Want To Be a Writer?

Introduction    Part One    Part Two   Part Three   Part Four

Introduction

The first question a working writer is asked when they reveal their profession is, ‘Really – so what have you written then? Or ‘Really, what do you write about?’ Well, at least that’s the question I am always asked. It’s a simple and obvious question and it is fair to assume that unless you are Stephen King, or J.K Rowling, then few people will have heard of you, and so it needs answering. That means you either need to take the time to explain your books both patiently and as if that is the first time you had been asked that particular question, or tell them in the first place that you work for the Inland Revenue.

That usually stops any further enquiries but the problem there is that if somebody at the table does know who you are, or perhaps has been kind enough to buy one of your books, then you are going to appear to be an even bigger idiot than if you actually did work for the Tax Department. (Please note that I use the phrase ‘working writer’ here because that is what I am – it’s my day job. I’m not a teacher of creative writing or a professor of English in a University somewhere. I am a professional writer and I am assuming that if you are reading this then you may wish to have a similar job)

Over the years I have often been asked, by unpublished writers, how they should go about finding a publisher. I am also often asked the question, ‘what should I write about.’ And, whilst that is irritating; the chief reason being, ‘That’s your job,’ it is still a good question. (The main thing a writer has to do is to have the idea in the first place.) The answer, of course, is something that other people, your readers, will want to buy and then read and there are very simple ways to find out what that might be. To start with a writer has to consider their reader and what interests them. Can you come up with a book idea that will appeal to an 80 year old lady, a fifteen year old boy, a 25-year old girl and a middle aged man all at the same time? Because that is what you need to do, find as wide an audience as possible. Books about left handed, Norwegian badminton players will not enjoy big sales (with apologies to them)

A couple of years ago I was in a small, artistic town in South Africa and found myself at a table of half a dozen would-be writers who were all asking me those same questions, and more. And I had the answers because there are professional techniques and habits that a writer must adopt and over the years it seems I have adopted them, possibly without realising it. Somebody then said, ‘you should be teaching this. We don’t know any of this, no wonder I can’t get a reply from a publisher.’ And this made me stop to think for a while. He was right, they didn’t know any of this, but it was actually all quite simple. He was just doing all the wrong things. No wonder he couldn’t get a reply from a publisher indeed, I thought to myself, if that is how he is approaching them. ‘And with that subject matter?’ (Lesson number one – Nobody is really interested in your own life story. Unless you are Nelson Mandela and, you can trust me on this one, you are not.) Instead think about making your life story your final book, your autobiography. Once you have sold enough other books to justify one.

So I began to explain how to find an idea that a top publisher might be interested in commissioning. A subject they would see they could sell to as many people as possible. The questions kept coming and I began to start thinking that maybe I should offer a professional writer’s workshop and start sharing all this inside knowledge with as many people as possible. But one thing prevented me. It was fear! I was afraid that no-one would turn up or be interested in what I had to say. The same thing that most writers are afraid of.

So I asked my long time friend and illustrator Ama Page, who is usually quite blunt with her advice, ‘What would you say if I set up a writer’s workshop and started sharing the tips, techniques and habits I have picked up over the years,’ I expected her to say something along the lines of, ‘don’t you think that’s a bit self indulgent or presumptuous.’ Or perhaps, ‘hark at you Mr Know-It-All, but instead she replied, ‘What would I say? It’s about bloody time too is what I would say.’ That took me by surprise. ‘Are you sure,’ I said, ‘would anybody really turn up?’ ‘They better do,’ she told me. ‘After all, you know how it all works.’

And I suppose I do. After ten years of working with Random House, Harper Collins and, for the larger part, Penguin Books I must have picked up something along the way. So, I had been firmly encouraged to share my experiences as a professional writer with those who would like to also follow that particular path. Now, with five successful workshops behind me, I have also been encouraged, by Kindle Direct Publishing, to share those experiences on a much wider scale by releasing what are essentially the workshop notes that I give to all my writers (as I like to call them) in the form of this ebook.

I can only now hope this encourages you to develop the correct habits and to target the paying markets in a professional way. In 28,000 words time (that’s about 2 hours reading time and one month of writing time) you should certainly be better equipped to do so. You will definitely know how to prepare and submit a professional proposal as there is one of my own included in chapter three (I think). You can even have the idea as my gift.  As I said, I am not a teacher. I actually do this for a living and have plenty more ideas where that came from. And so could you have in a few hours time.

Albert Jack

Cape Town
September 2013

writerth

UK here   US here


Amazon Reviews

By Dr Johnson C. Philip (author of over 100 books)
I have been a committed writer now for four decades, and it all started when noticing my interest in writing I joined a course in journalism. One of the first things my mentor advised me was to keep reading books on writing. Thus I picked up this book with great expectation to find something new, in spite of me having read a hundred other books. I was not disappointed.The author of this books has substantial experience in writing, editing, and publishing and he is in a good position to explain the art of writing from three different angles — from that of a writer, and editor, and a publisher. That is what makes this book unique.He introduces the art of writing, and then a lot more. If want to be a writer and if you have never read any book on this topic, I suggest that you read this one. If you have read many, I suggest that you read this book in spite of that. The book has to offer something to every writer, whatever his level and experience might be.Highly Recommended!!

By Mary Crocco (Book Reviewer – Las Vegas)
Discovering Albert Jack’s book of advice for new writers came too late for my first book, but perfectly timed for my second. Packed with information and guidance, I took copious amounts of notes before concluding I needed the book in print, so I ordered a paperback.I found the most appreciated recommendation about writing narrative: to get the plot and ideas down first, and then add the dialogue. This relieves my current struggle of interrupting the flow of ideas while trying to write dialogue, the simple fact to write first and add dialogue later, works. I’ll try a chapter at a time, but the way my mind works, I’m confident in success.Unaware all submissions should be presented with 1.5 line spacing surprised me, I thought 2.0, double spacing.Consider reading, Want to be a Writer? Then Do It Properly by Albert Jack, because it includes easy and significant approaches for writers to develop their skill.

By Stephanie Millar (Australia)
If you want to read ONE book that has EVERYTHING you need to know before you turn on your computer and start the first chapter, then this is the book you need…so much information from this brilliant writer, you can’t go wrong.

Johann David Renner (Australia)
If I had come across this book years ago it would have saved me a lot of time and pain. In this book you find the knowledge and the wisdom many writers work out for themselves over a number of years. Of course, some never do, because they give up. This book starts with the basics, moves on to the really challenging stuff and provides answers to important questions: Why do you write? What about market research? What makes a book a good book? How do you find a publisher? So, ask yourself: Do you want to be a writer or do you just want to write? If you want to be a writer, reading this book can save you a lot of time and pain.

By Eamonn Kelly
This is a very useful book and I found it very informative. This is a useful book in focusing the mind on the whys and wherefores of creative writing and the publishing world.

Katy Brodsky
If you want to read ONE book that has EVERYTHING you need to know before you turn on your computer and start the first chapter, then this is the book you need…so much information from this brilliant writer, you can’t go wrong.

Rick Mercer
I’m not a writer but I want to learn enough to have a good blog.
Reading this book by Albert Jack gave me lots of good tips.
Now I’m anxious to start using his suggestions.

D Jones (Boston)
Book is very down to Earth, and inspiring for armature writers. I would recommend this book to anyone that is still in closet about being a writer.

Cygnet Brown
This book was not what I had expected at all. If you’re looking for a book that makes fun of the craft, then this your book, but if you are looking for an instruction on how to be a writer, look for another of the zillions of other titles that gives more substance.

Hans John
There are so many writers out there. Some read books and their new books are not more than summaries of what they read elsewhere.

Albert Jack is different. What impressed me most here was that a writer who is able to live by the income of his books gives advise. Albert Jack is not a dreamer. He writes every day and he states and gives hope to the millions out there who want to be a successful writer, too: Everybody can become a good writer. Talent is good but regular practice and daily writing makes the difference between a nobody and a popular writer.

The first look at the cover did not attract my attention. It looked like the design effort of a child. This book needs no professional design. Its content is enough to make it a “must read”.

It is interesting to see and understand how publishing houses work. The way they choose a book to be publish out of thousands of manuscripts. But I will not quote too much. Read and learn yourself.

Part Four of ‘Want to be a Writer? Then do it Properly’

Introduction    Part One    Part Two   Part Three   Part Four

They Don’t Write Themselves You Know!

The book proposal you have just read is exactly how a writer should present their work, every time. From now onwards you should only ever use a neat and clean font like Times or Arial and in black. All submissions should also be presented with 1.5 line spacing. Nothing screams amateur or first time submission quite like bold pink or dingbats or any other ‘attention seeking’ tactic. Keep it plain, readable and professional, although you can include illustrations if they are good enough. Finally, you do not have to spend much time editing as all publishers have their own editors anyway. They are not looking for the odd miss-spelt word or misplaced comma; they are looking for content and saleability. It is not an English exam. I have a friend who has spent over 10 years editing and re-editing his story and I keep reminding him that a commissioning editor doesn’t want to see the whole manuscript at this stage anyway, they only want a half hour read to see if the idea is saleable. If it is then they will ask for more samples or perhaps the whole manuscript. Get the idea down, get it submitted and get on with something else. The days of labouring over your story, and perfecting it before presenting the whole thing to a publisher, have long passed.

Although there are no right and wrong ways to actually write a book, no rules and regulations, there are tips, techniques and definitely things to avoid, at all costs, that will reveal your manuscript to be an amateur attempt at first glance. To begin with then, start by setting aside some of your free time every day and a chose a regular workplace. The discipline of writing has to come first, actually sitting down and writing, rather than carrying a story around in your head and waiting for the right moment of inspiration to hit you like a thunderbolt. Hoping you will then sit down and the whole thing will come pouring out, is not the way a professional writer approaches their projects. Books are never written like that, or very rarely are. (American Beat writer Jack Kerouac claimed that his classic novel On The Road was written in only ten days, a claim that prompted Truman Capote’s classic remark, ‘that isn’t writing, that’s typing.’)

Instead books take craft, discipline and concentration over a very long period of time. You may only have time to write for a few hours every day but try not to miss a writing session, even if it is only every other day. Routine is far more important and valuable to a writer than inspiration. Actually getting on with the writing is how and when the complete story will emerge. This can be the fun part. But be prepared to re-write, cut, cancel and change anything, but don’t delete anything completely. Keep all unused passages in a separate file full of ideas and notes. They may work perfectly at a later stage in a part, or scene, that, as yet, hasn’t even been thought of. This is the craft of writing. If you are in your writing space, both physically and mentally, then you do not have to look for inspiration. If it knows where you are and at what time you will be there, then it will find you.

In the first place you need to have done some research and read anything you can, fact or fiction, about the subject or story that is being considered. Start by writing a 2000 word outline explaining the characters and the story line. There doesn’t have to be a snappy beginning or surprising ending  at this stage but you will have to have the basic story. A great way to get stated, with a blank page in front of you, is to describe the setting for your novel and make it feel real. Is it set in Boston between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day? Is it set on the moon in the year 2050 or is it historic? Is it a western? Write down the dates, the location and anything else descriptive, such as the house, the school or hospital. Describe what you can see and all of these passages can be dropped into the story at the correct place later on, so they will not be wasted words. Secondly, describe your characters and give them authentic international names. All of this preparation can be the most enjoyable part.

Cowboys, for example, are not called Mzeki or Dennis. Victorian nurses are not called Kylie or Zoe. Write a description of the characters and bring them alive in both your imagination and upon the page. Decide who likes who and who are in conflict with each other as you create them. Perhaps they will appear later in the story instead of from the very beginning. Be careful not to over elaborate here but within a few sessions your characters and their environment will be taking shape. You will have a clearer idea of who and where they are, even if you are still not sure what exactly they are going to be doing together. That will come during later writing sessions too.

Once you have your characters, a date and a setting established you can begin by writing a book review of your own planned book. Imagine the Sunday Times writing one next year, after it has been published. A good reviewer should be able to understand the entire story line and highlight the key components in between one and two thousand words. If a writer can do that before actually starting then they know they have a book waiting to be written. Whether it is any good or not remains to be seen but a writer will be able to understand enough of their own story to begin crafting the central theme, chapters, plots and sub plots.

Do some characters never meet each other and only exist alongside each other, affecting each other’s lives without any awareness of doing so? Are they lovers who are affecting each others lives deliberately, for the better or worse?  A writer needs to have the general story established before writing and, once they do, each scene, chapter and event can be written as the inspiration or ideas present themselves. If the ideas are flowing then note them down and develop them later. That makes starting the next writing stage very easy. In some cases you will be racing home from work because you know exactly what you are going to be writing and can’t wait to start, even if it is a funeral scene.

Connecting scenes together can come later. It may be late in the story when it becomes obvious that the funeral scene, for example, should be the opening chapter. Or it may be better as the last scene. It doesn’t matter at this stage where it will end up in the storyline, as long as it is written. From this early work your book will begin to take shape. It will open up in front of you and more ideas, plots, twists and turns will become apparent, if not obvious. Start writing; don’t wait for that killer opening line because you don’t need one until the end. Regular routine is the only way a book will be written. No excuses, no cop outs. Be in your writing space at the same time every day and be working on something. Anything.

Ten Things to Avoid with a Passion

1. Never start with a prologue or a preface. Setting the entire scene in advance is lazy and, instead, the story should be told through the dialogue and narrative.

2. Never ever start with a dream, where your lead character wakes up in a cold sweat with a premonition or a determination to prevent the dream becoming reality. Readers feel cheated when this is revealed at the end of the first chapter, however well written it is, to find out that none of it was real. Publishers don’t feel cheated; they wearily toss it in the bin.

3. Do not spend too much time explaining the ‘important story’ and trying to make sure the reader, agent or publisher doesn’t miss the point. Scatter it around throughout the storyline and don’t dump it all in at once. Reading through ‘background information’ is not what a reader wants. If a writer feels as though the reader couldn’t possibly misunderstand something then they have probably gone too far. Give your reader some credit. After all, they paid for it, so assume they understand you.

4. Keep descriptions as short as possible. Endless pages describing the sunset, or city, or lead characters are boring and unnecessary. The central character or location should appear often enough for a thorough description anyway. For example this line could appear halfway through a story. ‘Dan sat back and rolled a joint, as he often did when he was nervous.’ So now we know Dan also likes to smoke weed at certain times and we didn’t need to know that in the first page along with everything else about him.

This is character redevelopment and the reader likes to learn more about their favourite characters as they go along. The final line could be a surprising revelation. ‘And so, with great consideration and a steady nerve, Dan decided this was the right time to tell his wife he has been gay since he was sixteen years old.’ Now, ok, that might not seem to be a great last line because the reader will want to know how she reacted to the news. But, in the context of the story, it may be a great last line. What if she already knew and he was unaware of that?

5. Attract your reader’s imagination but keep it simple and easy. Fewer words are better and long sentences are not always dramatic. You want the reader to see the characters and setting in their heads and be keen to know what happens on the next page. Just tell them a story but only use words you yourself would use. As often as possible, you want the reader to think, ‘I didn’t see that one coming.’

6.
Always write with imaginary readers sitting at your shoulder. There is no point in writing hoping nobody will ever read it, so pre-empt them. Imagine what your husband or mother might think when they read your sex scene. Imagine what your children or nephew and nieces will think when they read your drugs scene. But never sanitise it, ever. Just be aware of the likely reaction and this is a good way to self edit, as you write. Imaginary readers of any age and sex are the best critics in the world whilst the writer is writing. At that point they are the only critics.

7. Take your time. Do not rush into the main plot, build up to it. A writer may not even discover it until they get there anyway. It depends on the content of the story but if, for example, it is about a powerful businessman who has an affair with his secretary, gets caught, divorced and then fired (cheesy I know) then don’t start with his schooldays, start with his wedding day, or the day the new secretary started work.

8. Dialogue can go on for too long. There is nothing wrong with dialogue, the more the better, but break it up with narrative. There is nothing worse than a three page conversation between two characters.

9. Decide whether to write in the third person as an observer or in the first person as a narrator. Then stick to it. You can’t do both.

10. Don’t repeat yourself or refer to the past too often. Keep moving the story forwards, at pace. But take your time about it. Remember, it will take a writer ALL DAY to write what can be read in ten minutes. That’s about three pages of a book or one thousand words.

Opening Lines

Opening lines are very important but you don’t need one in order to get started. It may appear out of the blue as part of a later chapter. Great opening lines are priceless but avoid the obvious, be original. ‘It was a dark and stormy night,’ is probably all that will be read of your proposal. And a commissioning editor will not go much further than, ‘Dan woke in a cold sweat,’ or ‘as they sat watching the beautiful African sunset’ etc. Think about it and pick up as many books as you can, especially the classics, and read the opening lines.

Ten Famous Opening lines

  1. The Village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there.’ In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  2.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of compassion only. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens.
  3. Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins.
  4. In the Lenin Barracks in Barcelona, the day before I joined the militia, I saw an Italian militiaman standing in front of the officer’s table. Homage to Catalonia – George Orwell.
  5. He lay flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway.
  6.  I was born in 1914 in a solid, three-storey, brick house in a large Midwest city. Junky – William Burroughs.
  7.  I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. On The Road – Jack Kerouac.
  8.  We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson.
  9.  My Mother died today. Or it may have been yesterday; I can’t be sure. Albert Camus – The Stranger
  10.  I was not at all curious about who she was, but rather took her for granted at once. Franz Kafka – The Trial

As a Writer is Working – Structure and balance

Once you have organised your files, opened a Working Draft file, a New Ideas File and Research Material File and, armed with knowledge we have, it is time to address the elephant in the room and begin writing. Open the page and list the five or six main themes of your book. In under two thousand words a writer should be able to outline their book idea sufficiently for anybody else to understand it, especially a commissioning editor. If there is more than one idea then outline the others too. It is a start to work that will prove useful later on. Once the outline, or synopsis is complete read it back, possibly out loud, and consider these questions.

1. Is it balanced? If you have written 1500 words outlining four main areas then you should have around 350 on each, not 1000 on one and 500 shared between the other three topics.

2. Is it clear? Does it read nicely, are you explaining your idea?

3. Is it true? If your examples (non-fiction) are simply lifted from the internet then your publisher will probably realise this. If not now then somewhere along the line they will. If they find out after publication and somebody from the other side of the world says, ‘hey, I wrote that on my web page five years ago, word for word,’ then you are in big trouble. Don’t think you can do that.

4. Is it useful information? (again non-fiction)

5. Is it entertaining? If the writer doesn’t enjoy reading their material back to themselves, then it is quite likely no-body else will either. If you have created something fabulous then you will never tire of reading it. If it bores you, the writer, then it is not fabulous. Now, to clarify that; I am sure Paul McCartney doesn’t sit around all day listening to Beatles records, but I suspect he doesn’t turn over when they come on the car radio either and say to himself, ‘I am bored of hearing that.’ He won’t be.

If the answer is yes to all of the above questions then you are off to a good start. Begin a writing routine and keep to it, even if it is only for an hour a day at this stage. It is surprising how the words start mounting up even if a writer only has time for two hundred a day. With a regular routine even that small amount will give you around 3000 words within two weeks and by then, an idea will be taking shape. Carry a note pad and make notes, jot down thoughts and suggestions all the time, everywhere you go, because interesting ideas arrive at all sorts of odd times. Driving home, at the cinema, a chance comment by a friend in a restaurant or even over hearing somebody who is not even talking to you are all a possible sources of inspiration. In fact, everything a writer does is, as long as they are tuned in and the radar is switched on.

Always read through the previous session’s work before beginning a new session, or as part of that new session. It is surprising how daily self editing can improve writing skills and strengthen stories. For example, if a writer only targets themselves two hundred words a day then editing the last session’s work could easily add another two hundred and that’s the new session done, finished. Be patient and try to remember the golden rule; Keep It Simple. Don’t try to be clever, resist the urge to show those imaginary readers behind you how clever you are. And only use words you yourself would use in a conversation.

Just explain and entertain. Tell the story in a simple voice as you would explain it to a friend and release the emotions as you would naturally. The joy, humour, the sadness, regrets. By keeping their prose simple and believable writers usually find that their readers then believe them, and that is a very good thing. Finally, avoid localising anything apart from the environment (obviously), Mention Cape Town by all means but avoid apartheid, segregation, politics and forget all about local slang words apart from during the dialogue, conversations between people. Other than that it should be Standard English for everybody to understand!

Writer’s Block

Is something I don’t believe in. Poor tortured souls staring painfully at their page waiting for inspiration? Just start writing anything down. I see this as connecting the brain to the fingers. Although a good way of getting started each day is by leaving the final sentence of yesterday’s word count unfinished. That means that when a writer starts work on a new session they are already in the middle of something. Self editing the previous session also helps a writer to get started again. But just get started, because they don’t write themselves. Somebody, in this case you, has to write it, whatever it is. In the worst case scenario researching a subject will help get a scene or passage going again, or perhaps write an email to an imaginary friend explaining what you were doing with your story yesterday and then, obviously, don’t send it.

Sometimes just writing a diary helps to connect the brain with the fingers and the words soon flow, if you have the discipline to show up for work, sit down and write in the first place. It doesn’t matter even if the pages you end up with are unusable. Professional writers have  files full of unused material dating back, in my case, twenty years. Sometimes I scroll through some old work and embarrass myself with how bad it is. Writing improves writers and constant practice really does pay off. Write something every day and you will soon be looking back on the old work and feel equally embarrassed by how bad it is but, encouraged by how much better you are.

When working on a long project, such as a commissioned 70,000-word book, there will definitely be days when you just can’t face opening up the page and I experience this regularly. But this is not writer’s block, this is bone idleness. Right now we are 15970 words into this book and I am at home here in Cape Town. It is around 2pm and there is nothing I would like more than to go out into the sunshine or sit back with a glass of wine and read something else for the rest of the afternoon. But here I am, finishing what I have started. I read an article yesterday on the CNN website (or something) reporting that National Novel Writing Month was in full swing again. Writers had been challenged to complete a 50,000 word novel during the month and that last year, the report happily confirmed, of the 120,000 who entered nearly 30,000 completed the challenge. But what that really reveals to me is that 90,000 writers out of 120,000, three quarters of them, did exactly what I want to do right now, which is to open a bottle of something, sit in an armchair and be bone idle. But I am still here.

Whilst that outcome is a very familiar one to me, I suppose the website’s enthusiasm should be understood because it means that nearly 30,000 of the writers did complete the job and they should all be applauded for that, whoever won it. It proved that 30,000 of them were also still working whilst the rest went to the pub, even if they were only plodding along with a low word count. But, there does come a point for all writers where enough is enough and the day is over. If a writer can no-longer concentrate and explain what it is they are trying to articulate for others then it is time to stop, take a break, re-read their work with a critical eye, start editing and then be ready to begin again the following day.

This week’s assignment

Re-write the notes for chapter four (above) in your own words. No less than 500 words and no more than 1500 words. This is a useful exercise as it will re-focus on the chapter and help develop an explanatory style and a discipline for work. Try not to do it all on Sunday afternoon. Try to set aside an hour a day, every day, and aim for around 250 words during each session. Finally, dream up ten captivating opening lines. It could be absolutely anything at all. Open with dialogue ‘Oh my gosh, that’s massive,’ exclaimed Melanie, as the UPS driver handed over her parcel. Or narrative, ‘The look upon Melanie’s face as she was handed the parcel by the UPS driver is hard to describe. She certainly hadn’t been expecting any deliveries.’ Have fun with it and invent ten very different opening lines of your own. Be as imaginative or as cheeky as you like, just make them good and then tell somebody so that you can see their reaction. It’s all part of the process.

Opening lines for fun. (That I just made up)

‘Kill the White’s’ screamed the poster that had recently been pasted at the bus station. Mr and Mrs White hurried away when they saw it.’

‘How about next Tuesday? That could be a good day for what you have in mind.’

No-body could imagine the scale of relief the entire community felt when the news was first announced.

Nobody imagined the level of panic that would set in. And people change when they panic.

‘You want to put what, where?’ asked the nervous minister.

‘If you think that is going to make any difference then go ahead. But don’t say I haven’t warned you.’

As the boat pulled into the harbour Jack was able to imagine, for the first time, the future.

‘Oh my gosh, that’s massive,’ exclaimed Joy.

Jack soon realised that it would probably be the only time it ever happened.

Wherever I travelled, whatever scam or profession I was engaged in, I always  eventually found myself on the road back to Penlevan, the sleepy village in Dorset from where I had come.

writerth

UK here   US here


Amazon Reviews

By Dr Johnson C. Philip (author of over 100 books)
I have been a committed writer now for four decades, and it all started when noticing my interest in writing I joined a course in journalism. One of the first things my mentor advised me was to keep reading books on writing. Thus I picked up this book with great expectation to find something new, in spite of me having read a hundred other books. I was not disappointed.The author of this books has substantial experience in writing, editing, and publishing and he is in a good position to explain the art of writing from three different angles — from that of a writer, and editor, and a publisher. That is what makes this book unique.He introduces the art of writing, and then a lot more. If want to be a writer and if you have never read any book on this topic, I suggest that you read this one. If you have read many, I suggest that you read this book in spite of that. The book has to offer something to every writer, whatever his level and experience might be.Highly Recommended!!

By Mary Crocco (Book Reviewer – Las Vegas)
Discovering Albert Jack’s book of advice for new writers came too late for my first book, but perfectly timed for my second. Packed with information and guidance, I took copious amounts of notes before concluding I needed the book in print, so I ordered a paperback.I found the most appreciated recommendation about writing narrative: to get the plot and ideas down first, and then add the dialogue. This relieves my current struggle of interrupting the flow of ideas while trying to write dialogue, the simple fact to write first and add dialogue later, works. I’ll try a chapter at a time, but the way my mind works, I’m confident in success.Unaware all submissions should be presented with 1.5 line spacing surprised me, I thought 2.0, double spacing.Consider reading, Want to be a Writer? Then Do It Properly by Albert Jack, because it includes easy and significant approaches for writers to develop their skill.

By Stephanie Millar (Australia)
If you want to read ONE book that has EVERYTHING you need to know before you turn on your computer and start the first chapter, then this is the book you need…so much information from this brilliant writer, you can’t go wrong.

Johann David Renner (Australia)
If I had come across this book years ago it would have saved me a lot of time and pain. In this book you find the knowledge and the wisdom many writers work out for themselves over a number of years. Of course, some never do, because they give up. This book starts with the basics, moves on to the really challenging stuff and provides answers to important questions: Why do you write? What about market research? What makes a book a good book? How do you find a publisher? So, ask yourself: Do you want to be a writer or do you just want to write? If you want to be a writer, reading this book can save you a lot of time and pain.

By Eamonn Kelly
This is a very useful book and I found it very informative. This is a useful book in focusing the mind on the whys and wherefores of creative writing and the publishing world.

Katy Brodsky
If you want to read ONE book that has EVERYTHING you need to know before you turn on your computer and start the first chapter, then this is the book you need…so much information from this brilliant writer, you can’t go wrong.

Rick Mercer
I’m not a writer but I want to learn enough to have a good blog.
Reading this book by Albert Jack gave me lots of good tips.
Now I’m anxious to start using his suggestions.

D Jones (Boston)
Book is very down to Earth, and inspiring for armature writers. I would recommend this book to anyone that is still in closet about being a writer.

Cygnet Brown
This book was not what I had expected at all. If you’re looking for a book that makes fun of the craft, then this your book, but if you are looking for an instruction on how to be a writer, look for another of the zillions of other titles that gives more substance.

Hans John
There are so many writers out there. Some read books and their new books are not more than summaries of what they read elsewhere.

Albert Jack is different. What impressed me most here was that a writer who is able to live by the income of his books gives advise. Albert Jack is not a dreamer. He writes every day and he states and gives hope to the millions out there who want to be a successful writer, too: Everybody can become a good writer. Talent is good but regular practice and daily writing makes the difference between a nobody and a popular writer.

The first look at the cover did not attract my attention. It looked like the design effort of a child. This book needs no professional design. Its content is enough to make it a “must read”.

It is interesting to see and understand how publishing houses work. The way they choose a book to be publish out of thousands of manuscripts. But I will not quote too much. Read and learn yourself.

Part Three of ‘Want To Be a Writer? Then Do It Properly’

Introduction    Part One    Part Two   Part Three   Part Four

The first four of eight professional writer modules will be published here on a weekly basis. Between them the entire workshop should only take 90 minutes to read and, hopefully, to understand. Please feel free to post, repost, tweet, facebook or use any other social media network you belong to and spread the word. Albert Jack – December 2013

Chapter 3 – Market Research – What is the Publisher Looking For?

The answer to this question is as obvious as it is easy. All publishers, large and small, are looking for the next book that will, hopefully, sell one hundred thousand copies and beyond. Naturally, the professional publishers realise that these opportunities, for that is how they would regard a unique book proposal, are very rare indeed. In fact, it is about as likely to happen as it would be for J.K. Rowling to walk in one day and declare, ‘I’ve decided to write ‘The Further Adventures of Harry Potter,’ would you like to publish it for me?’

Realistically, publishing houses are all looking for a book proposal that will sell between five and ten thousand copies because that is their popular, or ‘bread and butter,’ market. This is why there are so many special interest books available because experience has shown them that they are likely to sell over ten thousand copies of, for example, ‘Manchester United – The European Cup Diary.’ Publishers know that out of the millions of fans Manchester United have the world over there is a high chance that ten thousand, or more, passing through airports or buying Christmas and birthday presents will pick up a copy for either themselves or others.

Publish a couple of hundred of those types of books every year and they are making money. The author, on the other hand, is not. And that is why this is not contrary to the point made earlier about alienating every other football fan in the world and limiting the natural market for your book, even though it now looks like a good way to get published. Although this is the sensible way for a publisher to approach their industry it is still not a sensible way for a professional author.

Every time a book proposal, especially from a debut author, attracts the attention of a commissioning editor the process from there is always exactly the same. The author will receive a standard ‘thank you’ email in reply suggesting that the idea will be considered. Then, the editor will do some research of his or her own before the next editorial meeting which will be held on a Thursday afternoon. I don’t know why, but they always are, perhaps it is tradition, perhaps it has something to do with Thursday lunchtime being a traditional deadline to submit something current to the printing company, or book designers. Whatever the reason is, Thursdays are book proposal meeting days. Perhaps it is because Fridays are reserved for lunch.

Now, if the particular editor you submitted to already has a couple of ideas to present to the meeting, for that is all he or she will have time for, then your idea will be held back until the following week, or even later. This is the reason it may take a month or so for a proper, considered response, unless you have a great idea that the editor can see resulting in 100,000 sales or more. And that is why your market needs to be as unlimited as possible. That book about Man United might have taken months to get to the editorial meeting room because, in reality, that book would only have to be ready for publication a few weeks after the cup final, which means it would have been submitted the year before that and written during the season. However, when Man Utd do not win the cup in the end, it is going to be scrapped anyway. See how that wasn’t such a good idea after all now that we are starting to understand how the publishing industry works.

Unless, of course, the writer has already done all the work, finished the manuscript and Manchester United do win the cup in the end. Then it’s a great idea to have a book like that ready to go to print within days. I once knew a very well known actor who is, like me, a Chelsea supporter. Some years ago he told me he was writing a very funny diary about his adventures following Chelsea through every single game they played anywhere in the world, throughout one particular season. And off he went. There were cold winter nights in Grimsby and cold hostile hotels in Eastern Europe. He is very funny guy so I am sure it was a very funny book. But did it ever get published? I think you know the answer to that. Despite all his time, effort and money invested in ‘making it happen;’ it didn’t happen. Probably because Chelsea didn’t win anything and the publisher could not see a wide marketplace for it. And he would have found all of that out a year later.

But, back to that editorial meeting! By the time the editor sits down in front of her fellow commissioning editors she will have done a little research on your book proposal. She will know how many books you have sold. None. She will know how many books with a similar theme have sold during the previous few years. Hopefully many. She will also know how many books with a similar theme her own company has sold and she will know which audience the book will be trying to attract. This last point is an important one because she will also know that the first question her managing editor/director will ask her, if he likes the sound of the proposal, will be. ‘Who is going to read that book and who is going to buy it.? And if the answer is ‘Afrikaans speaking butterfly collectors’ then she also knows she is going to feel rather silly shortly afterwards.

So, after we have decided on a few ideas that we feel are strong enough to be presented for the international publishing industry we need to start doing our research. Firstly, ask the question, do I have any personal experience about the subject? It doesn’t matter if not but if you do then make a note to inform your commissioning editor. She needs all the information she can have about the book’s audience and its author for her own presentation at that meeting. Try to make it easy for her. If you don’t have any personal experience in the subject then there is no harm in exaggerating a little, but no telling lies. ‘I have been a big fan of steam trains since I was a small boy’ is one thing. ‘I drove steam trains for thirty years’ is quite another, if it is not true.

The Structure of our Thoughts

One of the best ways to gather market research about a book idea is to ask your friends. ‘Would you be interested in a book about….?’ I do it all the time and even sometimes ask complete strangers. I just did it with you with the idea for ‘Beware False Prophets’ and I am not worried about anybody stealing it. Go for it! I am sure I am not the only writer in the world who has had that idea. And I have others. Perhaps even send your friends and family a copy of the book proposal. It may seem a little awkward at first but you will usually be surprised and encouraged by the positive feedback you get. Although it isn’t always positive. We all have friends and family who are naturally negative in their enthusiasm and wouldn’t want to see your hopes and aspirations raised unrealistically.

But this is fine too. Keep focussed and positive and one small comment here and there can lead to new ideas and stronger proposals. I often say that the best book ideas come to people during a pub conversation. Probably because I was in the pub when I had my best book idea but I am not the only one. Open discussion, awareness and other people pitching in with ideas is always good market research to include with a book proposal. You will be surprised how many people enjoy being part of the process of creating a book, especially when there is little or no chance that they themselves would have the discipline to see it through to completion.

Preparing for Work

My friends and relatives are all familiar with the expression ‘they don’t write themselves you know.’ They have heard me say that often enough when turning down lunch, golf, drinking or any of my other serious hobbies. Now is the time a professional writer begins by preparing themselves. The first thing to do is organise work space, open word files and pages, gather information and begin by writing about the book. Who would want to read it? Who would want to buy it? What is it about? These questions can be posed as bullet points and a writer then begins to answer them for their own benefit. At this point a writer will be reading as much about the subject as possible and ideas and structures will soon start to form.

But no book is ever written from the beginning to the end or, at least, rarely is. Start by writing passages that come to mind as they come to mind, and not with the introduction. A working draft file can be opened and all thoughts, information and ideas added to it. Then a draft manuscript file can be opened which will eventually become the proposal. Any writer will only need between three and four thousand words before a book structure begins to form naturally. But you must have the words – it doesn’t help to be only thinking and making notes. Start writing! A writer will also only need the same amount, four thousand word, as sample material, to submit to a publisher at this stage, along with a well written proposal or introduction. The important aspect is to keep writing, every day, even if it is only a few hundred words. Momentum can take a little time to gather pace. A writer knows when there is enough for a professional proposal, perhaps by circulating it amongst friends and colleagues and carefully considering the feedback. The moment somebody responds with ‘that’s a great idea’ or ‘yes I see exactly what you mean’ then it means you have done enough for them to understand the point of your book and that will probably then be enough for a commissioning editor too.

For example; the following is a genuine book proposal my agent has submitted on my behalf to Random House in London and Penguin Books in New York. There is a good reason for showing you this and that is to reveal what a professional book proposal looks like. There a few matters to consider here. The first is that these publishers already know who I am and so for me to include a short author biog would be ridiculous. They would probably regard that as sarcasm and that is not a good thing. First time authors will need a short biog but it can be as short as. ‘Albert Jack is 39 years old and has been a school teacher for twenty years. He has two children and currently lives in London.’ That would do. The other matter to consider is that mine is a non- fiction proposal. Novels will need to be described by way of a 1500 -2000 word précis with a similar word count by way of example as this is a proposal for a story of fiction. Practise for this by reading quality book reviews that outline an entire novel in only 1000 words. The Sunday Times website is a good place to do this. Novels will also need sample paragraphs or chapters in order to demonstrate the author’s writing style.

Now, I am not pretending that the example I use here will be enough to secure a book deal. But it is enough to submit to a commissioning editor for consideration. Long gone are the days of writing the whole book, printing out the manuscript, submitting and waiting for an answer. At this stage, just the outline and some samples is more than enough to attract the attention of an editor or agent and any writer could do half a dozen of these in a month.


The Meaning of Dreaming
approx 60,000 words

By Albert Jack © 2012

There are many common themes for dreams shared by most, if not all, of us at some time in our lives. Sometimes these are striking and vivid, to the point where later in life they can be remembered as clearly as a real personal memory. And there are the familiar dreams we all share, such as falling or being chased. And we all have recurring dreams of a similar nature but varying in forms.

Such as, in my case, continually finding myself disconnected with the people I am with, perhaps going past in the other direction on a busy road, or in a different hotel corridor or perhaps I can see them in another building, but each time I catch up with them, they have gone in the opposite direction to look for me and now I can see them almost exactly where I was only moments earlier.

We never do meet up, instead I wake up wondering why I keep having that dream and intending to find out what it means and if, in fact, real dreams (not daydreams) actually ever come true. And that has led me, eventually, to The Meaning of Dreaming and within these pages I hope to answer that and many other questions we all wake up to first thing in the morning.

The Meaning of Dreaming will be cartoon illustrated with humorous interpretations of my text. The target audience is the gift buying public of Christmas 2013 and for many years beyond. The intention is to earn a place on the front tables of book shops and take the subject of dream interpretation away from the Mind, Body and Spirit sections and onto the gift/humour shelves for the first time. It is possible that a book written about this subject, which has universal appeal, may never need to be updated. But it could easily be added to.


The Meaning of Dreaming by Albert Jack

Examples

Being Chased
This is often a sign of insecurity, especially in children. Something that happened is leading to guilt and fear of being caught one day. It appears the dreamer is attempting to run away or leave something far behind but has been unable to either forgive themselves or cope very well with their shame, even if nobody else is aware of the event troubling them. Children experiencing this dream have quite often been found to be the victims of bullying. Freud had a radical explanation, as usual, claiming men were running from the fear of castration and women from sexual attackers they may have encouraged, either unwittingly or through initial flirtation. Native American Indians, or Real Americans, as I call them as all the others are relatively recent immigrants, believe a dreamer should turn on their pursuer, confront and unmask them. The belief is you will then find your fears to be less frightening than you imagine. To dream of being involved in a chase often also means you are hardworking, ambitious and will eventually be well rewarded for your efforts.

Falling
There are many variations of the falling dream and they can mean different things to different folk. For example, if you have fallen out of a tree some believe this will lead to a loss of a job or other career. Others are certain that if they fall over in the dirt, in dreamland, then in conscious life they need to be alert to treachery and deceit by another person. Falling into water indicates personal danger although falling into a fountain signifies great honour and personal gain. I’ve experienced this myself although, unfortunately, not whilst I was asleep and there was no great honour for me in this outcome.

Falling into a ditch warns of sudden danger and falling from a great height indicates you will never marry. Although I would question that, as that is exactly what happened to me after I got divorced. To a trader it suggests bankruptcy, to a sailor it warns of shipwreck and falling without landing suggests the onset of depression.

Being Famous
Many people dream of being famous, as the current British television schedules will prove, and it is always a bad thing. Many people become famous by being good at something or working hard on a talent their whole lives, such as a guitarist, sportsman or entertainer might and who then rightly deserve the fame and attention they receive. To dream of being a famous guitarist is a good thing, and takes years or hard work and practise. To dream of being famous for the sake of being famous is a bad thing and often indicates a change of lifestyle for the worse, or great personal loss is on the horizon. To dream of being a writer is to be an idiot, as its hard work I tell you. To dream that a friend or family member has become famous suggests you will in some way be badly let down and disappointed with them.

Being Naked
Dreaming of seeing a naked man suggests terror, or fear. Or in my case revulsion. However, dreaming of a naked woman who is fair and beautiful signifies great joy or honour, which means I must be the happiest man in the land because I am always dreaming of that. But, dreaming of an old and ugly woman suggests bad luck, shame and eventual repentance and I have nothing to worry about there. A husband dreaming of seeing his wife naked suggests impending deceit, although I am sure that’s as close as most husbands are going to get anyway, although if a wife dreams of her naked husband it would suggest great success in her adventures in life.

Dreaming of a naked prostitute suggests great danger ahead and I recommend you do not wake up from that one with words, ‘darling, guess what I was dreaming about?’ because great danger won’t be very far ahead at all, I promise you. Dreaming of a naked friend will lead to arguments, which seems obvious, and a woman who dreams she is naked in her husband’s arms could suggest bad news is on its way. Sometimes dreaming of yourself naked implies insecurity and a fear of disapproval.

Debt
To pay a debt in dreamland usually means you have been careless with money and lost some, perhaps by gambling, But be aware of someone paying you a debt as this could mean a friend or family member is about to ask for a loan, which should be avoided as their accompanying reason will be false.

Being Dead
If you dream of being dead then you should wake up in a good mood as this usually means you will live a long, healthy and prosperous life in some comfort. If you appear dead and buried as you dream then you may inherit great wealth and property in your lifetime, however, if dead relatives return in your dreams it can mean you are grieving the loss of a relationship or perhaps have been the victim of an assault. To dream you are standing next to a dead relative or friend would indicate marriage is imminent and talking to dead people in your dreams indicates a clear conscience and personal courage. When you dream of being robbed by a dead person some people believe that means you are about to lose a close friend or relative and simply seeing a dead person in your dreams means your relationship is a sham or you will be the victim of another great con, which is one and the same thing really.

writerth

Albert Jack books available for download here

Amazon Reviews

By Dr Johnson C. Philip (author of over 100 books)
I have been a committed writer now for four decades, and it all started when noticing my interest in writing I joined a course in journalism. One of the first things my mentor advised me was to keep reading books on writing. Thus I picked up this book with great expectation to find something new, in spite of me having read a hundred other books. I was not disappointed.The author of this books has substantial experience in writing, editing, and publishing and he is in a good position to explain the art of writing from three different angles — from that of a writer, and editor, and a publisher. That is what makes this book unique.He introduces the art of writing, and then a lot more. If want to be a writer and if you have never read any book on this topic, I suggest that you read this one. If you have read many, I suggest that you read this book in spite of that. The book has to offer something to every writer, whatever his level and experience might be.Highly Recommended!!

By Mary Crocco (Book Reviewer – Las Vegas)
Discovering Albert Jack’s book of advice for new writers came too late for my first book, but perfectly timed for my second. Packed with information and guidance, I took copious amounts of notes before concluding I needed the book in print, so I ordered a paperback.I found the most appreciated recommendation about writing narrative: to get the plot and ideas down first, and then add the dialogue. This relieves my current struggle of interrupting the flow of ideas while trying to write dialogue, the simple fact to write first and add dialogue later, works. I’ll try a chapter at a time, but the way my mind works, I’m confident in success.Unaware all submissions should be presented with 1.5 line spacing surprised me, I thought 2.0, double spacing.Consider reading, Want to be a Writer? Then Do It Properly by Albert Jack, because it includes easy and significant approaches for writers to develop their skill.

By Stephanie Millar (Australia)
If you want to read ONE book that has EVERYTHING you need to know before you turn on your computer and start the first chapter, then this is the book you need…so much information from this brilliant writer, you can’t go wrong.

Johann David Renner (Australia)
If I had come across this book years ago it would have saved me a lot of time and pain. In this book you find the knowledge and the wisdom many writers work out for themselves over a number of years. Of course, some never do, because they give up. This book starts with the basics, moves on to the really challenging stuff and provides answers to important questions: Why do you write? What about market research? What makes a book a good book? How do you find a publisher? So, ask yourself: Do you want to be a writer or do you just want to write? If you want to be a writer, reading this book can save you a lot of time and pain.

By Eamonn Kelly
This is a very useful book and I found it very informative. This is a useful book in focusing the mind on the whys and wherefores of creative writing and the publishing world.

Katy Brodsky
If you want to read ONE book that has EVERYTHING you need to know before you turn on your computer and start the first chapter, then this is the book you need…so much information from this brilliant writer, you can’t go wrong.

Rick Mercer
I’m not a writer but I want to learn enough to have a good blog.
Reading this book by Albert Jack gave me lots of good tips.
Now I’m anxious to start using his suggestions.

D Jones (Boston)
Book is very down to Earth, and inspiring for armature writers. I would recommend this book to anyone that is still in closet about being a writer.

Cygnet Brown
This book was not what I had expected at all. If you’re looking for a book that makes fun of the craft, then this your book, but if you are looking for an instruction on how to be a writer, look for another of the zillions of other titles that gives more substance.

Hans John
There are so many writers out there. Some read books and their new books are not more than summaries of what they read elsewhere.

Albert Jack is different. What impressed me most here was that a writer who is able to live by the income of his books gives advise. Albert Jack is not a dreamer. He writes every day and he states and gives hope to the millions out there who want to be a successful writer, too: Everybody can become a good writer. Talent is good but regular practice and daily writing makes the difference between a nobody and a popular writer.

The first look at the cover did not attract my attention. It looked like the design effort of a child. This book needs no professional design. Its content is enough to make it a “must read”.

It is interesting to see and understand how publishing houses work. The way they choose a book to be publish out of thousands of manuscripts. But I will not quote too much. Read and learn yourself.

Part Two – ‘Want To Be a Writer? Then Do It Properly’

Introduction    Part One    Part Two   Part Three   Part Four

The second of four of eight professional writer modules that will be published here on a weekly basis. Between them the entire workshop should only take 90 minutes to read and, hopefully, to understand. Please feel free to post, repost, tweet, facebook or use any other anti-social media network you belong to and spread the word. Albert Jack – December 2013

Chapter 2 – Universal Thinking – How to form and develop ideas.

To begin with it is a good time to remind ourselves that professional writers always have at least four or five ideas for new books developing at any one time. This is true of both fiction and non-fiction writers and should be true of every feature article writer or journalist too. Although it can be distracting, especially for novel writers, it is also worth remembering that in many cases two ideas could be developed into one, strong storyline. Two or even three non-fiction books could come together as one good book and often do, if the writer can find a way of connecting the subjects. So to be thinking about, or even researching, a handful of subjects at any one time does not necessarily have to be confusing and, instead, this discipline often improves an idea. Think of this as development.

So, how to come up with strong saleable ideas? The first thing to understand is that you do not need to be an expert in a subject that you feel would be a saleable book with universal appeal. The most important thing is that you have a strong saleable idea with universal appeal; it doesn’t matter what your experience is but, and I promise you this, you will be something of an expert by the time you have finished and that is all that matters. Teaching yourself about a subject is not difficult, it is called research. What you don’t know you go and find out from others. Now, free from the limitation of personal experience we are ready to start looking at the wider picture for strong subject matter, which is anything at all that is already selling.

Obviously a writer can and should begin with their own personal experiences, what interests them and what they have a knowledge of, but that is not preventing you from other ideas, if there is a market for it. And the best way to do that is to be aware of what you want to achieve and are constantly considering the world around you and what the majority of people are taking an interest in, even if that doesn’t particularly interest you, for now. I call it ‘tuning in’ or ‘having your radar on.’ For example, television is a good place to start.

In the past the successful writers have learnt their craft from life itself, by observing the world in which they exist, listening to debate and reading books and newspapers. Over recent years there has been a change in this and the most successful writers, especially the younger ones, are learning their trade from modern media, specifically television and even the internet. Television is an especially good place to learn the craft of dialogue and story lines for fiction writers but will also provide non-fiction writers with ideas, facts.

For example, I was watching a documentary about a Romanian Prince called Wallachia (1431-1476) who made quite an impression during the 15th century. Vlad the Impaler, as he was known at the time, had the nasty habit of impaling rivals on spiked wooden poles and planting them in the ground as a warning to others. Tens of thousands suffered this fate. In his own country Vlad the Impaler was also known as ‘The Son of the Devil,’ and the Romanian word for ‘devil,’ is ‘dracul.’

Now, straight away I could see that if Bram Stoker based the great novel Dracula on a Romanian Prince called Wallachia and, that there is a true story to be told, then how many of literature’s other great figures were also based upon the lives of others, and what was their story? Scrooge, for example. Who was the old miser Charles Dickens met and was he well known in his day? Wouldn’t it be great to discover had Dickens modelled Scrooge entirely upon somebody famous, a historic figure, Cecil Rhodes, for example.

I realise that is unlikely, but can you see my point here? What if Mary Poppins was a real person or Harry Potter was inspired by someone who is now famous in their own right, although unknown when Harry Potter was first written. Wouldn’t Harry Potter fans like to know about him? (that particular example would be one for the book jacket and press release). Another good example comes, again, from Charles Dickens. How many people realise that one of his most famous and enduring characters, David Copperfield, was himself. It was an autobiography (virtually).

Now, I am not suggesting, that at first glance this is a strong idea for a book about the origins of literary characters, but if the examples that can be uncovered are good stories, then the idea will become stronger. And, for the fiction writers, how many of the other great characters from history have not yet inspired a novel? Has the extraordinary story of Genghis Khan been fictionalised yet or Joan of Arc? And when I say fictionalised, what I mean is you only need the actual story. A writer can change names, dates, countries and anything else if they wish. But it is still a good story. William Shakespeare did this all the time.

Yesterday I was reading about the Mayan Prophecy that is predicting the end of the world, again, in (at the time of editing this) 17 days. I actually know some people who have packed their bags and travelled to South America for the spectacle. I am still laughing that they bought return tickets. ‘A return ticket to the end of the word please.’ (That could be a book title) And then I stared thinking about all the other prophecies throughout history and how they damaged the lives of those involved. The Jones Town Massacre, The Branch Davidian in Waco, the Middle Ages and even the old African tribal leader who claimed that God had told his tribe, during the mid 1800’s, that if they killed all of their livestock and burned their crops then the white man would be driven into the sea and leave them all in peace. The outcome of this prophecy? 60,000 people staved to death. This could easily be the subject of a non fiction book called ‘Beware False Prophets.’ Now, I am not claiming it is but it is certainly worth looking into and is the perfect example of how modern media, in this case the news, can inspire book ideas

Good strong book ideas can come from anywhere and if a writer has their radar switched on, ears, eyes and mind open. Television, magazines and radio. What are the popular subjects, what are the masses tuning into? Is there either a non-fiction book or novel to be written about the universal phenomenon of X Factor and a generation’s thirst for instant fame, perhaps called Pop Tarts. And that provides a neat link into another technique for forming ideas. The entertainment business, that  we are either in or trying to join, is cyclical. Very little is new. X Factor has been done before. During the 1970s there was a massively successful Saturday evening television programme called New Faces.

Completely unknown entertainers would do their best to get themselves onto this prime time TV show and those who did often became very successful. Lenny Henry and Jim Davidson are two good examples of this. Although there was a difference in that New Faces only recorded the very best of the talent that was applying, nobody ever saw the failures and rejections, which appears to be the focus of its modern day offspring. So whilst X Factor is almost an exact replica of New Faces, they do it slightly differently. But the idea is the same. New Faces had a rival show called Opportunity Knocks that relied on the votes of the television audience. Does this sound familiar? And preceding television talent shows were a regular feature of the theatres.

In the book world, many suggest the Harry Potter stories resemble The Chronicles of Narnia that was first published during the 1950s and others claim that J.M. Coetzee’s novel Disgrace is simply a rewrite of Lolita, also from the 1950s. You can find a subject for your own novel by checking the bestseller lists from thirty or forty years ago. Could The Invisible Man make a comeback or is there a new generation waiting for Happy Days and The Fonze or, at least, a modern day equivalent. How about The Six Billion Dollar Man or a novel that has a killer shark as the central theme? Only last week I was remembering a cult film of the 1970s called Rollerball and wondering if something like that may re-appear in some form or another. Then, a few days later, I noticed an internet message encouraging Londoners to form their own ‘Rollerball team’ and ‘join our league.’ Perhaps these are not the best examples but it does encourage a writer to look to the past for inspiration and ‘new’ ideas.

Going back through history is a good way to develop new ideas. To be a writer one has to be a reader or, in modern times, a television viewer or film fan. Films and books about pirates in the Caribbean have been done time and time again although none as successful as the most recent re-write, Pirates of the Caribbean. For the observant writer there are ideas all around us all of the time. The trick is to tune into them and not to limit your options to areas of your own expertise. Magazine shelves provide very good market research for writers because that is a tough business and magazines are soon withdrawn if they are not selling. See for yourself what is selling and which subjects have the most choice available. Health & Fitness, Gardening, Cookery, Travel and Mother & Baby are all subjects with a huge international audience. There are many more. On the other hand stamp collecting, steam trains and ballooning do not have a big market, and there are also many more like that.

Would a book about the fifty best African game reserves do well in America? A quick investigation of Amazon, Borders or Barnes and Noble websites (the biggest US book store chains) will reveal if there already is one and how it is selling. But there is another technique to developing your wonderful, mass market appeal book idea. That is to remember who you are writing for. For example, there is probably a microwave oven in every house in the western world, meaning there are a large numbers of people who have gone out and bought one. But I doubt they even read the instruction book and will never buy a book on the subject of microwaves.

The point being, just because a person is familiar with a subject and that it is part of their lives, doesn’t mean they buy books about it. The same is true of DVD players, TVs and cell phones but not the case when it comes to camera buyers. There have been some very successful books about cameras in the past and this is because photography is a hobby, using a microwave isn’t. Everybody buys cars and Top Gear is watched by three hundred and fifty million people worldwide but do people buy books about cars. The answer is no, unless it is written by one of the Top Gear presenters. Having an open mind and looking for a big audience is all very well, but identifying the buying habits of the audience is equally important. This is easy to do by browsing Amazon for similar books and checking the Amazon Bestseller Rank which appears on every page. Any book inside the top 100,000 is doing very well and anything in the top 10,000 is selling consistently well. Have a look at the current top one hundred.

Other ideas could come from a writer’s own experiences, either past or present. Were you particularly active in the Boy Scouts and is there a children’s adventure story there? Or, for a non-fiction book, an experience could lead to a travel book. Something like The Fifty Best Cities in the World to Visit.  The travel industry is probably one of the biggest in the world and the subject would be familiar to everybody. Even if they have never been there everybody has heard of New York, Cape Town, Moscow and Rome. Then find a new way to write about it. Bill Bryson used humour and sold millions of copies. How about 1500 words on each of the fifty funniest cities in the world? Or most artistic cities, who do we know who was born there or lived there etc? It’s just an idea that needs further thought, development and work, but it is an idea and this is what we are looking for at this stage. Find a unique angle and imagine what a great gift book it could be for anybody in the world to dip into and enjoy, including the people who live in the towns covered. Or perhaps the fifty worst cities? That could be made to be very funny.

At this stage of forming an idea a writer will start doing a little research by visiting a library or book shop and checking the competition. An online check will reveal similar books from previous years that are no longer on the shelves and this act alone can throw up all sorts of new ideas. Re-writing a successful book from the 1970s can prove to be very lucrative. I did it myself with Red Herrings and White Elephants. The Penguin Dictionary of English Idioms was first published in 1986 but it is neither funny nor illustrated. Red Herrings is both and has sold over 250,000 copies so far. Penguin Books, by the way, were far from irritated; instead they offered me a contract to write the follow up. Ideas for a good book are everywhere you look, if you are looking properly. A quick internet check reveals the following list compiled by the Sunday Telegraph of the one hundred books that defined the last decade.

I have taken out the sportsmen, politicians, shabby celebrities and mad royal butlers as they serve no purpose at all. Left are all the good ideas that sold well, including biographies of Samuel Pepys and Winston Churchill, that have been done many times before, an old Victorian murder that was re-visited and re-told (now that was a good idea) and the true memoirs of a call girl. Another great idea, as it is a lifestyle few of us encounter and is usually kept very quite. Do you have a lifestyle few people encounter, a big secret that would interest the masses? Study this list and then check the bestseller lists for the 1970s and 1980s looking for ideas and then read the outlines and reviews of the books on the publisher’s website. There will be dozens of great ideas there that can be revisited.

99 Letters of Ted Hughes – ed by Christopher Reid

Faber & Faber, 2007 £12.99
Mesmerising account of Hughes, from hedgehogs to the zodiac, via Plath and Eliot.

98 Persepolis: the Story of an Iranian Childhood – by Marjane Satrapi
Jonathan Cape, 2003 £11.99

Graphic novel about a young woman who copes with Iranian life by listening to punk.

97 Sleepyhead  – by Mark Billingham
Little, Brown, 2001 £6.99

DI Tom Thorne’s first outing, in which a serial killer puts his victims into a coma.

96 The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girlby Belle de Jour
Phoenix, 2005 £7.99

Revelations of a high-class hooker. Started as a blog; rumoured to be concocted by a middle-aged male journalist.

95 A Short History of Nearly Everything – by Bill Bryson
Black Swan, 2003 £9.99

Travel writer explains Big Bang, black holes and time.

94 The Suspicions of Mr Whicher – by Kate Summerscale
Bloomsbury, 2008 £7.99

Victorian child murder history that could be sensationalist, but isn’t. Won Samuel Johnson prize.

93 Cloud Atlas – by David Mitchell
Hodder, 2004 £7.99

Clones, apocalypses, gay musicians, nuclear power plants and vanity publishers make up the plot of this brilliant postmodern novel.

92 Bad Blood – by Lorna Sage
Fourth Estate, 2001 £7.99

Late critic’s moving memoir of a dysfunctional family in post-war Wales.

91 The Crimson Petal and the White – by Michel Faber
Canongate, 2002 £9.99

Bawdy, Victoriana a-go-go, Faber romps his way through London with his novel-writing prostitute heroine.

90 No Expenses Spared – by Robert Winnett and Gordon Rayner
Bantam, 2009 £14.99

Moat-cleaning and house-flipping: the story of the scoop that changed British politics.

89 Appetite – by Nigel Slater
Fourth Estate, 2000 £17.99

The chef’s marvellously poetic writing urges the nation to cook with its senses.

88 The Damned Utd – by David Peace
Faber & Faber, 2006 £7.99

The farce and tragedy of Brian Clough’s 44 days as manager of Leeds United is brilliantly fictionalised.

87 Suite Française – by Irène Némirovsky
Chatto & Windus, 2006 £7.99

A poignant fragmentary masterpiece which depicts life in France after 1940.

86 Stuart: a Life Backwardsby Alexander Masters
Fourth Estate, 2005 £7.99

Innovative biography of a homeless ex-junkie. “It’s bollocks boring,” Stuart objected. Not so; it’s brilliant.

85 The Little Friend – by Donna Tartt
Bloomsbury, 2002 £7.99

Rich, languid and absorbing Southern Gothic mystery.

84 Eats, Shoots and Leaves – by Lynne Truss
Profile, 2003 £8.99

Bossy, humorous punctuation primer that taught us to love the semicolon.

83 The Life of Kingsley Amisby Zachary Leader
Jonathan Cape, 2006 £10.99

One of the finest comic novelists of his generation is given the full treatment in a boozy, warts-and-all biography.

82 Speech! Speech! – by Geoffrey Hill
Counterpoint, 2000 £6

“Erudition. Pain. Light.” Continues the poet Geoffrey Hill’s late flowering.

81 The Island – by Victoria Hislop
Headline Review, 2005 £7.99

This first novel set on a Greek island was a Richard & Judy favourite.

80 Austerlitz – by WG Sebald
2002, Penguin £9.99

An experimental and haunting fictional investigation of the Holocaust.

79 Feminine Gospels – by Carol Ann Duffy
Picador, 2003 £8.99

A witty and lucid collection from a future poet laureate that eulogises the female experience.

78 The Night Watch – by Sarah Waters
Virago, 2006 £7.99

The stories of three lesbian women in the Second World War, this Man Booker-shortlisted novel cemented Waters’ reputation.

77 Labyrinth – by Kate Mosse
Orion, 2005 £7.99

Two skeletons and buried secrets on an archaeological dig in the south of France made this the thinking woman’s Da Vinci Code.

76 The Time Traveler’s Wife – by Audrey Niffenegger
Jonathan Cape, 2004 £7.99

Tear-jerking high-end chick-lit with a time-travelling device.

74 The Fifth Woman – by Henning Mankell,
Harvill Secker, 2001 £7.99

Introduced a public hungry for crime to the world-weary, alcoholic Inspector Wallander.

73 The Islamist – by Ed Husain
Penguin, 2007 £9.99

Husain details his teenage years as a fanatic in a book that politicians love to quote.

72 The Lovely Bones – by Alice Sebold
Little, Brown, 2002 £7.99

Grim, grim grim: teenage girl is raped and murdered, and watches her family from heaven. Everyone loved it, bizarrely.

71 District and Circle – by Seamus Heaney
Faber & Faber, 2006 £9.99

Another bestselling collection from our favourite poet. This is as witty and in love with language as ever.

70 Bad Science – by Ben Goldacre
Fourth Estate, 2008 £8.99

A highly influential book from a doctor debunking dodgy science stories in the media.

69 Shantaram – by Gregory David Roberts
Abacus, 2005 £9.99

A former bank robber and heroin addict, Roberts’s novel about India was based on personal experience and became a favourite with gap-year students.

68 Never Let Me Go – by Kazuo Ishiguro
Faber & Faber, 2005 £7.99

A tale of clones kept alive for their organs. A subtle and deeply moving novel about what awaits us all – death.

67 Imperial Life in the Emerald City – by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Bloomsbury, 2006 £8.99

A critique of the US reconstruction project in Iraq, chronicling the transfer of power to the Iraqis against a background of insurgency.

65 The Blind Assassin – by Margaret Atwood
Virago, 2000 £8.99

A novel within a novel within a novel, this Booker winner set the tone for a decade of literary experimentation.

64 The Google Story – by David Vise
Macmillan, 2005 n/a

The geeks who made good: from their glass tower they control the world’s information.

63 The Dangerous Books for Boys – by Conn and Hal Iggulden
HarperCollins, 2006 £17.99

Highlights the decade’s hunger for whimsy and the supposed pleasures of the past.

62 Half of a Yellow Sun – by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Fourth Estate, 2006 £7.99

The ugly side of Nigeria is turned into a touching novel.

61 Dissolution – by CJ Samson
Viking, 2003 £7.99

Combined the decade’s two favourites: crime and Tudors.

60 Peeling the Onion – by Günter Grass,
Harvill Secker, 2007 £9.99

Revealed the novelist was enlisted into the Waffen SS.

58 The Line of Beauty – by Alan Hollinghurst
Picador, 2004 £7.99

Brought gay writing into the mainstream while snorting its way through Thatcherite Britain.
57 Kafka on the Shore – by Haruki Murakami
Harvill Secker, 2005 £7.99

Talking cats, giant evil slugs, UFOs, mythical hinterlands and ambiguous sexuality: readers rejoiced.
56 Descent into Chaos – by Ahmed Rashid
Allen Lane, 2008 £10.99

Definitive insight into Afghanistan post-9/11.
55 Wolf Hall – by Hilary Mantel
Fourth Estate, 2009 £16.99

Bringing historical fiction into the literary limelight, this was a magical Tudor saga.
54 The Plot Against America – by Philip Roth
Jonathan Cape, 2004 £7.99

Roth’s sweeping fiction with modern resonances imagines Nazi-sympathiser Charles Lindbergh as US president.
53 White Heat: a History of Britain in the Swinging Sixtiesby Dominic Sandbrook: Little, Brown, 2006 £11.99

A leader in the history books covering single decades.

52 The Road – by Cormac McCarthy
Picador, 2006 £7.99

A post-apocalyptic novel, set in a destroyed world, that defined the decade’s fears and hunger for hope.

50 Matisse the Master – by Hilary Spurling
Hamish Hamilton, 2005 £12.99

The second volume of an astounding exploration of the artist. Spurling’s biography is a milestone in the art.

49 Experienceby Martin Amis
Jonathan Cape, 2000 £9.99

The raw materials of Martin Amis’s life – including his relationship with his father.

48 Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord – by Max Hastings
HarperPress, 2009 £22.99

The cigar-chomper is presented as a hero and saviour of Britain.

47 I Can Make You Think – by Paul McKenna
Bantam, 2006 £7.99

If we needed proof that we are obsessed with dieting, here it is.

44 We Need to Talk About Kevinby Lionel Shriver
Serpent’s Tail, 2003 £7.99

Controversial, Orange Prize-winning novel about a woman whose son commits a massacre at his school.

43 The Amber Spyglass – by Philip Pullman
Scholastic, 2001 £8.99

Barn-storming final part of His Dark Materials trilogy, this made us take children’s books seriously.

42 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: ed by HCG Matthew and Brian Harrison OUP, 2004 n/a

Sixty volumes, 50,000 biographies, 60 million words. A monument against oblivion.

41 The Music Room – by William Fiennes
Picador, 2009 £12.99

Beautiful and humbling memoir about the author’s childhood with his epileptic brother in Broughton Castle.

40 Fool’s Gold – by Gillian Tett
Little, Brown, 2009 £16.99

Tett argued that it was bankers’ greed, not derivatives, that caused the credit crunch.

38 A Million Little Pieces – by James Frey
John Murray, 2004 £7.99

Forced to confess on Oprah that his memoir was all lies, Frey epitomises the misery memoir’s problem with truth.

37 Somewhere Towards the Endby Diana Athill
Granta, 2008 £7.99

Unsentimental book about old age. Its candid and clear prose marked what was best about the decade’s memoirs.

36 Miracles of Life – by JG Ballard
Fourth Estate, 2008 £7.99

Intense and shocking, this memoir showed how Ballard’s extraordinary life informed his work and psychology.

35 The Insiderby Piers Morgan
Ebury, 2005 £7.99

Celebrity-spotter Morgan before he became a celeb himself: this is an enjoyable behind the scenes gape.

34 Elizabethby David Starkey
Chatto & Windus, 2000 £8.99

The turbulent early years of the princess who would become Gloriana, given new life in this biography.

33 Second Lives – by Tim Guest
Hutchinson, 2007 £7.99

This incisive study by the late Tim Guest explores the freedoms of virtual worlds.

32 Twilight – by Stephenie Meyer
Atom, 2005 £6.99

Astonishing, mainly for the ineptitude of her prose. Teen vampire schlock that has the nation’s youth in thrall.

31 Platform – by Michel Houellebecq
Vintage, 2003 £7.99

This novel about sex tourism made controversial remarks about Islam and encapsulated the moral torpor of our age.

30 Notes on a Scandal – by Zoë Heller
Viking, 2003 £8.99

The unreliable narrator is given new vigour in this gripping novel about female obsession, underage sex and repression.

29 A Life’s Workby Rachel Cusk
Faber & Faber, 2001 £8.99

This bleakly honest account of motherhood ushered in a new genre of family writing.

28 Berlin – by Antony Beevor
Penguin, 2002 £9.99

Compassionate history of the city’s fall at the end of the Second World War.

27 Brick Lane – by Monica Ali
Doubleday, 2003 £7.99

Novel about a Bangladeshi woman’s life in East London. Ali was lauded briefly as the new Zadie Smith.

26 Homage to Gaia – by James Lovelock
OUP, 2000 £10.99

The Earth as sentient, organised being: the first in a wave of doom-mongering books on the environment.

25 Homicideby David Simon
Canongate, 2008 £8.99

From the creator of The Wire, this is reportage of the highest order as he travels with police in crime-ridden Baltimore.

24 The Corrections – by Jonathan Franzen
Fourth Estate, 2001 £8.99

Generation-defining, controversial family saga about a Midwestern couple and their three adult children.

22 The Ghostby Robert Harris
Hutchinson, 2007 £7.99

A page-turning thriller about a prime minister’s ghost writer.

21 Freakonomics – by Steven Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
Allen Lane, 2005 £9.99

A book that applied the “dismal science” to the questions that affect us all and made economics fun.

20 Schott’s Original Miscellanyby Ben Schott
Bloomsbury, 2002 £10.99

This compendium of useless and amusing information had its origins in the Weekend section of the Telegraph.

19 Snow by Orhan Pamuk
Faber & Faber, 2004 £8.99

A political exile returns to Turkey and finds a country wasting away.

18 The Kite Runner – by Khaled Hosseini
Bloomsbury, 2004 £7.99

Clunky writing but a poignant tale, this timely novel about an Afghan boy became a bestseller.

17 Madoff: the Man Who Stole $65 billion  – by Erin Arvedlund
Penguin, 2009 £9.99

A gripping investigation into the fraudster by the whistle-blower who had been ignored.

16 The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – by Alexander McCall Smith
Abacus, 1998 £7.99

If you could condense charm into a paperback, this is what would result. Mma Precious Ramotswe appeared in 1998 but dominated the 2000s.

15 Samuel Pepys – by Claire Tomalin
Viking, 2002 £10.99

Magisterial biography of everyone’s favourite maid-tupping Restoration diarist.

14 Boyhood (1997), Youth (2002), Summertime (2009) – by JM Coetzee
Harvill Secker £7.99 each

A beautifully written trilogy of fictionalised memoirs that challenged genre conventions.

13 9/11 Commission Report – by WW Norton, 2004 £6.99

Praised for its literary qualities as well as its findings.

11 The Tipping Point – by Malcolm Gladwell
Abacus, 2000 £7.99

A rip-roaring account of how cultural events happen. The title entered the language.

10 The Girl with the Dragon Tattooby Stieg Larsson
Maclehose Press, 2008 £6.99

A journalist hooks up with a girl punk to form detective fiction’s unlikeliest pair, wading through the murky depths of Swedish society.

9 Atonement – by Ian McEwan
Jonathan Cape, 2001 £7.99

Briony Tallis tells a lie and regrets it for the rest of her life. Metafictional country house war novel that became a literary bestseller.

8 White Teeth – by Zadie Smith
Hamish Hamilton, 2000 £7.99

Smith was feted for her incisive, funny account of two friends whose lives intertwine in London. The dilemmas of immigration are confronted with satire and sympathy.

7 The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño
Picador, 2007 £8.99

This mesmerising novel features a quest for the founder of the “visceral realists”, and showcases the magical quality of Bolaño’s writing. He called it “a love letter to my generation”.

5 The God Delusionby Richard Dawkins
Bantam, 2006 £8.99

Belief in God is not only totally irrational, but actively harmful to society, says Richard Dawkins. Whether you agree with him or not, his book was a popular demolition job of the world’s great faiths.

4 A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius  – by Dave Eggers
Picador, 2000 £7.99

One of the first of the “creative” memoirs, this chronicled Eggers’s life with his younger siblings after the death of their parents from cancer. Bold, dazzling and fantastical, it launched a new style of writing.

3 The Da Vinci Code – by Dan Brown
Corgi, 2003 £7.99

Dan Brown may not be able to write, but he sure can pull in the punters. A mad mishmash of conspiracy theories about Jesus built around the most basic elements of a thriller, this has sold almost as many copies as the Bible and has made the world’s pulse beat faster.

2 Dreams from My Father – by Barack Obama
Canongate, 2007 £8.99

Originally published in 1995 in the US, this was launched in Britain to enormous acclaim before the first black president took to the world stage. Candid and sensitively written, the memoir is a search for his father (who left when Obama was two) and his racial identity. A touchstone for future politicians.

1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – by JK Rowling
Bloomsbury, 2007 £8.99

If you don’t know what a muggle is by now, you’re either Rip van Winkle or enormously stubborn. This is the seventh and final instalment in Rowling’s record-breaking series about Harry Potter, the world’s most famous lightning-scarred boy wizard and his tribulations with Lord Voldemort.

There it is then, the post popular books of the last decade and many of them by first time authors…Read the reviews, try to understand why they were so successful and perhaps you could be on this list in ten years time.

Second Assignment

For this assignment we will be working on developing new book ideas by using any of the examples I have given above. Put some thought into it, do some research and list four brand new ideas with a short outline. The whole thing should be written on a single sheet of A4 (it may only need to be half a page) You do not need to show anybody if you do not want to but it is a good idea to talk to friends and other writers by saying, ‘what about this for an idea for a new book?’ Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas, it very rarely happens and besides, you are the professional writer. If it turns out that it is a good idea then you are the most likely to actually do the work. Besides, what would a friend do with a good idea anyway? They will not know how to write a proposal or how to submit one. By the time you have finished reading this book, you will.

The top selling fiction genres are; Thrillers – Romance – Detective/crime – Children’s – Chick lit – Horror – Military – Humour

The top selling non-fiction genres are: Cookery – Autobiography – Humour – History – Self Help – Religion – Politics


writerth

Albert Jack books available for download here


Amazon Reviews

By Dr Johnson C. Philip (author of over 100 books)
I have been a committed writer now for four decades, and it all started when noticing my interest in writing I joined a course in journalism. One of the first things my mentor advised me was to keep reading books on writing. Thus I picked up this book with great expectation to find something new, in spite of me having read a hundred other books. I was not disappointed.The author of this books has substantial experience in writing, editing, and publishing and he is in a good position to explain the art of writing from three different angles — from that of a writer, and editor, and a publisher. That is what makes this book unique.He introduces the art of writing, and then a lot more. If want to be a writer and if you have never read any book on this topic, I suggest that you read this one. If you have read many, I suggest that you read this book in spite of that. The book has to offer something to every writer, whatever his level and experience might be.Highly Recommended!!

By Mary Crocco (Book Reviewer – Las Vegas)
Discovering Albert Jack’s book of advice for new writers came too late for my first book, but perfectly timed for my second. Packed with information and guidance, I took copious amounts of notes before concluding I needed the book in print, so I ordered a paperback.I found the most appreciated recommendation about writing narrative: to get the plot and ideas down first, and then add the dialogue. This relieves my current struggle of interrupting the flow of ideas while trying to write dialogue, the simple fact to write first and add dialogue later, works. I’ll try a chapter at a time, but the way my mind works, I’m confident in success.Unaware all submissions should be presented with 1.5 line spacing surprised me, I thought 2.0, double spacing.Consider reading, Want to be a Writer? Then Do It Properly by Albert Jack, because it includes easy and significant approaches for writers to develop their skill.

By Stephanie Millar (Australia)
If you want to read ONE book that has EVERYTHING you need to know before you turn on your computer and start the first chapter, then this is the book you need…so much information from this brilliant writer, you can’t go wrong.

Johann David Renner (Australia)
If I had come across this book years ago it would have saved me a lot of time and pain. In this book you find the knowledge and the wisdom many writers work out for themselves over a number of years. Of course, some never do, because they give up. This book starts with the basics, moves on to the really challenging stuff and provides answers to important questions: Why do you write? What about market research? What makes a book a good book? How do you find a publisher? So, ask yourself: Do you want to be a writer or do you just want to write? If you want to be a writer, reading this book can save you a lot of time and pain.

By Eamonn Kelly
This is a very useful book and I found it very informative. This is a useful book in focusing the mind on the whys and wherefores of creative writing and the publishing world.

Katy Brodsky
If you want to read ONE book that has EVERYTHING you need to know before you turn on your computer and start the first chapter, then this is the book you need…so much information from this brilliant writer, you can’t go wrong.

Rick Mercer
I’m not a writer but I want to learn enough to have a good blog.
Reading this book by Albert Jack gave me lots of good tips.
Now I’m anxious to start using his suggestions.

D Jones (Boston)
Book is very down to Earth, and inspiring for armature writers. I would recommend this book to anyone that is still in closet about being a writer.

Cygnet Brown
This book was not what I had expected at all. If you’re looking for a book that makes fun of the craft, then this your book, but if you are looking for an instruction on how to be a writer, look for another of the zillions of other titles that gives more substance.

Hans John
There are so many writers out there. Some read books and their new books are not more than summaries of what they read elsewhere.

Albert Jack is different. What impressed me most here was that a writer who is able to live by the income of his books gives advise. Albert Jack is not a dreamer. He writes every day and he states and gives hope to the millions out there who want to be a successful writer, too: Everybody can become a good writer. Talent is good but regular practice and daily writing makes the difference between a nobody and a popular writer.

The first look at the cover did not attract my attention. It looked like the design effort of a child. This book needs no professional design. Its content is enough to make it a “must read”.

It is interesting to see and understand how publishing houses work. The way they choose a book to be publish out of thousands of manuscripts. But I will not quote too much. Read and learn yourself.

Part One of ‘Want To Be a Writer? Then Do It Properly’

Introduction    Part One    Part Two   Part Three   Part Four

The first four of eight professional writer modules will be published here on a weekly basis. Between them the entire workshop should only take 90 minutes to read and, hopefully, to understand. Please feel free to post, repost, tweet, facebook or use any other anti-social media network you belong to and spread the word. Albert Jack – December 2013

Chapter 1 – Why Do Writers Write?

There are millions of writers hidden away all over the world, both aspirational and professional, quietly either trying to earn a living or simply writing for themselves, or their families, for fun. It is important to realise, at this early stage, that anybody who is compelled to organise words in a fashion for the benefit of either themselves or others, can and should call themselves writers. We don’t have to be paid vast sums of money, or, in fact, any at all, to distinguish ourselves as writers.

The only difference between amateur and professional writers is the money, the craft is the same – the world over. However, most of us fail to reveal this dark secret and I am not surprised. Tell anybody you are a writer and the first question will be ‘well, what have you written that I can read?’ or ‘have you ever been published?  The answer is likely to be, ‘well, no not really,’ and ‘no I haven’t yet, but I hope to be one day.’ And then we wish we hadn’t mentioned it in the first place. Personally I like to answer the question ‘would I have ever read anything of yours?’ with, ‘well, I have no idea’

Some of us write short stories, or poetry, only for our own benefit and sense of achievement. Some are compelled to write the great debut novel and change the world. Or, at least, the world immediately around them. And there is nothing wrong with that. Creativity is a good thing, however it manifests itself. My agent in London calculates that every year perhaps five million people in the UK alone have a serious ambition, or desire, to write a book. Of those it is likely that, at the very most, only one million are completed and less than half of those are ever submitted to a publisher or an agent.

In the end there are around 125,000 books published in the United Kingdom alone every year and in America that figure is nearer 190,000 which, in my opinion, is far too many. Writers are often deterred by the industry mantra, which is; ‘for every Da Vinci Code or Harry Potter, there are 100,000 books published that are not successful.’ But that should be ignored or, at least, seen in context. For a start the majority of books, especially the successful books, are non-fiction so they can be ruled out of this particular equation. Secondly, there are more than two very successful novels published every year, the figure is closer to fifty.

So let’s turn this into a positive calculation; for every five hundred to one thousand books published, perhaps one is very successful and makes a lot of money. That’s more realistic and more encouraging. And some of those will be debut novels so why can’t that be one of yours. Of course, it is a big ask, and unlikely to happen but it does happen, to a handful of people every year. One of those people could be you; there is no reason why not. And that leads us to the other statistic mentioned in the previous paragraph. ‘Of an estimated five million people with a desire to write, only around half a million are completed and submitted.’

That doesn’t surprise me at all. Throughout the publishing industry in London there is an old adage. ‘Every journalist has an unfinished manuscript in their bottom drawer.’ Of course this might not be literally true, but the point is a good one. Writing books to the end, actually finishing them, is a desperately difficult thing to do and despite how easy some of us make it look the truth is, the vast majority of writers do not finish the task. Professional writers do, and that is the big difference, although none of us find it easy. Throughout history no writer ever has and although some, I realise, like to make it look easy, I am never fooled by them.

’Writing a book is the closest men ever come to experiencing childbirth.’
W Somerset Maughn.
This is probably my favourite quote on the subject. And George Orwell once wrote that ‘writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon that one can neither resist or understand.’ He might have added, ‘or if I hadn’t already spent the advance.’

Be under no illusions, it isn’t easy. Just ask any of those London journalists with unfinished novels in their bottom drawers. But there are positives. Rudyard Kipling said ‘words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind,’ and Sharon O’Brien says, ‘writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning because I wanted to know what I was going to say.’ This is a good approach but I don’t imagine she feels like that every morning.

So, why do we want to do it?

From what I can see, there are around seven principal motives for writing a book so  let’s examine these motives with honesty. After all, it is a good place to start, with an honest understanding of why we are doing what we are doing. That is probably true of any job we do but the creative sorts, the musicians, writers, artists and the like, probably should have a clear understanding of what we are doing and why. So take a deep breath and plunge.

1. Ego and Vanity

This is the desire to appear clever, seen to be talented, supported by the knowledge that most people are simply unable to write a book and have it published. The drive for recognition, perhaps even revenge over childhood bullies or teachers or parents who repeatedly told us we would ‘never amount to much.’ Harsh as that sounds, it is nonsense to pretend this is not a strong motive for some writers. It is a normal characteristic shared by successful businessmen, politicians, artists, successful musicians and even lawyers. (After all, who would put themselves through law school, or canvass for election, without the burning desire to prove themselves superior to others?) Recognition is a strong motivation to write.

Have you ever considered, for a moment, how long a successful musician spent in his or her bedroom, as a youngster, learning an instrument without acknowledgement? That is what writers do. In summary, the top level of humanity shares this characteristic. In most other cases, after the age of about thirty, people tend to give up their personal ambition and often abandon the sense of being individual at all. Instead they find themselves living mainly for the benefit of others and creating an environment for them to survive in. There is nothing wrong with that either but the minority of single-minded, ambitious and gifted people are determined to live their own lives and all serious writers belong to this group. The most dedicated writers are not even motivated by money and are probably even more self centred and vain than journalists, who are.

This became apparent to me last year when a close personal friend of mine, of nearly thirty years, who is an uber business women (the last time I asked she was the managing director of a world-wide accountancy firm) said to me, ‘you know, of all the people I have met, worked with and admired over the years, you are the person I have the most respect for.’ I nearly choked on my oyster. ‘Because I have never met anybody whose job I could not do, if I were in their position. I am sure I could learn to do any type of job at all, if I had to, except for yours. There is no way I could ever write a book.’  Now, obviously that is very flattering, but it helped me to understand that what we do is different, is admired and in many cases envied by otherwise highly successful people in their own fields. My satisfaction in hearing that unexpected remark revealed my unconscious ego and vanity, because I hadn’t realised I possessed either before then. It is important, as I writer, that I understand that.

2. Aesthetic Enthusiasm

The belief in the beauty of the outside world and the sheer pleasure of arranging words in a beautiful way. This is what motivates poets and songwriters but it can also be delivered with the tightness and rhythm of good prose or storytelling. And it is the need to share a valuable personal experience which a writer may feel could benefit others. These include Mother and Baby books, Living with Illness, My Years in Afghanistan – by a special forces soldier, educational books and many more. The aesthetic motivation here is a weak one but all are driven by a strong personal desire to share an experience. And these writers always work hard on their phrasing, sentences and accuracy because they know their audience is likely to be, often exclusively, made up of readers who have already had, or are presently having, similar experiences. The desire to show off, or to share, isn’t the nature of every writer but it is in no way a bad thing.

3. Political Purpose

In this case the word ‘political’ should be thought of in the widest possible sense and not simply in terms of local or national politics. It is the simple wish to move other people’s thinking into a new direction. The ideas to be more charitable or environmentally friendly or perhaps to save libraries from closing are all examples of this. Social awareness and the personal desire to see things change for the better, or for things that are changing to remain the same for the better. Either way, social (political) causes are always a good motivation for writers.

4. Money

If we are honest, we all harbour a desire to earn a fortune from what we have written. This will not be as strong in writers of fiction, the novelists, because their journey is often personal and not driven by the idea of riches although, most would admit that during the odd private moment they have considered the house or yacht their debut bestseller will buy. The actor Michael Caine was once asked on national television about his latest film, a critical failure; ‘Well, if we are honest Michael it is not your best film is it.?’ To which the great man replied, ‘No it isn’t, but you should see the house it bought for me.’ And personally I am glad he said that. There is nothing wrong with doing creative work for the money.

Most professional writers, if they are honest, will admit they only do it for the money. That is because things change for writers. Money will never be the initial reason a writer writes, but once they have, and have learned for themselves how difficult a process it is, most are deterred from repeating the experience and there are two reasons for this. The first is they have used up their one big idea, that they have been thinking about for many years and don’t know what to follow it up with. And the other is that once they have experienced book writing for the first time, at a professional level, if it isn’t successful then they are unlikely to want to repeat the experience. It is worth noting here that a professional writer never thinks like this. An experienced professional always has perhaps half a dozen, or more, ideas that he or she is working on at any one time, with a view to selling.

Remember that word – Selling. Because that is their day job whether it be a feature article, newspaper report or review, two thousand words about a piece of new technology for XYZ Technology Magazine Monthly, a non-fiction book or working on the plot and characters for a novel. Whatever it is, the professional writer will have plenty on the go at any given time, and so should you. Some ideas will make it and others won’t. Currently I have a list of over fifteen book titles I am considering and in three of those cases am fleshing out the ideas and turning them into proposals ready for submission. Not just one of my ideas, probably about four of them are getting further attention for next year’s Christmas market. Because I know that if I am to have another book released by then, I need to have that idea sold to a publisher by November of the previous year, at the latest. And that is how any professional writer works. Carefully, constantly and many months ahead of time.

5. Historical Reasons

The desire to understand and reveal history to a wider audience or to record the present and preserve it for others in the future to discover and begin to understand the present day, our generation and what we contributed to their own history. In the scheme of mankind, our time on earth will very soon be just that, somebody else’s history. This is a strong impulse in many writers and it has driven some of the very best, Charles Dickens and George Orwell are good examples of that and Orwell could also add political purpose to his list of motivations. So could Dickens, although the two went about it in very different ways.

Dickens simply wrote about what he saw around him, poverty, slums, crime, orphans, love, loyalty, betrayal. Anybody could walk down their own street and write about what they see today and who knows; perhaps that book will then be studied in schools in one hundred and fifty years time, if they still have schools then. Orwell also wrote about what he saw and some of his books are almost diaries, although he is famous for writing about what he foresaw and predicted. As it happens, he turned out to be very close. Who could have imagined CCTV cameras watching our every move even thirty years ago? But Orwell predicted it sixty years ago in the classic 1984.

6. Love of a Subject

Often writers are driven by a deep knowledge and enthusiasm for a particular subject. These include hobbies or skills a writer may have that will be of interest to others. Climbers may write about the fifty greatest rock faces in the world. Scuba divers may write about the great ship-wreck dives or a butterfly collector will produce a colourful book on their favourite species. There are many more minority subjects that will all have a like-minded audience, a guaranteed market. But these writers soon learn their market place is severely limited and book sales will reflect this. One can only buy a book about butterflies, even if it is the best book ever written on the subject, containing brand new and exciting discoveries, for someone who likes butterflies.

Or you could write the best book about Manchester United’s Premier League winning season ever written but only Manchester United fans would be interested in it. The writer alienates the fans of every other football team in the world, severely limiting his target audience, his market place. Now, although there are probably more Manchester United fans, the world over, than there are butterfly collectors, in the scheme of writing for the international market, it still isn’t very many. The writer is instantly ruling out the vast majority of the book buying public simply by the topic he has chosen. In this case that is every other football supporter in the world. You have written a book that billions of people around the world would not even pick up and look at, let alone buy. And, another thing, by the end of next season it will be out of date and out of print anyway. This is not a good thing. It is not very sensible. Writing for the love of a subject is a noble cause but rarely lucrative.

7.Therapeutic Reasons

Some writers feel that writing their own story will be a cathartic process for themselves by helping to confront and reveal personal experiences and feelings. Indeed, most debut novels are semi-autobiographical. Sufferers of bulimia will almost certainly have a character in their debut novel with the same illness. Lawyers will have a lawyer in theirs. People who work in hospitals will often write about doctors and nurses, former drug addicts will write a book centred around that dark side of life and so on. There have been a few examples of these books becoming very successful, but that is very rare indeed and also very difficult to have published in the first place. No matter how colourful your own life has been, no-body else is really interested, unless you are Nelson Mandela, which you are not. Professional writers know this and do not write for therapeutic reasons, although there is nothing wrong with doing so, for the practice.

I am sure there are other motives and reasons for anybody to feel compelled to put pen to paper, but these are the main ones and, in truth, the only important ones. For example, a close friend of mine, a writer, says he writes so that he never feels alone. That’s his reason and it is a good enough one.


How do Writer’s Write?

In short, there is no answer to this. Some write in bed, some at a desk, some on the beach, many in coffee shops and bars. Some write in their underwear and some go to an office. One writer I have heard of claims he can only write at sea. There is no right or wrong way just as long as the writer remembers that books do not write themselves, someone has to do it, all the way through and right to the end. The actual process of writing, the discipline of work, has to remain the central issue but, aside from that, it doesn’t really matter how you do it. Some write by the word count, some by the hour and some write until they are satisfied they have done enough for the day and that it is good enough, however long it takes and no matter how many words they achieve.

Some in the mornings, some at night, some are drunk or stoned and others drink coffee or smoke cigarettes, it doesn’t matter as long as there is an end result and that it is good enough for somebody else to want to buy, hopefully in large numbers. The better it is the more people will want to read it. Jeffrey Archer, I once read, writes between 8am-10am then from midday until 2pm, then from 4pm – 6pm, every day. Bizarre I know, but it works for him. It is his own routine. Some write 9-5pm and others 5-9pm. Writing by the word count can vary enormously. George Orwell was happy with six hundred words a day. Personally I aim for between eight hundred and a thousand before I feel like I have had a good day. J.K. Rowling apparently does the same. But any more than that and the quality will become affected. Trust me, it does. I once did a Google search on the subject and found one website that asked the question ‘How many words do writers write each day?’ The responses varied but were usually, ‘around one thousand’.

The one that caught my attention was from ‘Boo Bear’ who insisted he, or she,  writes 3700 words per day. I don‘t imagine we will read about Boo Bear’s bestseller any time soon because that is far too many words in one day to be able to maintain any quality control over. As Truman Capote memorably said, ‘that’s not writing, that’s typing.’ The point is that as a general rule it will take a good writer all day to write what can be read in about ten minutes. That’s why books take six months to write and one weekend to read. It doesn’t matter how you do it or when, just as long as you have a regular routine, which we will be coming to next.


First Assignment.

Within one week you should write a short essay on your own reasons for becoming a writer. This is for you alone and doesn’t need to be shown to anybody, although it can be. It is simply designed to encourage you to sit down and think about yourselves and your motives for writing. Be honest with yourself, a dishonest writer is wasting his or her time. It could simply be that you want to be the next J.K. Rowling and there is nothing wrong with that. Who wouldn’t? But I am hoping there are more original and realistic reasons than that. But it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, identify it and write it down and at lease imagine somebody else is going to read it.

 

writerth

Albert Jack books available for download here

 

Amazon Reviews

By Dr Johnson C. Philip (author of over 100 books)
I have been a committed writer now for four decades, and it all started when noticing my interest in writing I joined a course in journalism. One of the first things my mentor advised me was to keep reading books on writing. Thus I picked up this book with great expectation to find something new, in spite of me having read a hundred other books. I was not disappointed.The author of this books has substantial experience in writing, editing, and publishing and he is in a good position to explain the art of writing from three different angles — from that of a writer, and editor, and a publisher. That is what makes this book unique.He introduces the art of writing, and then a lot more. If want to be a writer and if you have never read any book on this topic, I suggest that you read this one. If you have read many, I suggest that you read this book in spite of that. The book has to offer something to every writer, whatever his level and experience might be.Highly Recommended!!

By Mary Crocco (Book Reviewer – Las Vegas)
Discovering Albert Jack’s book of advice for new writers came too late for my first book, but perfectly timed for my second. Packed with information and guidance, I took copious amounts of notes before concluding I needed the book in print, so I ordered a paperback.I found the most appreciated recommendation about writing narrative: to get the plot and ideas down first, and then add the dialogue. This relieves my current struggle of interrupting the flow of ideas while trying to write dialogue, the simple fact to write first and add dialogue later, works. I’ll try a chapter at a time, but the way my mind works, I’m confident in success.Unaware all submissions should be presented with 1.5 line spacing surprised me, I thought 2.0, double spacing.Consider reading, Want to be a Writer? Then Do It Properly by Albert Jack, because it includes easy and significant approaches for writers to develop their skill.

By Stephanie Millar (Australia)
If you want to read ONE book that has EVERYTHING you need to know before you turn on your computer and start the first chapter, then this is the book you need…so much information from this brilliant writer, you can’t go wrong.

Johann David Renner (Australia)
If I had come across this book years ago it would have saved me a lot of time and pain. In this book you find the knowledge and the wisdom many writers work out for themselves over a number of years. Of course, some never do, because they give up. This book starts with the basics, moves on to the really challenging stuff and provides answers to important questions: Why do you write? What about market research? What makes a book a good book? How do you find a publisher? So, ask yourself: Do you want to be a writer or do you just want to write? If you want to be a writer, reading this book can save you a lot of time and pain.

By Eamonn Kelly
This is a very useful book and I found it very informative. This is a useful book in focusing the mind on the whys and wherefores of creative writing and the publishing world.

Katy Brodsky
If you want to read ONE book that has EVERYTHING you need to know before you turn on your computer and start the first chapter, then this is the book you need…so much information from this brilliant writer, you can’t go wrong.

Rick Mercer
I’m not a writer but I want to learn enough to have a good blog.
Reading this book by Albert Jack gave me lots of good tips.
Now I’m anxious to start using his suggestions.

D Jones (Boston)
Book is very down to Earth, and inspiring for armature writers. I would recommend this book to anyone that is still in closet about being a writer.

Cygnet Brown
This book was not what I had expected at all. If you’re looking for a book that makes fun of the craft, then this your book, but if you are looking for an instruction on how to be a writer, look for another of the zillions of other titles that gives more substance.

Hans John
There are so many writers out there. Some read books and their new books are not more than summaries of what they read elsewhere.

Albert Jack is different. What impressed me most here was that a writer who is able to live by the income of his books gives advise. Albert Jack is not a dreamer. He writes every day and he states and gives hope to the millions out there who want to be a successful writer, too: Everybody can become a good writer. Talent is good but regular practice and daily writing makes the difference between a nobody and a popular writer.

The first look at the cover did not attract my attention. It looked like the design effort of a child. This book needs no professional design. Its content is enough to make it a “must read”.

It is interesting to see and understand how publishing houses work. The way they choose a book to be publish out of thousands of manuscripts. But I will not quote too much. Read and learn yourself.

Albert Jack Bibliography

Bibliography

Forget Debt in 90 Minutes – (2002) London: Management Books 2000 Ltd. ISBN
The Jam: Sounds From the Street – (2003) London: Reynolds and Hearn. ISBN
Red Herrings and White Elephants – (2004) London: Metro Books.  ISBN 978-1843581291
Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep – (2005 ) London: Penguin Books. ISBN978-0140515732
Red Herrings and White Elephants (2005) New York: Random House. ISBN978-0060843373
Red Herrings and White Elephants (2005) Tokyo: ISBN-13: 978-1843581536
That’s Bollocks (2006) London: Penguin Books ISBN 978-0140515749
Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep PB (2006) London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-141-02425-9
Ten Minute Mysteries (2007) London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-140-51590-9
That’s Bollocks PB (2007) London: Penguin Books ISBN 976-0-141-02426-4
Rumeurs; Legendes et Mythes – (2007) Paris: Hatchette Pratique. ISBN 9782012373372
Red Herrings and White Elephants PB – (2007) London: Metro Books.  ISBN 978-1-84454-461-5
Red Herrings and White Elephants (2007) Korea: International Scripts LTD. ISBN unknown
Pop Goes the Weasel (2008) London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1-846-14144-7
Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep PB (2008) London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-141-03956-5
Loch Ness Monsters PB (2008) London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-141-03781-3
Phantom Hitchhikers PB (2008) London: Penguin Books. ISBN  978-0-141-03851-3
Loch Ness Monsters (2009) New York: Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0812980059
The Old Dog and Duck (2009) London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1-846-14253-6
Pop Goes the Weasel
(2009) New York: Penguin Books USA. ISBN 978-0399535550
Pop Goes the Weasel PB (2010) London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-141-03098-2
Black Sheep and Lame Ducks (2010) New York. Penguin Books USA. ISBN 10: 0399535128
What Caesar did for my Salad (2010) London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1846142543
What Caesar did for my Salad (2011) New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0399536908
The Old Dog and Duck PB (2011) London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0141043432
It’s a Wonderful Word (2011) London: Random House. ISBN 978-1847946690
Phantom Hitchhikers Part One (2011) Peking: Yilin Press. ISBN 978-7-5447-2098-4
What Caesar did for my Salad (2012) London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14104-344-9
It’s a Wonderful Word (2012) London: Random House. ISBN 978-0-099-56232-0
Phantom Hitchhikers Part Two (2012) Peking: Yilin Press. ISBN-10: 0399161538
Phantom Hitchhikers and other Urban Legends (2012) New York: Penguin Books USA. ISBN-10: 0399161538
Money for Old Rope (2012) Kindle Edition. August 2012. ASIN: B011C4DTXW
Money for Old Rope Part Two (2012) Kindle Edition. October 2012. ASIN: B011A9060S
The Jam: Sounds from the Street (2012) Kindle Edition. October 2012. ASIN: B0091GIBY6
Last Man in London (2014) ISBN-10: 1494358433
Rose Versus Thistle (2014) ASIN: B00KQO2F3A
They Laughed at Galileo (2015) London: Constable & Robinson. ISBN-10: 147211664X
They Laughed at Galileo (2015) New York: Skyhorse Press. ISBN-10: 1629147583
The Greatest Generation (2015) ASIN: B0119RSZ4U
Debt Freedom Program (2015) ASIN: B0119RSN6K
Want To Be A Writer? (2015) ASIN: B011A8AJH4

 Albert Jack books available for download here