The King Whisperers

Just when you thought that royalty, politicians and  history were boring, along comes Kerwin Swint and The King Whisperers.

The King Whisperers breaks upon our senses at exactly the right moment. Society is growing tired of rulers and politicians, yet is excited by a film about a stuttering King that swept up all the Oscars and the fast-approaching Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton –The King Whisperers positions itself as a worthy contender for our attention.

To be honest, when the book arrived by courier, I thought to myself, this is going to be a dry read. How wrong I was. Once opened, I could not put it down and was soon recommending it to all my colleagues and friends. The King Whisperers turned out to be an engrossing insight into the lives of charismatic, shrewd, masterful, cruel and downright devious puppet-masters who have shaped the course of events in palaces, parliaments and nations throughout history. Never was history so interesting and exciting to read.

Chronicling the lives of some of the most powerful and devious individuals who would stop at nothing to ensure their own ends, Kerwin Swint shows us human-nature at its darkest and most selfish, yet sometimes at  its most altruistic. Here is shameless cruelty and sometimes sheer love; often devotion and commitment to a person, nation or cause and for which the reward is cruel and premature death. Could you have the person you had loved and shared half a lifetime with, murdered for uttering one word out-of-place? Such was the fate of Ibrahim Pashar, known as the ‘most beautiful man in the state’.

The reader will be familiar with many of the characters throughout the book. However, preconceptions will be swept away as the author demonstrates that these puppet-masters were not simply motivated by personal ambition, the struggle for power or greed as we may assume, but also by altruism, ideology and devotion that transcended any sense of personal gain. In some cases, readers will discover a sympathy with elements in a character’s personality who before  may have been despised, such as the She-Wolf Isabella of France whose love and compassion for Mortimer at his end, (“Fair son, have pity on gentle Mortimer,”) softens the devious and scheming harshness that caused her to rise against her husband Edward II.

Kerwin Swint presents his characters in a lively and engaging format, making this book an exciting read. Unlike the turgid flow of many histories – The King Whisperers sparkles with the pace and interest of a CNN or BBC report. In spite of the one negative review on Amazon, this is a book that will appeal to everybody, from the biography tourist to the serious academic in search of new information and sources. The language is accessible to all and stimulates enquiry. By the end of your read-through, you will be heading to Amazon to purchase biographies of the favourites you have bookmarked through almost 300  pages of ruthless self-serving and compassionate demise.

The only disappointment for me was that I was left wanting to know more. Now!

I didn’t want to have to run off and order copies of the lives I had read about; I was engrossed in certain characters such as Bernard of Clairvaux and Francis Walsingham. I wanted to see them in action; to see the twists and turns as they played with their masters and the affections of followers and nations. I realise however, that with 47 distinct individuals to discuss, such in-depth treatment was not possible in a single book. One thing is certain, Kerwin Swint has ensured that there will be more biographies of some interesting, though often disturbing shakers and movers on my bookshelf.

The book itself is a whisper. Each vignette is like a secret whispered in our ear, stirring the imagination and our own devious need to inform as we discover something new about one of the players.

I found myself meeting with a poet friend who had written a piece about the Battle of Towton; I had come across a little known snippet in the chapter on Kingmakers…did my friend know it, I wondered. He didn’t! I felt for a moment a little of what it was like to be a Richard Neville or a Francis Walsingham…I had passed the whisper on, and in so doing, became part of that history of shaping thought and controlling outcomes that is part of all of us.

The King Whisperers will entice, excite, educate, stimulate and motivate to further reading. I’ve already decided that Clairvaux, Walsingham and Isabella will be on my bookshelf. I am hoping that Kerwin Swint will be the author of one or more of these lives. I wonder whose schemings you will rush to read after observing The King Whisperers at work.

Tour Notes:

Please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official King Whisperers blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

The next word for the book give-away is (PUBLICITY). Learn more about the give-away and enter to win 1 of 3 copies on the official King Whisperers blog tour page. The other 2 copies are being given-away courtesy of the GoodReads author program, go here to enter. And don’t forget to stop by the Q&A with Kerwin Swint Group to discuss the King Whisperers (including questions from the official book club guide), the author, and his previous works.

10 Surefire Ways to Self-Publishing Success

In this post I am going to share with you 10 things you need to put in place to ensure your self-publishing success. These will help you to avoid the stigma that has been traditionally experienced by authors choosing this publishing route. I will be sharing links that you can follow to support you in your endeavours. I have not been offered an incentive to include any links, you will not be asked for money, nor does anyone pay me commissions. Self-published books have often deserved the stigma that is attached to them. So to ensure that your book stands out, is purchased and is read, follow these tips from the very start of your writing endeavours and you will achieve success:

1. Be aware of what you want to achieve as an author and for your book. If you know what you want to achieve, you are more likely to get there. Without a plan the delay in getting your book published may be just as long as if you had submitted it into the Publishing Lottery mentioned in my last post. Worse still, it may never be published.

2. Make sure you have a good book to offer. One of the most frequently asked questions of a reader is ‘is that book good’? That’s what we immediately want to know before anything else. If the answer is yes, we may go out and buy it ourselves. For a book to be good It will need to draw an emotional response from the reader; there will be an obvious level of suspense and the plot will leave the reader wanting to know more; believable characters are essential, your reader wants to identify with the good characters and loathe the bad ones; plenty of action is paramount, with conflict-resolution-conflict driving the reader to turn the page in hope of more. Simple matters are paramount such as spelling, grammar and layout. If it is not good, don’t publish until it is.

3. Gain the skills of self-publishing while you write. Self publishing is a process that can be learned alongside your writing. Be aware of the pros and cons and assess whether or not you have the time, skills and finances to self-publish; don’t be put off, thousands of authors are choosing this route for the cost-effective opportunity it provides. Don’t wait until the book is finished to find out what to do next. Be ahead of the game and prepared to publish when your book is done. If your book is already written then take time to research and implement the skills required for self- publishing.  There is no need to invest in an expensive course since information abounds on-line and at Amazon.com.

4. Set a budget. Some writers have been so enthusiastic to get their work into print that they have spent thousands of dollars and even bankrupted themselves. Beware of sharks; there are plenty of people out there who are happy to separate the author from her money. The good news is that in today’s word of Digital Publishing, you can self publish on a budget. Even though self publishing can be inexpensive, the last thing you want is that you run out of finances halfway through the process.  There are numerous books on the subject and If you link with other writers through social networking, you will be able to gain realistic forecasts of what you need to expend throughout the life of the publishing project.

5. Consider what form of self-publishing you will opt for. Traditional routes will prove time consuming and expensive. If you decide on Print-On-Demand (POD) then consider using the services of a POD printer that has inside connections with Amazon such as createspace.com. Digital publishing is now a respected enterprise and publishing an e-book is the most cost effective route of all to reach the widest market.  Kindle reaches a vast market offering Authors up to 70% royalties. It costs nothing to have your book published in Kindle format. The self- publishing route you choose will depend on the goals you have as an author.

6. Source the help you will need to self-publish without a great deal of expense. In the process of self-publishing you will become, or need, a copy editor, proof-reader, cover artist and marketing director. It is possible for you to be all of these, but do not overlook social networking and all the assistance that is out there. There is no need in today’s writing world to feel isolation and lack of support as you make those final steps toward your writing goals. You will be surprised how much help is available when you offer to give something back.

7. Become competent at Social Networking. It is easy, fun, supportive, energizing and cost-free.   I met a woman last week at a lecture with author Jack Mapanje. She informed me that she was going to write her life story and had bought a computer and booked on to courses for word processing and networking skills -she was 81 years old. There are four things that you need to succeed on-line, A Website, a Blog, a Twitter account and a Facebook account. There are many others to choose from, but a trawl of a few blogs and websites will soon reveal that the successful independent publishers are using these. Also consider joining Author Networks, these assist networking and give that wonderful sense of being part of something dynamic – great for curing feelings of isolation.

8. Ensure that you have a striking cover. This is essential even if you are publishing electronically. I refuse to buy an e-book that does not have a cover; to do so is like having photocopied sheets stuffed amongst books on a regular bookshelf. My e-reader bookshelf is as important to me as my bookshelf in my home. A great cover sells a book (all my life I have bought books on their covers). Networking on Twitter has allowed me to find and to communicate with good artists who can provide professional artwork for books, blogs and websites at affordable prices.

9. Make sure your book is for sale through several on-line providers. Your goal may be to solely sell through Amazon.com, but since Amazon will compete with other online booksellers, it pays to have your book listed with booksellers such as Barnes and Noble and others. Make sure you are on Smashwords who distribute e-books to retailers such as iBooks, Sony, Diesel and other retailers. Listing your book is free and they will convert your book to e-reader format for no charge, though they do take a percentage of sales.

10. Book reviews, book reviews, book reviews. Use every opportunity open to you to get book reviews that are well written, preferably by readers and writers of your genre. Sign up to goodreads.com and become familiar with fellow authors. You will find that there is a great deal of goodwill and reciprocity between writers online and a polished review that ends up shared through Social Networking, is priceless publicity. I buy the majority of my e-books as a result of reviews and I am seldom disappointed. Use as many review opportunities as you can find time to manage and be sure that you use Amazon for free reviews.

Finally, (yes, this makes 11 tips) and I use it to reinforce my insistence that you – keep writing. Your fan base want to see more work…they really do! So capitalize on your next books success by following all these tips from today. I’ll be watching for your work and if you have followed these ideas, I’ll most likely be buying some of it too!

Meet the Author:

David McLoughlin has been writing since childhood. His work comprises lifestyle articles, short stories, counseling courses, speeches, lectures and poetry. Later in 2011 his first book of poetry will appear ‘No Perfect Reason – No Perfect Rhyme. He is working on ‘Aftershock’ a novel describing the descent into chaos of one life after a bomb blast. David has has been a mentor to authors and writers since 1992 and runs events for the performance of poetry and readings. You can follow David on @veryshortpoetry or drop into the Muse Shack – There is always a cup of something to drink and he will introduce you to the Muse who may offer you some ideas.