Keep The Love Of Real Music Alive For Children

It is not oft, nay, indeed it is very rare for this blog to directly ask for anything, other than perhaps consideration of this author's work.

Asking for money, and yes it a monetary request that follows, not for me, you understand. It's just not very English, is it. One stumbles a little when having to ask for a pound or two for some luncheon.

But, as someone who likes to help others, I have just written a Kickstarter pitch in which a very talented piano teacher is seeking funding to buy a Steinway piano upon which to teach his pupils.

Not being a pianist myself, although I can strum the guitar, I can imagine the awe and excitement children would feel when given the chance to learn on what clearly is such a wonderful instrument.

So if you, my reader, feel strongly about giving children the chance to learn piano on the best available instrument, please consider lending your fiscal backing to this campaign by clicking this link.

#SteinwayForStudents

The piano teacher is offering some pretty good rewards for those who support him.
So help him aim big, aim high, and get those children off their iPads and onto a smart Steinway.

The Best Self Publishing Book Platforms 2018

Cue big drums, red carpets, tuxedos and champagne. It's awards season again on the Jon Lymon blog.
And this year, as last year, it's a two horse race in terms of which platform for self-published books has performed the best.

RUNNER-UP: SMASHWORDS
A better performance than in 2017, but you can't help feeling that, as with all these self-publishing platforms, there's just going to be more and more and more books up for sale, but about the same number of eyes prepared to read them. But I like that anyone can upload pretty much anything, and there are sales promotions on Smashwords where you can sell your ebooks for free and hopefully attract new readers.

WINNER: AMAZON
For the 4th year in a row, Amazon has proved to be the best platform for selling books, although it's getting harder to get readers to leave reviews, despite the follow-up emails Amazon sends. My new book A Big Bluff And Some Green Stuff fared fairly well, and with the promise of a new look KDP platform and dashboard for 2019, it's hard to see anyone knocking Amazon off its perch.

Happy New Year.


PREVIOUS WINNERS:
2014 Smashwords
2015 Amazon
2016 Amazon
2017 Amazon

The Christmas Book That's Not For Christmas

Chances are, when you read this attempt to sell more copies of this Christmas book for children, it will not be Christmas. Not even nearly Christmas, or just gone Christmas. It could be the start of February, the middle of summer, or the end of October. Good. Because they are the times when this Christmas kids' book is designed to be read.

In fact, probably the worst time to read this book about Christmas, is Christmas.
Why? Well, not wanting to give too much away, it's all about finding the spirit of Christmas all throughout the year (aaaaaaahhhh).


Yes, a wonderfully worthy concept, I'm sure you'll agree. If not, here are a few other reasons to buy this book about Xmas:
* It says Christmas on the front, and a few times inside. That very word is enough to raise a smile. I just said it and I'm smiling.
* It won't take you until next Christmas to finish it
* You don't have to save up until next Christmas to buy it
* It rhymes, although there aren't many words that rhyme with Christmas
* It is one of the few children's Christmas books that can be read any time of year. So when your child tells you what they want for Christmas in February, give them this.
* It's a book that's about Christmas, not for Christmas.
* The Christmassy pictures therein have been drawn and coloured by a child - well, that's what it looks like


Thanks for reading, And if it does happen to be Christmas when you're reading this, well, happy Christmas.
(Smiles)

You can buy it here

How Tricky Coming Up With The Title Of A Novel, How Tricky


How do you come up with the title of your novel? And when? And how do you know you’ve cracked it?

The novel I’m currently on the second draft of writing is proving tricky to name. The name has to fit with the style of the other two titles in the series, both of which came easily:

A Dead Chick And Some Dirty Tricks
A Big Bluff And Some Green Stuff

I know I’m seriously limiting myself following that book title formula. But I’m hoping inspiration will strike as I continue writing.

But how late in the day have you come up with a title of a novel? And do you care if someone else has a novel of the same name?

Kimberley Chambers didn’t seem to mind when she named her 2015 novel The Wronged, the same name I use for my 2013 horror novel. Seems there's no copyright on titles.

I’ve also changed the name of one of my novels AFTER it was published. 

The Diamond Rush was previously called The Money Star. I just felt the fomer was more representative of what the story was about, but I’m pretty sure it’s bad form to rename a novel once it’s out there - one of the benefits of self-publishing of course.


Anyway, it’s back to work on my next novel, currently entitled Name TBC. Hope you’re having better luck naming your novel.

5 Tips On Writing The First Draft Of A Novel

A pulsing cursor on a blank screen. Fingers hovering over the keyboard. Ideas swilling around your head. Where. To. Start?

Starting off a novel is tricksy. But here's a few things I've learned as I plough into the first draft of my sixth novel.

1. YOU DON'T NEED TO START WRITING YOUR FIRST DRAFT AT THE BEGINNING. Start with the bit you feel like writing. Could be the end. Could be a scene in the middle. Could be a bit of dialogue. Just start writing.

2. SOD THE SPELLING. PAH TO PUNCTUATION. It's more important to get ideas down at this stage rather than have accurate spelling and beautiful punctuation. That can come later.

3. DON'T EXPECT MUCH OF THE FIRST DRAFT TO MAKE THE FINAL CUT: Writing is rewriting someone more talented than I once said. First drafts are there to be bettered, expanded upon, get the red pen treatment. It's the foundation of your novel. Sure, some of the story you write here will make the final draft, but you'll say it better in subsequent drafts. This is the skeleton. The first layer. Don't worry about how bad it is. It's a start.

4. IT'S GOING TO BE MESSY. All over the place. You might not know exactly how your story is going to pan out at this stage. You don't need to. This first draft isn't going to get published. You just need to know the sort of story you want to write, and an idea of how it should start and end. Whether this is how your story will actually start and end, well that's likely to change.

5. WRITE THE BLURB AFTER EVERY DRAFT. It's a great way to hone your story. Once, after I thought I'd finished writing my novel, I wrote a blurb that told a better story than the one I'd actually written. So I went back and rewrote the story to fit the blurb! The book was better for it. You're going to have to write a blurb at some point. Doing it as you go along is a really good exercise.

Writing The First Draft Of A Novel

All over the place.

That's how the first draft of the third novel of the Jake Rodwell trilogy is right now.

I've written two versions of the end. The start I have right now I know won't be my start when I come to publish this. And in the middle, some chapters are written, others are in note form and yet more just aren't there yet. The fonts are all over the place. There are typos.

It's a mess. But so it should be.

Because no one's going to see this first draft except me.

At the moment I'm writing the bits that I feel like writing. Starting off the writing day by re-reading something I wrote yesterday. Just to get into the groove.

And when I do get in the groove I just type. I don't care if I mistype or misspell. I just need to get the idea down. No punctuation. No speech marks at this stage. It's about writing what I want to happen in the story. Not necessarily in the way I want to say it. That can come later.

There are some bits that I can't write at the moment. Either I don't know enough about what I want to happen, or I just don't feel like writing that bit.

That's fine. This is the first draft. I'll write those bits another day, maybe later today. Right now, I will focus on writing the bits I'm motivated to write. Tomorrow it will be another bit.

I trust the process. I know it will come together in the end.

It's the first draft! Did I mention that?

It's meant to be messy. It's for my eyes only. It's not going to see the light of day. It's the springboard to the rest of the story that I will develop, and hone over the next few months.

Hopefully!


WHY I DON’T LIKE MY KIDS WATCHING MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE




File this one under gentle rant, people. I’m about to pick on someone who’s well short of my own size.

I’ve nothing against Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy, even big Pete has his moments. And I’ve really got a soft spot for Pluto. Have had since I was knee high to a teenybopper.

It’s the Toodles thing in this show that bugs me.

Whenever the characters get in a fix, they call on him/it to get them out of it using his unlimited collection of Mouskertools or whatever. (How big is this guy’s toolbox?)

But here’s the nub of this semi-serious rant (cos I need to take my kids to Disneyland some day and don’t want to be banned!)  What sort of lesson is this teaching our youngsters? 

Seems to me it’s that if you need a hand solving a problem, you don’t have to think your way to a solution. Oh no, instead, just wait for some magical all-powerful arm to pop out of the ground and give you the object you need. Easy.

As we oldsters all know, life ain’t like that. Or life isn’t like that, to get all grammatically correct on ya. You. 

I know it’s only kids’ telly, but I dunno if it’s sending out the right message. It certainly falls well short of Sheriff Callie’s Wild West in the ‘check out the moral of this story, kids’ stakes.


Shouldn’t we be encouraging kids to come up with their own solutions, or at least ask an adult, or maybe call on Pluto?