Thursday, 28 April 2011


The latest royal wedding – set to be watched by a TV audience of billions – is staged on this of all days to draw attention from release of the first ever ebook editions of Anthony Delano’s Slip-Up ... the embarrassing story of the biggest boo-boo by Her Majesty’s Finest since Queen Victoria’s Bobbies let Jack the Ripper slip through their fingers.

Somehow, there was a leak at BeWrite Books of Slip-Up’s international release date on April 29 and the Windsors’ wise advisers plotted, behind gilded doors at Buckingham Palace, to scheme an extravagant diversion. Money was no object, and Wills and Kate received a royal command to tie the knot to coincide and present a blushing bride rather than a blushing Queen.

This is why:

In 1963 President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Martin Luther King told racially-divided America, ‘I have a dream’, the notorious Alcatraz island prison closed, Beatlemania screaming gave the world a headache when the Fab Four from Liverpool released their first album, Please Please Me ...

And Ronnie Biggs and a masked – but unarmed – gang of jokers pulled off the biggest multi-million heist in history – the Great Train Robbery. Arguably the greatest insult to the royal family since Charles I met a sticky end on the chopping block.

Yup, they raided the Royal Mail and toted off sacks stuffed with banknotes (each carrying a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II). OK, Her Majesty’s Police eventually rounded up the gang and the Great Train Robbers were sent to jail for a long, long time. The bulk of their royal loot was never recovered.

But the fun really began when Biggs, with twenty-eight years of his sentence still to serve, staged a breath-taking break from one of Her Majesty’s most 'secure' prisons, went on the run and became the world's most wanted man. He also became a folk hero as, time and again, he gave Scotland Yard’s crack squad the slip all over the globe.

As HM's police farce gave the public mounting glee, it was crack newspaper reporters from the world press hub, London’s Fleet Street, who tracked him down in Australia and again in Brazil, returning with world scoops, while Scotland Yard’s top men returned hapless, empty-handed and red-faced to ridicule.

One would not have been amused, it is safe to assume.

For thirty-six years, ‘Biggsy’ lived high on the hog in Rio de Janeiro, laughing along with his countless millions of fans, basking in glory, and untouchable in a country with no extradition treaty. He sported beauties on his arm at lavish parties where champagne and caviar went down in celebration like tea and doughnuts at gloomy police station inquests into their failures. His smiling face was on tee-shirts – every bit the icon Che Guevara had become by then. He recorded songs and flouted his glamour-life freedom in world media ... as plodding Scotland Yard blushed and blundered.

Royal Mugs?
Anthony Delano's insider story – unique, insightful and often hilarious – is a chuckle-by-chuckle account of every slip-off by Biggs, slip-in by the press and Slip-Up by HM’s cops and the Queen’s prestigious government departments and representatives overseas.

A major BBC film of the book was hastily blocked by the man in charge of the chase – the famously infamous Slipper of the Yard (unkindly referred to in some circles as ‘Slip-Up of the Yard’) – when he threatened legal action; not because of any inaccuracy in Delano’s work, but because he claimed the actor portraying him went too far in caricaturing him as a clown.

This is the very first digital edition of the book that became Biggsy’s own favourite (that's him reading it in fun, sun and shorts below), had Biggsy fans in stitches, and is an embarrassment to The Queen’s Finest to this day. It will become your favourite, too.

And that’s why, we strongly suspect, the House of Windsor is so desperately trying to make a right royal cover-up of Slip-Up with pomp, ceremony and a bonus day-off for British workers. Factor in lost production and Weddingate will cost the country billions. Ronnie's gang's cost to the country was petty cash by comparison. And the BeWrite Books ebook edition is the price of a pint or two in real money.

Regardless of royal wrath, the ebook is today now available at all the usual ebook stores and direct from the bookstore section of the BeWrite Books website (HERE) in all popular digital formats. It is also available in paperback from Revel Barker Publishing (HERE) and at other major online bookstores.

Click on the cover at the BeWrite Books storefront and you can see more about the book and its author, read reviews and download a free chapter.

This is the second in the series of BeWrite Books' ‘hack-lit’ ebook releases in collaboration with RBP … books by ace Old School journalists with massive general and international appeal.

Next up will be The Manacled Mormon, also by Anthony Delano, in June. It’s the inside story of wickedly naughty and outrageously sexy Joyce McKinney’s world famous experiment with kidnapping and bondage. Kinky McKinney is back in the news because of a notorious movie about her sexploits. And there will be more hack-lit releases at pretty regular intervals as time goes on.

Slip-Up was written by Anthony Delano, edited by Revel Barker and produced in all BB ebook formats by Tony Szmuk.

Cheers. Neil

Friday, 22 April 2011


If you've not yet downloaded the new BeWrite Books toolbar to your browser, just click on the link in the right margin of this blog or in the right margin of the bookstore section of

So what use is it? Lots ...

From that neat little bar, now quietly nestled at the top of your browser, you can access any BB blog about your book/s, access the BB website and pull up your title/s, biographies, reviews, book details, etc, etc, and instantly share your selected page – your book’s cover image and all – with all social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Google Buzz, etc, etc at the click of a button at the foot of your chosen BB page.

You can also share it with other blogs and email it to friends and fans.

And you can encourage others - friends, family, readers -- to download the BB toolbar and help spread the word on your behalf.

In other words, you can put what you want to be seen in front of countless millions around the world on a daily basis if the fancy takes you. And it’ll take only a minute or two of your time over a breakfast coffee. 

Now is that massive free advertising ... or is that massive free advertising?

You need to be sure that your browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome whatever) is up to date.  Free, safe and quick downloads of the latest versions are all over the net. New versions will not change your browsing habits in the slightest, but older versions may not support accessories like our new toolbar and may take you to fewer websites and extinct versions of sites.

Also, of course, you need to register with the network sites themselves, And if you haven’t already done so you really must if your work is to get the exposure it deserves. Anyone new to Facebook for instance, can 'befriend' me and I'll put you in touch with your fellow BeWrite Books authors, readers, fans, etc to spread the net even wider. Everyone's just a mouse click away.

Good luck, folks. And just drop me and/or Tony a line if you hit any pot holes.

Best wishes and happy Easter weekend. Neil

Friday, 15 April 2011


Here’s a neat wee promotional initiative Tony has implemented that will do all BeWrite Books’ authors and their readers and reviewers a barrow-load of good.

And it takes only a few seconds to put into effective and to powerful use.

If you go to the BeWrite Books website at or click on the open-book icon at the top right of this post to take you there and open the front page of the bookstore section, just scroll down in the right-hand margin, through the coming-soon titles, until you reach ‘Install Our Toolbar’. Click 'Install Toolbar' and ... voila ... it's done and dusted.

(And now -- just a few minutes after I posted the original Friday blog -- Tony has placed the toolbar button on this blog page to make it even simpler. Just scroll through right margin on this page and click on it for an instant, safe download.)

You’ll now find the BeWrite Books Toolbar unobtrusively placed at the top of the page whenever you open your Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, etc browser page.

Once you have it, you can instantly pull up the BB site, any individual BB blog post or individual BB title, author biography and picture, blurb, review, etc.

And at the click of a mouse, you can share anything BB-related that will help get your book wider exposure -- your comments and specific title (reviewers and readers as well as authors) – with Facebook, Twitter, other social networks, via email, etc, etc. It's roller coaster promo that can be used to pique interest almost by the day.

The potential shop-windowing and the increased possibility of a book (and don't forget you all now have ebooks out there, too) ‘going viral’. The mushrooming word-of-mouth recommendation dream of all authors and enthusiastic reviewers and readers is here and it is enormous.

Tony and I have been experimenting with the new toolbar all week and it’s now so simple to use that even folks past their teen years can use it. In fact, even I can. And those who know my technical nous (or absolute innocence of it) will realise that statement alone speaks volumes.

Pretty nifty, eh? Good on ya Tony ... again!

Good luck, folks – and please do let us know in comments to this blog post of the positive results you’re bound to achieve soon. PLEASE try it for you own good.

Ciao for niao. Neil, Tony, Hugh, Sam, Ian et al at BB

Friday, 8 April 2011


ATTENTION, FOLKS: Length and ramble warning!!!
Save for a coffee break -- if you dare. But this may just interest BB contributors.

The past eighteen months' period has seen a series of heartaches, backaches and headaches for the wee team at BeWrite Books … but even seasoned and quite brilliant writers (who really should know better) are using words like ‘gobsmacked’ to describe what we’ve achieved.

OK, we’re almost a week behind deadline in sending out the six-monthly royalties this time because of complexities involving the sudden introduction of a whole raft of new ebook retail outlets. But nobody’s so much as murmuring a minor moan because we and our authors fell victim to our own success.

As PayPal payments arrive and cheques start to drop through letterboxes, these are just a few initial responses today …

*Delighted with my royalties – the biggest cheque I ever got from BeWrite Books. (From Australia.)

*Wow! I shall greet my cheque with tremendous pleasure and thank you kindly for all your efforts in securing it. (From the UK on receipt of her royalties statement.)

*A huge increase in sales. It means more readers for the adventure. (From Australia.)

*Thanks. Great to see the Royalties cheques in good time! Well done. (From Canada.)

*First royalties just received. Wow! I’m gobsmacked! (Yup, I warned you; that was the actual word used by a fine fiction author, poet and artist in the UK to describe her excited reaction. CE, you should be ashamed of yourself. Stand in the corner. But thanks.)

And we're looking forward to US reaction later when the clocks there catch up with mine here in France. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s a little history to fill you in:

Tony and I realised early on that ebooks were on verge of a giant-leap breakthrough that would come after Christmas 2010. And we were right. Although our paperback sales are holding their own, we’ve seen a massive swing this year from a maximum of 5% ebook sales to 95% paperback, to at least 95% ebook to at most 5% print. Do the sums. It’s remarkable.

Results are only now starting to kick in as more and more stores offer BB ebooks for sale and the publisher returns trickle into the bank.

It happened like this: After an uneasy, informal and non-exclusive partnership with a massive US aggregator who uses an automated system to mass convert to ebook formats and was struggling to get our titles into the big stores, which excluded publishers without an ‘official’ US presence, we got to work on putting things to rights ourselves early in 2010.

Tony took on the painstaking and tough job of converting all 120 titles in the current BeWrite Books catalogue, carefully and artfully creating, on a title-by-title basis, ebook formats known as Mobi, ePub and rebuilt PDF. It took him twelve solid months to crack that task alone. Now you can read a BB book anywhere, any time and on anything from your PC to mobile phone.

Meanwhile, we teamed up with legal eagle Petru Sangeorzan in America (now our US and Latin American rep and worthy advisor) to set the wheels in motion to gain registration as a publishing house in the USA in addition to the Canadian registration Tony set up last March. Our US paperwork eventually passed muster,  after six or seven months' hard grind, in October … and the door was opened at last.

Also in the meantime, we established an agent in the massive Chinese market. Behind the Great Wall, she has already sold translation rights of several BB titles to major Chinese publishing houses, and our authors have seen the benefit. The tireless Jessie Wang -- who represented all our titles exclusively at the last Beijing International Book Fair -- is now moving enthusiastically on Simple Chinese translation for sale of ebook rights for the massive Chinese mainland market in digital reading.

Then Tony got to work uploading newly prepared BB titles to the huge new stores as he and I withdrew our ebook catalogue from Ingram – the biggest book distributor on the planet – and negotiated individual contracts with each retailer. We now already appear to have wider and more effective ebook retail reach than even Ingram itself does. (Though we could never hope to best Ingram at print distribution, so they still handle that for us.)

The first ebook uploaded in November was the illustrated A-Z of Punishment and Torture by Irene Thompson and Catherine Edmunds – our first ebook-only venture and first non-fiction title in a decade. Within a month, it had by far outsold all BB ebook editions over ten years ... combined!

We’d proven a point to ourselves and became even more embroiled and occupied with securing new ebook retail and promoting the digital side of the house, uploading titles from our catalogue by the day and new titles on release. We started to see the early result in terms of retail sales statements only a couple of months ago. Not all retail returns are yet in.

So we, and many books, still have a way to go before we’ll have a true idea of the full scale of this success. 

Also, we’re interested to see how a new teaming with publisher Revel Barker to produce ebook-only editions of his ‘hack-lit’ print books catalogue will take off. The second of those ebook-onlies by old-hand journalists with mass reader-appeal will be released later this month. (The first was Forgive Us Our Press Passes by Ian Skidmore, second is Slip-Up by Anthony Delano, soon followed by Anthony's The Manacled Mormon -- the inside story of the infamously sex-obsessed kidnapper Joyce McKinney, now headlinging yet again in international press.)

HEARTACHES? Tony and I have been working flat out 16X7 for eighteen months and our lassies, Calina and Skovia respectively, have almost forgotten our names to the same extent that we’ve forgotten where our bedrooms are. And the rest of the team (with great thanks, especially, to BB's excellent senior editor Hugh McCracken) has been just as energetic and enthusiastic.

BACKACHES? Well, imagine how you’d feel after a string of 48-hours-a-stretch stints in your office chair, pouring over a keyboard and with urgent emails from around the globe dropping by the minute.

HEADACHES? The complexities and sheer cost of what we’ve coped with would give an entire floor of publishing pros a headache. At BB, we fly solo. And we had a major year-long problem with our printers and distributors that only started to fix itself after we sent harshly worded registered letters to the CEOs and Board members  of Ingram and Lightning Source just before New Year threatening legal action. In a nut shell, we were paying their bills on the dot; they just weren’t paying our publisher returns. Now that was a pain in the bank!

GOBSMACKED? Yup, even we're gobsmacked by how things are working out. And we’ve no doubt that more of our authors will feel the same when returns on their newly store-placed ebook editions start to properly roll. Perhaps not everyone yet will have seen a true reflection of success in their current royalties … just wait until next time, folks, when things are ticking like clockwork and we see more stores added and more payments in from those already aboard.

I was going to include here an explanation of a simple and most effective new promotional tool Tony has implemented this week, but I’ve just realised how much I’ve already rambled  mercilessly on. It can wait for the next blog update in a few days.

Meantime, thanks for the unfailing support of all BeWriters and the loyalty of their ever-growing reader-bases. You’ve done us proud, lads and lassies. We can only hope to have returned the favour in some measure.

Very best wishes. Neil (France), Tony (Canada), Hugh (Canada/Scotland), Sam (England), Ian (UK), Meredith (Australia), George and Gloria (USA), et al on the wee BB team.