Hello and welcome to my site!
My name is John Yeoman, at least that’s my author’s name, and I am your tour guide. Please bear with me while I tell you a little about myself so that you’ll know that you’re in safe hands, despite the shameful wobbles due to my advanced age.
My credentials for guiding you and for running the Writers’ Village competition are quite modest.
First, I have never won a Man Booker Prize.
Second, I hold an Oxford MA in English Literature plus an MA by Research (Creative Writing), and I would joyfully have done yet another MA save that the initials MAMAMA after my name might have embarrassed my wife. Instead, I went on to complete an MPhil and then a PhD in Creative Writing (2009), with special focus on the craft techniques of the novel and short story. I now teach creative writing at an illustrious UK university.
Of course, this does not impress publishers or agents one whit. (Pray, what is a whit?)
However, I have also published eight works of humour, although not all were intended to be humorous. (Look me up at Amazon or Abebooks. I’m the John Yeoman that does not write children’s books.)
Strangely, the first book I wrote 36 years ago is still in print (Self Reliance, Permanent Publications) although it pays me only beer money today. It brought me 33 radio interviews plus three regional television programs. What's more, The Big Breakfast Show - the UK equivalent of Oprah in those days - invited me along as a star guest. (I turned them down, but that's another story...)
My funniest book (The Lazy Kitchen Gardener, Village Guild) which brought me £90,000 in one year is long out of print, although Abebooks listed it on sale in Bombay recently for £60. Gardening Secrets That TIme Forgot - a work of fiction despite its title - netted me £65,000 in year one. And so it goes.
Over 40 years, I have been a journalist, newspaper editor, business trainer, and the chairman of a large regional PR consultancy. As a freelance and a PR chap, I must have published more than 12,000 different articles under various names. I also ran two publishing houses across 15 years. One grossed nearly £1 million ($1.7 million) annually from my own front room, with just one full time secretary.
(Please don't scoff. I’ll happily give you the firm’s name and registered number if you send me a nice e-mail. Then you can look up its full accounts in Companies House. You want the name of my secretary too? Oh, thee of little faith. It’s Celia. But you’re too late. I married her.)
All this qualifies me as an expert in nothing whatsoever except three things: I can be even more rude about publishers and agents, from nearly half a century of inside knowledge, than most authors can. I also have some attestable skills in editing, mentoring and creative writing. Until I retired in December 2000, they brought me reliably each year - for 15 years - a six-figure income.
And I know how to get and keep a good secretary.
Enough about me! (I share your pain.)
After all, in the time you have just wasted on my life story, you could - far more profitably - have entered your story and won an unspeakable sum of money! To read the rules for the contest, please click here.
To gain a FREE - highly acclaimed - 'mini course' in writing stories that sell, click here.
Incidentally, the picture at the top left truly is me
(unlike that libelous cartoon), although my wife refuses to recognise
it. Have you noticed that authors you meet in the flesh rarely bear any
resemblance whatsoever to the youthful flattering photos on their book