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In the Times this morning there was an article about self-published authors who achieve huge sales of (no doubt excellent) books by their cunning use of Amazon’s Kindle Direct publishing service for ebooks.  Well, I thought, that might be OK for chicklit and crime, but not for Acerbic Novels of Our Time like The Umbrella Men. (

Then I continued to the end of the article where they list some other self-published authors, including Dickens (A Christmas Carol) Beatrix Potter (The Tale of Peter Rabbit) and EL James (50 Shades of Grey God help us). I don’t think that Dickens and Potter made much use of the Amazon platform though.

Peter Rabbit probably did not classify as an acerbic novel of our times, even in 1901 when it was published, although (come to think of it) Mr McGregor is something of a [hard-bitten capitalist] [greedy kulak landed peasant] (delete as appropriate) and Peter quite the rebel. There’s a PhD paper there somewhere.

Somehow the modern age with all its communication richness has the result of our having to classify books – crime, chicklit, historical fiction, science fiction etc – in order to win market success. As you may have guessed by now, with The Umbrella Men I’m going for the ‘Acerbic Novel of Our Times’ (ANOT) class. It’s bound to catch on.

I love my publisher, Neem Tree Press (, and feel privileged (oops) to have been accepted by them for publication.  However I doubt The Umbrella Men has earned me £250,000 yet, like the Nicola May in the article – I’ll have to check.

Nicola (if I may) sounds great; she is a self-described as ‘feisty’ and ‘extroverted’. She has a slick website AND Facebook pages as well as a super presence on Twitter. In short (to use the word we are by law obliged to with respect to social media) she is savvy.  I have none of these characteristics. I am whatever the antonym of savvy is. I just looked it up – it’s not good.  Dense, dull, obtuse and gormless are all on the list.

That’s why I need a publisher.

Despite all that, I do have to try to get to grips with savviness. This blog post is a start. And the radio interview! Check it out at: