2016 Forecast and the Art of Aiming High

Looking back on 2015 I think the one word that best sums up my writing career would be underwhelming. Sales figures could be counted on the fingers of one hand, and not necessarily a healthy hand at that. But part of this could be down the fact that I did virtually no promotion.

Well, what do you expect, you moron, I hear you mutter. I’m hoping that 2016 will be a little more active, so read on to discover what I’m planning to do.


1 – Publish the third Toten Herzen novel, There Will Be Blood.3-there-will-be-blood---v1

2 – Continue to push Who Among Us… and The One Rule of Magic with agents. Yes, I know I don’t stand a chance of acceptance on account of my lack of a double-barrelled surname and not having been to Oxbridge. But I could make something up. I could change my name to CM McHarrison and claim to be an alcoholic from Glasgow, tell them the books came to me in a drunken haze and are allegorical accounts of my struggles with the demon drink.

Or tell them my uncle is the Duke of Kent.

3 – Look out for more indie authors to review and interview. If I can’t help myself I can at least try to help someone else.

4 – Avoid Facebook and Twitter. They only work if you’re already famous.


1 – Establish a group of beta readers. I’m always reading about authors who say ‘oh, my beta readers do this and my beta readers do that,’ and I think get a load of you. Do they live in your cellar? My one and only foray into the world of beta readers led me to a guy who gave me technical advice on the best nail to use when nailing someone to a cathedral door. The lesson learnt: never accept someone’s offer to beta read if they use the words ‘go on, I’ll give it a go.’

2 – Publish my Alien Noise magazine. Six times a year. I told myself how much work can it be to produce an issue? The first issue was due out in November, put back to December and now January is looking iffy! The problem seems to be making time to write stuff for it. I’m having trouble thinking of ideas for this blog. I feel like the standards for the magazine have to be even higher.


But there are some really nice advertisements completed! And a major interview with a world famous bass guitarist!


All I have to do now is fill the other twenty-odd pages. And do it again and again five more times. I also had ideas for features about other up and coming bands/musicians and indie designers, be it fashion, jewellery or something similar. So, if you think you know someone who would like some exposure in the first edition of what might one day be a groundbreaking magazine, let me know.

3 – Extend my writing discipline to other times of the week. Writing fiction has a place in the afternoons and I stick to it without any problems. BUt everything else is purely hit and miss. I need to interact more on Goodreads and WordPress, and I need to build up a stock of articles for the blog (and the magazine). When I volunteered up at Samlesbury Hall I could make time when I finished; go off to a nearby pub and write stuff on the tablet. But since the Apocalyptic Renault of Death when belly up I was forced to buy a car that only does three gallons to the mile, so I can’t go wandering off hither and thither to random pubs to write blog articles.

It sounds like a weak excuse, but the pubs nearby play daft music, and staff at my regular writing cafe already think I live there.


1 – This is where ideas go into the red. I’ve interviewed indie authors for the blog, but what I’d love to do is interview someone famous. I have a list of names and their agents/managers and I will contact them this year to see if they could do an interview by email. (I post the questions to them; they answer in their own time.) I’m loathe to reveal who is on the list, but they include a German musician, a British comedian, a professor of quantum mechanics and an international film star with a devastating right hook.

2 – Crowdfund a Toten Herzen video. I’m not even going to say anything more because this is such a logistical non-starter.2016-hoax

3 – Orchestrate a book publicity stunt or a notorious hoax. Staying on the right side of the law is my main concern here. I need to go somewhere quiet to plan all this, but at the moment everywhere is flooded, and I’ve got so many plans devised in quiet places and few of them ever saw the light of day. Plus, having no money doesn’t really help. Hoaxes are expensive.

4 – Stop daydreaming.

So there we go. The search for reliable beta readers, the wherewithal to get the magazine published, a million and one stroke of luck to persuade a famous person to play ball and a quiet pub from which to plan a series of fiendish publicity stunts.

If I’m not writing about any this in December 2016 you’ll know some of it worked.

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11 thoughts on “2016 Forecast and the Art of Aiming High

  1. Chris:

    1. Alcoholic from Glasgow should work. You’ve convinced me. 🙂
    2. Good luck with the hoax. Hopefully it’s not one of those “fake your own deaths” hoaxes!
    3. Continue daydreaming. I know what you said, but I disagree. Daydreaming is the writer’s lifeblood. Continue daydreaming!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I admire anyone who compiles realistic resolutions. My own don’t quite fit that bill. Becoming a billionaire software engineer has been on my list for a while now, and I still don’t even work in IT. Still, I hope your 2016 round-up this time next year will be an intolerable smugfest of gloating and hand-rubbing. In the meantime, give yourself a break over the magazine. Anything that takes you away from writing your bread and butter shouldn’t be pressurising you at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the annoying thing about the magazine: can’t be any harder than writing stuff for the blog, and then I run out of ideas for the blog.

      I think Bill Gates became a software billionaire by a) buying other companies and b) poaching tech staff from other companies. So you don’t have to work in IT, just nick everything you can get your hands on. For a small fee I could teach you the rudimentaries of HTML. That would be a start.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your plan is admirable, especially the categories. It seems quite realistic, except I wonder if you’re setting yourself up for failure by intending to publish the magazine 6 times. Maybe 2 or 3 would be more realistic? I find it’s all I can do to crank out one or two blog posts a week. As for doing no promotion, I’m right there with you. Especially Facebook and Twitter — not for me! Right now I’m fiddling with my Amazon keywords/key phrases and hoping that will have a visible effect. We write on and hope!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always use the keywords Amazon suggests to place the book into the various sub-genres. At the moment I’m concentrating on Goodreads to trumpet the work.

      Maybe 2-3 times a year for the magazine is more achievable. The way things are going I might miss those deadlines too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve noticed that my books are in categories that seem to have been assigned by Amazon, probably based on words in my book descriptions, but also maybe the 7 keywords or key phrases we authors are allowed for each book. There’s an article that was part of a recent post in the Story Ape’s blog describing very clearly how to test and select these keywords or phrases. I tried it for the first book in my series (the free ebook), and will see what — if anything — happens as a result. There seems to be a mystique about Amazon keywords among indie authors. The “magic of algorithms” and all that. Who knows? Good luck with all your endeavours in 2016!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. On the flip side everyone in my network who has read/ is reading your books are/ have enjoyed them (myself included). Go to my groups on Goodreads and join Indie Revolution if you haven’t already. It’s a place where we can help you bump up those reviews. Sorry I haven’t got mine up yet but it will happen soon. Just been really rubbish at reading these last couple of months.

    Liked by 1 person

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