Saturday, September 30, 2006

My first royalty statement.

Yes. I thought there might be some interest in this. In the spirit of transparency which has characterised the Macmillan New Writing imprint from the outset, I thought I'd make the figures available.

The statement covers the first quarter of the book's release, from April 5 to June 30th.

Number of copies sold in that period: 1,804.

Income generated by the book: £10,429.76.

My earnings (20% of the above): £2,085.95.

It's been paid directly into my bank account, so I can't take a photo of the cheque.

I expect sales will drop off considerably now. But I'm not done yet.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The world's first myspace virtual reading?

Well, there is a question mark at the end of that heading. It's the first one I know about, and it's certainly new for me and my publishers, but I can't help thinking someone must have done it before.

This is how I broke my glasses, by the way. Took them off to read from the book then sat on them. I hope it was worth it (£84 to get them repaired. I'll have to sell quite a few copies to pay for that!)

Let me know what you think. To view just click on the screen below, or click here to go to the actual event. Excited? I am.

Get this video and more at

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Who are you, Truman Shown?

Okay, I admit it. I was looking at my amazon page. There was a reason. And it was not to check my ranking, I promise. I just can't remember what it was exactly. Oh yes, I was interested to see what other books people who had dallied over Taking Comfort had bought. So I zoomed down to the bottom where it lists the 'people who bought this also bought these...'

Then I spotted a few of those listomania things at the bottom. Clicked on the first one, an alternative Booker list, only to discover this.

Wow. Scroll down and you'll see I made it on someone's alternative Booker list! Along with the mighty Jim Younger, I notice.

Well, whoever you are, Truman Shown (not your real name I suspect) thank you very much. It may not be the real list, but it means a hell of a lot to me.

Write any book in 28 days, or your money back.

That's right. In just 28 days, working one hour a day, you could write a complete book, from idea to manuscript.

It says so here. It must be true, because it's on the internet.

What's more, it's 100% GUARANTEED.

The method works for FICTION books and non-fiction books.

Click the link and you'll find out more about MASTER WRITER Nick Daws:

Living in his luxurious English home, Nick Daws has been a full-time writer for over 12 years. He enjoys a life of holidaying with his beautiful wife, playing his part as a regional celebrity, and occasionally putting finger to keyboard to write another book.

As the copy goes on to point out:

Those that write books stand out from the crowd. Those that write best-selling books become famous.

Can't help feeling Nick must have been in a bit of a hurry when he wrote those two sentences, but never mind. This man has written 30 best sellers in the last 3 years alone. That's ten bestsellers a year, or one best seller every 28 days with two months off for holidaying with his beautiful wife. SO THE SYSTEM REALLY DOES WORK!

One of the well-guarded secrets it promises to reveal is:

How to only ever write in FIVE MINUTE segments, so you never lose interest!

Mmm. I wonder if the secret there is to only ever write in five minute segments, so you never lose interest? Can't be sure though, so I'd better send the money off.

I can't wait to get the course, so I can hurry up and finish my current wip and get on with holidaying with my beautiful wife. I'm looking forward to standing out from the crowd too.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Agatha Christie's things.

I was reading through last Saturday's Guardian today (only a week late) when I came upon an interesting article by Kathryn Hughes: Hunger for the Corporeal.

She makes some good points about
"the desire to possess material fragments of people and places that have been important to us."
As she says:
"an object no longer simply embodies its material value; what counts is the narrative in which it becomes embedded."

It put me in mind of this book.

Kathryn Hughes has written a book about Mrs Beeton.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Today, I failed.

The last couple of days I've been getting up at 5.30 a.m. - well, actually a little earlier - to try to progress my current W.I.P.. This morning, I didn't manage it. Just too bloody knackered. Hardly surprising really, as I have also not been getting to bed until past midnight most nights. Not so much working on the new one, as frittering away time blogging and myspacing and talking to myself.

I must be getting old. I wrote this book by getting up ridiculously early, in an intense burst of energy one summer not so long ago. But I just don't seem to be able to do it any more.

I just wish there were more hours in the day.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lessons in the realities of book publishing.

Lesson Number 1.

There was quite a commotion at Day Job Headquarters yesterday evening.

"Does everybody know David Beckham is at Waterstones?"

"What's he doing there?" was the quite reasonable question.

"Signing books," came the slightly surprising response. I mean, David Beckham signing books? Who would have thought it.

"Shall we go?"

"It'd be rude not to."

So off they went, a positive exodus of otherwise quite sensible people, who had upto now betrayed no interest in the life, work, or literary career of David Beckham. But Christ, here was a genuine celebrity, an a-list star, a hero, almost, in a bookshop nearby.

And there you have the whole celebrity publishing phenomenon explained.

Lesson Number 2.

However, the most eagerly awaited book in the Morris-Yarham household was not David Beckham's autobiography, or whatever it is he's peddling, but the latest Captain Underpants epic novel from the pen of Dav Pilkey - Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People.

Anyone who's met my son Luke will know that he is the world's biggest Captain Underpants fan. They will know this because Luke will tell them.

Anyhow, the new book arrived yesterday, at long last, all the way from America. It's not out in the UK yet. Yes, we're mad, but you've never experienced pester power like this, and at least it wasn't for a Play Station or a kiddy quad bike. It was for a book. Books are good. Books we like. Books we encourage.

Is it really possible that the big, gap-toothed-grinning joy, the I'm-so-excited-I'm-shaking excitement, the laugh-out-loud pleasure, the Dad-Dad-look-at-this wonder could have been caused by the arrival of a mere book?

We now have the happiest six-year-old boy on the planet living in our house.

So what is lesson two? Just that I think people who predict the end of reading are wrong.

If you would like to experience a similar excitement at the arrival of a new book, click here now.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Google guilt.

So many people are coming here looking for information on wooden cooking utensils that I am beginning to feel a little guilty.

Second most popular extraneous reason for visiting Roger's Plog is to find out about the uber-agent Jonny Geller. I really can't tell you anything useful about JG as I have had no dealings with him whatsoever. Never even met the man. Not even on the day when I thought I would.

However, perhaps the most bizarre google enquiry that has led someone to Roger's Plog is "How do I shave my neck with a beard?"

Hmm. I don't really know how to answer that, other than to confess that I'm slightly confused by the wording of the question. I would imagine it's pretty much impossible to shave anything with a beard. Hope that helps.

One day, maybe, someone will come here because they're interested in my book, Taking Comfort.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Broken glasses.

Last night I sat on my glasses and thoroughly broke them. Some fool had left them on the sofa. I mean! How stupid is that?

I thought at first that I had sat on one of the kid's cheap - but dearly treasured - pieces of crap (or toys, as they call them) but no. The quick pop of snapping plastic was the left lens of my supposedly indestructable spectacles. The frames are fine, as they are made out of that flexible metal that returns to its shape no matter what you do to it. I guess I'll get them repaired.

Although I was annoyed with myself, I think actually it was probably better, for the emotional equilibrium of the house, that I broke my glasses, rather than one of Claire or Luke's toys.

So what does all this have to do with Taking Comfort, the subject of this plog? Well, I had taken my glasses off and put them down somewhere (yes, I was that fool) in order to read from the book in question. I wasn't reading it through, just looking for a passage to read at a certain forthcoming event, more details of which will be coming soon...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

That book meme thing again.

Remember that book meme thing? Well, I was amazed to discover that Taking Comfort actually got a mention in someone's list. Thank you Debra . Fortunately, it wasn't as 'one book that should never have been written'.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The sun always shines in Crouch End.

On Saturday, I took the kids to Queen’s Wood.

There was an open air art exhibition on there. We followed coloured ribbons, or arrows with tiny mirrors inside them, to find installations in amongst the trees. This is something that happens every year, I think. But this year I had the sense that there were more objects in the exhibition, and more interesting ones too.

It’s great to watch kids (one 6, the other 8) respond to what could be described as ‘modern’ or ‘conceptual’ art. They love it. They approach it without preconceptions and respond to it with a simplicity and joy that I’m sure would delight the artists.

I should say that Queen’s Wood is one of the settings of my novel. It’s where Rob Saunders goes jogging and ‘makes a frightening discovery’ as the blurb has it. So I was thinking that one of the artworks might have been a body, or a model of one, hidden in the undergrowth. Obviously, that would have been a bit too gruesome for an event that is intended for families, but that's just my imagination.

Thank you, crimeficreader, Part II.

For this review.

It contains the words all writers (or at least all sane ones) long to hear "this is a damn good read".

I hadn't really thought I'd written a crime novel, but apparently the boundaries of the genre are being pushed, so my book would make it in. Admittedly, there is a crime - more than one, actually - and a body, so I do use thrillerish elements in the story. I make no apologies for that!

It was good to discover that the book worked as a thriller for someone who reads a lot in that genre - and that the other things I was trying to do with it were appreciated too.

I'm well chuffed.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Buy this book.

The Sunday Night Book Club is a collection of short stories by some top writers, including one Kate Long. Kate is a fellow member of the writewords writers' website. I'm always pleased to be able to promote another ww-ers work, but especially when it's in a good cause. Proceeds will go towards Breast Cancer Care.

Besides, it makes a change to plog something other than this.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Congratulations Lucy.

Today sees the launch of the latest novel from Macmillan New Writing - Blood and Water by Lucy McCarraher. I shall be going to the launch tonight at Goldsboro Books. Looking forward to catching up with Lucy and everyone from MNW.

Here's the synopsis for Blood and Water:

At 45, Mo Mozart has struggled to bring up her first two children as a single mother and, now they’ve flown the nest, she’s concentrating on maintaining a career while being a good wife to her second, younger husband, Jack, and mother to their little daughter, Lily. With the help of yoga, meditation and her close group of girlfriends, Mo feels she’s at last getting the balance of her life right. Until, that is, Jack’s highly strung twin sister asks her to help trace their birth mother, Caitlin, whom Jack wants nothing to do with. Her involvement in the search triggers turmoil in Mo’s life, exacerbated by the onset of menopausal symptoms, Jack’s involvement with someone else, and an old vagrant woman who unleashes unwelcome, supernatural encounters . . .

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Thank you, crimeficreader.

For taking time to blog about my friend Ed and his music. Ed composed the choral piece Why Weepest Thou In Wild Array that I used in my trailer.

I also discover from visiting 'It's a crime...' that cfr is reading Taking Comfort and set to review. Yikes!

Anybody speak Spanish?

I followed a url from the sitemeter and found this. Someone from Mexico looked in, briefly. They were looking for 'Roger Comfort'. Maybe some relative of Alex Comfort? I was once told I had a comedy name. I suppose it might be true, as I am imagining another sex manual written by this relative of Alex Comfort, whose middle name might be Norman, or something. So you could have 'Enjoy Sex In Bed' by Roger N. Comfort.

Sorry, don't know what came over me.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Back to the day job.

Tomorrow I return to work, well, the day job, after taking the whole of August (and a few odd days of September) off.

What did I do?

I grew a beard. And shaved it off.

I went to St Petersburg and communed with the spirit of Dostoevsky.

I went to Norfolk and ate fish and chips and did other English seasidey stuff with the (extended) family.

I went to Edinburgh to sample the fringe.

I wasted a lot of time on the internet. I have a myspace addiction now.

Oh, and I did some writing. Not enough. But some.

So the endless summer has finally, and all too quickly, ended. This last day I spent with the kids. (They're back at school on Wednesday, or rather Claire is. The infants' school rang this morning and coolly announced the building work isn't finished so can we keep Luke at home for another day!) We baked cookies in the morning, went for a stroll around Crouch End, then Claire and Luke did some more baking in the afternoon, me banished from the kitchen because they wanted to make a treat for Rachel and me.

I got to clean up after them.

But it was a great day. They hardly watched TV at all and I don't think they fell out once. I even managed to do some reading. (Nearing the end of To The Hermitage.)

And now it's back to work, and Highgate Tube Station in the morning. I can't help thinking I should have kept the beard.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Waterstone's dot com.

Waterstone's have got their own independent website up and running. I beta-tested it for them and it seems to be working okay.