My Kindle Countdown Deal turned out to be what my dad would have called ‘a right poor do’.

It’s a promotional tool that allows authors to sell their books at a discount for a limited time. In the case of The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy VS The Green Bogey, bargain hunting readers had a week to shell out just 99 British pence for the eBook read of a lifetime.

Copies sold?


Unfortunately – or perhaps not, I can only take so much humiliation – the deal cannot be applied to the paperback version of the book. I reassure myself that, despite mobile devices being glued to youngsters’ hands, physical books are really what children still want. What’s more, there remains the central problem: my novel is like an undiscovered planet. Passing silently through cyberspace it is both there and not there.

On the bright side I have sold 82 copies and made over £100. My plan to reinvest in Kindle advertising has faltered because I am still debating whether or not to buy 10 books as review copies and mail them to appropriate outlets.

Efforts to raise its profile have been fun and not particularly time consuming. Posts on Instagram get Likes but of course it’s impossible to tell if any of them convert to sales.

One thing I have learnt – social media and significant dates have a tight relationship. If, for example, it’s Mother’s Day and you can make your book relevant to it, take advantage of the hashtags and try to get noticed within the conversation.

And another: marketing a self published book is a slow burn and relies on skills that have to be learned. This is true of most conventionally published authors, too, and just like the writing itself, you have to believe that you can do it well enough to make people engage.

Of course, when I am fiddling about designing I may be enjoying myself but I am not writing the sequel. One thing that is becoming clear is that a series of books would be helpful – if they are any good they will cross promote each other.

So now I have started to put time aside for The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy VS. Santa Claws with a view to having it ready for Christmas shoppers. It’s a tall order. I do not regard myself as a rapid writer.

But at least I have a plot focusing on a Blackwater resident who becomes the mother of all evil Father Christmases; and I am looking forward to having child genius, Dinkesh, introduce Bumbling-Boy to his latest anti-crime invention: the BeeMX rocket powered bicycle.

BTW – here’s a tip. If you are very selective with the sales data presented on amazon you can often isolate encouraging numbers like these. When the desire to keep on writing fades they can be as meaningful as they are meaningless.

The book has only been on sale for a month. Things can only get better…

See how easily I have been given a boost?

To infinibee and beeyond!



Having uploaded the cover of the paperback version of The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy VS The Green Bogey I can price the book.

Out of the cover price comes the cost of printing and amazon’s commission. Truth is, even though printing costs almost $3.50US per unit I feel I can’t go beyond $8.75US or £6.99GBP – even though any royalty I receive will be less than that generated by a sale of the eBook at $2.99US.


If I sell an eBook I receive $2.06; if I sell a paperback it’s $1.81.

It’s not about the money, though – unfortunately. Continue reading “MY JOURNEY INTO SELF PUBLISHING: PART SEVEN: ON THE BRINK”


I have just discovered that the Googlebot has done its thing. If I search for The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy I’m taken swiftly to this blog and images associated with it.



My momentary euphoria is dispelled when I ask myself, “But who apart from me is likely to search for The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy?” And even if they do, will the novel’s amazon listing be at the top of the page? Continue reading “MY JOURNEY INTO SELF PUBLISHING: PART SIX: BEE-LIEVE!”


How to make my Press Release for the novel more human, more personal – that’s the challenge laid down by Deb my PR pal but I’m stumped. This is the best I can do:



“It’s hard to believe,” says Mark Gorton, “when looking at my 98 kilo body napping on the sofa with its mouth open that I was once a chubby child who dreamed of being able to fly.”

More decades later than he cares to mention Mark has taken that childish imagining and channeled it into The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy v. The Green Bogey, a new all action comedy novel for children aged 8 to 12.

“Bizarrely,” recalls Mark, “I used to dream about flying on a giant paper aeroplane launched by an equally giant elastic band. The story’s hero, Kenny Lane, is much more cool, although at first he doesn’t think so.”

Now the release continues by describing the plot of the book and includes a couple of quotes which reveal me to be articulate and charming and only took three hours to write.

Job done. What next? Continue reading “MY JOURNEY INTO SELF PUBLISHING: PART FOUR: PROFILE”


Many aspiring fiction writers know what it’s like. You’ve written a book, had plenty of rejections from agents, but a couple of them have read your work and responded warmly at first – only for hopes to be dashed when both say that, in the end, they don’t feel they can represent you and your novel.


I have no idea how much effort went into writing The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy VS. The Green Bogey because it was fashioned in the evenings and at weekends over a period so long I have lost track of it. Given that it takes me five minutes to write the title alone I can only surmise that I put plenty of hours in.

I do know, however, that writing the story gave me a great deal of pleasure. I also know – well, hope – that it is a decent, 50,000 word read that will make young readers laugh and think. Continue reading “MY JOURNEY INTO SELF PUBLISHING: PART ONE – WHY?”

THE FALL by Mark Gorton

I wrote this story in 1986 to enter a Gollancz/Sunday Times science fiction short story competition. It was a runner-up and published in the subsequent anthology. Set in a possible future it also harks back to the past in which it was written – when the Internet was still embryonic and mobile devices were neither small nor almost ubiquitous; when people still read books and wrote on paper. A past when you could quote Karl Marx and people would nod thoughtfully…

Continue reading “THE FALL by Mark Gorton”