Getting hold of the book

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Or click the book below for other editions (hardback, paperback or ebook) and sources:

CoverYou can also download 55% of the ebook for free as a sample, or buy the whole thing for $4.99.


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The Untime – unique prizes to be won

Prizes to be won!


Read The Untime, watch a movie and win unique goodies!

Recently I watched the science fiction movie Interstellar on a plane. Somewhat to my surprise, I discovered that there were several points of similarity between The Untime and the movie. I saw the movie after the book had been published, and I was really struck by some of the echoes between the two.

I was actually quite impressed by these coincidences, and so, talking to Inknbeans Press, we decided to run a little competition.


Here are the prizes:

  • 1st prize: a backwards Untime clock (literally unique – there will only ever be one like this)
  • 2nd prizes: two Untime mugs
  • 3rd prizes: four Untime coasters

What you have to do

To win, you should have read the book of The Untime, and know about the movie Interstellar.

If you haven’t read the book yet, it’s available as a rather handsome paperback, or as a Kindle/ebook edition. We’d like you to fill in the form on http://www.theuntime.info/competition.html (or write to us at Competition@TheUntime.info) telling us all the points of similarity that you have noticed between the book and the movie.

Buy the book from Amazon here.

In addition, we would like you to tell us who should star in the movie of The Untime (we can dream, can’t we?) as:

  • Jules Gauthier
  • Agathe Lamartine
  • Professor Schneider

And that’s it!


The small print

Only one prize per entrant, though you can enter as many times as you want.

All entries must be received by 23:59 June 8th 2015 (PST).

The competition will be judged by Inknbeans Press and Hugh Ashton.

Winners will be informed by e-mail.

Employees of Inknbeans Press are not eligible to enter (though Inknbeans authors are welcome to enter).

The guru

IMG_2318.jpgI just received an email message from a self-published author, who wanted to know how to promote and sell his book. Somehow, I am seen as some kind of expert or guru on the subject, so this is my answer (I’m not a cat, but cats are wise, and pictures of cats get attention, so):

The first thing to get your book noticed is to get it into Amazon, either as print or as Kindle. Blurb make lovely product, but no-one notices it there. Once in there, it’s an Amazonian jungle. There are 8,000,000 print books in the Amazon catalogue, and about 3,000,000 ebooks. I’m afraid, though, that without Amazon, your book will sink without trace. Unfortunate, but true. I am in no way an Amazon fan – I find their practices to be immoral and unfair to authors and publishers much of the time, but I recognise the necessity to work through them.

It also helps to find other sales channels such as B&N (Nook), Kobo, etc. This means you must have an ISBN. You can get them in Japan, but the mechanism is creaky and antiquated, or you can get them free if you publish through Createspace and Kindle (Amazon subsidiaries).

Then you have to get a few reviews, and to let other people know about it. An author page and web sites, etc. are useful, and you have those (just Liked your page, by the way).

But you are facing an uphill struggle against all the competition. You have to work harder at promoting the book than you ever did writing it – and you have to be writing the next book, and planning the one after that at the same time. Unless you’re Lee Harper or J.D.Salinger, you’ll never make it on the one title.

How to get a commercial publisher. Luck, in finding the right agent (preferred mechanism in many cases for commercial publication) or publisher at the right time. Be prepared for dozens (literally) of rejection letters. And remember that (i) you’re not going to sell significant numbers here in Japan, and (ii) you typically won’t sell to writers.

I’m sorry if this sounds bleak and depressing, but believe me, there are many factors working against an independent author/publisher.

Having said which, there is a rise in the number of small “boutique” publishers who are reinventing the landscape, and providing authors with many of the benefits and freedom of self-publishing, while removing the financial burdens and many of the “business” chores. However, it cannot be emphasised strongly enough that there are also many “predator” vanity operations who will take your money and run, without providing any services worth the name. Before you sign anything, make sure you check with other writers, and on sites such as http://pred-ed.com to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate operation.

Oh, and here’s the book that he wants to promote http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/480205-extreme-music – I haven’t read it, but I think it deserves to be mentioned by name.

Prevail – a review

Prevail: The Inspiring Story of Ethiopia's Victory over Mussolini's Invasion, 1935-1941Prevail: The Inspiring Story of Ethiopia’s Victory over Mussolini’s Invasion, 1935-1941 by Jeff Pearce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s a fascinating story of events in history that I knew very little about. Hardly surprising – the way in which the whole business of the brutal Italian invasion and occupation of Ethiopia was swept under the carpet by the Allies means that very few people have heard about it in any detail.

Pearce has done an excellent job in piecing together a coherent account of these times from what must have been extremely fragmentary sources, and putting it into a readable form.

This is not a book that will have universal appeal, given the somewhat specialist subject, but for those interested in the byways of history, it is a highly interesting account of a neglected topic.

View all my reviews

Thank you

A big thank you to everyone who has read and ranked my Sherlock Holmes titles. Up to an average of over 4.5 stars for all titles. Very nice to see.


Thank you all!

Some things you won’t believe about one of the world’s largest IT companies!

Click on the screenshot below (and any screenshots on this posting) to examine this more closely. It’s my author page from Amazon US, listing my titles. Note how in the top row, two of my titles are listed as selling for $0.99 (Kindle editions). Now, this is not true – neither I nor my publisher has discounted these titles, and this price is plain wrong.

Happily, on the very same page, the “correct” price is listed. What does that tell you about Amazon’s vaunted IT expertise?


But wait, there’s more… I was looking at that in Safari from Japan. Let’s look at it in Chrome:


Back to $0.99 on the same page, different browser.

And click through to the actual book pages (Chrome again):




Actually, these are meant to be the same price, $2.99. So let’s go through the Hola Chrome extension and pretend to be in the USA:


We are now entering serious WTF country:


So… Depending on your browser, and where Amazon thinks you live, Amazon quotes different prices to you for the same product, or even quotes different prices on the same page, which are not the same as the price the publisher quotes.

Oh, and speaking of which, despite requests made over several months, the publisher of some of these paperback titles is given wrongly. These are NOT Createspace publications.

So, given that Amazon doesn’t seem able to get a simple thing like catalogue listings correct (pricing and metadata), how far can we trust their sales reports?

Time for Jeff Bezos to cease his psychopathic fantasies of 3D phones and unsold tablet devices, drone deliveries, and all the other things that bubble up in his mind from time to time, and look at the reality of a dysfunctional sales system.

Is Amazon just a vast Ponzi scheme playing on investors’ greed? Probably not, but it certainly seems to have many of the characteristics of one.

What does an Amazon ranking mean?

My latest Sherlock Holmes book Notes from the Dispatch-Box of John H. Watson MD is doing extraordinarily well. Somehow, it has reached the dizzy heights of between 12,000 and 13,000 in the overall hard copy rankings on Amazon US, and 70 in the British Detectives category.


This is quite uplifting. The British Detectives category includes such names as Agatha Christie, P.D.James, Dorothy Sayers, Ruth Rendell, Barry Maitland, Leslie Charteris, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself. It also includes Kindle and audiobooks (though there is a separate category for Kindle), as well as books that have yet to be published, and still manage to rank in the top sales.

For what it’s worth, there is as yet no ebook edition of this title, and there has been only one customer review on Amazon.

Which all goes to show what a complete load of rubbish Amazon rankings and reviews really are, along with the myth that “no-one buys print books”.

Even so, it’s very nice to see the book up there. I hope that people who have not yet bought the book will enjoy the three Sherlock adventures in this collection: The Russian Bear, The Hand of Glory, and The Missing Spoon.


The Untime – Revisited

The Untime-2 (working title) is coming on nicely – up to about 30k and going strong. It’s taking off in unexpected ways – lots of very deep Lovecraftian horror, which is largely post-Jungian in nature.

The Untime is good (though I say it myself) but this new story goes far deeper into the black reaches of madness and those dark corners of the soul that you never really wanted to know existed. Some gender politics as well, and, with luck, a story that grips and holds your interest.

Meanwhile, The Untime is available from Amazon, etc.