In the late 80's/early 90's I wrote two books. Both true crime. The first was about a murder case in Cornwall in 1930 (Sarah Anne Hearn) and the second about the disappearance of school girl Genette Tate. Despite being a super story and that my research had uncovered all sorts of hitherto unknown facts, Mrs. Hearn went nowhere, although later on I sold an option on it to a small independent TV company. Westward TV picked up on Genette Tate, there was a TV documentary, but as far books of either were concerned, publishers were quick to say that true crime did not pay!

In 2007 I started “The Strange Michael Folmer Affair.” I tried an assortment of agents but although they said it was a good story and well written (which was encouraging) no one wanted it. And then I ran across Darin Jewell and his Inspira Agency.........





 
 
Perhaps the most blatant example of publishers' partiality to celebrity (at the expense of many very good and eminently publishable writers) is Random House's discreditable decision to publish the slimy Russell Brand's book in which he advocates beheading the new baby of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – our future King. My God, what have we come to?





 
 
"Charlie Artful" still progressing.  Another hang-up but moving on now and 61K words.  I don't know about having it ready for Christmas, thouugh.  Am having some probs with the website and will do more in agents etc soon as.....
 
 
The first mistake I made was in the late eighties when I signed up for what was called “The Writing School.” Why not be a writer, they asked? Why not indeed, so I sent the cheque. My 'tutor' was a lady called Diane Doubtfire(!). She was very kind but did not help a lot. I was encouraged to write articles for an assortment of periodicals and after a while I succeeded in getting a piece accepted by The Morning Advertiser – the organ of the pub trade. I was paid £50 and was over the moon! The Writing School sent a lot of booklets, but what they did not do was tell me how to sell what I had written or to get an agent. I may have been wrong (I often am) but I gave up on them after a few months. My English, grammar etc is not all that bad, I can plot a good story and to be honest my feeling was that the WS was waste of bloody time and I am still of that opinion.

Still, as I have said below, I went on to write masses of crap for an assortment of mags and was paid for them, but I can promise you it wasn't due to anything that The Writing School had done for me.

  Oh, by the way, yesterday's Telegraph has a piece about John Grisham. Why does he continue to write, he was asked? Well, he said, what else would I do? Get a hobby etc etc whish he wouldn't like so he's happy to get up early and write. The article goes on to say he gets $10 million per annum whether he writes or not. Frankly I would prefer a hobby. Or a yacht. Or a private plane. But then again, I have the bug so I would probably write anyway. Silly, isn't it?

  Plodding on with “Charlie Artful”. Slow but (quite) sure!

 
 

 
 
I think that it was G.K Chesterton (or it may have been Spike Milligan) who said that anyone who writes one single word for any purpose other than money is a fool indeed, but do you know I am not sure that this correct. Did HRH need the cash when he wrote 'The Old Man of Wherever-it-Was'? Of course not – any more than Miz Rowling needed it when she wrote her most recent stuff under an other name! No: the truth is that the need to write, to tell stories, is a bug, a drug, and probably as powerful as alcohol or heroin. And like narcotics, writing has its addicts – and, sadly, these poor creatures are open to exploitation.

Now I am an addict. A lifetime junkie. I wrote my first story when I was about ten years old and dreamed about writing ever since. I started relatively seriously in the eighties; for some years I was a regular contributor to a legal magazine, there were articles for newspapers and other periodicals (once for the Funeral Directors Monthly!) and some bits and pieces for TC for which I was paid but were never used. I sold an option on a true crime piece to a TV company (and had an agent for that) and started books – more about them later – circa 2007. Sadly though, by that time the world of publishing had changed and the world of celebrity had taken over and I soon understood that unless one was a footballer's wife with big tits, someone who had been thrown out of the Big Brother House, a disgraced MP or an illiterate criminal, the chances of getting published were all but nil.

And always there are those out there ready to profit from us poor, gullible addicts!

More about this later. “Charlie Artful” has emerged from its stagnation and is moving along. A good story and not too complicated like some crime fiction can be. Sales are no better – perhaps it's the time of the year?





 
 
Book sales are very slow and I am having a major hang-up with “Charlie Artful”. If anyone is remotely interested, in the coming weeks I am going to put a few bits on here about agents, how to get one (or not) pitfalls, and my experiences over many years with that aspect. This is mainly relative to self-publishing and how aspiring writers can be ripped off. You may find in interesting and I hope it is helpful. I will welcome comments of any sort.