Motorcross has been my passion since I was a child, racing, spectating and now writing about the world’s best racers as they chase world championship glory. My writing journey began in 1984 when I wrote a one-off feature for a magazine. Fast forward to 2016 when early retirement allowed me to spend the summer travelling around Europe and watching the MXGP championship unfold. I sent a feature to the magazine ‘on spec’ and the editor liked it leading to me providing regular reports, interviews and features for the print magazine and website. Unfortunately, magazine circulations are falling and the work dried up but as I had spent more time in the MXGP paddock I could see there was a story to be told that was bigger than a magazine feature, it needed to be a book.
At the last race of 2017 I pitched the idea to the owner of Britain’s most successful team with one caveat; I wasn’t going to write a politically correct fantasy that made everything seem rosy, it had to be authentic, unfiltered and honest, however painful that was. He agreed and my research and writing began. ‘Livin’ the Dream, life inside Britain’s most successful MXGP team’, looked at the business of running a team that competed in 20 international grand prix and 8 British championship races through the ups and downs of the 2018 season. It turned out to be an even more eventful year than I could have hoped for which gave me plenty to write about; conflict, disagreements, personnel issues, injuries and business decisions all set against a sporting backdrop that travelled the world.
The main hurdle was the timescale between completion and publication. I needed to launch the book on November 1st at the annual Dirt Bike Show but the last race was on October 7th! The Self-Publishing Partnership agreed to get the design, layout and pictures ready for print using the material I had ready by September so that the last couple of chapters could be slotted in at the last minute. It would’ve been impossible to make the deadline without their flexibility and support.
‘Livin’ the Dream’ launched at the show and was marketed exclusively through social media, eBay and selected motorcycle dealers. It was the most effective way to reach the target audience but Amazon etc take so much in commission and fees that it wasn’t viable to use them.
I didn’t manage to knock Harry Potter off the top of the best seller list but my book was incredibly well received. I got some very humbling messages from people who had bought it which meant more to me than the financial success or failure of the book.
Connor Sneddon – Hi mate I’m not the best reader, but this book has got me hooked I’ve never bought or read a book before but your book has inspired me to read more thank you for writing this will be (lending) it to my little brother once I’m done and I’m sure he will live it as much as I am.
Ashley Blight – I’m only 25/30 pages in and I don’t want to put it down, a lot to learn from this book that I have never even thought of.
Callum Swan – Started to read this last night! Absolutely hooked Andy Gee!
Buoyed by the ‘success’ I decided to write another book, this time looking at the sport from the rider’s perspective. ‘Chasin’ the MXGP Dream, Life as a Professional Motorcross Rider’, follows two top racers through the 2019 season. Luckily for me there was plenty of action and drama to fill my pages but I included interviews with a dozen other riders at different stages of their careers to add context and completeness to the story. We used the same design and layout as ‘Livin’ the Dream’ but once again SPP pulled out the stops to turn my manuscript around in time for a November 1st launch. I’d already had a lot of interest so hopefully it will be in a lot of people’s Christmas stockings.
This is a niche market and not commercial viable for the big publishers so for me self-publication was the perfect route to market.
Available from eBay, just £15 each plus P+P.