Monday, 14 April 2014

Ballardian children's fiction

Spotted this in the Guardian at the weekend and couldn't help but repost it. I also couldn't help but wonder whether an old friend of mine, creator of some uniformly excellent Ballardian fiction himself, saw it too.

Illustration by Tom Gauld. Copyright (presumably?) © 2014 The Guardian
As spotted in The Grauniad, Saturday 12th April 2014.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Sales - neither rhyme nor reason

Weird, isn't it? In January, I had my best month, sales-wise, for well over a year. In February, I didn't sell anything at all. Not one word.

Probably best not to over-analyse, eh...?

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Interested in a signed copy?

Hello you. Yes, you. You look great today, by the way, have you done something different with your hair?

Right, now I've buttered you up... can I interest you in a signed copy of my paperback collection of unsettling short stories, Dark Steps? Yes, signed, with (if you like) a personal message.

If you'd like to buy one of these, for the bargain price of £3 + £1.40 P&P, you have until the close of play on Thursday 20th February to let me know. Include your email address, and I'll send you a PayPal link to send me the £4.40. Don't forget to include any personal message you might like.

After this date, signed copies will still be available but may cost a little bit more.

Dark Steps - a collection of short stories by Martin Pond
Dark Steps - it's pretty good, if I may be so bold. I think you'd like it.

The most read thing I've ever written...

...is a tweet.

Yep. Three and a half years on from my first publication, after short stories, narrative essays, a collection and a textbook, after endless wearying self-promotion and promotion and promotion... the most read thing I've ever written is a tweet. Potentially.

You see, I went to see David Baddiel's new show "Fame: not the musical" last week (it's excellent, by the way, so go and see it). Afterwards, I felt sufficiently impressed to write a review in 140 characters - a tweet review or, if you absolutely insist, a tweview. No, that's an awful contraction. Erase it from your minds.

Anyway, I wrote the tweet, namechecking @baddiel... and he retweeted it. And then some of his followers retweeted it too. Hell, some even favourited it (favourited: another word abomination). Add up all of Baddiel's Twitter followers, and those of the people who retweeted it, and mine... well, at the time I took the screenshot, this is what that looked like:

The retweets of my review of David Baddiel's "Fame: not the musical"
All it takes is a retweet from the right person

81 + 51 + 45 + 41 + 1,552 + 751 + 39 + 329,642, that's 332,202 people. Plus my 818. That's 333,020 Twitter users. A potential audience of a third of a million people...

Before you say it, I know they won't all have read it. For many (most?) it will be buried in their timeline. Others will scroll happily by. But even if one in a hundred stopped to read it, well... well, what, exactly? Three thousand people would then know what I thought about David Baddiel's (brilliant) new show.

So what?

I still haven't sold any books at all so far this month...

Monday, 3 February 2014

Libraries... use them, or lose them?

The library - use it, love it, join it... or lose it?
This Saturday, the 8th of February, is National Libraries Day. As an avid reader and wannabe writer, libraries are special places for me, and I'm very lucky in this regard: there's a well-stocked and active library in the village, and I'm just five miles, as the crow flies, from the busiest library in Britain. And my parents are still regular customers of the mobile library van they took me to as a child.

National Libraries Day seeks to celebrate the diverse services modern libraries offer, in the hope that those who have forgotten their value get a timely reminder. And timely is the operative word there, for in these days of austerity, library budgets are an easy target for council spending cuts. First there will just be shorter opening hours, then there will be fewer mobile libraries, and finally just fewer libraries of any description... and that would be a calamity.

So take a look at National Libraries Day, see what's going on at a library near you or, better still, simply dust off your library card and go and get a book out. At the risk of stating the obvious, the easiest way to support, and hence preserve, your local library is simply to use it for its primary purpose.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A short story for you... just not one of mine (yet)

In the run up to Christmas, The Guardian's Weekend magazine Saturday supplement included four Christmas ghost stories. Whilst they were all good, Jeanette Winterson's Dark Christmas deserves a special mention. Pick of the bunch though, for me, was Light and Space by Ned Beauman, a terrific piece of psychological horror that inevitably prompted the "I wish I'd written that" feeling in me that I think most aspiring writers feel on a semi-regular basis. Bottom line? Light and Space is the best short story I read in 2013.

You can find all four stories online here.The website also has a bonus fifth story, from Penelope Lively.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

I've looked at life from both sides (of the Atlantic) now

I looked at my Amazon.com and .co.uk author profiles yesterday specifically to see if they differ and they do, in one respect.

Over in the US, people who buy things I've written also tend to buy books by these good folk:

From my US Amazon author profile

Blimey! Stephen King, Joe Hill, Clive Barker and Dean Koontz! I'll take that, any day of the week.

In the UK, things are a little different.

From my UK Amazon author profile

Now maybe I need to get out more, because I don't think I've heard of anyone on this list. But there are two names that appear on both: Scott Nicholson and J. Thorn. I think I might investigate these guys further (though I'm really not sure about the latter's author pic...)