I seldom recommend specific services to authors but Bryan Cohen has to be an exception. When we had major Amazon KDP problems it was he who helped sort it with Amazon. Anyway his Best Page Forward teaches ads, writes blurbs, and does a whole lot more that’s completely invaluable. Find out how they can help you using this Facebook link:

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Format is a recommended author who chooses and reviews 5 books on a chosen subject. My subject is 5 Books To Make You Love Istanbul – visit

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SADLY GONE: CARLOS MEDINA Circus Aerialist 1950-2022 (‘More Swings Than Roundabouts’ by John Wright)

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Slightly better news since first draft of this post. The disheartening message was that we’d paid to book the Council House all day for 16th July 2022 over two years ago but Birmingham City Council unilaterally cancelled our contract in favour of some unrevealed use of the building on that date. The City Council’s apparent willingness to abandon contractual commitments when it suits them was pretty upsetting. Quite apart from all the wasted work Lee Benson, Dawn Torrens, Martin Tracey and Andrew Sparke have put into the event BCC’s actions stood to frustrate around 80 authors booked to attend, two charities we were fund-raising for (Cure Leukaemia and Dementia UK), potential sponsors, evening venues and entertainment providers and service supply companies, not to mention all the people who’ve bought tickets online from eventbrite.

Anyway the better news is that negotiations have resulted in a replacement event in the Council House Banqueting Suite on a Saturday 15th July 2023.

We’re very proud of the city with whom we have a long association and with New Street Authors we’ve tried hard to raise its profile. There’s even an anthology of Birmingham short stories in preparation to be published contemporaneously with the event.

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The 16th April New Street Authors meeting for which Andrew Sparke forgot to prepare a suitably wild story about how he lost his front tooth.

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Constantly amazed that having completed the hard graft of writing a book, many authors don’t research indie publishing and end up paying large sums to predatory companies whose main income comes from authors rather than readers. So my response to a Facebook request for information on using Author House (or any other such company) is reproduced below:

First rule is don’t use predatory publishers whose business is making money out of authors rather than readers. Explore and understand indie publishing online with KDP. If you then feel learning publishing skills is too much find a publishing co-operative like us which doesn’t charge you, understanding that marketing your book will be a shared responsibility.

This approach should mean as a writer you don’t shell out money unnecessarily, you have a realistic view of likely sales, and you get a good quality book out reasonably edited and with a good cover, and available at a sensible price people might be prepared to pay  (paperback £5-£9 eBook £1-£3). Job done and nobody feeling scammed.

So, author warning! Talk to New Street Authors or the Alliance of Independent Authors or someone like us ( Whatever you do avoid like the plague all the companies listed below which only exist to make money out of authors: AuthorHouse, Gatekeeper Press, Novum, United p.c., Austin McCauley, Tate, XLibris, America Star Books, Author Solutions, Archway Publishing, Westbow, Balboa Press, Delle Arte Press, Abbott Press, Lulu, Choir Press and many many more  you’ll find listed under Self Publishing on every search engine going.

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