Asides

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National Poetry Day – did you miss it?

28 September is designated National Poetry Day – at least in the UK. At TSL, we don’t see one day as a special day – all days are special, so below are the our authors who also write poetry. TSL doesn’t specalise in poetry but we do have some poetry either as part of a collection or to support a charity.

Playwright and author Barbara Towell has a book of poetry Patchworks.
Kat Francois and Robbie Cheadle also publish poetry, albeit not through TSL.

To purchase a book, click on the image below:

first published 5 October 2017, updated 2024

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Leslie Tate appreciation

Leslie Tate

Leslie is a word-smith – he crafts with words, books and poetry. He’s one of those writers who, when it comes to proofreading his work, I have to keep a dictionary close at hand to look up meanings of unusual words. If I recall correctly there were at least five in Love’s Register, an epic historical novel covering issues of climate change, personal relationships and identity, change and continutity, acceptance and rejection. These themes, at least for me, are the essence of Leslie. He’s not shy to experiment with style – four different fonts, each depicting a different person’s views, added some extra flavour to Love’s Register, a book which brought three separate books into one.
Leslie’s writing evolves – like a snowball gathers snow as it rolls down a hill. At the core is the essence of Leslie, whom I first got to know when we published Heaven’s Rage, an autobiography of his early life as a cross-dresser. However, it’s more than a book about being a cross-dresser. As I’ve said on many an occasion, it’s a human account of survival and responses to the challenges life throws at us. Together with Mark Crane, Heaven’s Rage became visual in 2017, winning numerous awards.
Another joint venture was with partner Sue Hampton and friend Cy Henty to produce The Dream Speaks Back – self-insights into the creative process of three artists, in three distinct styles creating a coherent whole.
But it’s not all about Leslie, he’s an incredibly supportive person when it comes to promoting others – his weekly blog contains interviews with creative people of diverse backgrounds, all supporting a cause with the end goal of making the world we live in a little better. And he’s taken this further with a weekly slot on Radio Dacorum. In days gone by he used to have a slot at a Berkhamstead pub where musicians, artists and writers could showcase their work – providing a platform for bringing people together. As with everything, this was part of the journey.
I’ve learnt much from Leslie, as a person, writer and supporter of others: in short – be yourself and don’t be afraid to make a stand for what you believe in. And look forward to reading his new autobiography (published 2024 by Blackspring Press): Ways to be Equally Human.

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Between worlds

By all accounts, there needs to be a bit of death in order to access the world between… although, there are some exceptions. See what you make of these:

Death on the Vine – L Lee Kane
Chilled to the Bones – Linda Lee Kane
The Sorceress – Linda Lee Lane
Death is an Illusion – L Lee Kane
Death is Waiting – Patricia Simpson
Cruel Deflections – Geoff Brown
Through the Nethergate – Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Shaka are Dead – John Samson
Shadowshine – Keith Howard

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short stories AND poetry

Have you ever noticed how many compilations or anthologies have the word ‘AND’ in their titles?
Here’s a selection from TSL slightly under a quarter of our short story and poetry titles.

This and That – two volumes of short stories by Josie Arden
Ravelled and other stories by Sue Hampton
Fairytales and Oddities by Ezra Williams
The Novel Other Incidents by Charlotte Harker
The Promise and other poems by Beatrice Holloway

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Margaret L Moore appreciation

Margaret L Moore

TSL has a few scientific/engineering background authors. Margaret is one of them – even more than humanity academics, the more scientific types have a particular way of writing which is not always what general readers appreciate. Margaret, however, having asked a few pertinent questions and after a few edits, turned out a most readable and enjoyable book charting a visit (and more) to Sri-Lanka, interspersing it with anecdotes from other holidays. Her interest in buildings, cultures and people especially family and friends comes across strongly, all aided by her ability to not take herself seriously (when, like most of us, out of the troublesome situation).
In addition to being a pleasure to work with (as are most of our authors), Margaret has also supported a few with looking at their writing and providing feedback, as well as general encouragement.
Having taken on the challenge by friends to write her book, From Sri Lanka with Love, I’m not sure if we’ll see anything more from Margaret – although I should add, that I’d be happy to see more from her as she opens windows onto different lands and experiences.

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Judy Johnson – appreciation

Judy Johnson

Thanks to Francis Beckett, Judy Johnson joined TSL to publish her memoir of growing up in Alaska.
In Alaskan Pioneer Girl, Judy takes us back in time to the 1950s when Alaska was umdergoing change – we read of the challenges of dealing with snow in the forest, fishing and school in more built up areas.
Scattered throughout the book are numerous recipes with an Alaskan flair – this reflects Judy’s later interest in cooking. I’d suggest sitting back to enjoy a time gone by in Alaska but you might well want to do a bit of cooking or baking first…

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Publishing facts – the challenges a book faces

Having been asked in 2022 to do a talk on publishing – not book promotion, I came across the following from 2019 which sets the scene for how difficult it is to sell a book. Getting one copy sold outside of friends and family is a huge achievement these days…

Since 1440 when Gutenberg invented the printing press to 2010, 129,864,880 books were published.
Since 2010 when digital publishing started, the number of books published has not been calculated.
Since digital publishing started in 2010, there has been an increase of 246%.
In 2018, 690 million books were sold, 75% of book buyers preferred print.

In 2014, 32.8 million books were listed on Amazon (not all available)
– 17.2 million (52.44%) in English
– 2 million (6.1%) in French
– 2 million (6.1%) in German
– 3.05% in Spanish

In 2022, audible had 200,000 titles
19,750 are published a year

The USA is the biggest producer of books.
USA book sales peaked in 2007. Since then sales have decreased by 42%.
E-book sales have levelled from 2013.
Fewer than 1% of books can be found in bookshops. They stock between 100 and 1,500 titles.
Authors really only sell to other authors and the publishing community
Most marketing is done by authors, not publishers.
The main USA publishers in 2019 were:
– Penguin – 85,000
– HarperCollins – 10,000
– Simon & Schuster – 2,000
– Hatchette – 2,100
USA saw 4 million books published in 2019, of which 1.7 million were self-published..
UK published 188,000 books in 2019.
20 million published books are available intetnationally.

Issue of ISBNs in 2018:
USA – 3,485,322
UK – 185,721
Germany – 139,940

Amazon published 91.5% self-published USA
Total self-published on Amazon is 1.42 million, 0.07 million published in 2018.
In 2016, Kindle e-books accounted for 40% of the market (1.6 million books) – a total of 4 million e-books were published on Amazon that year.
Total self-published = 1.55 million.
In 2007, only 66,732 books had been self published.
In 2018, 1,547,341 were self published

A typical self-published author sells 5 copies of their book
Average USA book sells 200 copies per year, 1,000 over a life-time.

The above generally accords with what I’ve seen at TSL. Our best sellers are in the 200+ range, a number of authors hover just over 5 book sales (they admit they’re not great with marketing). Author marketing is more successful than publisher marketing – issues around value of word of mouth recommendations, knowing the author abd distrust of publishers who are often seen to exploit authors.
E-book and paper sales vary depending on the time of year, with paper being the better seller overall.
The same trend is seen for books with global distribution and those exclusively available from the author, their link bookshop, or TSL.

Despite the gloomy outlook, don’t be put off writing your book. There are so many other personal benefits to doing so.

Image courtesty of Image by Pintera Studio from Pixabay

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Robbie Cheadle appreciation

Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle has been an author with TSL since early days when she started the Sir Chocolate series. For anyone following Robbie’s blogs and writing, you’ll know she’s a prolific writer across a range of genres as well as illustrator. Sir Chocolate is illustrated with fondant characters and settings while her most recent book about Neema the Misfit Giraffe and not published by TSL Publications, shows off Robbie’s new hobby – painting.
This may strike you as strange coming from a publisher – promoting a book not published by the publisher – but that’s the TSL way, especially when we’ve been on the journey together. There comes a time when a book or series’ journey requires it to go in different directions. The opportunity presented to Robbie to publish Neema as she has came about through a South African that had to be embraced. Great going Robbie! and Michael, who co-authors with her.
From discussions I’ve had with Robbie over the years, we’ve both found the experience of working together, and also separately, invaluable in terms of market knowledge and the intricacies of the publishing world.
I don’t need to spell out the value of the Sir Chocolate series. The fact that the South African Department of Education has asked for copies of her books to go into primary schools says it all… and also says volumes about the connection Robbie has with young people – helped of course by son Michael.
Of Robbie’s other books, TSL has published While the Bombs Fell, co-authored with her mother Nancy Hancy Eaton and under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle, the book tells of her mother’s experience of growing up in England during the Second World War (compare with Ray Wooster‘s experiences).
Then, there’s A Ghost and His Gold – an adult novel set in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 as well as the present – a mystery surrounding buried gold. Get taken back in time to explore a significant aspect of white South African history and how it plays out in the 21st century.
Ghosts and things supernatural feature in other writing by Robbie too – Haunted Halloween Holiday is another children’s book, while Through The Nethergate is for older readers again. While the supernatural is not top of my preferred reading list, I appreciate the setting or context and the development of the story, recognising the supernatural elements are a means to facilating the action. A well-told story is always worth reading.