Guest Blog - Jeff Brown. The Seven Unexpected Wonders of Self-Publishing

I had spent years developing some scruffy notes into a coherent manuscript. After multiple re-edits, it had been crafted into a bunch of papers that lay in a dark corner of my wardrobe. Several years later it returned blinking into the daylight. After a good dusting down and further edits, it turned into a finished manuscript. I say finished, but I could have continued writing it endlessly and had spent months telling Kim and Sinclair, at Indie Authors World, that “I’ll pass it to you after one more look”. By the time I let it go I was under threat of Sinclair sitting on me while Kim prised that finished manuscript from my hand. It was a good feeling to release it and my book ‘An Ordinary Man’s Travels in an Extraordinary World’ was born. Now I’m back with a guest blog ‘The Seven Unexpected Wonders of Self-Publishing’. Enjoy!

Unbeknown to me, writing the book was only the start of the adventure because I still had the Seven Unexpected Wonders of Self-Publishing to experience. These wonders may not be in the Pyramids or Hanging Gardens of Babylon category, but they were wonders to my excited eyes. The seven, in some sort of vague order, are:

Book arrival

I had read what a wonderful moment it is when the first copy of your book arrives through your letterbox, but mine wasn’t how I expected. Cue a misty fog and strange music as I take you back in time to August 2019 when I received a call at work from my 10-year-old-son. “Dad, I think your book has arrived”. I confirmed that he could open it and heard a “Wow! It’s amazing”. When I arrived home late that night my wife ushered me to my son’s room where he laid fast asleep, with my book still clutched in his hand. It was great seeing the book, but it was overshadowed by how proud my son seemed of me. Now I just needed Sinclair to sit on him while Kim prised the book from his hand.

Old friends

After the book was published, I sent out a message on social media. I was shocked by the positive response of friends, including many I had not been in contact with for years. Life gets busy and writing a book was a brilliant way to re-connect with friends – well, assuming re-connect means having a beer with friends you haven’t seen for years.


When I was first asked to sign a copy of my book it was an odd feeling. You just think – but it is just me; I know I wrote it, but are you sure you want my scribble on your nice new book? My son put it into context with a “they want your signature dad, not your autograph” and he is right; no one has been queuing for me to sign a blank piece of paper. Anyway, I’m finally enjoying signing my book and now it feels that I have signed so many copies that it is the unsigned ones that are far more valuable.

Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The interwoven ivory plates and gold panels cut an imposing figure over  ………………………………………………………… oh, hold on, myself and Diodorus Siculus seem to have accidentally got our notes mixed up. That time travelling fog must have been a bit too powerful. Oh yes, here we go: Safe Storage – my book consists of seven of my journeys in different locations around the world. They were a precious record of my trips and it was always a concern that my computer would be corrupted, and my writing lost. Therefore, I kept numerous old copies of my manuscript stored away (yes, in that dark wardrobe). After my book was published, I realised that there were book versions in many different households and I finally felt safe to put the old print outs into the recycling. Oh, you would have preferred to hear about the Statue of Zeus instead. Hold on, I’ve got a good one next.


From not having been a writer at the start of the year it has been an amazing and unexpected pleasure to be officially voted the fourth-best author in the world. This was revealed when Class 4 at Cumbria Primary School, who I believe have similar standing to the Pulitzer Committee, nominated their 10 ‘best ever’ authors and then voted for their favoured candidate. By coincidence, my friend Stu has his son in class 4 and good young Henry led a “my dad is in Jeff’s book” campaign.

I wonder whether class 4 has influence with Liz in the knighthood nominations.


After creating a website I wondered how it ranked on google. As the fourth-best author in the world,  you would think my website would rank highly if you googled ‘jeff brown author’. However, the search showed no sign of me on pages 1, 2, 3 ……… finally, I showed up on page 6! Unfortunately, there are at least three other Jeff Brown authors. Should I assassinate them to improve my rating? Apparently, the top-ranking Jeff Brown died in 2003 so assassination wouldn’t be effective; in fact, it may just create more entries above mine. Over the next three months, my listing moved up to page 2. I’m still in search of the elusive page 1 ranking, but it has been fun watching my gradual rise. Disappointingly, if you google ‘jeff brown ordinary’ I am not only on the first page but the first 12 listings!


80% of my royalties are going to the Meningitis Research Foundation. This works out as about £2.50 per online sale and £6 per direct sale. I need to sell quite a few books to reach my target of raising £2,000.  It means I will probably make a good loss on writing my book, but gifting part of my royalties has attracted coverage in the local paper, radio interviews, allowed me to contribute to meningitis awareness and provided me with a warm glow of doing something good.

Please Note: No Jeff Browns were harmed during the writing of this blog.

Thank you, Jeff Brown, for writing this guest blog! It’s always great to hear what you have to say. We highly recommend that you check out the photos here on his website or learn more about his book here.

View Jeff Brown in the press here.

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