The Benevolent Dictator - Tom Trott

Ben longs to be prime minister one day. But with no political connections, he is about to crash out of a Masters degree with no future ahead. So when by chance he becomes fast friends with a young Arab prince, and is offered a job in his government, he jumps at the chance to get on the political ladder.

Amal dreads the throne. And with Ben’s help he wants to reform his country, steering it onto a path towards democracy. But with the king’s health failing, revolutionaries in the streets, and terrorism threatening everyone, the country is ready to tear itself apart.

Alone in a hostile land, Ben must help Amal weigh what is best against what is right, making decisions that will risk his country, his family, and his life.

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The Benefits of Self Publishing
You’re a self-published author, right? And you’re starting to feel depressed about it. Perhaps you’re on your fourth or fifth, or twentieth, self-published book and every time you still send the manuscript off to agents and publishers and you get the same rejections back. You probably don’t even hear from half of them. I certainly don’t.

We all know the benefits of traditional publishing: you’re likely to sell more (although that’s not guaranteed by any stretch of the imagination), you don’t have to bother talking to cover designers and marketing people, and generally a lot of stuff is organised for you. Also you suddenly walk straighter and get to stand near your books in branches of Waterstones with a smug grin on your face, and your farts don’t smell any more. We all fantasize that it will be the solution to all our woes, even if that is never, ever the case. But let’s talk about the benefits of self-publishing, since that’s what we’re doing.

You get to write exactly the book you want. No one is going to tell you what to write, or what the market supposedly wants or doesn’t want. So make sure you do write exactly the book you want. Don’t chase the market, it never works and leads to unhappiness and dissatisfaction with your work. There’s nothing worse than not selling the book you didn’t want to write in the first place.

You can make it as long or short as you want. Like short books? (like me) Then write a short book. Make it 50,000 words, or even 40,000. Lean, propulsive, grabs you by the throat, or just beautifully sleight. No wasted words, no wasted chapters. Something the mainstream publishing industry has forgotten, or ignored. Or… make it an epic. If you want to go into long detail about a new culture you’ve created, do it! No random suit is going to tell you what your readers want from you.

You get control over the cover. No bland silhouette of a person in a dark street for you. Make it unique, make it exciting, make it yours. (I recommend working with a designer, though). It’s the first page of your book, it’s the thing everyone sees first, so use it as another outlet for your creative expression. Make it a creative exercise, not a marketing exercise.

So much of traditional publishing is about compromise, but we don’t have to suffer any of that. We are free. We can produce a book that is a perfect representation of what we want the reader to hold, to read, to experience. So embrace it, embrace the freedom, stop trying to make your book look like something Random House has produced, stop pumping it with filler or cutting chapters to the bone, stop looking at the New York Times bestseller list and trying to work out if you could write a psychological thriller with the world Girl in the title. Stop being ashamed of self-publishing, own it, be a book artist, and make something only you could make!

Author Bio – Tom Trott was born in Brighton. He first started writing at Junior School, where he and a group of friends devised and performed comedy plays for school assemblies, much to the amusement of their fellow pupils. Since leaving school and growing up to be a big boy, he has written a short comedy play that was performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton in May 2014 as part of the Brighton Festival; he has written Daye's Work, a television pilot for the local Brighton channel, and he has won the Empire Award (thriller category) in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest. He is the proverbial Brighton rock, and currently lives in the city with his wife.

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