Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘christmas


Hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas. This has been one of the best. The reason for this being that  for the first time we have a child in the house.

We have been fostering for a few months, and this young man came to us in August for a long term placement. During a year of training we were prepared for the worst case scenarios- children who have been moved from pillar to post often have attachment problems because it doesn’t pay to get attached if you’re just going to get moved on again. But in this case we have found a perfect match, and are getting so much from sharing our lives with him.

Okay- confession time: we went a bit O.T.T for Christmas. I even did the dressing up as Santa to pass by his room. Of course, he slept through it, so I went out and and tapped on neighbours windows- didn’t want the suit to be wasted!

Christmas morning was just the most magical experience ever, and I finally realised what friends with children had that we had been missing out on.

The rest of the day was spent tuning in his new television and setting up his model of a Tardis interior.

As I say, we have been lucky in that we are a perfect match. Even down to the fact that our foster child shares my obsession with Dr. Who.

6p.m. Christmas day, and my wife was chucked out of the living room so that we could watch the latest Christmas Special. Admittedly, it wasn’t the best story they had ever done but, what the heck, it was Dr. Who, Christmas day, and a perfect bonding experience.

Now we thought we had got it worked out- the Dr. goes to victorian England and finds, as well as Cybermen, another Dr. with an assistant called Rositta. Obviously, he was the Dr. from a parallel universe- the one from which the cybermen came. Russell T. Davies had cleverly led Whovians to this conclusion through a Radio Times interview where he said that the other Dr. also had a sonic screwdriver and a Tardis.

I won’t spoil it for anyone who may not have watched it yet, but the Tardis turned out not to be what we’d  expected.

And it’s nice to take a break from work, and from book related activities- the online forums have either closed or are, generally, full of goodwill.  When I say ‘generally,’ It is with reference to the friction between YouWriteOn and other sites which are critical of their POD scheme. I did suggest a truce, but from one quarter this was met with a staunch refusal. 

It was at this time of peace that warring opponents once climbed out of the trenches and played football in honour of the festive spirit. But  when it comes to disagreements in the world of  writing and publishing  it would appear that we are venturing into areas of life and death, where there can be no compromise.

Thanks to Lucy Fox for this contribution. I’ve included it in the ‘Tips From Published Authors’ series as next month she will be one, thanks to YWO. 


Hi Allan, Just popped in to add a couple of things I found to help market our books.

Before I add them, with regards to the article asking why we don’t ‘cut out the middle man’ and go direct to Lightning Source, I have this to say. From what I can gather, only publishers, NOT authors are allowed to sign into their site, let alone try and get anything published off their own bat, and, as authors,not publishers, we most certainly aren’t allowed to buy an ISBN.

Legend will be doing a great deal more than ‘just getting an ISBN’ for us. There is masses of work to be done before Lighting gets hold of our precious babies. Especially with regard to word submissions, as Lightning do not accept books in this format. There are also many different covers to be generated for those who haven’t submitted their own.

Also getting back to cost. £39.99 is nothing when you consider that YWO/Legend will be supplying the obligatory library copies. Other companies charge £50 just for that service. If we were eligible publishers and bought our own single ISBN it would cost over £100!

Anyhoo, that’s my ha’pence worth. Here are a couple of things that may be of interest:
Quite a lot of info links from this page.

One way to promote your writing is through book signings. Here are some suggestions:

– Develop a strategy.

 – Collect reviews,blurbs and reader comments.   These may get the interest of some bookshop managers.

–  Gather names, addresses, and phone numbers From the Internet of stores you think would be interested in your book . 

 – Speak to the  bookstore managers by telephone. Tell them that you are local author, and that your book is in their system.
– Ask if you can arrange a book signing. Have your  ISBN ready, and your diary- the manager or their in-house worker will organise the event.

As my book is for children, I will be approaching schools. I have the invaluable help of a teacher who is going to give me instuctions on how to go about it. I’ll pass it on when I know.

Also, try this link- 
I’m still looking for ways to get noticed.  I have lived in quite a few places, so I will see if I can plug it there.  I’m even having my sis promote it in the States.  She works for one of the biggest law firms in Chicago and is going to put it on their network that goes around the world.  I’m going to send a copy to the truck stop Dysarts in Maine and the motel in Prince Edward Island where I wrote a load of it before I got on the plane home.  Also, I must fish out the example press release I found on Dan Poynter’s website.  Maybe you could go and look at his site yourself.

and this blog

Toodle Pip and keep up the good workxx

Good luck to all in your endeavours.



Thanks to Jane for the following:

Allan, Wally asked who was going to print the books–that’s Lightning Source, based in Milton Keynes. Legend is just assigning ISBNs as far as I can see: they don’t print any of their own books.

And so far NO ONE who is publishing via YWO has explained to me why they think it’s better to hand 40% of the profits over to YWO rather than signing up to Lightning Source and keeping all the money for themselves. Anyone can do it, after all. And ISBNs can be bought cheaply: I just don’t understand why people think it’s better to go through YWO, and would love it if someone would explain.

The only think I can think of is that some of the people submitting assume that the Random House editors who read YWO’s top ten are going to get involved in the publishing side of things. As far as I can see, that’s a completely separate scheme and there’s going to be no crossover between the two: the Random House editors have their own slushpile to read, and won’t have time to consider reading YWO’s too.

You can read  Jane’s informative blog on YouWriteOn at:

Jane’s comments have led me to some soul-searching, which is never a bad thing, and I will add something about my motivations to use YWO in a later blog. Meanwhile, here is Wally’s reply:

Hi Jane;
The reason I choose YWO over others, such as Lightning Source, etc (we have some
good “do it yourself publishing” shops here on this side of the Pond as well)
was, to be fair, YWO does have a “name.” I have some writing friends in
Australia; I checked with them, and sure enough they’d heard of YWO and have a
good opinion of this site. So, hopefully belonging here would give us some
recognition. I have been a member here for a while and am impressed with the
quality of writing and critiques. Also one gets to discuss things here with
knowledgeable people, such as yourself, and learn by exchanging ideas. At a
“print-shop” one would be just a number, much like an ISBN.


PS: By the way, there will be a difference between the Random House’s slush
piles and YWO’s books. We are “published” and people will be reading our novels
and writing reviews. The other Publishers’ is just that, a static slush pile for
their interns to read on a lonely Sat night.

Thanks also to Paul Ekert for this response:

It does seem as though the world and his wife are now against the YWO deal. Some of the arguments make sense, some of them smack of “people with too much time on their hands”… I have the image of radio 4 being boring and so a number of “Disgusted from Surrey” start writing in…

There has been some anger too, I think mainly the result of the anti-YWO’s being frustrated that some people will still want to be involved and from the Pro-YWO’s who want to be treated as adults making adult decisions.

Here’s the point. No one wants to see someone else ripped off, this is human nature, but at the same time, no one likes to feel bullied for making a specific decision or told they are stupid for doing so.

Yes there are disadvantages for publishing this way, but there was also this wonderful carrot and stick approach that forced writers to focus their minds and get the book published.

Perhaps we have all made a huge mistake. If so, then we will have lost 39.99 at most and really it will not be that tragic. And it will be our own mistake, made willingly.

I hope now the Anti-YWO’s will leave us all alone and go find another battle to fight. Preferably one worth fighting and one that is any of their business!

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