A Christmas Gift For Every Reader of ‘How To Tell A Great Story’


Truth About Writing by Michael Allen
ISBN 9781903988053

Bill Keeth unearths an absolute gem of a book which readers are invited to access


Most books about writing encourage us to believe that success is easily achievable, so all we have to do is to follow a few simple rules. Et voila – the finished article, commercially published to worldwide acclaim and a best-seller, to boot. But the truth of things is very different.

In the first place, writing a book is a supremely difficult task in itself, something that can seriously damage your health – not to mention your wealth (vide: WISP: ‘Self-Publishing: a Worst Case Scenario’, your relationships (A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway), and your career prospects (The Godfather Papers by Mario Puzo.)

And, as if the actual writing of the book were not hard enough, it is a similarly difficult task (perhaps even more difficult) to get your book commercially published.

In Write It Self-Publish It Sell It, for example, I list as many as


(each one of them quite grossly unfair) which, in reality, tend to scupper any ordinary person’s chances of being commercially published once The Thing has been written. Because commercial publication is in general the preserve of writers who, it just so happens, are celebrities of one kind or another, or have a pre-existing (school, home, family, marital, career or life-style) connection with a particular commercial publisher and/or literary agent.

Therefore, it is a sad fact of literary life that you will be very lucky indeed if you receive so much as:

a) a mannerly response; or even
b) any response whatsoever

from any commercial publisher/literary agent you may contact in full accordance with the submission criteria (various and several) which they themselves condescend to supply to the various writers’ manuals in any given current year.

Believe me, on umpteen occasions I have personally come up against commercial operations such as these which have either completely ignored my submission, or bounced it straight back by return post – or simply pinched (there’s no other word for it) rather than return the self-published book title I had enclosed for due consideration, enclosed SAE notwithstanding as per their request.

But here at last is a book which tells writers how to survive and prosper whilst struggling to make sense of the mad, bad, rude, self-centred and self-serving world of commercial publishing, namely: The Truth About Writing by Michael Allen.

‘This is a thought-provoking book, written in a chatty, informal style, that will be of great interest to any serious writer’ Brenda Townsend PhD, Worlds Apart web site.

‘Michael Allen pulls no punches . . . He tells it like it is . . . You should buy this book!’ Michael Wilson in Link, the magazine for the National Association of Writers Groups (UK)

‘Well worth looking at’ Billy Hopkins, author of Our Kid, High Hopes, Kate’s Story, Going Places, Anything Goes, Whatever Next!

And, unbelievable as it may seem, readers of ‘How to Tell a Great Story’ are hereby invited (courtesy of Michael Allen’s website, Kingsfield Publications: there’s lots of other good stuff on this website, too) to download the complete book as a pdf document completely FREE OF CHARGE.

See also Michael Allen’s truly entertaining blog – Grumpy Old Bookman, a weblog about books and publishing, aimed at both readers and writers. http://grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com/

So, I offer the Season’s Greetings, to all readers of and contributors to ‘How to Tell a Great Story’ (our esteemed Editor being at the very top of this Yuletide list) in the hope that this little lot from Michael Allen, our benefactor in this Christmas season, will keep them going throughout the festivities of Christmas and the New Year.

I mean to say, what excellent value for money this surely represents: to get owt for nowt in this credit-crunched day and age, courtesy, as I have already indicated, of the singularly effervescent, lucidly literate and very mannerly Michael Allen, whom God preserve – as was once upon a time said by J B Morton of Dr Strabismus of Utrecht in another altogether more mannerly day and age.

Bill Keeth’s books, Every Street in Manchester ISBN 1859880649 & Write It Self-Publish It Sell It ISBN 97809558863 are available from Amazon and all good book shops. Bill can also be contacted via his website, http://www.novelnovella.com.

Click here to return to the index of stories for W I S P

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