• Mark Iles

Geoff Nelder’s Imagination Factory

A fan of Geoff Nelder’s imaginative tales for many years, I’d heard that he’d self-published a book, as opposed to his usual professional publishing route. I know that SP really interests some of our readers and so I approached him about his experiences in this subject.

As a keen cycling enthusiast, Geoff can often be found exploring the many roads of Chester and nearby Wales. Little was I to know that I’d catch him mid-journey.

Geoff: As asked for, when he was puffing hard, cycling up a steep Welsh hill, and he heard Messenger ping.

When did you start writing?

I was lucky to attend a secondary school in Cheltenham that was so new, the top floor was still being built. Apart from such novelty that must have impacted on our creativity, we were blessed with young, exuberant teachers. No National Curriculum, it wasn’t a grammar school, so the staff had free rein to experiment on us.

I loved solving mysteries, puzzles, mathematics, but I shined at creative writing. What I didn’t realise at the time was that Mr Rhodes, one of my English teachers, sold the jokes I wrote to stage comedians! I’m flattered, but of course didn’t get any royalties. Here’s an example: (I didn’t say they were good gags.)

Wife: What’s this tattoo on your back?

Me: I don’t have a tattoo?

Wife: You got that job at Meccano?

Me: So? What’s on my back?

Wife: A keyhole...

Me: Is this a wind up?

What was the first thing you had published?

I did A Levels at the Technical College in Cheltenham and wrote an essay in General Studies that was edited and published in their magazine, The Medium, in 1968. The non-fiction piece was titled, The Criminal Propensity, and it was weird hearing it being quoted in lectures later. Years later reading Educational Psychology and Sociology in Sheffield I came across the term and saw I was credited with coining Criminal Propensity, meaning an innate or early-learned tendency to act outside the norms of commonly-accepted behaviour.

What was the first novel you had published?

Escaping Reality, it's a humorous thriller and the book I always had in me. I liked the US thriller

series, The Fugitive, the way he gets into a sticky mess and escapes, all the while searching for the real killer. I wanted a UK version, so it’s set in Northern England and the Scottish borders, though our hero has to smuggle himself to Amsterdam to find the real culprits while avoiding recapture. I went to all the places in the story, bivouacked in snow, squatted in a house and went to prison*– all for authenticity. I gave a talk about it to a book group – all women. I was worried they'd complain about the erotic scenes including one with bubble-wrap sex, but they demanded more! Originally published in 2002 as paperback only, in 2005 with ebook too, and now only ebook at:

ESCAPING REALITY humorous thriller http://hyperurl.co/nyjaiv

What made you decide to self-publish ALIEN EXIT, and were you deterred by the process?

The first science fiction novel I wrote was Exit, Pursued by a Bee, published in 2008 in Canada. The story starts and ends on Glastonbury hill, when the hill itself rises into the air! It was pushed up by an alien sphere. The departure of the spheres created time quakes on Earth, so a feisty woman pilot chased them into space. Sadly, that publisher closed down in 2020 and I had to find a new publisher, or do it myself.

What were the major obstacles in doing so?

The first thing I asked myself was, 'is the story was worthy of keeping published?' I reread it and thought ‘I don’t remember writing half of this!’ Then I read the reviews and thought, ‘Wow. I have to get it republished!’

Secondly, is the style still me? For example, is the sex just gratuitous and silly? Kind of, but according to my wife, so is our sex so I kept it in.

Does it need re-editing? Nothing in the narrative slammed me in the face. I never liked the cover so I tried to get a better one. I went for a plain one with wavy lines represented the time quakes in the book. I knew nothing about self-publishing but some of my writer pals do and pointed me at Amazon KDP. Thanks Mark.

How do you get your book noticed?

I am really bad at promotion. I can’t even sell raffle tickets for worthy causes, such as for three-legged donkeys, resulting in my buying the whole raffle book myself. I have 9 fiction books out there and two collections, plus about 90 short stories. To get them noticed I write a page or so in my blog and other people’s. I do have a facebook page for my science fiction here: https://www.facebook.com/ariatrilogy, and another for my historical fantasy and other stuff: https://www.facebook.com/xaghrasrevenge.

I tweet, attend writing events such as readings, signing and conventions. However, I am shy and don’t push as much as I should to make myself more known. Hey ho. I even did a radio blog, which is pretty good for someone 85% deaf. Here it is: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/compulsivereader/2008/12/08/interview-with-geoff-nelder.

Do you have any advice for those looking at self-publishing?

There are books on how to self-publish, most of them self-published. I can’t vouch for them because I just looked for Self-Publishing with KDP – don’t forget to add UK, unless you’re somewhere else. Lots of tutorials there. Make sure you have the rights to the text. Experiment with a short story, but ensure it is over 2,500 words. Amazon recently culled all KDP books under 2,500, except kids’ books. You will be asked about keywords to use, so in your description ensure you use terms likely to be most relevant to your genre, and which are popular. Google for the latest popular keywords.

Would you do it again?

I might with longer short stories of mine. To be honest, using a publisher that tries hard to publicise your books is better, but failing that you receive a better income per sale by self-publishing. Good luck.

Nelder’s books

2003-05 ESCAPING REALITY: http://hyperurl.co/nyjaiv

2009 HOT AIR: http://hyperurl.co/di4y0h

2009-12 ARIA LEFT LUGGAGE: http://smarturl.it/1fexhs

2013 ARIA RETURNING LEFT LUGGAGE: http://hyperurl.co/tgtid6

2014 ARIA ABANDONED LUGGAGE: http://hyperurl.co/26trxv

2017 XAGHRA’S REVENGE: http://myBook.to/Xaghra

2018 INCREMENTAL: http://mybook.to/Incremental includes 25 short stories

2019 SUPPOSE WE:, https://mybook.to/SupposeWe

2019 FALLING UP: https://mybook.to/FallingUP

2020 ALIEN EXIT: https://mybook.to/alienexit

Social Media

Geoff’s website: https://geoffnelder.com includes blog and books

Twitter: https://twitter.com/geoffnelder

* Short spell as a prison visitor

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