the publishing world and in the blogosphere as Canada is at middle eastern diplomacy.

I have had a small measure of success in traditional publishing, but I’m no expert and I often express this point of view in my blog posts. I don’t take myself seriously nor should you or anyone because I write bubble gum. I write books about magic and slamming evil and I admit regularly that I suck at writing romance. I have been writing all my life and I’ve been trying to get published since my soon to be 24 year old son was in diapers and there was no Internet or LOLCats. The reason I wanted to try to get published? To see if I could do it. The reason I sought a literary agent? To see if I could land one.

I’m also the first person to point out that I consider myself to be pretty damned lucky, by the way. I’m my worst critic. I think that everything I write is worse than the worst dinosaur erotica novel currently available on Amazon. I am grateful to a lot of people, mostly my wife who thinks I have some talent and my literary agent who has gone to the freaking wall for me. I’m blessed to have met amazing, wonderful people during my publishing journey. My latest books took me to England two years running and I got to watch Chelsea play my beloved Norwich City FC (who are in a relegation battle right now).

I wasn’t asked if my blog post could be featured on another blog. (There’s a copyright notice at the bottom of this page. Scroll down and you will see it.) I didn’t ask for the attention of the Passive Voice. It’s clear that  I poked the beast with a stick once I decided to engage with you all. My bad. I’m 46 and I should know better.

I’ll take this time to apologize to the self-publishing tribe on The Passive Voice if my comments antagonized you.  If self-publishing is your writing journey of choice and you’re happy with it, then good on you! Make as much money as you can and enjoy your creative control as you become the next J.K. Rowling. I will say this much though: nobody is served well by vitriolic statements and baby, there’s a ton of vitriol in the comment section. I could take a bath in it.

And I contributed to it by engaging your tribe.

My experience with traditional publishing has been just that: my experience. Everything I write on my blog is from my own point of view. I’ve had ups, downs and in-betweens in the world of publishing. But do you want to know something? I’m not ready to become the next big self-publishing phenomenon because I’m not as good a writer as I’d like to be and I rely heavily on the insight of those so-called gatekeepers your tribe dislikes so much. I need my agent to kick my ass because it makes me a better author. I need an editor at a publishing house to do things like, oh, remind me that teenagers swear, for example. I suck at photoshop and I need a good cover artist. I need a lot of things, but what I don’t need is to be distracted from writing my next book.

So, I bid you adieu, self-publishing tribe. Good luck on your journey and you know, maybe tone down the rhetoric because it’s a total buzz kill.

Peace out, yo.


This Should Be An Official Sport at the Winter Olympics





That is all.


Swearing in Young Adult Books: The No @$!@ Truth


This caught my attention.

And seeing as how I’ve written two books for teens which contain the occasional F-Bomb, I figured this is as good a time as any to insert my humble authorly opinion on the matter. (Oh … head’s up everyone. I’ve also written a post-apocalyptic zombie novel for teens filled to the brim with swearing, guns, explosives, flying body parts, mortars, anti-tank weapons and infantry field craft. I suspect it would come with a warning label and possibly a padlock if it gets published.)

Here’s my official word on the subject:

It doesn’t matter.  Who cares. Moot point. Why are we even having this discussion?

This is coming from a guy whose version of POLTERGEEKS that was sold to Strange Chemistry Books didn’t contain a single swear word and whose editor said, “Yo … teenagers swear.”  Why didn’t that first version contain any cussin’? Because I was focused on the plot, the action, the romance part (which I suck at) and I didn’t really even think about putting any f-bombs, shits, pisses or goddammits into the book. And that’s weird because I’m an ex-soldier, I swear like a @!!!#$ and I did so when I was teenager, I might add. My now 23 year old son swore like a #@!%%!@ when he was a teenager, though not around me unless we were having a man-to-man talk about life, growing up and how much it actually @!$!@! sucks to be a teenager.

But seriously … warning labels? I’d strongly urge those who get all “protect the childreny” to click on this link here. It’s a WikiPedia entry and it tells the story of warning labels on music albums. See, back in the early 1980’s, Tipper Gore thought we teenagers were going straight to hell, would wind up strung out on smack and kick little puppies if we listened to bands like Twisted Sister. Here’s Dee Snider talking up the matter before a congressional committee back in the day:

Look, let’s pretend there’s a world where the actual concept of Young Adult books doesn’t exist. Let’s call it, oh … how about 1982. See … that’s when I was fifteen. That’s when I was first introduced to Iron Maiden, I got righteously hammered at Tim Oulette’s house, losing one shoe as I staggered home across 32nd Avenue North East in Calgary, and when I smoked my first joint. There was no Hunger Games to read. There weren’t any Young Adult book publishers. Nada. Zip. But I was a book lover and here’s what I was reading:

Stephen @$@! King

Dean @@()% Koontz

Peter @!@)! Straub

Vincent @($@! Bugliosi

Mickey @#@!! Spillane

Elmore @@!) Leonard

In short, I read books that contained sex, violence, gore and boatloads of cussing. Why? Because holy @!$%, there were books about scary ass shit, hard core detectives, punching out bad guys and all sorts of things my then fifteen year old mind was interested in. None of those books had warning labels. I’d borrow them from the library and no librarian stopped me from taking them home. I was reading books. BOOKS! Holy crap … a teenager that was actually reading.

Martin Chilton, the author of the column writes:

But you would want the book to succeed or fail on its own merits, not because youngsters are enticed to read it in the expectation that there will be a lot of foul language. Does swearing have an impact on sales of a book, I wonder?

The short answer: @!!$ yes, but not because there’s any anticipation of foul language. They’d buy it and read it just to piss off their parents for shit sake.

So publishers take note – my next Young Adult novel, kindly forget about cover art. Just slap a big-ass crimson label on the front with a warning that my book contains swearing, sex, drugs, violence and scary-ass stuff. Please, please, please do this. It will get me more sales and then I can have a best selling novel, I will be able to afford a fur coat, a gold tooth and there might be enough left over for me to get new hair.


Teenagers swear. They have sex. They do all kinds of things that we parents used to do once upon a time when we were teens. Circle of life, man. Rite of passage. It’s called growing up. And sometimes when I read columns like Chilton’s, I think that maybe the adults need to grow up too.

Peace out, yo.


The Ultimate Book Promotion Tool For Authors


authorattentiongetterYes, YES! YES!!!

I have determined that if authors (men – this won’t work for women unless they alter the outfit and grow a biker moustache) dressed like this to their book launches/events/panels at cons, they would immediately be jettisoned to the top of the best seller lists! It should also be an author’s official photo as well.  (Thanks to Sharon Stogner for finding this pic and posting it on Facebook.)

Um …. the question remains as to whether my literary agent would attend a book launch if I showed up like this. Hmmm … probably. She’s pretty badass when you get a couple of belts of scotch in her belly.


A reader has pointed out another outfit that might work as well. Apparently it can be made by simply altering an extra large speedo. Again, a moustache is required to make this work.


Why Publishing is in Trouble – An Infographic


author marketing
*This infographic only applies to books OTHER than dino-erotica. That stuff sells like it’s nobody’s business.