Six Reasons Why Indie Authors Fail

Having returned from the helpful & inspiring Writers Conference in Nottingham and the Fifth Self-Publishing Conference in Leicester, I feel it’s my duty to list Six Reasons Why (I think) New Indie Authors Fail:

1: They haven’t adopted a Workaday Mentality

This is about failing to work to deadlines and not setting themselves SMART objectives. There’s nothing wrong with writing for fun, as an amusement, or for leisure. But it won’t make them rich or famous. To become successful they’ll have to remind themselves that it’s a business of work.

2: They haven’t gained the necessary Skill-Set

This is about admitting to themselves that they haven’t gained the knowledge needed for success. They will have to learn that writing is a constantly changing business. So they’ll have to keep their knowledge current. They’ll need to join groups & associations. Get guidance, and read about the experiences of others.

3: They embark on fruitless Flights of Fancy

This is about being led-astray and putting time, money & effort into less important parts of the project. And that’s because they haven’t learnt all that there is to know about their market nor learnt how to work within a limited budget and use precious time efficiently. They should target funds and energy at those areas that are deemed most important to the successful outcome of the project. [This means they’ll need to invest in the right skill-sets, see above and also build supportive relationships, see below]

4: They’re timid about forming New Relationships

This is about failing to understand the notion that their activities will almost always require them to go out and meet people. Real people. They’ll have to be open to the idea of ​​social networking too. And they ought to get into this mindset right way because these days authoring isn’t a “stay-at-home job ” — it’s about “going out and meeting folk.”

5: They’re poor at Teamwork Planning

This is about failing to build a strong team around themselves. They’ll need to get away from the notion that they’re all on their own. [see above] They’ll need to identify who is on their team… then get them working alongside. They ought to start building a team right away, beginning with family & friends, adding any supportive writers, then identifying and sharing with reader-fans, adding professionals to the team, then building themselves an email client list.

6: They lack the Talent

This is about failing to face the possibility that they’ll have to hone their writing skills. They will need to face facts — there’s a constant need to develop, improve and practice the craft of writing … They can do this by attending creative writing workshops, writing groups, classes and /or any other stimulating sessions. When they complete workshops they’ll marvel at the results. So will their readers.

Words: author @neilmach
Currently editing: The Bedevilment of Bertie Lunn. Due September 2017

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier — Book Review

I admit I have been very lucky.

Not only did I work in the Inner Temple of London [where the Guardians lurk] as a Junior Clerk to a Barrister-at-Law for a few years, but I also worked in London’s Hyde Park.

Believe me when I confirm that it truly felt as if I was ‘travelling back in time‘ each time I went to work at these places. At my chambers in Crown Office Row — wigs and gowns were commonplace, so were sealing waxed letters and red ribboned briefs … in our office we had chandeliers, suits of armor, antique furniture and each & every available bit of flat surface covered in shelving for thousands upon thousands of books.

My co-workers at The Temple dressed like Dickens characters too, wearing dandy clothes, whips and straps, top-hats and canes, handle-bar mustaches and always, always, they chose tailed frock-coats for work! Amazing, but true! So it doesn’t surprise me at all that Kerstin Gier set her tale in and around this weird part of London… a place that has not properly evolved since the nineteenth century.

Hyde Park felt perhaps older still, if that is even possible. I worked out of a place called “Ranger’s Lodge” — a building that went back to Queen Elizabeth the First.

[btw, those in the know call the Temple one of the “inns of court” — there is another one situated a short walk away known as Lincoln’s Inn — it is just as remarkable.]

If you visit the Temple in the City of London today, and I strongly suggest you do [hint: bring a camera] you will find a secret little pocket of London that has not changed since 1817. In fact, production companies often use Kings Bench Walk as a “street scene” in costumes dramas. I always shout, to anyone listening, “That’s where I used to work …” especially when a famous fictional character, such as Sherlock Holmes or Mister Pickwick, enters a house in the Temple. Everyone yawns and goes back to their smartphones, because they’ve heard it all before.


Additionally, I am a bit of an expert on Hyde Park, where the Prologue of this novel, Ruby Red is set, and the London park mentioned most frequently as a backdrop.

Not to sound boastful, [and I admit that it now seems braggy, putting the words down on paper] but I used to do guided walking tours around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

My talks were about the social history, ecology, architecture and nature of the London Park and were quite popular. I worked for the Royal Parks for a number of years so I had a clear advantage. And when we were told that they wanted to send people on training courses to become ‘tour guides’ I jumped at the opportunity… though not many others did. Anyway, the reason I’m telling you all this is to explain that I know Hyde Park and the Temple very well, better than most actually, and I can confirm [if you hadn’t already suspected it] that Gier has perfectly described these wonderful places in her novel. In fact, so handsome are her descriptions that I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I discovered she was one of the employees I worked alongside back in those years.

So the setting of Ruby Red was a strong motivating factor for me. I loved it. My only concern was that perhaps there was too much time spent creeping around in the dark [blind-folded.] This suggested, to me, that the author just wanted to get on with the action, and didn’t want to fuss with the world-building aspect. Maybe that’s a good thing… But it was silly for me.

So I approached this book with childlike delight, and enjoyed reading about the Temple and loving the back-story. But, being an idiot boy, I have to freely admit that I had immense difficulties with the family relationships.

I get into a sort-of mental entanglement with family trees, anyway. Even my own. I have a few nieces, nephews, god-children and assorted hangers-on that reside in various perches of my own family tree… My wife routinely asks me to recite their names and ages and include other salient facts. I always get into a pickle over the exercise. So far, never once, have I actually managed to remember all their names. You might suggest that it’s because I am “too old” and my brain has “stopped working” but I assure you that it has always been this way!   Even when I was a young student studying English Lit I couldn’t really ‘get to grips’ with all the names and characters in a book. And Ruby Red has loads!

Another early concern for me was Gwen’s general state of mental health. Without giving anything away, at least I can suggest that the protagonist suffers from strange delusions [the illness could run in the family.]

Most common delusional themes are covered in Ruby Red. So, for this reason, I had a constant and disconcerting doubt about the plausibility of the tale.

But then, to counter-balance all that strangeness, we have the best friend in the world and trusted assistant, Lesley. She adds a much-needed dimension of reality to proceedings. I just loved this character [and I am prepared to say that I secretly wished she had been chosen to go on the adventures, she is so much more capable, wise and, let’s be honest, prepared.]

It is Lesley who discovers the stuff about the Count Saint-Germain that makes the story far more credible. Probably like everyone, I checked him out, did my own research, and was amazed at what I found.

Once the Count became involved, this story really got motoring [for me] and I got involved.

I suppose that the turning point of the book revolves around the realization that the “gifts” Ruby Red possesses are coveted and come at a price.
And then suddenly, all too quickly, I arrived at the end.

I still have doubts about some aspects of this book, such as the hallucinatory experiences in the church, or the front-cover (which I find dreadful, but it is a matter of personal taste … ) but overall this is a fast paced, easy going novel. Highly entertaining, with much historical accuracy and sufficient conspiracy theories  ie, Masonry, the New World Order and the Illuminati, to make things very interesting indeed.

I give it four stars.

Neil Mach is author of Blayz the Bryte Schiener, Into Disrepute and Postcard Angel. Currently working on The Bedevilment of Bertie Lunn to be out early 2017

Bertie Lunn — My NaNoWriMo2016 novel


Just got to an interesting part in my #NaNoWriMo2016 novel.

Bertie has visited three modern witches The Weird Sisters to ask them to conjure her up a man…

“I need a man.” Bertie told the Weird Sisters.


If you’re watching my word count — I’m a little behind — but past the half-way mark!


#Toil #NaNoWriMo2016 #neilmach

#Toil #NaNoWriMo2016 #neilmach

I am busy toiling on my entry for this years National Novel Writing Month —

To succeed I must write 50,000 words in 30 days!

This year’s story is about a modern day witch. She uses forensic trickery to control and manipulate her sex-victims. Alberta Lunn’s trifling in this scientifc hoodoo leads to disastrous consequences when she unwittingly ensnares a dangerous serial-killer. Her only hope is to enlist an erstwhile conquest, a state-level detective.

But he’s a grudging and disinclined ally and time is running out…

So far I have written 11720 good words… So I am at least 3000 terrific words behind schedule!