Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Even a nobody can make 50,000 sales!

No Easy Road by Patsy Whyte
Patsy Whyte, author of No Easy Road
So says unknown Scottish author Patsy Whyte (57), whose gritty memoir, No Easy Road, has spent over a year in the Kindle best-seller charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

And nobody is more surprised at the success of the book than Patsy herself.

"Kindle has made it all possible," she explained. "When I first wrote my book, I made a conscious decision to publish it myself rather than waste time - possibly even years - trying to get a mainstream publisher interested.

"I'm glad I did even although I only ever expected to sell a few dozen paperback copies at most. After all, I'm a nobody. Who wants to read about a nobody?"

But everything changed when Patsy 'discovered' Amazon's Kindle wireless e-reader.

"Of course, I knew about it. But I didn't take any of it too seriously. I thought Kindle was nothing more than a fad which would quickly pass out of fashion. How wrong can you be!"

Not only did Patsy realise Kindle was an avid reader's best friend, Amazon also made it incredibly easy for any would-be author to turn their manuscript into a file which could then be downloaded onto any Kindle device within seconds.

"Best of all, it was all free and I made money into the bargain, too, for every download. Incredible!"

If Patsy found the whole Kindle publishing process easy then so have thousands of other authors right across the world. The competition is fierce, conceded Patsy.

"That's why I spent a few months promoting my memoir online on various Kindle, book and author forums. But the effort was really worth it.

"I can still remember the feeling of pure joy at the end of 2010, just a couple of days before Christmas, when No Easy Road first crept into the best-seller list."

Patsy's memoir is still selling well even after 18 months in the charts. To date, No Easy Road has had more than 50,000 sales.

However, a note of caution is in order, says Patsy.

"When your book and maybe your personal thoughts and experiences become public property, criticism is bound to follow. You won't be able to avoid it.

"Accept both the good and the bad criticism gracefully. You can't please everyone. It simply comes with the territory."

No Easy Road tells the story of Patsy's life as a young child and teenager growing up in a children's home in Aberdeen, Scotland. One of a family of 10 traveller children, torn apart by the state in the 1950's, Patsy recalls a childhood scarred by years of mental and emotional abuse, prejudice and hatred.

Patsy left the home at the age of 15, angry, naive and ill-prepared, but with a will to survive which would be tested to the limit. She rubbed shoulders with the rich and powerful and the poorest in the land, and drifted into a world of violence, prostitution and drugs which almost claimed her life.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

£1m television production scheme aims to boost Scotland's TV industry

Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland announce
the launch of the Television Production Scheme. 
Scotland's independent television production companies should soon be gearing up for a world-wide push thanks to a new TV scheme.

The launch of the £1m Television Production Scheme, announced today by Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland, is aimed at providing a significant boost to the Scottish broadcast TV industry.

By providing co-investment, alongside a private sector investor, the new scheme will increase the ability of Scottish TV producers to secure UK network commissions that can then be sold in international and secondary markets.

This direct support to independent production companies in Scotland will give producers access to finance to make high-quality, high-value programmes with national and international appeal, enabling them to more effectively exploit their intellectual assets in different territories.

Scottish Government cabinet secretary Fiona Hyslop said the Television Production Scheme was a welcome boost for production companies located in Scotland.

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs added, "By providing access to finance, it will improve the scale and quality of Scottish productions, making them more attractive to broadcasters at home and abroad and helping to enhance our nation’s reputation for creative excellence.

"Television and digital media support 42,000 jobs and are an important part of our creative industries - a thriving sector of the Scottish economy with tremendous potential for growth.

"This Government is creating the right conditions for the creative industries sector to flourish and I am pleased to see Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland working closely with the television production industry to ensure appropriate support is in place."

Jane Muirhead, Chair of PACT in Scotland and Chair of the TV Working Group said, "This important initiative has been designed by listening to the independent TV sector and responding to some of the challenges that currently face the industry.

"This scheme will serve as a lever to get content made, and to exploit and take that content global. It will support business and creativity and safeguard jobs, while building a strong skill base for the future.

"I'm really excited about this scheme and it's a real achievement for everyone on the TV Working Group. A huge thank you to Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise for their collaborative approach and for providing a well-structured and meaningful initiative that is open to all independent producers in Scotland."

PACT (Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television) is the trade association in the UK representing independent television, feature film, animation and new media.

Linda McPherson, director of Creative Industries at Scottish Enterprise, said, "We're keen to support the independent production sector in Scotland achieve significant growth in new markets and territories.

"Through our work with Scottish companies, we know there's a huge opportunity for them to tap into this growth, especially in overseas markets.

"This new fund will provide a way for businesses to fully exploit their intellectual property throughout the world and allow them to accelerate their growth.

"Our industry partner PACT recently announced 12 months of growth in international sales of TV and related content by UK independent production companies, with a 13% annual increase in revenue from £1.25 billion in 2009 to £1.41 billion.

"The US is still the largest export market for UK producers with sales growing by 13% to £526 million. The international market is ripe, and we want to support independent TV production companies in Scotland to access it."

Caroline Parkinson, Director of Creative Development, Creative Scotland welcomed the partnership with Scottish Enterprise and said, "This scheme will provide Scottish producers with key strategic investment into their television projects, which will allow them to leverage significant co-investment and will lead to an increase of quality programmes from Scotland that will reach a global audience."

Creative Scotland, who will be managing the scheme, leads an industry group that sets priorities and ensures a clear and integrated approach to the development of the television sector from broadcasters, independent companies, trade associations, support agencies and government.

The Television Production Scheme was a key recommendation of this group and was designed in consultation with them. Full details are available at

Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland will be hosting a workshop to provide further details on the scheme at Creative Scotland's Glasgow offices. For more information, check out

Monday, 2 July 2012

Dramatic rise in UK online ISA searches

Leading independent digital
 marketing agency Greenlight.
Online searches in the UK relating to ISAs have soared.

According to the latest quarterly report by digital marketing agency Greenlight, searches using just the term 'ISA rates' jumped a staggering 82 per cent.

Meanwhile, the search term 'savings accounts' took an 18 per cent dive.

The dramatic rise may indicate consumers shopping around for the most competitive rates and ISA offerings, says the agency in its report, Retail Banking Sector Report - Issue 12.

Greenlight's report profiled the most popular keywords consumers used when they went online in April to find mortgages, loans, credit and debit cards and bank accounts.

It found that the total number of searches for retail banking-related products during the month totalled 2.4 million, down from 2.5 million in January.

The number of searches pertaining to loans (792,741), mortgages (719,593) and credit and debit cards (298,535) saw a dip on January's level.

Bank account-related terms were the exception. Search volumes for the subsector totalled 592,926, up 14 per cent on January's 521,172 total. Searches pertaining to ISAs were the key contributor to this volume increase.

'ISA' was the most popular search term in the bank account subsector and was queried 57,400 times in April, up 16 per cent on January.

Although search volumes for the terms 'ISA rates', 'best ISA rates' and 'cash ISA' were far lower by comparison, they saw the highest increase since January - 82 per cent, 58 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively.

Interestingly, the second and third most queried search terms, 'cash ISAs' (46,600) and 'ISA savings' (45,100), did not feature in Greenlight's January top 10 bank account-related search terms.

Greenlight's report also ranked the 20 most visible sites for bank account keywords in natural search, in relation to the most popular search terms.

The league table reveals that three of the top five were comparison sites. MoneySavingExpert was the most visible, achieving a 79 per cent share of visibility. Halifax, the most visible high street bank, ranked third with a 48 per cent share of visibility.

Greenlight is a leading independent digital marketing agency, the largest of its kind in Europe and the fastest growing. With over 100 blue-chip clients including Santander, New Look, Sky and ghd, Greenlight is a leader in the digital marketing space, and is recognized worldwide for its commitment to delivering record ROI for its clients and investing in the future of search.

The agency is considered the premier thought leader in the sector, publishing widely read industry reports, original research and speaking at trade events. Founded in 2001, Greenlight is headquartered in London, with offices in New York.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

UK construction workers missing out on £180 million of income tax refunds

RIFT radio ad campaign
RIFT first-ever radio ad campaign.
Construction workers in the UK could be missing out on £180 million of unclaimed income tax refunds every year.

Now a radio advertising campaign has been launched to help them claim what's rightfully theirs.

The radio-based campaign is being run by UK-based tax refund company RIFT and is a first for the company.

The 20 second "hostage" ad spots are aimed at construction workers who don't realise they can claim a tax refund from HMRC on travel expenses incurred during the course of their work.

RIFT managing director Jan Post said, "Our research shows that £180 million of annual tax refunds could be going unclaimed by workers in the UK construction industry as a whole. We are using the radio ad to raise awareness of the money owed to plumbers, ground workers, crane operators, carpenters, electricians and labourers."

Unlike self-employed workers who deduct travel expenses as part of their annual self-assessment tax returns, many of these construction workers are not claiming these expenses back. To raise awareness RIFT chose talkSPORT radio for the ads, which run until Sunday 8 July.

talkSPORT is airing RIFT ads on the Alan Brazil Breakfast Show programme; Drivetime featuring Darren Gough; and Weekend Matchday Live with Stan Collymore.

Jan Post explained, "We discovered that our target market are avid radio listeners. It seems that while our clients are driving to and from their construction sites, they are all listening to talkSPORT and so it was the natural place for us to advertise."

The radio spots are part of a campaign also to be seen on washroom panel posters and beermats in 400 pubs across the country.

Jan Post added, "We are pleased with the overall feedback on our latest campaign. We claimed £11 million back for construction workers last year. Let's hope these ads will get even more tax refunds back in the pockets of construction workers."

More information on tax refunds can be found at