Michael Allen’s How and Why Lisa’s Dad Got to Be Famous

Anyone inter­ested crit­ic­al and enlight­en­ing com­ments on pub­lish­ing, lit­er­at­ure and writ­ing will be on cyber-nod­ding terms with Grumpy Old Bookman, cited by the Guardian, a lead­ing UK news­pa­per, as ‘one of the top ten lit­er­ary blogs’. Beneath the super­hero mask is one Michael Allen, a long-time writer of fic­tion, and pub­lish­er in his own write. Nobody — per­haps even Michael — seems to know how many books he has writ­ten, such is the vari­ety of pseud­onyms he has employed. But there’s little doubt that Michael can turn out a well-craf­ted phrase or two, evid­enced by his blog and a couple of quotes about his pre­vi­ous fic­tion: ‘Absolutely first class’, The Bookseller; ‘Solidly con­struc­ted’, New York Times Book Review; ‘Don’t miss it’, The Observer.

So you could prob­ably do worse than pick up a copy of Michael’s new book, How and Why Lisa’s Dad Got to Be Famous. On the basis of his pub­lish­ing ped­i­gree, it will do you no harm what­so­ever to scoot over to this page at Kingsfield pub­lic­a­tions, where you can pur­chase the book or — here’s the clev­er bit — down­load it for free. If Michael will par­don the idiom, he appears to be one old dog who is not afraid of pick­ing up a new trick or two. In con­trast to the slow-on-the-uptake tra­di­tion­al pub­lish­ing industry, Michael is aware that (in the words of Cory Doctorow, anoth­er author who releases his books for free) people will not fail to buy your book because they’ve got a free copy of your book; they’ll fail to buy your book because they’ve nev­er bloody heard of you.

Michael’s pub­lic­a­tion licence per­mits the book to be quoted at length. Here we go:


Hello Lisa. This is for you.

And hello to every­one else too.

Lisa is my daugh­ter. I don’t see her as much as I’d like because she lives with her Mum. We used to be mar­ried, Lisa’s Mum and me, but now we’re not.

Lisa is still quite young. She’s eight now. Seven when this busi­ness star­ted. She’s a bit too young to under­stand all of this just yet. But one day she’ll be grown up, and when she is I want her to be able to read this story. If I’m not around to tell her myself.

Of course, Lisa may under­stand more than I think, al- ready. They grow up quick these days. And I know she’s seen all the TV shows — even when they first went out, late at night. But there’ve been a lot of lies and fool­ish­ness prin­ted about me and Debbie, and I don’t want her to believe all that. And there haven’t been just stor­ies in the papers, either. There’ve been books and CDs and DVDs and doc­u­menta- ries, and end­less stuff like that. Con tells me there have even been pir­ate cop­ies of the TV pro­grammes. Which means that people are selling the TV series without pay­ing the com­pany a fee. They sell them in the Far East, and Africa. It’s very big in Africa.

So there’s been a lot of fuss and — well, non­sense. So I want Lisa to know what really happened.

This is my side of the story. The true story.

You can read more about the book, includ­ing an inter­view with the author, here.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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