A Precious Gift

Have you ever wondered what would be the ultimate Christmas gift?  Well, I suppose, the worth of any present depends on both the intended recipient, and the size of the budget you have at your disposal. However, this year, if you want to give something really special, something that will be appreciated much more than you can ever imagine, whilst at the same time cost you nothing more than a little honesty and a few minutes of your very precious time, then why not leave a review for a book you have recently enjoyed.  The Thinker

Authors spend an enormous amount of time constructing a story that will be both interesting and engaging. In many cases, this will involve a great deal of research and endless hours of re-writes. It is generally accepted that it will take most authors, at least, two thousand hours to write a novel worth reading. So a total stranger first buying a copy of their work, and then taking the time to tell them what they thought of it, is a priceless gift. But it doesn’t stop there, a review is a gift that just keeps giving as it will help other potential readers to decide whether they should also read a work, or not.

Personally, I treasure every review I have ever received, good or bad. The good reviews spur me on, make me more determined to write something even better in the future, while a bad review, (thankfully only a very small number) as long as its constructive, will encourage me to address flaws in my writing and up my game.

So if you want to spread a little happiness this year – leave an author a review of his or her work.

Happy Christmas to you all, and take care.


What to do in the Quiet Times?

Well, the Christmas holidays and the upcoming festivities are almost upon us, but what about the quiet times, those periods when the eating and drinking are done, (at least for the time being) and you don’t wish to spend ninety minutes anticipating the next line in yet another Christmas TV re-run? It’s times like this when you grab a book or your kindle and go in search of somewhere to recover, a quiet corner. But are you making the most of what’s on offer? In addition to the old favorites, the latest Lee Child thriller, an absorbing biography, or a Sci-Fi adventure, why not include the work of an author with a proven track record, one who is trying to break into a new genre?

My first book, “A Hell for Heroes” an autobiography, was released by Coronet, an imprint of Hodder and Stoughton, back in November 2012. The book was a success and even after three years, it still occupies a slot in the top 100 in the Military and Special Forces categories. As a result it was suggested that I begin writing thrillers using the true-life experiences of my military career.

“The Apprentice”, my first novel was released on Amazon on the 22nd of June 2015 and is the first book in the “Alex Keyes” series.  Trial TA2

“Alex Keyes is a man with a secret.  Its discovery will destroy him and everyone associated with him. He has spent years training to be a “grey man”: quiet, unassuming, invisible, but now, having been sent behind the Iron Curtain to find someone who doesn’t want to be found, his survival will depend on him becoming a different person entirely”.

The_Journeyman_Cover_for_KindleIf you have already read The Apprentice, and a big thank you to all those who have, the second book in the series, “The Journeyman” is now available on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

“Haunted by his past, and now hunted by both sides, Alex knows that revenge is never going to be enough”.

So when loading your Kindle in preparation for the quiet times, why not give a new thriller author a whirl? Follow him behind the Iron Curtain; visit the dark side at the height of the Cold War, and all from the comfort of an armchair beside the fire.

As for me, well I will spend the quiet times this Christmas working on the third book in the series, “The Master”.

The links below will take you straight to the respective pages on Amazon.

The Apprentice-on-Amazon

The Journeyman-on-Amazon

Great News

For all of you who are finding it hard to get a copy of my first book, A Hell for Heroes, good news, I have just been informed that the publisher, Coronet, an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton has authorised a fresh print run of an additional 8,000 copies.  Thanks to all those who have purchased a copy, and to all those who have purchased copies of my first two novels, “The Apprentice” and “The Journeyman”.


Heroes Cover

What is More Important?

As an author, what would you consider to be more important, book reviews, or book sales?

To most of us struggling authors, the answer to the above question seems simple enough – it has to be book sales. If you publish through a traditional publisher who has a substantial promotional budget, access to the TV and press, and the ability to put your books on the shelves of the major bookshops, it will probably work for you. But if you’re an indie publisher and your sales are purely Kindle or E-book orientated, then it’s a different scenario. When you don’t have something with an attractive cover that will make your book stand out on the shelf, draw the prospective reader in, something they can pick up, flick through and read the odd page or two, then they have no way of deciding whether they might like what is inside or not, and as result you cannot hope to generate sales. As an E-Book publisher, the reviews that your book receives on sites like Amazon and Goodreads are your best promotional tool as, in reality, they are the shop front for you book.  Trial TA2

So after a rather lengthy, and what some might consider a rather obvious observation, I hope that you will forgive me for what looks like a bit of outright begging.

My book The Apprentice, the first book in the “Alex Keyes” trilogy, was published on June 22 of this year. The combined sales and a free download promotion have been extremely encouraging, however, as of today, I have only received five reviews, although I’m not complaining, as they were all “Five Star”. So with the hope that I don’t offend anybody, if you have downloaded and read the book, and can spare the time, could I ask you to please leave a review on either on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com, and to make it easier for you, the links to both sites are shown below.

Thank you to everyone who has either bought or taken part in the free download promotion.

Amazon.co.uk – Reviews

Amazon.com – Reviews


Hope For Us All

On the 16th of June, I published a post on this blog titled, “Are you an aspiring thriller, writer?” The subject covered the rapidly changing world of publishing for the writers of the so-called “boys books” genre.

To quote one editor: “Market research is telling us that the majority of books are now being bought and read by women and that they have no wish to read military-style thrillers. So unless your work can meet the new guidelines, immediately appeal and connect with a female audience, it won’t even make it onto the desk”.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to read this “five-star” review written by a woman on Amazon.com.  Trial TA2

“Having read Theo’s previous book, an autobiography ‘A Hell for Heroes’, I was very keen to read more from this engaging author. I was not disappointed in the least and finished the book in a weekend. ‘The Apprentice’ is a story of Alex Keyes – an ex-Olympian who is forced to become a spy. But there is so much more to the story than this, an engaging depth that draws you in.

Alex is a strong, lethal fighter but who also has a very human side which tends to cause him degrees of pain and concern. This is what I love about Mr. Knell’s writing and his character – the range of understandable and relate-able emotion as well as a story that doesn’t follow the same blueprint as those in similar genres.

The story follows Alex on a secret mission behind the Iron Curtain – a journey that will test all his skills and make him question whom he really is as he is forced to almost change identity to make his way across the harsh land and help him survive several hit men.

I can’t wait for the next installment in this series and would recommend it to anyone, regardless of their preferred genre, for an engrossing, enjoyable read.”

It would appear from the above review, that it is not impossible for the writers of the so-called “boys books” to meet the new publishing guidelines.

Have a great weekend all.

Amazon.co.uk – Reviews

Amazon.com – Reviews

It’s Over!

Good morning everybody.  Well, you can now all breathe a sigh of relief, the free download for my book, “The Apprentice” finished an hour ago.  I would just like to say a huge thank you to everybody who took part, the number of downloads was staggering.  As I said earlier this week the idea was to get people reading my work, and hopefully enjoy it, well there are certainly a lot more people who now have access to my work, only the reviews will tell us if they enjoyed it.  TheoKnell

You all have a fantastic weekend, one where there will be no mention of free book downloads, well not from me anyway.

Take care

Last 24 Hours

Trial TA2Good morning everyone.  Today is the final day of “The Apprentice” FREE download.  As of midnight PT, (8 am BST Saturday) the price will return to £3.85 or $6.00 depending on whether you use Amazon.co.uk or .com, so if you would like to claim your free copy, today is your last chance.  To all those who have already taken advantage of the free download, thank you very much for taking part.