It’s true, dear visitor, that this blog has appeared somewhat quiet since the new year, but if you take a quick look over on the Patreon site, you’ll see that in fact, I’ve been a busy boy. Also, take a look at the new Battlechat Podcasts page in the menu above—you’ll see that we’re motoring towards the 20th such broadcast, all of which are available for your listening pleasure after the patrons have had exclusive access for a few days.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I am very close to finishing the next book, Wargaming Campaigns, for Pen & Sword, the monster follow-up to my 2013 monster, The Wargaming Compendium. The new beastie looks likely to be nearly as big as the first one: my Scrivener writing software tells me that I’ve sailed past the 170,000 word mark and by the time I hand it in in around a week’s time, it might be close to 200,000 words.
Then it will stew with proofreaders and editors for a little while, before it lands back on my desk, because I’m also doing all the graphic design and layout. I also have an elite team of beta-readers lined up—senior patrons—who will be asked to comment on various aspects of the book and point out where I’ve dropped clangers!
As you might imagine with a book about campaigns, I have a lot of maps to do! With luck, the final artwork for the book will be done by the end of July, and then it whizzes off to India to be printed. The hope is that a container-load of tomes will arrive back in the UK in time for Christmas. Obviously, I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I must ask those of you who have kindly pre-ordered the book via Amazon to ignore their notifications telling you that the book will be out sooner than that, or even that the book’s publication has been cancelled! this is irritatingly commonplace—the only people who can give an accurate date are myself and Pen & Sword.
By a strange quirk of fate, the Compendium recently hit the best-seller lists on Kindle. Yes, really—five years after publication! Someone, somewhere (I’m trying to find out who) decided to slash the price of the Kindle edition by about 95%, and a chum (Brad Harmer-Barnes who used to write the “Hex Encounter” column for my magazine) contacted me to let me know. It certainly came as a surprise, and a somewhat mixed one at that—with the price tag of £1.19, it meant that my royalties amounted to a princely 12p per copy sold.
Anyway, many of you will have seen that I grasped the opportunity to get the book to parts that it hadn’t already reached and launched a one-man Twitter and Facebook storm over 48 hours.A gratifying number of you joined in on Twitter, liking and retweeting. (Thank you—it really does make a difference. To like is nice, but to retweet is divine.)
The result? The book reached No.1 Best Seller status in several categories on Amazon.com, .co.uk, .ca and .com.au! I may just about have earned enough to cover a couple of cappuccinos from that, but the hope is that the book became known to quite a few people who either hadn’t heard of it at all, or had been holding off because of the previous cover price. I just hope they all like it enough to get Wargaming Campaigns at a slightly higher cover price when it comes out!
My thanks, by the way, to everyone who did buy a copy last week, especially those of you who already had the book but wanted it on Kindle as well; and a big shout-out to those brave souls who bought the Kindle version and liked it so much that you went back and bought the hardback. (The paperback, I’m told by the publishers, has actually sold out completely. If you want one of those, please write to the publishers and tell them, which might help them decide on a reprint.)
Finally, and on a much more personal note, I have been dieting and exercising a great deal in recent months, which has had two results. Firstly, just this week I stood on the scales to discover that I have dropped below 18 stones (that’s 252 pounds or 114.3 kilos) for the first time in many years, meaning that since I started my weight loss journey, I have shed nearly 3 stones (actually 40 pounds, or just over 18 kilos). There have been ups and downs, and it has taken me several years in all, but the rate and consistency of weight loss has increased in the last 6 months or so, and especially since the New Year. I shall be blogging about how I have achieved this, in the hope that some of you may find my experience useful.
But the point of these efforts, and the biggest bonus of all, is that I have managed to creep below the ‘Type2 diabetic’ status level and am now classified as ‘pre-diabetic’. Along with this news came a one third cut in my diabetes medication (Metformin) just a couple of weeks ago. I can’t tell you how much this means to me, and is symbolic not just in terms of the recovery of my physical health, but my mental health too. Not the end, as Churchill said, and not even the beginning of the end—but perhaps, the end of the beginning.
As ever, thanks for your tremendous support. Keep well and once The Book is finished, I shall be freed up to post here more regularly!