‘Free’ doesn’t sell books – and here’s what does

I got involved in a discussion the other day about book pricing, covers and marketing profile. In the process it seemed clear to me that there are many misconceptions about how books actually sell. The idea being argued was that if a particular book got a better cover and the price was dropped – maybe… More ‘Free’ doesn’t sell books – and here’s what does

How to put the names of real people into your book

I sometimes get asked about the risks of putting the names of real people into books. It’s something I have a lot of experience with because virtually all my published books use the names of real people. I’ve written a lot of historical non-fiction, and that’s all about real people who did real things. Sometimes… More How to put the names of real people into your book

Spring Offensive: how Germany nearly won the First World War in 1918

It struck me the other day that amid all the ‘what if’ stories about Hitler winning the Second World War, there has been little speculation about the Kaiser winning the first one – which he very nearly did. Twice. The Kaiser’s Germany came very close to winning during the first months of their war, as… More Spring Offensive: how Germany nearly won the First World War in 1918

When somebody turns up with your literary character’s name

Legend has it that J R R Tolkien – famous for his ability to coin character names from his own invented languages – once fielded a letter from someone named Sam Gamgee. It wasn’t too surprising in a way: he was a philologist and while his Elvish was largely built around Welsh and Finnish, his… More When somebody turns up with your literary character’s name