Peter Jones – Author & Public Speaker

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Chatting to Steve Wright… In The Afternoon

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So, in case you hadn’t noticed, things have been a tad busy round here.

For instance, on Wednesday author Della Galton and myself were proud to be special guests on the ‘Steve Wright In The Afternoon‘ show on BBC Radio 2, talking about our book How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim

It was kinda momentous! Both of us have listened to Steve for more years than I care to mention – in fact there was a period in my late teens where Steve inspired me to consider pursuing a career in broadcasting. This in turn led to me torturing hospital patients  in various Essex hospitals via hospital radio. If you happened to be in St John’s hospital during the late 80s, or Basildon Hospital in the early 1990s, I apologise profusely. Fortunately for everyone, I gave up on those dreams – Steve Wright on the other is still going strong.

Apparently Steve was keen to get us onto the show after reading just the title, and though the interview is quite quick – just over five minutes long – we still manage to discuss the concept of the book, how hunger really works, the mysterious oil diet, Della’s fat-free cooking principles, how to survive social eating, why diets don’t work, and why making lots of small changes does. Phew!

You can still listen to it again on the BBC website (or click the image below).


To listen to other radio interviews (and audio content) about How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim click here

How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim’ is available, now, in three formats.

Interview with Morgen Bailey

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A while back, the lovely Morgen Bailey was kind enough to interview me for her rather fabulous writing blog which is… well… impressive! I decided to find out more about the mysterious lady who spells her name with an ‘e’, not an ‘a’.

Tell us a little about Morgen Bailey. Just start when you were born
and finish up right when I started asking you questions. Feel free to give us the 
abbreviated version.

Please don’t encourage me! I can talk for England… Scotland… Ireland…

Abbreviated version. OK. Born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire in August 1967. Did the usual school (which I left at 16 to be a secretary because I didn’t know what else I wanted to do), going out with friends, passed my driving test when I was 20. Left home four years later, moving 60 miles north (in theory with work but didn’t happen like that, they ended up moving further south which I couldn’t afford so came up here anyway). I went to computing, language then creative writing evening classes to meet people and light bulb moment happened (eight and a half years ago) after I completed the first homework, a short story. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer. It took me another five years to start doing anything about it and I finally left the safety of a ‘proper job’ in March 2012. Although I’m now living the pauper’s life (renting out two bedrooms to Monday-Friday lodgers), I don’t regret it for a second… especially as I offer an editing and critique service and blog design service, and they’ve both taken off nicely. 🙂

Half a dozen online writing groups, at least two websites, your podcast, your teaching work …how on earth do you find time to actually write?!!

(laughs) I write a short story (usually flash fiction) every day for my blog’s 5pm fiction slot, so knowing I ‘have’ to do that (although I don’t suppose anyone sits waiting for it) means I write every day. I’ve also been doing at least a novel a year (for NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo) and other short stories for Story A Day May, which all goes to creating plenty of content for eBooks (all the shorts are up, one novel’s done, six to go). Oh, and at last count, I have twelve personal websites (listed on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/blogs).

You seem to have a flair for all-things online Morgen. Is that something that comes naturally? And how important do you think that skill is for the modern day author?

Yes, hands up. I’m a nerd. 🙂 I grew up with an older (2 years) brother who was my dad’s Computer Manager back in the days of Spectrums and BBC monsters (his shops sold photographic and computer equipment) so it was inevitable, as was getting into the arts; my brother’s a web designer / IT Project Manager, father was a photographer, my uncle still is, my aunt and mother are artists.

Every author these days needs to do their own marketing, even if they have a publisher behind them. Of all the authors I’ve interviewed (over 800), only one has said she doesn’t do her own marketing, yet she’s active on Twitter and Facebook. It’s part of the reason why I set up ‘I Can Build Your Writing Blog’ and being a writer myself, I can help develop them from a writer’s (and reader’s) point of view.

Says here you’ve got half a dozen, mostly-crime, novels in the pipeline – and yet your debut novel (‘ The Serial Dater’s Shopping List’) is most definitely contemporary women’s fiction. Why the sudden change of genre?

TSDSL was actually the third novel I wrote, and the longest (a 117,540-word first draft for NaNoWriMo 2009… all in 28 days!). It then took me a few months, on and off, to edit it before sending it to two first readers. Apparently there are still mistakes we didn’t pick up on so next on the jobs list is to re-edit it.

The first novel (NaNoWriMo 2008) was a semi-crime lad lit, the second (written January to October 2009) was a crime / mystery (which has been edited / first read so just needs me to re-edit and eBook). The fourth was another lad lit, the everything since has been crime (getting darker as I go along). So I guess you could say I settled into crime rather than switched to it. I’ve done a few agent pitches (with the crime / mystery and TSDSL) and one of the agents, at the 2011 Winchester Writers’ Conference, a top (and scary, apparently… although she was nice to me because she knew the crime novelist whose writing class I took over) agent looked at me and said, “You’re a crime writer, you need to write crime.” As it turns out, I do.

Oh, and she rejected both the novels, as did the other dozen agents I’d approached at conferences or via email, which lead to me going the self-published route – via two publishing contracts for TSDSL, both of which I turned down following legal advice… although my heart has sunk when I’d read them so that was a strong hint.

What’s the general gist of the story – you have thirty seconds – Go!

OK, the three-second version is ‘31 men in 31 days – what could possibly go wrong?’ but seeing as I have thirty seconds… 🙂

Isobel MacFarlane is a recently-turned-40 journalist who usually writes a technology column for a newspaper based in Northampton, England, but her somewhat-intimidating boss, William, has set her the task of meeting 31 men, via a local internet dating site, all within a month. Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend and ‘Health & Beauty’ colleague Donna, she knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts, and starts ticking them off as she meets Mr Could Be Right Except For, Mr Not Bad, Mr Oh My Goodness and Mr Oh So Very Wrong. Follow the ups (there are a few) and downs (there are many) of the dating process and intertwined with her experiences, get to know her colleagues and family, including her niece Lola who, apart from being an amazing storyteller, can eat ambidextrously whilst wearing a Princess glove puppet on her right hand, and Baby, William’s none-too-healthy African Grey parrot.

Oops… sorry, think I went over my time there (nothing new).

A little birdie told me that The Serial Dater’s Shopping List is based on personal experience? That true? Did you really go on thirty-one dates in thirty one days? Was it research or were you, you know, on the prowl?

Ha! I didn’t, although I have been on a few blinds dates in the past and the speed-dating middle chapter is pretty true to life (especially the builder there looking for business!). Let’s just say that it’s a combination of real life and a vivid imagination. No one’s fallen asleep on me yet, although I’m single again so there’s always a first time.

Anything else you’d like to tell me (and my readers)

I’m running eight writing-related / I.T. courses next year at four locations in Northampton, England from January 2014. The details are on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/courses/northampton-writing-courses but they are: eBooking, blogging, social networking, planning & writing a novel, short stories, creative writing – beginners, c/w – intermediate, and ideas & inspiration. I do plan to run most of these as online writing courses for those who aren’t UK-based, and the details will be on my blog. As you can probably tell, I love talking about writing and so getting paid to ‘work’ (teach my favourite topic) is a bonus, and I can’t wait!

Thank you, Peter.

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Would the real Peter Jones please step forward

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Back when my agent was shopping How To Do Everything And Be Happy around the UK publishers, there was some talk about whether or not I should change my name to avoid confusion with the other Peter Jones who, whilst equally tall, is often described as being more dragon like, and has a tendency to arrive at venues in a helicopter.

Sharing a name with a celebrity has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand people rarely forget me. I’m Peter Jones. Like the dragon. Like the shop. Memorability is a useful thing when you’re an author. On the other hand, journalists have this annoying habit of getting VERY excited about the possibility of an interview… and then lose interest just as quickly when they realise I’m not a billionaire, or a regular face on prime time television.

It’s a little like I offered you a five quid, and you thought I said five-hundred quid. When you realise I meant a five pound note you might feel ever so slightly let down. You might politely tell me to keep my cash. I want to say, “it is still cash you know!” but neither you and I are the actual people in this scenario, and nobody’s talking about cash.

Even amongst readers there’s some confusion. I occasionally get emails along the lines of “so you’re not the real Peter Jones then?” (am I somehow not real). And at a book signing back in January one lady came up to me, asked for the book to be made out to her son – and then promptly told me that he was doing my business course at college (I just nodded and smiled). Then a couple of weeks back, when I popped along to Author Della Galton’s latest book launch, one of her readers (who was clutching a copy of How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim) exclaimed “Wow! You’ve written a book with Peter Jones! Will he be here today?” When Della pointed out that I was standing right behind her there was that awkward moment of confusion that I’m beginning to expect when I’m introduced to people.

It occurred to me that a little re-branding might be in order. Time to tell the world that there’s another flavour of Peter Jones available, and like any branding exercise, give people some sense as to what I’m about. With this in mind I had some new author photos done.

Reaction has been mixed. Most have reacted very positively. Others… less so. I feel that I’ve stuck my head above the parapet somewhat. But then I suppose that was the point.

I’d be interested to know what you think (though try to keep in mind that I’m a human being, with actual feelings, armed with a delete button…), and even more interested if you’ve got a similar experience of your own to share. Use the comments box below.


You can see more of the pictures from the shoot on my facebook profile

Peter Jones talks to Michelle Ward of Phoenix FM about… everything!

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Several weeks back now, I was proud to be invited back by Michelle Ward of Phoenix98 FM to talk about my latest book, How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim.

However, Michelle being Michelle we actually ended up talking about how I became an author, as well as my first book, How To Do Everything and Be Happy, and my next book How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting!

More than that, along the way Michelle confessed that one of my ‘author business cards’  – which has my official author picture on the reverse – has been sitting by the side of her bed for some weeks! And as if that wasn’t enough to cope with, someone’s phone (not mine guvnor – I swear) went off whilst we were on air!

Click here if you’re reading this within an email, or you’d prefer to hear the interview via YouTube


How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim is available, now, in three formats.

More Stuff What I Wrote (4 new editions to hit bookshelves)

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Things are somewhat exciting in my world at the moment. By this time next month – or thereabouts – there’ll be not one, not two, not three, but four editions of “stuff what I wrote”.

‘How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim’ available in audio, ebook & paperback

From today How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim (my second book, co-authored with Della Galton) is available for all kindle enabled devices from amazon (.co.uk | .com), AND as an audio download from audible (.co.uk | .com).

As you read this I’m hoping that the UK will be bathed in glorious sunshine – but regardless of whether the summer has finally decided to put in an appearance, the ebook edition will be available for a mere 99p, for the duration of the bank holiday weekend. Come Tuesday morning the price goes back up! Get it now!

A FREE kindle reader app is available for all smartphones, computers and tablets from amazon (.co.uk | .com)

If you prefer to read with your ears there’s always the audio edition, narrated by myself and my co-author. This too is available from today. We’ve teamed up with audible.co.uk to give you the opportunity to get your copy for free. Just use this link, follow the instructions and search for  ’How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim’.

You can read more about Della’s experience of recording the book.

The paperback edition will be available in just a couple of weeks – early June we hope – also from amazon. Use the ‘subscribe’ button in the top right hand corner of this website if you’d like to be reminded. But the first five people who leave us a favourable review on amazon, for either of the editions that are there now, will get a paperback, signed by both of us, for FREE, when it comes out.

(I’m going to be really strict about this though; your review must be visible on amazon.co.uk or amazon.com, AND you have to be amongst the first five people to let me know. Don’t wait for the paperback to become available – leave your review today)


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Phew! So that’s three editions. What’s the fourth?

US Paperback edition of How To Do Everything And Be Happy

From June 4th, How To Do Everything and Be Happy will finally be available in selected Bricks and Mortar Bookshops all over the United States, and from your favourite online booksellers.

Of course it’s been available in the US as an ebook, and in audio, for a while – but now you lovely American folk finally be able to get a paper copy without having to order one from overseas.

To mark this auspicious occasion, Harper 360 (part of Harper Collins) have decided to give the US-printed paperback a brand new, all-yellow cover, hence the subtle re-branding exercise on twitter and facebook. What d’you think? Funky eh?

Of course the inside of the book remains exactly the same – this isn’t a new version – so there’s no need to rush out and buy a new copy of the book if you already have one. Not unless you really, really want to. Although I would certainly understand if that were the case. Just as – one imagines – there might be those amongst you who might see a market for importing the US branded copy of the book, and selling it here in the UK as a collectors edition. I’m just saying is all.

I will remind you nearer the time, but if you want to pre-order your copy you can do so here.

Here’s to World Domination and a new tranche of new readers.


In related news the paperback of How To Do Everything And Be Happy is also available from selected Australian outlets &  online booksellers as well as India too!

How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim will be available for the nook, the kobo, the sony e-reader, iBooks, and other e-reading apps and devices very soon. 

I’m all Starry Eyed! (Cover for ‘How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim’ unveiled)

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“Please do not adjust your sets. There is nothing wrong with your computer screen.”

Ta daaa! It is with great pleasure that I can finally show you the cover for How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim!

If you’re a long time reader of How To Do Everything and Be Happy this might seem oddly familiar. And so it should. The original book jacket for ‘Happy’ was very similar – different colours, different silhouette, but the same basic layout and iconic star burst background. It proved a popular cover, but when Della and I came to think about this book there was another very good reason why it was time to dust off the old design and give it a new lease of life.

Stars!

Just like it’s predecessor, throughout the new book you’ll come across various ‘Action Points’. The idea is that you stop, address the action, and then continue. But where ‘Slim’ differs is that each of the Action Points has a ‘star rating’.

You earn one star just for buying the book (did you spot that line of blue text along the bottom?), and with every additional star you acquire you will steadily increase your chances of being able to eat loads AND stay slim. Collect enough stars (thirty or more would be a good target to have) and Della and I personally guarantee that a slim figure, coupled with a healthy but satiated appetite, are yours for the taking. And all you have to do to earn a star is complete an action point.

Back to the cover though. Della and I can’t really take any credit for what you see before you. Both covers were designed by my good friend Ellen – who having taken our suggestions into consideration, ignored them completely and blew our socks off with the colourful creation you see today.

Ellen is an extremely talented young woman. Together with her business partner and fellow wordsmith Dan (hello Dan), they work for an advertising agency that’s going places. As well as the rather funky clothing company extragged.com

To finish up I thought I’d share with you the following video that Ellen helped create for Sir Paul McCartney (to be played behind him and the band during the American leg of his world tour)! It basically involved locking Ellen in a room for two weeks with a huge blackboard and getting her to draw whatever came to mind to the song Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, with occasional input on the phone from Sir Paul himself. The result is pretty stunning. Like I said, talented young woman.

If you’re reading this in your email or you can’t see the video – click here


How To eat Loads and Stay Slim will be available May 2013.