Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 Writing Blog

 “The Theory of Nothing” has now had a change to its title and is now “The Quantum God” to reflect the main character’s newer ideas about the universe. I haven’t started writing it yet but am starting to jot down ideas and write some pieces that I may use of adapt later.

“Being an Astronomer” has stalled, partly because I need to take more photos and I have been distracted by my end-of-year activities and my brain has been buzzing with “The Quantum God”.

 It is not unusual for writers to have more than one project on the go but we must be sure that any ideas, that are worth pursuing, make their way into “print”.

December 31st

Well, that was the year, that was. Although it never went to plan, I can take many positives from it. Gosh, I sound like some over-optimistic football manager about to get the sack! Like millions of writers worldwide, I did not stumble on the next "Harry Potter". However, despite being on the low sellers' list, "Being an Astronomer" finally saw the light of day, I also had some paid work, with "Best Binocular Review". I, perhaps reluctantly, decided to abandon my website after 14 years. Far more people are coming here than anywhere else. That left the issue of "Phil's Scribblings", a series of articles and booklets that I had made available for free on my website. They are now available for a small fee (yes, honestly!!) on Kindle but I have expanded them and added a lot more information, so readers can get their moneys' worth.

Longer-term projects, such as "The Quantum God" and the second edition of "Being an Astronomer" were very much "on ice". With little chance of either becoming the next best seller, writers must concentrate on work that is more likely to realise some income in the short-term. Also, if our day job keeps us busy, that must take priority if it provides the majority of our income (99,99%) of us.

Whilst I have improved somewhat in my determination to spend more time writing and less playing games and blogging about irrelevant topics, I was far from perfect.

To find out more, check out:

December 1st

I wrote my November summary for my 2018 Retrospective, which I will be releasing in the new year.

November 29th

I am writing my third booklet in the Phil's Scribblings series about webcamming.

November 11th

My second booklet "How to see the Sun" is now available on  Amazon:

November 7th

I completed my write-up for October. My annual summary will be published next year for a nominal fee.

October 28th

I have been very busy with activities other than astronomy and writing. I was going to add some more constellation shots to the 2nd editing of Being An Astronomer ( However, as my results were not as good as I'd hoped, I'm waiting for another clear, moonless night for another go. As there's a second edition coming out, I have reduced the price of the first edition by 60%.

In the meantime, I am going to re-work "How to see the Sun" in the "Phil's Scribblings" series of booklets and articles.

October 14th

I have now released Astrophotography with a DSLR on Kindle: 

It contains more information than the free version that was available in my website.

I will re-work other Phil's Scribblings material and release them on Kindle.

In parallel, I am re-working "Being An Astronomer"

October 5th

My website is closing as my provider is moving to paid services. I will revise each of Phil's Scribblings and release them on Amazon for a nominal fee. I started with Astrophotography with a DSLR.

September 1st

I had not been writing for a while, although I needed to start on an article for an upcoming magazine. In the meantime, I updated my yearly summary.

July 5th

I have updated my 2018 retrospective with my June summary:

All other writing is on the back burner. I'm not setting any targets for the release of "The Quantum God". I have a lot going on outside of writing, as I let the grass grow under my feet while finishing "Being An Astronomer".

June 26th

OK, I'm not really doing that much. I've decided that my "About Phil" page needs lots of work and I've put a temporary placeholder there. I've also done a bit on "The Quantum God". It is a mix of old and new ideas. Don't expect any release announcements soon!

June 14th 

Well now #BeingAnAstronomer is finished, I'm tidying up my website a bit to include links. Really, the whole site needs an overhaul but I need to decide what it should look like first. I'll be looking at site analytics for a few months.

June 10th

Now you can start buying #BeingAnAstronomer:

June 9th

I finally uploaded #BeingAnAstronomer to Amazon. I will let you all know when it is available.

June 5th

I finally finished checking the text of #BeingAnAstronomer. I now need to design a cover and upload it to Amazon.

May 27th

I finished Chapter 5 of #BeingAnAstronomer at last. "Final" checking is taking ages.

May 21st

I have finished my binocular review (

and it's now back to Being An Astronomer.

April 29th

So much for the "final" check! I found that there were a couple of topics that really needed to go in and required photos. It's all done now, so I'm just carrying on with the checking.
I'm using the Helios Stellar II binoculars  and I'm quite impressed with them so far. I haven't started the write-up yet.

April 18th

I'm now on the 6th "final" check of "Being An Astronomer" and am going to review some binoculars for "Best Binocular Review". After "Being An Astronomer" eventually goes live, I will have a while of consolidating my website before proceeding with "The Quantum God".


April 11th

I have just completed my 4th pass of "Being an Astronomer". I did not find many errors but put in a few improvements, such as cross-reference links.

April 3rd

I have completed seven articles for Best Binocular Review:
On the third pass of Being an Astronomer, I found about 30-40 errors, so I need to continue checking for a while.

March 28th

Wow! I finally finished my second pass of "Being An Astronomer". I found lots of issues, so think I'll need a few more passes before it is ready.

March 9th

I'm on my 2nd check of "Being an Astronomer" and continuing to write for Best Binocular Review:

February 25th

I took the last photo and spell checked the whole "Being an Astronomer" book. Just need to keep refining it. I also finished my 4th article for Best Binocular Review.

February 22nd

I had writer's block on my 4th Best Binocular Review article so took nearly all of the photographs I needed for "Being an Astronomer".

February 13th

Second article on Best Binocular Review published:

February 4th

I have done a bit more on "Being an Astronomer" but am writing for a magazine as well:

January 25th

I finally can report some progress on “Being an Astronomer”. I have now completed the second pass of the Deep Sky chapter.


  1. I am going to self-publish "Being an Astronomer" for the following reasons:

    1. My day job is irregular hours and I can work anything from zero to nearly 80 hours a week. This would drive a publisher who wanted me to complete a revision on a tight time-scale nuts. I just cannot be driven by a publisher's schedule.

    2. Related to the above, I am an active astronomer and don't like to spend time writing when there is a clear sky outside

    3. The market is flooded with astronomy beginner books and publishers are reluctant to take on another one, even if from a traditionally-published writer. I believe in the project and am well-known enough in astronomy circles that it should sell. Even if it doesn't I know it will be a good enough book that it won't harm my reputation

    4. I honestly believe that this approaches amateur astronomy in a way that no other books do. I would simply not bother writing it otherwise

    5. It's my project and I want to do it my way. I'm very grateful to Springer-Verlag for publishing my previous books but they just don't do beginner books. This one's for me!

  2. You know... for your studies:

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