Simon Says » communiqué 028/February 2019

Simon Says: communiqué 028/February 2019

Hello everyone

I never really feel that the year starts in January.

January always feels—to me—like the last month of the previous year. There’s always the aftermath of the festive period and then there are things that just have to be done in January—things that have a consequence if I don’t achieve.

So I’ve got to get my car serviced primarily to get my MOT certificate (the UK government certificate of roadworthiness that allows me to keep my car on the public road for another year), then I’ve got to tax the car, and get it insured. And yeah…tax…I’ve got to do my accounts and submit my tax return by the end of January or get fined and charged interest.

There’s nothing big or difficult. It’s just boring, very boring, takes time—more so because it’s so dull—and saps all of my energy.

But now we’re in February and, for me, it feels like the year has finally got underway. And the days are getting longer, which is always good.

So now I feel I’m ready to face 2019. How are you doing?

The Fox

Last month I talked about The Day of the Jackal and mentioned I was reading Frederick Forsyth’s latest novel, The Fox. Well now I’ve finished…

In short, The Fox is good. If you like Frederick Forsyth—and you’ve read his previous books—then read The Fox. However, if you don’t like Forsyth then don’t read it—it’s a typical Forsyth book. And if you’ve never read a Forsyth book, start with The Day of the Jackal, it’s a better book.

That’s the short version. You can read more of what I thought about The Fox by following this link.

If you didn’t read last month’s piece about The Day of the Jackal, you can find it by following this link and see why I think that’s the better book.

In Case of Disaster

I’m an author which means I spend much of my day editing digital files—it may look like I’m writing, but in practice, what I’m doing is saving my work to digital files. If my files get lost or corrupted, then my work is gone, and so over time I’ve adopted processes to minimize the risk of loss.

In developing these processes, my aim has been not simply to be able to recover lost work, but to also ensure I can recover those files and continue to work without any delay.

If digital files matter to you—for instance, if you place any value on your family photos—then you might be interested in my process.

The Editor

Editors are mystic beasts in the publishing industry and most people don’t know quite what they do. This confusion is not unreasonable—in publishing everyone is an editor and so the word “editor” no longer has any discernable meaning.

Despite the confusion, the role of editors in guiding and shaping the final work that reaches readers is significant. However, to benefit from that guidance an author needs to have a good relationship with their editor.

Here’s one author’s perspective of what an editor can bring to a project.


That’s it until March. Now go and make some backups.

All the best