Recently, a lot of my spare time has been taken up with the research, preparation and compilation of a couple of books that I intend to self-publish, try and sell, and donate any profits to charity. Self-publishing is a great way to create something tangible from your ideas and work, but as far as generating sales is concerned, it’s far from ideal because on-line ordering comes with an additional postage cost that can make potential buyers/readers have second thoughts.
I’ve lost count of the numbers of books I’ve produced in this way; and I’ve also lost count of how much my hobby has cost me over the years, but for me writing is about much more than making money (which is perhaps just as well). I get a lot of enjoyment from gathering together all the relevant facts and seeing how words develop into pages, chapters and ultimately a book that someone somewhere might want to read.
But I get the most pleasure from people taking the time not only to read my work, but also letting me know what they thought – anything from a passing comment to a full review. I’ve always struggled with the concept of people spending their money to buy something I had written; and to receive positive feedback is genuinely humbling.
Quite a few readers have commented on my writing “style”. It’s not something I’ve consciously tried to create… I find writing in a relaxed, almost chatty way comes naturally, as do the occasional asides. In many ways, I find it easier to put my thoughts and ideas down on paper than speaking them out loud; and I certainly think I’m funnier on paper than in real life (as those who saw my stand-up debut will testify…). Not necessarily “funny”… just “funnier” – always happy to hide behind a comparative!
Anyway, the two books I’m working on are a look back at Doctor Who during the mid- to late-70s, to review some of the stories, to look back at the social change of the time (albeit not ridiculously deeply), and to at least ask the question why, apart from the companions, were there so very few female characters in the series…?
The second book concerns my top ten favourite moments in sport… at least it was supposed to be ten. It’s now twelve!
Each chapter will tell the story of the moment in question, including some background and some quotes from the time and in retrospect. Five of my selections tell of individual brilliance, but the other seven relate to team performances; and in these cases, I have built the chapter around someone who was in some way instrumental in success being achieved.
Here is the list (in date order):
1908 - Ray Ewry (Athletics)
1964 - Cassius Clay (Boxing)
1964 - Ann Packer (Athletics)
1968 - Bob Beamon (Athletics)
1971 - David Hughes (Cricket)
1976 - Nadia Comaneci (Gymnastics)
1980 - Mike Eruzione (Ice Hockey)
1981 - Ian Botham (Cricket)
1984 - John Byrne (Football)
1988 - Imran Sherwani (Hockey)
1999 - Danny Lee (Rugby League)
2012 - Kate Richardson-Walsh (Hockey)
I’m sure you’ll instantly recognise some of the names, but you may not be familiar with one or two. Hopefully you soon will be!
I have to say I’m really excited about this book. Not just because I think there are some great stories surrounding these memorable moments, but that two of those involved have agreed to contribute (viz. Ann Packer and Imran Sherwani). Ann (now Ann Brightwell) won the 800m gold at Tokyo in 1964. If you’ve never seen the race before, you should… it’s incredible. I don’t really have “heroes”, but Ann is very close to the top of the list as regards people I admire. I’m so excited at the prospect of speaking to her….
Imran scored two goals in the final of the 1988 Olympic Hockey tournament in Seoul. A truly amazing day that I can’t wait to relive with someone who was actually there…
So I’ve still got a bit of work to do before the book is finished and available to buy. I would certainly appreciate any ideas as regards a possible sport-related charity for this book. I’m conscious that I’m always telling the same people about my books, to the extent that many have probably “unfollowed” me by now. But if you have any ideas that might give me the opportunity to promote to a wider audience, and make just a small difference, please drop me a line.