Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Hoilday time

My final manuscript had been sent off to Bookguild Publishing, and other than researching on the internet (and writing my blog) I was preparing for a family break. We could no longer afford a holiday in the sun so decided to take two weeks out of daily living, and enjoy life in our own country.

The first week was spent at home with two friends from Germany who we had met some years before while on holiday in Cuba. As I have said before in my blog they are two of the funniest people we have had the pleasure of meeting. They have a very german sense of humour which is very refreshing, and they love my children as if they were their own. When we waved them off at the bus station they sat on the coach to Gatwick and the tears flowed from not only them, but from us as well. They are wonderful people from a wonderful country and hopefully, if I can make some money, me and the family would love to be able to take up their invitation to visit them in Munich in 2014.

Twenty four hours later we were in the car driving up to Scotland to stay with another wonderful couple at their home. We stopped for the night in Gretna Green and travelled next day on the ferry from Glasgow to Dunoon. We spent five lovely days with Bill, Val and their sloppy dog Dougal. We spent our time walking on the moutains and hills, and a days visit to Glasgow (by train) to see the sites, and take an open top bus guild tour of the city. One word of warning, Glasgow does have delights that are worth a visit, but as the conductor of our tour stated, it's always raining, so be prepared.

The kids loved Dougal and I had to spend the next two months after our visit fighting off their demands for us to get our own dog. I got told off a couple fo times when I got caught feeding him under the dinner table. But what could you do when you have a face resting on your nee with large brown eyes looking up to you, pleading for a scrap of food? You give in, thats what you do, and by the end of our visit he had me working out of his paw.

On the way home we had booked into a B.B in Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast, just for the night, so we could visit where my wife's grand parents used to live. Again we enjoyed our stay, but next morning it very windy, and as the black clouds came rolling in, it was a cold and brisk walk we had along the harbour.

On the way home we got lost, but everyone was relaxed enough after our break not to end up in arguments, and by late in the evenning we arrived home just as the engine in our car started to make a worrying noise.

When I took it to the garage the next day they only confirmed what I thought could be wrong, and my heart sank. The clutch was knackerd and it would cost nearly £500 to fix it. This was a disaster for me. I had spent the last of my spare money on the previous two weeks and now I was skint.

I had already sent off the payment required for first stage publishing. So now I had no choice. I would have to find some paid work. At that momement I was scared that I would get back into the old routine of working and enjoying the regular money that come in, so giving up on the final push that would be required to gettting published, and making a success of my dream, in becoming an author.

Monday, 25 February 2013

As needs Must

Although my book, Frenzy by Mark King, is out on the 28th of March 2013 I still feels as if I have ages to wait until I see it in the book shops (Although you can pre-order it on, and Amazon).

Until then I have had to take up various part time jobs (as needs must) to bring in some money to pay the bills. I still find it hard to say what my job is when strangers ask me, 'so what job do you do?' Until Frenzy starts to sell I find it hard to call myself; an author.

One of the jobs I have been doing is as a match day steward at my local football club. You don't earn much but I get to see the game for free, and the money goes towards a few drinks with my friends afterwards.

It was perfect last Saturday as my team won, and a lot of friends I hadn't seen duly arrived through out the night.

I went straight to the Steam Packet after the game. A very well run traditional British pub with a very friendly landlord called Kim.

He always has a welcome for you and makes you feel at home, but most of all he has a smile on his face, and this is what makes him so special. For Kim's life has not always been easy. He made a new life for himself after leaving his home country of Morocco and along the way he has had to face some difficult times, more than most people, and to tell you the truth more than enought to have finished off most men, including me.

But he gets on with his life and you can tell that he enjoys making other people happy.

So if you are ever visiting the lovely city of Norwich, pay a visit to the Steam Packet and have a drink with Kim.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Thinking ahead

Within three weeks of signing the contract I had read my final manuscript making any final changes needed, and emailed it to Bookguild Publishing.

As normal it would be a case of always-hanging-around while I waited for the first editor's copy with their recommended changes to come back to me.

The family needed a break and as we hadn't the money to have a holiday in the sun, for the last three years, we decided to take up an offer of spending five days in Scotland with friends.

While we planned the long drive up to Scotland I started to think ahead about the next stage of my quest.

How to sell the book?

As normal I started to complete reserch on the internet and found out that as an unknown person the first thing you need to do is to get your name known.This was one reason I started the blog along with trying to guild other hopeful new authors who needed advice on how to make their dream come true.

There are different ways to get noticed. One I looked at was Twitter, but at the time I just couldn't get it. Now I have a Twitter account and have started to use it to communicate with others. I'm still learning how to use it, but i'm now there under the name @author-king. So look for this or under my name, Mark King, and hopefully my page ( with Frenzy Cover) will pop up.

I don't know if you are from America, Germany, Russia, China or any other country if you can follow me here in the U.K, but if you can then feel free to tag on. I'm trying to complete a tweet a day, and if you are on twitter then let me know and I can then follow you too.

As I have said in previous blogs you always need to be think of the next stage before you have finished the stage you are at now, if you want to get to the finsh post.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The contract

It came through my letterbox. The envelope which inside held the contract from the publishers.

What can you say about any contract? Not much, they are always written in favour of the person or company that's had made it, and most are so full of complicated english that it's almost impossible to understand what they say unless you pay for expensive legal advice.

I read through it and then signed.

There I was, coming up to to nearly a year and half into my two year quest to become a published author, and I had a signed contract. True, I was taking on the risk, but if you believe in your work, or claim too, but will not take all the steps required, no matter how risky, then you don't have the belief you think you do.

I posted back the signed contract, and at the same time sent off more requests to various trust funds looking for financial help.

I had a gut feeling that the replies from the funds would be negative, but had got so use to being turned down that I wasn't too botherd if they did. I had also got fed up with always-hanging-around for other people so I had decided that if I did get any help it would be a bonus, if I didn't then it wouldn't matter.

For now the next three weeks was going to be a busy time for me, because I needed to make any changes to the final draft of my manuscript before Bookguild could start process of editing.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Joker's Monday (where's the horse)

For the last couple of weeks I have given Joker's Monday a miss, but it seems that after the horse meat scandal that has engulfed most of western europe recently; the joke was on us.

I have received lots of jokes about horses ending up in burgers and pies when it should have been beef, and although they are funny, the situation is not.

The whole thing is another scandal, on top of another scandal, on top of another. A constant stream of insults agaisnt the ordinary person. It's doesn't matter where you live in the world, we all seem to be taken for a ride by somebody.

It may just show that when life is lived for what you can take from it and not what you can give, and maximum gain is the only means of showing success, then maybe something is going wrong along the line.

Don't get me wrong; we all need money to survive and I was as eager as the next person to get my hands on as much of it as anyone else, but! There is always a but. I have now had to live for the last two years on very little money, let during this time I have never felt richer in my life.

I'm not going to get on my moral high horse; it's just i'm not afraid of it anymore, not afraid of not having more than the next man.

Once you have this knowledge then you become free.

Friday, 15 February 2013

The next week

The first thing I did on the Monday after my visit to Brighton was to write to all the charity trust funds I could find, asking for financial help with publishing my manuscript.

I had borrowed a massive book with thousands, upon thousands, of trust funds listed and what aid they would give to what type of needy cause.

A lot were connected to religion, most being Christian, followed by a lot of Jewish trusts, but not many Muslim. The remainder were mostly for education or the arts. The ones connected to the arts interested me and these are the ones that I noted.

I looked and I looked, but I could only find one or two (out of thousands) that were directed towards writing, and these were based around paying the costs towards somebodies education in this field.

I found a lot for helping poeple who wanted to follow a musical or other art form like painting, but not one which would help an unknown or unpublished author to make it on the first rung of the ladder.

I hope after FRENZY by Mark King is published on the 28th of March it is a success, and I hope to be able to follow up with more stories, but the one thing I hope for now is to make enough money from publishing so I can re-invest some of that money back into humanity by setting up a trust fund; solely to help other people who maybe have no hope of getting published (because of their backround), but who can tell a great story, and then help to get them published.

This is a long term plan. In the short term I was going to go ahead and pay the upfront costs with the last remaining money I had.

I was fed up with always-hanging-around. I wasn't going to hang-around for their replies, I was going to go for it now, and if in the near future one or two did come back with some postive news then this would be a bonus.

I didn't have to hang around for the contract from the publishers, it arrived on the Wednesday.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

A night out in Brighton

After my meeting in Brighton with the publishers I went to a cosy little corner pub for a drink, and reflected on my meeting.

The owner of Bookguild Publishing is a women of presence, not in a over-powering way, more like a mature auntie who has seen the world, and enjoyed every minute of it. I liked her and she seemed well suited for life in Brighton.

My mind was made up. I was going to take the risk of covering the upfront costs in exchange for a greater return in the future, and more importantly control over my work. I was approaching various charity trusts funds to see if they could help, but if they couldn't I would use the last of my life savings (and future retirement pot) to achieve my goal.

I asked the barman to order me a taxi and as soon as it arrived I jumped in and requested it take me to Hove. This is part of Brighton but people who live there still like to think its different.

My sisiter had moved there some years before to take up a job in a business a friend of hers had started. it was a big risk for her at the time but it seems to have payed off.

I arrived and she gave me a tour of the building. She works for a high class dentists (there is a poss name for what they do, but I always forget what it is) making the teeth of the rich and famous look nice, white and clean.

I then waited for her to finish work, once again in a corner pub just down the road and which was her local. After an hour she walked in with four of her work friends and every one settled down for a chat.

I noticed how perfect all the girls teeth looked, a perk of the job,  and  they all spoke in postive terms about how well kept my own teeth looked, and as some of them were in there twenties it was nice to get such attention!

The beer and wine flowed freely and so did the talking. I had spent the previous twelve months with so little money, and had looked after every penny to the point were my old life had become a distant memory, but for this one night only I decided not fret about about money, and just enjoy the night.

We ended up in the early hours getting a take-away Thia to enjoy around one of the girls who lived across the road and there I was in a flat, with four lovely young ladies, and my sister (She is lovely too, but not in the same way if you get my drift).

Of course I was on my best behaviour as my sister was there, but, and this is a very big but, it still made me feel like I was ten years younger, and that's what made the night so great.

Me and my sister ended walking back to hers and soon I was a sleep in the spare bedroom.

The next day we walked along Brighton beech as the wind blew a gale, which helped to sober the mind, and she took me to Bill's. This is a cafe, but not your normal working mans cafe, Its a little be more, how can I explain it, it's a bit more artisan.

I treated her to a full English breakfast and afterwards she escorted me the the train station. As I trundled away from Brighton on the train, reading a newspaper; life at that moment once again felt new and exciting. 

Monday, 11 February 2013

A broken skull

It's such a funny feeling when you get your first hard copy of your book. The stress doesn't stop at this point because now you start to worry about if it will sell.

As I said in Friday's blog, Frenzy by Mark King will be out on the 28th of March, which can mean only one thing. Yes you are correct, always-hanging-around, as normal, until the big day.

The good thing now is that I know i'm not crazy, to quit my job and go for broke wasn't an after effect of a split skull I had recieved a couple of years before I gave up everything to follow my dream.

I had travelled to London with a group of friends for a day out and to watch our local team play. We had been drinking all afternoon and split into smaller groups. It must have been around 7pm when it happend.

I was the first to walk around the bend, and could hear the commotion of smashing glass. I looked down the road to a pub on the corner with a large group of lads outside, bricks in hand, smashing the windows in. Outside I could also see a friend in the middle of this group laying on the floor with at least six men using his head as a football while they put the boot in.

It was his coat which I noticed. He had a gold coloured puffer jacket on and you don't see many of them. There was no hesitation. I ran at the mob and charged in. I sent three of them flying while the other three backed off in surprise.

I helped my friend up and he staggerd through the pub door. Before I could join him I was surrounded by the mob. It was a fight to the death. They came at me and I tried my best to fight them off, but someone smashed a glass bottle over my head, and I dropped to the floor like a stone. Soon the boots where flying into my body.

I remember hearing a voice in my head saying to me " get up Mark King or you are going to die, get up Mark and get up now."

I jumped to my feet and confronted them just as my other friends came around the corner. They charged into them, it was like a mass brawl from a wild western movie. More people I knew came out of the pub and we soon had the atttackers on their toes.

I could feel warm liquid running down my face and went into the pub to find the toilets, then clean myself up. It was a total mess inside the building. Windows smashed, tables and chairs over turned, and people with cuts here and there.

The blood started to gush out and I couldn't stop it. We decided to leave when we could hear the police sirens, but I was in trouble. I was trying to stop the bleeding as it flowed from my skull, but I couldn't.

As I walked up the road a car pulled up and out jumped a policeman with torch in hand. He looked concerned and called for an ambulance stright away on his radio. I wanted to carry on walking but I was coverd in blood.

The ambulance soon arrived and after they paramedics had cleaned the wound they wanted to take me to hospital for further investigation, and medical help. I didn't want to go. I asked them to patch me up as best as possible, and I left them with a very large bandage around my skull.

I awoke next day at home with my hair stuck to the pillow with dry blood.

The wife wasn't too happy, to say the least, and I thought she would make me pay for it for weeks to come, but then the tables were turned.

The following week she went for a boozy night out with her friends. I stayed at home looking after the children. They where tucked up in bed when the phone rang. It was one of my wifes's friends.

"Hello Mark, don't worry, but your wife is in an ambulance and needs to go to hospital. She slipped on the ice when crossing the road, and banged her head on the curb."

The next four weeks we each had swollen heads and bruised faces. It looked as if we had given each other a good battering.

I still have a dent in my skull, and once all the hanging around is over, hopefully a new careeer as an author.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Short but Sweet (once again)

Todays blog has to be short but sweat.

There is a good reason, and this is because I have been down the pub.

The reason I have been having a pint or two, or may be three or more is because I have been celebrating.

Again the reason for this is that I now have, in my hands, a hard copy of my first published book. It is due for release on the 28/3/2013.

FRENZY by Mark King can now be pre-orderd on,, and through all good book shops in the U.K. Plus by the end of the month on Bookguilds publishing website (

The true title is FRENZY (A Daniel Jones story) by Mark King. The bit in brackets is to seperate it from other books with Frenzy in the title.

For all of you out there from America, Germany, Russia, China, Canada and all the other countries (to many to mention) I can't say at the moment how you can get your copy of the book, but hopefully at some stage in the near future it will be released where ever you may live (unless of course you know someboby who lives in the U.K who can get there hands on it for you.)

The story hasn't ended, it's only just begun, so I hope you keep enjoying my latest blogs as I carry on my adventure.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The trip

There I sat on the train, one sunny Friday morning on my way to Brighton to have my first meeting with the publishers. It was relaxing. The trains ran on time and I arrived in London in a positive mood. The connecting trains all went to plan and I arrived at Brighton Station with two hours spare.

I have travelled many a time on trains and had learnt the hard way to always allow extra time for delays, breakdowns, suicides (so many poor people end their days jumping in front of a train) etc, etc. You name it I have been on a train that has been delayed by one reason or another.

The Germans have a well deserved reputation for running their trains on time as well as the Japanese, along with the french T.V.G system. In America it's a bit different as most people will fly to where they need to go, but in Britian the train is still one of the biggest networks in the world, and thus when things go wrong it has a whole knock on effect for the rail system.

I didn't mind arriving on time as I used my spare two hours to have a look around Brighton and some of the sights it's famous for.

My meeting was arranged for 14.30 and I arrived at ther head office in the centre of town (opposite the world famous Royal Pavillion) and rang the buzzer for the main reception.

I was buzzed in and walked up the stairs to the third floor office and entered. My heart was beating like a mad-man and the climb up the stairs had made me start to swet (I think nerves had something to do with it as well).

The one thing I noticed straight awat was that everyone working in the office was a women. I was soon meeting the owner of the company, another women, and it only confirmed what I have stated in previous blogs. The publishing industry in a lot of sectors ( in Britian at least) is dominted by the fair sex and this is having a major effect on who and what type of books are being published.

I found all the staff friendly and open minded, and the meeting with the govener lasted nearly three hours. It didn't matter that I was a man because they could see the quality of my manuscript.

When I left the office I knew that Bookguild Publishing would be my publishers and I knew how I wanted to take it forward.

I left their office, walked across the road and entered the first pub I could find. I bought myself a pint and then phoned my sister to say I was in town.

Then I was ready for a night out in Brighton.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Where is the money coming from?

If my visit to Brighton to meet with the publisher proved to me this was a company I could trust I had decided, if possible, to take the option of paying for the upfront costs.

I had already taken more riskes than most people with my adventure, or dream which everway you look at it, and I thought to myself; "If my manuscript is as good as I think it is, then I should take this financial risk." I hoped it would be my final risk, but a have a feeling that there are a lot more out there waiting for me.

If at this stage I couldn't take the chance because I didn't have enough confidence then I shouldn't have started it all in the first place. My mind was made up, I was going to go for it.

The only problem was without a full time job I had been living on the bread-line for months. Me and my family were offically living below the poverty line!

I did have one option. I had a small amout of savings locked away in a long term tax free account paying 6.25% a year. This was money I saved before I had even met my wife and started a family. It was my rainy day money for emergencies, or better still to go towards my retirement. It wasn't a much, but it had taken a lot of hard work over the years to earn it, and save it too. Plus with such a great rate of interest in todays times it would be impossible to find such a good return again, also as it was locked up I would have to pay heavy exit fees to release it.

The other problem was that once this money was spent all my spare cash was gone, and I was already living off my overdraft.

There was another way I could try! As I expalined in my earlier blogs I had joined a fund raising team at a local charity to help raise money for some disabled toilets. Part of this fund raising involved applying to various grant giving trust funds for money. If it worked once before then maybe there are trusts out there I could approach, and ask for some funding?

I knew what my next task was. I needed to head down to the libarary where inside I would be able to lay my hands on a very thick book with all the listed trusts funds in this country. The book also listed their details on who they would give a grant to, and how to go about making a request.

One of the tips I have given on this blog before is to always be thinking about your next step. Whatever stage you are at you should already be planning the next move.

Of course if this failed then I did always have the option of going back to work!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Everybody wants their cut

The publishing industry is like the music and art scene in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. During these decades everyone made money out of the artist except for the artist themselves.

Just think about the Beatles, the greatest band of their time. By 1970 they were nearly bankrupt as everybody took something from their success. It was only in the the early 90's that the tables turned and bands started to make even the smallest return for their hard effort. It's was the same for painter's etc, etc.

There are a few examples that manged to make great money out of writing books, like J.K.Rowlings, but not in her early days, it was only once she took control did she see any return for all her hard work.

The one thing which attracted me to Bookguild publishing was that they had various differnt options open for a writer.

The main one was the normal route of signing away your rights for a sum where they then take the risk, but get all the rewards. The other was a half way house where you took a risk with the costs, but they then shared the rewards with you.

I had given up evrything to write my book. I had given up a secure job. I had given up my social life. I had risked my family life, everything you can think of I had had to change so I could become a published author.

I once read a book called The Secret by Rhonda Bryne. It's basic message is that if you have total faith and give 100% you will get back what you have given.

I liked the second choice by Bookguild, the halfway house, I pay towards the cost and take the risk, but the rewards would be greater.

There is a thing called self-publishing, and there are many companies out there that claim they will help you to do this, but this was different. They didn't promise the earth, the choice was up to you what route you took, and I wanted to take a route that gave me a chance of a least some reward.

In publishing authors make very little money. A book may cost £9.99, or $9.99 or 9.99 euros but the retailer will want to make a 100% mark up so will get that book for at least £4.50, $4.50 or 4.50 euros. The publisher will want to make 20% gross before they have even taken out their printing costs, and then if you have an agent he will want his cut.

Basicly an author can expect to make 40p out of a £9.99, £9.99 book. Once the supermarket grops start selling it at £3.99, $3.99, or 3.99 euros then you will only get 10p a book.

My reserch on the internet had shown that most authors are lucky if they make twelve thousand a year, and thats only if they have three published books bringing in the money.

This is the reason I wanted to visit Bookguilds office in Brighton. I wanted to take the risk but only after I could prove to myself they were the 100%.