Start Dating, Stop Waiting

heart-love-romanceBefore I started on my quest for happiness, I was using my problem solving skills to figure out what actually works when it comes to courting the opposite sex. From the pen-pal clubs of the early eighties, to the lonely heart newspaper ads of the nineties, from postal dating services to the more formal introduction agencies – there hasn’t been a dating service that I haven’t tried!

And after many, many years of seemingly making every dating mistake there is – scouring every scrap of scientific research I could get my hands on – I finally cracked it. There’s love in my life. And it wasn’t an accident.

If love, lust or romance feature in your goals for this year let me see if I can impart some of my dating prowess to you now. Here are my top five tips for dating success.

Dating Tip Number 1: What do you want?

Figuring out who it is you’re looking for is probably the most effective thing you can do to kick start your love life. You might think (as I used to) that you can’t afford to be picky, that finding someone who doesn’t repel you too much and is content to remain in your company might be the best you can hope for. I’m here to tell you that the reverse is true.

After months, possibly even years, of less-than-satisfactory relationships with long periods of nothing in-between, I sat down and wrote out what I actually wanted. A list of qualities that I hoped for in my ideal person. And about six weeks later I met my wife, Kate.

Now – that’s not the whole story, obviously. There were a few stages between writing my ‘perfect woman shopping list’ and choosing to sit next to this beautiful blonde I spied from across the room, but a few months into our relationship I looked back at that list and I was amazed at just how many of the criteria Kate met. Coincidence? Perhaps. But for the time it would take you to create your own list isn’t it worth the effort?

Dating Tip Number 2: Go online!

By my calculations online dating websites are responsible for one in five marriages. Include relationships that haven’t got as far as the altar, throw in the likes of facebook and other social media websites, and I estimate 50 percent of all romances probably start on the internet. Which means that simply using your computer to meet people could double your chances of dating success.

Dating Tip Number 3: Pick a good dating website

There are a LOT of dating websites out there – finding a good one can be a challenge. My current feelings are the free-ones can be just as good, sometimes better, than the paid-ones. For extra oomph pick a site that does some form of compatibility matching!

Dating Tip Number 4: To meet ‘the one’, you must first meet ‘the many’

Very, very few people go on one date and hit the jackpot first time. In fact, in the years I’ve been chatting to people about this stuff I’ve never met anyone who has. Dating is a numbers game. If you find someone you like online send them a message. If they respond toss a couple more messages back and forth. If you still like them arrange to meet. Meanwhile; continue to browse the dating sites, continue to send messages, continue arranging dates. Exclusivity should be reserved for that special someone you’ve dated more than once, in real life, and even then only if you want to.

As well as a numbers game, dating is a skill. The more dates you go on the better you’ll get.

SDSW drop shadow colour smallDating Tip Number 5: Have fun!

Dating is tough. It has to be said. Some days it can feel like a slog. But if it always feels like a slog, if it’s tough without being the slightest bit pleasurable, well, then you’re doing something wrong!

Try changing your mindset. Dating can be a fun. An adventure. Exciting. It’s a little like a lottery; Sometimes it’s just OK. Sometimes it’s better than OK. Occasionally it’s a total disaster, but every now and then it’s magical. And those moments make up for everything.

Secondly, make sure you’re doing things you actually enjoy. For me, a good first date takes place in a coffee shop, if it’s going really well I might suggest wandering across to the pub over the road. Dinners and first dates don’t mix well. But that’s just me. Maybe you’re into bungy jumping, or white water rafting or long walks in the countryside. Picking an activity you enjoy will significantly increase the chances of your first date going well.

Want More Tips?

If you want to delve into the detail behind the five tips above, pick my brain for more nuggets of dating gems, or need a little more hand holding, then I have some very good news. How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting, my third self-help book, is available in paperback and as an ebook. An audio version – which includes the companion guide How To Be even more Attractive will be available any day now.

How To Be even more Attractive

SDSW paperback

How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting, my long awaited third How To book (part of the original three book deal with audible), will be released in paperback, audio and as an ebook, on the 14th of February this year; Valentines Day. If you enjoyed How To Do Everything And Be Happy, if you’ve ever found any of my advice useful, if you’re fed up with being single and would like 2014 to be full of love, lust or romance… well, this might just be the book for you. Subscribe to this blog (top right hand corner of this website – it’s FREE), or LIKE the facebook page, and I’ll be sure to remind you know when it’s available.

In the meantime, do you remember how I met Kate? (You can find out here, or listen to the radio interview I gave to BBC Broadcaster Matthew Bannister below). When I tell people the story of how I met my wife they nearly always get the short version. The one paragraph version. But there was quite a bit more to it than signing up for a flirting course and sitting myself next to the prettiest girl in the room. I also underwent something of a self imposed image makeover. I did anything I could to turn myself into a ‘accidental relationship’ waiting to happen.

Now, I’m not about to start handing out fashion advice or makeup tips. That’s not my bag. What definitely is my bag however is a slew of ideas based on my own experience and/or scientific research, on how you can influence and improve how people perceive you. Think of it as a step-by-step personal re-branding exercise, all wrapped up in a mini-book.

How To Be even more Attractive is the shorter, quirkier, but none-the-less completely gorgeous companion guide to How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting. Through a series of twelve anecdotes I highlight (and fix) those underlying problems, that make otherwise attractive, charming people even more attractive to those they’d like to date.

Chapters include:

  • Changing Your Mind – How you can think yourself more attractive, and why a little back-to-front logic might work wonders.
  • Changing Your Image – Why it might be a good idea to cut off your hair (or grow it back again), how to shed pounds without spending a fortune, and why hiring a professional image consultant could be a waste of money.
  • Changing Your Environment – Why sitting at home in front of the TV isn’t a dating strategy, why some of your friends are holding you back, and why it’s vitally important to have the right sofa.

But best of all, it’s cheap as chips (£1.53 if you buy the ebook, a little more for the paperback) and available RIGHT NOW. Follow the links below:


How I met Kate

Finding a wife wasn’t quite the breeze I always assumed it would be. It required a little effort, some planning, and a somewhat unorthodox approach to problem solving. You can find out more in this short audio snippet taken from a BBC interview with Matthew Bannister. Click the big play button in the middle of the image (or here if you’re reading this in an email).

You can listen to the full length interview here.


Next Happiness workshop is 9th of February, at the Therapy Life Centre, in Southend on Sea (Essex). Click here for more details.

Opening Chapter: How To Be Even More Attractive

To Begin With…

Not that long ago, I walked into a crowded lecture theatre and sat myself next to the prettiest girl in the room.

If you’ve read any of my other books, or ever heard me speak, then you’ll know this was how I met my wife, Kate – at a flirting course, fifteen years ago.

But this was a different lecture theatre.

This was much more recent.

And the subject being discussed wasn’t flirting, it was poetry.

I ought to state for the record that I have absolutely no interest in poetry whatsoever. I have exactly one book of poetry in my house. It’s currently helping to prop up my computer monitor. But as you’ve probably guessed, I wasn’t there for the poetry. I was there for the girl.

But what I didn’t realise at the time – couldn’t possibly realise – was that the girl I so casually sat myself next to, as though that were the only available chair in the room, had no interest in poetry either. She was there for me.

I’ve never been all that lucky in love. ‘Luck’ and I parted company long ago. Other people get lucky. I don’t. ‘Fingers crossed’ has never really worked for me. Chance is not my friend. I prefer to leave nothing to it.

I realised long ago that if I wanted my life to be anything more than bearable, then it was necessary to figure out what I wanted, followed by a way to get that thing, all without relying on probability. One of those things was ‘love’.

So what of the girl in the poetry seminar? What became of her? That perhaps is a story for another time. For now I’d like you to concentrate on how we met.

You might think that we had very little say in the mutual attraction we felt. And whilst I would agree with you to a point, I, for one, had done everything I could to become a stunning specimen of poetry-hating manliness. My appearance, my wardrobe, my attitudes – even my home – they’d all undergone a series of self-imposed makeovers so that this special poetry-infused opportunity (and the moments that followed), could actually happen. Had I walked into that room two, maybe three, years earlier, I’m not so sure the lady in question would have given me a second look. Let’s face it, she wouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Welcome to How To Be Even More Attractive.

If you’ve ever stood on the side lines and watched people pair off, whilst wondering why no one seems to look at you twice, this book might be for you.

If your dating exploits only seem to get so far, or it feels like you’re always the one doing all the chasing, this book is probably for you.

And if you’re open minded, prepared to take a good hard look at yourself, make a few changes – if the end result means a more attractive you – then this book is most definitely for you.

Now then, could I interest you in some poetry?


From Invisible To Irresistible is available, right now, in paperback and as an ebook. Follow the links below:

Finished?

redpen
I’ve just finished writing the first draft of How To Start Dating and Stop Waiting.

Some explanation is needed.

When I say ‘first draft’, I mean the version of the manuscript that came into being, whilst I sat here, bashing away at the keyboard, with one eye on my outline. I can tell you now that it’s the very best thing I’ve ever written, and that there’s probably only a couple of minor things that need fixing – perhaps the odd smelling mistake, or formatting error – and then it’ll be ready to be released to the world. Part of me wonders whether I should skip my usual editing process and upload it directly to amazon, once I’ve cobbled together some sort of cover.

Another part of me knows that what I actually have is a nothing more than a collection of loosely associated words. And by words I mean a letters arranged into groups, because many of these so-called words won’t actually appear in any dictionary known to man. Where a genuine word does appear there’s a very good chance that it’s not the one I actually meant to type, or that it appears several times in the same paragraph, or it’s part of a phrase that I’ve used over and over and over again. There will be punctuation and grammar mistakes everywhere. Jokes that don’t work. Formatting errors galore. In short – it’ll be a train wreck. A disaster. And I realise yet again that ‘finished’ isn’t a word that should ever share a sentence with the phrase ‘first draft’.

My mate Vikki Thompson is in a similar position. Having taken part in NaNoWrMo this year she’s looking at a 50,000+ word ‘novel’ and wondering what to do next. And whilst there’s a whole host of writing advice out there, here’s what I do to take my manuscript from first to final draft.

  1. Let it rest – This is a luxury that I can’t always afford, but the truth is getting a little distance between you and your WIP (‘work in progress’ – I hate that expression) helps you to lose the rose-coloured spectacles you were wearing when you found yourself thinking, “hey, this is pretty good stuff.” And by you, I mean of course, me.
  2. Print it. Read it. Mark changes – for reasons that I’ve never been able to fathom errors are easier to spot on the printed page. Once you’ve invested paper and ink into something those stupid swelling mistaks will leap out at you and blow raspberries. But more than that, it’s easier to navigate through a printed document. I take a red pen and start ringing words, striking through whole sentences (and paragraphs), and putting wiggly lines in the margins (which is short hand for ‘meh – probably needs a re-write’).
  3. I make changes.
  4. Print it. Read it (aloud this time). Mark changes – Oddly, reading something aloud is the only way I know to find out if the ‘rythmn’ of the piece is right, whether my sentences are too long, and whether it’s clear who’s speaking. Sometimes I’ll even take a chapter to my local writing group and get someone else to read it whilst I follow along on another copy and mark where things don’t sound right.
  5. I make changes.
  6. Give it to Jules – my assistant Jules is usually the first person (after me) to read anything I’ve written. Having worked together now for many years I know I’ll get a brutally honest opinion. Gone are the days when she’d write a long diplomatic note about how she got a little lost, or “perhaps it could be better still”. Now she’s more likely to strike through an entire page and scribble “bit poncy” in the margin. Often Jules won’t be able to tell me what’s wrong with a particular piece, only that it doesn’t work for her. And that’s fine.
  7. I make changes.
  8. Give it to first readers – I’ll print a couple more copies and send it to people I’ve identified as my trusted ‘first readers’, a crack team of operatives who will give me their honest opinions on anything and everything. For this book that’ll be Wendy Steele and Della Galton. Together they’ll pick up on anything that Jules missed; jokes that still don’t work or can be misinterpreted, bits that ramble on too long, are hard to follow, or simply don’t make sense. Like Jules both ladies know better than to spare my feelings. I’m not looking for encouragement – I’m looking for things to fix!
  9. I make changes.
  10. Send it to my agent – finally, my lovely agent Becky will cast her beady eye over the book. If I’ve done my job well she’ll complain that she couldn’t speed-read the manuscript because she kept slowing down to read it properly. She’ll then send me her changes which are usually more structural in nature, moving elements she feels a publisher would particularly like to the front of the book, and generally making the book more commercial.
  11. I make the final changes.
This entire process will usually takes me longer than it took to write that initial draft, but what I’m left with is usually something I can feel mildly proud of. And for the first time I can finally say, it’s ‘finished’.

To find out more about How To Survive Online Dating and when it should be available subscribe (for free) to this blog.

Doing Everything. Being Happy.

walletThe eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that it’s been a while since I posted an entry on this blog. I’d like to tell you that I’ve been ludicrously busy, and whilst that wouldn’t be a lie (these past few months have been possibly the most manic I can remember) it certainly wouldn’t be the whole truth.

The thing is, I’ve been feeling a bit of a fraud.

This is my author blog – it says so right there at the top of the screen, but with only book to my name, published through my own company, there have been times this past year – quite a lot of times – when I’ve felt that calling myself an author is akin to the average man on the street buying himself a second hand lute and declaring to the world that he is a musician. But no more.

Allow me to give you a potted career history of Peter Jones.

Back in my early twenties, a series of poor choices and lucky accidents resulted in me becoming self-employed and working for most of the UK’s Credit Card banks as a freelance business consultant. I was (and I suppose, still am) an ideas man, and a fix-it man; wealthy men would ask me how to make even more money using the tools they had at their disposal, and I would tell them. Though it pains me to admit it, the credit crunch is partly my fault – not my idea, but I was most definitely pulling the levers and pressing the buttons that made it happen.

It wasn’t a bad way to make a living – the money was nice – but whilst I enjoyed the problem solving, and the company of the people I worked with, as the years rolled by I became less and less comfortable working in that industry. By the time I met my wife Kate I wanted out, and much of our time together was spent trying to find ways to use the few skills we had between us to create an alternative career. We tried everything from website design, to property investment. None of those things really worked. And when she died, it felt like my dreams of escaping credit card consultancy died with her.

How wrong I was.

What actually happened was that my focus changed. And instead of trying to dig myself out of the pit I’d spent almost twenty years getting myself into, I concentrated my solution-finding skills on seeking out the very thing that I seemed to lack; happiness. I read a lot of books, made a lot of lists, and tried anything and everything I could think of. Most of the ideas didn’t work. But some.. did!

One day a good friend of mine (hello Tina) suggested I ought to write down some of the quirkier ideas. Several months later I found that I’d accidentally written a book.

Around that time one of my banking contracts was drawing to a close, so I took the somewhat risky decision to dedicate the next few months to publishing my strange work of accidental non-fiction, first as an e-book, and later as a (Print On Demand) Paperback. If you’re a regular visitor to this blog you’ll also know that not only did I achieve that but that the book was quite successful. And when I say ‘quite’, I am of course being extremely British about the whole thing. I’m using ‘quite’ in the same way that some Americans might use the world ‘wildly’. By Christmas of last year my sales were such that I’d started to wonder if I could actually get away with not returning to my previous life – whether I could achieve the impossible, fulfil a child-hood dream, and become a full-time author.

So, in January I set myself the following goal:

“I am supporting myself
doing the things I love & enjoy,
and no longer worry about bills.”
December 2012

By March, and thanks to the persistent efforts of my assistant, I found myself one of the many authors taking part in the prestigious Essex Book Festival. A few weeks later I signed a three book deal with audible (.co.uk | .com), the world’s largest supplier of audio books. I asked if I could audition to read my own book – I passed the audition, recorded the title, and timed the second e-book edition of How To Do Everything and be Happy to launch alongside the audio in June.

It was always my intention to bring out this updated version in paperback too but events took a slightly different turn. The cover with drop shadowebook success and audible deal got the attention of an agent, who in turn was able to get the attention of some fairly major publishers. On August 31st I officially signed a deal with publishers Harper Collins to relaunch the book that got me here in the first place. Essentially How To Do Everything and Be Happy has broken into the mainstream.

What does this actually mean?

Well firstly the book has a brand new funky cover. Secondly, the e-book is now available EVERYWHERE, for every e-reader on the planet, from all good e-book retailers. Thirdly, it’s still only £1.99 (or your local equivalent).

And last, but by no means least, a brand new paperback version – with all the lovely second-edition extras & goodies – will be on shelves, in bricks and mortar UK book stores, on the 17th of January 2013 (a little later in the US – be prepared for half a zillion pictures of me in bookstores up and down the country on facebook in the New Year)

That said, you can pre-order it right now from your favourite online retailers (amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | other options) – amazon have even slashed the RRP price down to a mere £5.99. That’s £3 cheaper than the original paperback ever was.

To celebrate the re-launch of the paperback I’m planning on having a book-launch thingamy. I’m not a huge fan of book launches, or indeed any social gatherings (you seem surprised?), but even I’ve got admit that this can’t go by without something to mark the occasion. And so long as I’m left in charge of organising it please consider yourself (and a friend) invited, because I could never have got this far without you!

So does this mean I’ve achieved my goal?? Am I no longer worrying about bills? Pfff! Not quite. But I’m a good deal closer, and I’m still working on it.

The next book – How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim – is finished. In a few days I’ll be able to tell you where and when it’ll be available. And right now I’m half way through writing a third book, and about to start a fourth. I am quite frankly stunned at what I’ve managed to achieve. Not proud – just stunned. Pride will follow shortly I’m sure, but right now I’m still reeling on a daily basis from how much you can achieve if you set your goals correctly, and put some effort in.

And you’ll be pleased to know I’m feeling a good deal less fraudulent. Expect more frequent author blogging from this point on. At least, assuming I’m not too busy.


The official announcement in The Bookseller

How To Do Everything and Be Happy – The Second Edition – is finally here!

Oi! Pay attention!
This post has been ‘archived’  because things have moved on quite a bit since I wrote it.
To read something a tad more current, click here 

TEN THOUSAND sales after its initial release,  the long awaited Second edition of How To Do Everything and Be Happy is now available in ebook and audio format

New Stuff

The new edition has a numerous updates throughout, including some great reader feedback, and the following new sections:

  • Potential Boxing Day Problems‘ (revised and updated)
  • Advanced Boxing Day
  • Potential Now List Day Problems
  • Determining Your Next Action
  • Advanced Diary Tips

But, for me, the most exciting part of this re-launch is the fact that it’ll be available in an entirely new format!

Now Available in Audio!

From TODAY you can also download the second edition of the book from audible (.co.uk | .com), an amazon company and the internet’s largest supplier of spoken word audio entertainment, and listen to the book “read by the author” (in other words, me)!

Happy reading 🙂

Peter

Ten thousand sales later…

Oi! Pay attention!
This post has been ‘archived’  because things have moved on quite a bit since I wrote it.
To read something a tad more current, click here 

Fifteen months and 10,000 sales after its initial release,  the second edition of How To Do Everything and Be Happy will be officially available (in two formats) from this Friday (8th of June, 2012 ). To say I’m pleased, is something of an understatement…

Who’d have thunk it. It’s probably a little under two years since I first penned the opening chapter to what became How To Do Everything and Be Happy. And now, all these months later, a revised an updated version of the book, featuring new sections and reader feedback, will be coming out on Friday.

For me, the most exciting part of this re-launch is the fact that it’ll be available in an entirely new format – audio!

Click here to search audible and see if the book's available!

The audio version is part of a three-book deal that I signed with audible – the internet’s largest supplier of spoken word audio entertainment – back in February. This was a very exciting moment for me, not least because I myself have been a long time member of audible and many of the books that I’ve “read” over the years have actually been read to me whilst I’ve driven to and from various places of work. Some authors don’t feel fully-published unless they can pull their book from a shelf and riffle through the pages. Bizarre though it may sound I feel the pretty much the same about what my mother describes as “talking books”. Having my book available in all three formats feels like a significant achievement.

So, from this Friday you’ll be able to download the second edition of How To Do Everything and Be Happy from audible (.co.uk | .com),  and hear the book “read by the author” (in other words, me)!

Before you do that however…

Any Questions?

If you have any comments, questions, glowing endorsements, please feel free to drop me a line via the contact page or the comments box below.

In the meantime, Happy Reading – here’s to the next ten thousand sales 🙂

Peter