Tag Archives: proving house

How to get published

I am now the proud author of 5 published books. It’s quite amazing really. I have been asked by many of my friends how it all came about, how I got published. Did I send of my manuscripts to hundreds of agencies? Did I go, cap in hand, to publishing houses and alike? The simple answer is no. The simple answer is that I wasn’t really looking to get published at all.

I wrote the original Squidge book for a wedding, my wedding in fact. I decided that the kids at the wedding should have something to take away with them. The name of the elf was my affectionate name for my wife. I wrote the story, printed it on a standard printer, nicked loads of images from a royalty free website and laminated the front cover. As far as I was concerned, that was the end of it. I got married (December 2008) and the book was left on my computer.

Fast forward 2 years. I have new baby boy, and I hadn’t thought about Squidge in many months. I met another new father (our wives had met through a push chair exercise class. Seriously). He mentioned that he was branching out into publishing and my wife, not me as my memory is sieve like, mentioned I had written a book. He said he would take a look, I emailed it over and the following things happened…

1) my publisher sent it to the editor, she gave it the thumbs up.

2) the editor found many, many, many punctuation errors and typos. She suggested some small, and very good changes, I agreed and sent it back with my my very own thumbs up.

3) we got an illustrator involved. He sent me the first draft of Squidge (which, he won’t mind me saying, I wasn’t keen on), I sent off a descriptive paragraph, he tweaked it and Squidge had a face. And A very cute one at that.

4) the book was digitally put together. This is the bit I have no idea about. I know what an editor does and how they do it, same with an illustrator. The digital side is a mystery to me. It looked awesome though.

5) the book was released. Kinda says it all really.

And there you go. Maybe not the nuggets of info you were expecting but it does go to show that it can happen any place, any time.

As an aside we decided to put together an education pack and free fun downloads. All here www.squidgeelf.com

I really enjoy writing (both blog and books) and hope that people continue to care enough to read them.

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Going underground

One of the best things about where I live is the public transport system. Not a very exciting opening, but bear with me and I shall explain.

The other night my wife took 2 hours, in heavy London traffic, to travel 5 miles. She commented on her Facebook (she told me about it as well, we do speak occasionally) that she could have walked quicker. In fact, in 2 hours you could have almost completed the London marathon. Not me, a fit person.

Although I moan about the underground (some call it the tube or tube train if you’re not a resident, up north it’s the metro, in the states the subway) I do love it. The trains usually run on time and they are pretty regular. It does however have some funny quirks. List time? You bet.

1)Pregnant ladies. Is it better to make a fat girl cry or a pregnant women stand? On a recent journey I did the former. On a very busy train I stood and offered the ‘pregnant’ woman my seat. She looked at me, then at her stomach, then back at me and said no. I could tell I had upset her. No matter how much cake she had eaten she most certainly was not pregnant. I went to sit down again but some crafty person had slid behind me into my seat. I was left, stood next to the lady I had insulted, her staring at me. I got off at the next stop, still miles from home, and waited for the next tube. Ooops. That is why the seat on the end with the sticker over it is known as the danger seat.

2)How old before offer a seat. This is a real double edged sword. In essence, by offering someone a seat due to their age you are saying that they look not only old but feeble.

3) eyes down. One of the unwritten rules is that you do not look at other passengers. They will think you are a little nuts. Conversation is an absolute no no. I lived up north (York) for a whole year and couldn’t get used to random strangers striking up a conversation on the bus. It’s a southern thing I suppose.

4) elbows out when you disembark. This shows my mean side really. I believe that people should wait to get on until everyone has got off. If they don’t, and if I am getting off, then it’s elbow time.

It doesn’t take long to get used to, and so take for granted, the underground system. Years ago while flat sharing, one of the lovely Australians we lived with got very annoyed at people crowding onto the train. This led him to shout, with no sense of irony and in a thick Aussie accent ‘bloody tourists’. The looks of those around him are one of my funniest memories of the time.

So yes, you can get into trouble and yes, you can feel like a sardine and yes, you have to mind the gap. The tube though is, in my humble opinion, a real reason to be a proud Londoner.

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The best and worst Trilogy

What makes a good trilogy? Is it a good idea? is it something that gets better as you watch or read each one? Is it something that is well thought through? I am unsure what makes this magical thing of 3 great things, I can however tell you what makes a bad trilogy. Here are my top 3 bad trilogies.

1) The Godfather. This may surprise some, especially those that know me, but the Godfather trilogy is guilty of committing a terrible, terrible crime. The first Godfather film was amazing, made even more so by the fact I hadn’t seen it until the age of 25. I loved the interwoven story line, the effortless violence and completeness of it all. I loved it. Then came number 2. It was even better than the first and added another great Italian actor into the mix. The dual story lines went extremely well together and the whole ‘how times of changed’ angle was great. Number 3 was s**t. End of story. From such high expectations came a less than mediocre film. Why oh why!

2) Back to the Future (although the illustrator of the Squidge series disagrees). The first 2 films were interwoven so well that you couldn’t just stop at the first, although it dies stand alone very well. The ideas behind it, the great acting, and the fact that it makes you feel smarter than you are by being able to follow it. It hits all the right notes. Number 3 though, oh dear. It is all the things a western shouldn’t be and it really feels tacked on to the end as a money spinner. A flying steam-powered train? Really?

3) The Matrix. What a concept. seriously, what a concept. The real world isn’t the real world, the real world is a desolate waste land. Only one (the one) can save man kind. WOW. I walked out of the matrix thinking ‘how will they ever follow that up?’ The answer? Badly. I think that the idea of Zion was a very bad one, as did many other people. So much so that you can watch the Matrix de-zionised. check out U-tube. 

So then, to the best 3. Trilogies that I love.

1) Star Wars. It’s Star Wars, what else do you need? And yes, I am ignoring the prequels. Mr Lucas was given the green light on one film, even though he had 6 (or 9 if you believe certain quarters) he chose to start at number 4. He basically went for the best one for commercial viability. It gets better with both Empire and Jedi.

2) Lord of the Rings. Either the books or the films, I’m not fussy which. All films and books are wonderful, clever, linked and, as with all great stories, a tale of good versus evil. Now some people think they are a bit long and others liked them enough to buy the extended version. Guess which one I was! I would quite happily spend an entire day of my life watching back to back extended films. I have already done it with the 7 star wars films (I included the clone wars animated film).

3) Squidge: Little elf, Little bear. Ok, Ok, I admit it may not be the greatest of trilogies but it is close to my heart. It’s the story of an elf, a bear, some lemmings and a wolf pack. It was really fun to write, lets hope it is as fun to read.

Squidge: little elf, little bear.

That’s it from me. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Bestselling Author?

Strange as it may seem, and odd as it may feel, I am charting in both IBooks and Amazon Kindle and actually selling my books.

Let explain the oddness of this. Last year I had 1 book out, a publisher, an editor and an illustrator. This to me was odd. How could I, a hyperactive teacher, have all of these things? The book did really well, but that, I told myself, was because we were giving it away. Still, it did 50,000 or so and I felt a real pride of accomplishment.

Fast forward to this year. I was out with the lads yesterday (a very stereotypical gathering of men whose wives, girlfriends etc… had gone to a baby shower) and they asked me how the book was doing. A very simple question, but I froze in answering. What I should have done is go on a 10 minute sales pitch about the http://www.squidgeelf.com, or this website with all the links to the books, the kind of ‘tell all your friends and tell them all to tell their friends’ thing, but I didn’t. I told them that it was doing well, asked if they had read it, answered any questions, and left it there.

I think that because the book is selling, because it seems to be doing well, and because they are my mates from way back when, I was worried about sounding a little up my own backside!

I am very proud of what I and the proving house team have done but I do find it difficult to see myself as an author.

Andrew Thomas

Author?

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I can’t do it by my elf

Hello all,

The books are still doing well and still 3 more on the way! I have been a bit remiss in not mentioning the illustrator for the Squidge series. Let me see if i can’t rectify that.

The illustrator of our fuzzy haired little friend is the very talented James Lightfoot. Working together, we managed to get Squidge just right, an action elf with a hint of cuteness. He also has created a wonderful new character that you will meet in the new book. A picture so good that he had to have a bigger role!

Not content with being a fantastic illustrator and graphic designer, he is also part of a successful London based band. Check out the links. The first 2 are some of his design/artwork and the last is his band website.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.490800905152.392062.693465152&type=1

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150633537685153.692451.693465152&type=1

www.thehelmholtzresonators.com

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