Nick Fragel

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During the day, I run a university advancement office; but when night falls...the world of fiction beckons. I've been making up stories since I was a child, often driven by my lifelong passion for history and the Westcountry; though I'm now exiled to England's northern reaches! My own backstory takes in military service, a year wandering southwest Europe in a motorhome and a history degree from Oxford, and some of this experience appears in, or influences, my writing.

I was drawn to Jericho Writers by Harry's brilliant Friday afternoon emails and the somewhat spurious (and possibly incorrect) fact that JW was once headquartered in a repurposed pub on Oxford's Woodstock Road. Happy memories of the Horse & Jockey...

I'm now focusing on writing a seven-book YA adventure series, Storm Over Albion, exploring one way King Arthur might return to Britain in the near future (a locked-down island, imagined long before the advent of the UK's pandemic response!). Book One in the series, The Merlin Commando, introduces 14-year-old Asha Knight, a girl with her own secrets and a shocking connection to the legendary warrior... The Kindle route-to-market beckons...

Nick Fragel Discussions
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Hi everyone,Hope you are all safe and well. I'm keen to receive any recommendations you have for cov…
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  •  · Hi Laina,Your project sounds fascinating. I, too, am self-publishing a novel of historical fiction (…

Thanks, Carol. Just editing book 2 now. We’re planning to run a promotion on the first book as we publish 2 (hopefully late May, but you know how these timelines slip! Have been following Rob Pearce’s advice with interest…

Hi Carol,

I’d recommend Nielsen - 

Depending on your planned output, or if you’re writing a series, you may want to purchase a block of 10 (when I did this it cost £160; a single ISBN was £89).

If you’re planning to publish through the Amazon KDP route, there is an option to have an ISBN assigned by them (free of charge, I believe). If it’s not important to you to have your books sequentially registered, that might be the better option. I went for the block as I’m writing what I hope will be a 7-book series; and I wanted control of the ISBNs…

Hope that helps.

Best wishes,


Brilliant achievement, Laure. Makes all the hard work worthwhile. It’s a great cover, too. Many congratulations. I hope this is the first of many successful novels🍷

Thanks, Rob. Will try that. Interesting on the cover, as we tried the thumbnails and could see title fine; my name isn’t a selling point(!), but we can certainly get our great cover designer to lighten those colours…

Hi Rob,

Thanks for the overview of your self-pub experiences to date. Have been following your journey with interest. Particularly keen to learn about the various advertising and promotional routes you’ve taken. In terms of Amazon, what was the expense like?

I’m a way behind you in terms of my series, with Book One (The Merlin Commando - cover below) launched in December on KDP - I wanted to keep things simple - and the second book (Children of Excalibur) currently at the edit stage, with the plan to publish in May. I’m on with planning and prep for Book Three (Storm King Rising) which I hope to launch around Christmas. I’ve noticed that the process has speeded up as I make fewer mistakes in the early versions on the ms and I get to know my characters better!

This drip feed publishing is in part down to writing alongside a full time job; but I can see the logic of holding fire and publishing several books together (the plan for this YA low-fantasy/dystopian series is for seven books). We’re yet to really push the button on proper promotion (joining Twitter, etc.), and that’s also with an eye to the series, giving a boost when more books are out there. I’m also trying to encourage some of my target audience readers to promote through TikTok, etc (if they like the book!).

 I may have been premature and Harry will probably tear his hair out; but in terms of motivation, it was great to have that first paperback in my hands…


Added a comment to The icy leap 

Your emails are always a Friday afternoon treat worth waiting for, Harry; rather like having the chance to tuck into a Cornish cream tea every Sunday. Only healthier. And more nutritious – if wisdom can be ascribed a nutritional value!

Fiona isn’t the only one to fake Excalibur; Richard the Lionheart gave one to his friend, Tancred of Sicily, as a gift at the signing of the Treaty of Messina in 1191. That version was – allegedly – dug up with King Arthur’s body in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey the previous year (an early example of a tourist con, when you consider the pilgrim traffic triggered by the ‘find’).

And Geoffrey of Monmouth, creative writer par excellence, was the first to attempt a Latinised version of the sword’s Welsh name, christening it Caliburnus in his Historia Regum Britanniae. From there is wasn’t too much of a step via the Old French Escalibor to the name that has stuck to the famous blade down the centuries.

Like you, I believe in Arthur’s historicity; or at least that he is the synthesis of several real warriors (the 5th/6th century Dux Bellorum). Sadly, we are a dwindling breed, with modern historians of the late Roman/early Saxon period regarding him as a later invention (cue the Welsh monk, Nennius, William of Malmesbury and the aforementioned Geoffrey). Real or imagined, your use of his sword in the sixth Fiona Griffiths novel was inspired (and I now have a lovely picture of you jigging around your garden celebrating the twist that unlocked the story).

Well done, Julie. Whatever comes of this, it’s a great endorsement and tells you that you’re heading in the right direction! Exciting times and I really hope they pick you👍🏼🍺

Well done on the growing reader numbers, Robert. Very encouraging! I’d be interested to hear more about how you’ve used free book promotional activity - did you do this through Kindle Direct? I launched my debut (first of a series of seven) in December and I’m looking to boost reviews and reader reach via the Amazon page itself, alongside the usual social media outlets.

On the review, I agree with other posters that this was written by someone for whom English is not a native tongue; thus they may not be suggesting that you’re racist, but rather it’s commenting on how your good and bad characters come across. Also as others say, you have to let it go; as I’m sure you know it’s important never to respond to a bad review. You can’t please all the people…

Good luck with the rest of the series.

Thanks, Kate. It would be lovely! Have something of a roll on, with the writing; but I’ll face the usual self-pub marketing challenges…small steps and lots to learn…

Thank you. I appreciate that. Currently working on editing the sequel. I find it a wonderful escape from the January blues!

Thanks, Reidr. Yes, it does feel like we've only completed the prologue of the process. Well done with your bestseller status, too! 

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