Meet Steve Morton, Filofax guru!

Photo of Steve Morton holding his new book File of Facts and a Filofax organiserMy blog guest this week is… my husband, Steve Morton! He’s just published his first book, an expert guide to using a Filofax (an other organisers and planners) ‘File of Facts’. Although he bought his first Filofax organiser in 1986, like many people Steve moved to an electronic organiser in the 1990s. A change of job in 2005 to a security-conscious environment prompted his return to paper, specifically a Filofax. He has used one daily ever since.

He now devotes his time to the Philofaxy blog website and the planner community. Quirky fact: he featured in the highly acclaimed ‘The Dull Men of Great Britain’ book published in 2019 by Random House due to his Filofax dedication.

Since 2016 Steve has been co-hosting a podcast – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Plannerverse  – devoted to making better use of planners.

Welcome Steve!
(This is a little surreal, interviewing one’s other half, but I’ve grilled him in the same way as I do my other guests. 😉 )

Let’s do the easy one first! Why did you write this book?

I wanted to bring together all my acquired knowledge from the last 10 years or so into one easy to access reference book.

Who is the audience for your book?

Any keen paper-and-pen planner user and somebody who is a Filofax or other brand of ring-bound organiser user who wants to know a little bit more. Or anyone considering using a Filofax and isn’t quite sure what the advantages are or how to choose the right one for their needs.

Filofaxes were the essential accessory for the self-respecting Yuppie in the 1980s and 1990s. Aren’t we all electronic and digital these days?

A lot of Filofax users aren’t afraid of using digital devices; some including myself use both. Digital devices tend to be slower to make entries in and they are overall much more expensive than a Filofax. And paper based organisers don’t need charging…

Is there any future for paper-based organisers?

They’ve been around for over 100 years, so I don’t see them disappearing any time soon. Unlike digital equivalents, they don’t become outdated or need constant upgrades. You can still read the contents many years later. The same can’t be said for modern digital devices.

What’s the difference between a Filofax and other planners and organisers?

Mainly the design and the quality of the materials used. Filofax tries to cater for the whole range of price points, whereas some of the other brands concentrate on the luxury end of the market. It’s a big market these days, bigger than it was in the 1980s, I would say, and there are enough interested potential customers for all the companies supplying organisers.

How big is the Filofax and organiser community?

It runs to tens of thousands! In the last 10 years, the number of ‘planner groups’ has grown dramatically, covering the different types and different brands. I started one FaceBook group with just 35 people that I knew from the Philofaxy blog, that group now has nearly twelve thousand people in it! And that’s only one group online. I can’t imagine how many there are offline.

What activities are there for enthusiasts?

We share details about new organisers, where to get particular models, the pros and cons of models and accessories and how to personalise them. Finding the right diary inserts for different people’s needs is a constant topic. People enjoy sharing their own set-up with others.

Philofaxy meet-ups in Los Angeles, Chenonceaux and Denver

And we meet in real life!  I’ve organised meet-ups in London, New York, Los Angeles, Edinburgh, Chenonceaux, Niort (France), Toronto, Denver, Washington DC, Stockholm – to name just a few.

Where can readers find out more?

The Philofaxy blog at https://philofaxy.com is the main outlet for my writing about organisers. We feature posts that include reviews, history posts and a whole gamut of posts about all aspects of organisers. We also have a large range of downloadable files for different diary inserts and a host of other useful pages to fill up your Filofax.

I have to say as Steve’s publisher that he’s enjoyed very good success with his book. Unsurprisingly, he’s sold more paperbacks than ebooks. Readers live all over the world: UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, India, Japan, Spain – truly a worldwide community.

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Connect with Steve

https://philofaxy.com
https://www.facebook.com/groups/filofaxusers
https://www.facebook.com/Philofaxy/
https://www.facebook.com/MrPhilofaxy/
https://twitter.com/philofaxy/<
https://instagram.com/MrPhilofaxy/

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What’s File of Facts about?

Filofax – the great survivor turned indispensable cult

– But how do you choose the size and the inserts from so many on offer?
– How do you select the design to work best for you?
– How does your Filofax fit into and enhance your life?

Whether you’re thinking of getting your first Filofax organiser, have just bought it or are a long-term user, this guide will help you get the best out of it, from the basics to the clever stuff.

– Easy A-Z format
– In-depth review of different designs (and their quirks!)
– Secret features users might not suspect exist
– Timeline of Filofax’s history through the last 100 years
– Introduction to other leading manufacturers of organisers (Gillio, Van Der Spek)

Several years of pain, fun and experience are brought together in one book which will suit both new and established users.

Buy File of Facts:
Ebook (all retailers including Amazon)
Paperback: Amazon UK   Amazon US    Barnes & Noble  Book Depository   Abe Books

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series.Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers. Double Pursuit, the sequel, is now out!

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines and taste world the latest contemporary thriller Double Identity… Download ‘Welcome to Alison Morton’s Thriller Worlds’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be among the first to know about news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

Tell me your favourite authors!

I’m curious… A few weeks ago, I listed some of the books I’d enjoyed last year.

Now I’d like to ask you something: who are your five favourite authors?

Just jot down their names in the comments and that’s it. Your name will be entered in a draw for a free ebook of mine. Five lucky winners will be able to choose which one they like.

Closing date is 20 February 2022.

You may see me asking this in various places – it’s the same competition. 😉

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series.Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers. Double Pursuit, the sequel, is now out!

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines and taste world the latest contemporary thriller Double Identity… Download ‘Welcome to Alison Morton’s Thriller Worlds’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be among the first to know about news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

A star is born? Probably not, but...

Yesterday, I was invited to take part on an Amazon Book Chat Live on amazon.com (US and rest of world) to talk about my favourite books. It was great fun!

Amazon BookChatLive Jan022 with Alison

https://www.amazon.com/live/broadcast/a2dc3d11-8d82-49e8-b884-de1acad34a81

The host was the affable Tim Lewis of Stoneham Press which focuses on conference reviews, self-publishing, podcasting and networking. He hosts the popular #indieAuthorChat on Twitter, the Begin Self-Publishing Podcast www.beginselfpublishing.com), cohosts @ONNAnotherLiveS and runs the Amazon Live show Bookchat.live.

Before the chat, I have to pick out 15-20 of my favourite books. Aaaargh! 

This was the most horrendous part of it. I read over a hundred and twenty fiction books each year plus non-fiction. In the end, I just had to dip in and select favourites from the different genres I like. For series, I (mostly) chose the series starter.And I was allowed to include some of my own books. Then at the end, I had to choose a mystery item – something I’d love to have if money was no object. You may well laugh when you see it at the end of the video!

Authors whose books I picked included CS Lewis, Robert Harris, Georgette Heyer, Rosemary Sutcliff, Tom Clancy, Lindsey Davis, Ruth Downie, Suetonius, Daniel Silva, JD Robb, Mick Herron. You can find out the which books I mentioned and what I thought of them here: https://www.amazon.com/live/broadcast/a2dc3d11-8d82-49e8-b884-de1acad34a81

I don’t think I’ll be getting the call from Hollywood any time soon – I probably wave my arms about too much – but talking about books is always energising and fun. And is there a better topic of conversation?

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UPDATE: And very chuffed to find my thoughts about Robert Harris’s novel Fatherland are now on its book page on Amazon.com above the reviews. 😉

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series.Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers. Double Pursuit, the sequel, is now out!

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines and taste world the latest contemporary thriller Double Identity… Download ‘Welcome to Alison Morton’s Thriller Worlds’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be among the first to know a

Books I've read in 2021

As in 2020, reading books has saved me going round the bend. Yes, I published two thrillers this year – Double Identity and Double Pursuit – and I’m writing a Roma Nova story at present, but in this post I’m writing as a reader.

This is not a beauty contest or a selection. The list below contains just books I’ve read this year and enjoyed. Some made me catch my breath, others made me weep with joy or sorrow and others appalled me. But they all enthralled me.

I’m not mentioning those I read or part-read and didn’t enjoy – that’s not fair to the authors concerned as I’m probably not their ideal reader.

I’m a fussy reader. I use Amazon’s ‘Send a free sample’ service mercilessly, especially if it’s an author new to me. But I have discovered some real gems that way.

Oh, and I’ve read a few non-fiction for research and ‘professional development’ (or whatever they call it now 😉) and one for regression to childhood.

Some books I read in 2021

Fiction in (very) roughly chronological order backwards:

True Colours, JJ Marsh
The Book of Life, Deborah Harkness
Shadow of Night, Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness
Sistersong, Lucy Holland
The Last Time She Died, Zoë Sharp
The Kingdoms, Natasha Pulley
The English Girl, Daniel Silva
Need to Know, Karen Cleveland
Black River, JJ Marsh
Box 88, Charles Cumming
Nemesis, Rory Clements
The Castilian Pomegranate, Anna Belfrage
The Fort, Adrian Goldsworthy
The Monastery Murders, EM Powell
The King’s Justice, EM Powell
Lost Lady, Michael Reidy
A Murder Mystery, Helen Hollick
Mrs Morris Changes Lanes, Debbie Young
Our Woman in Moscow, Beatriz Williams
The Dictionary of Lost Words, Pip Williams
The Key to Rebecca, Ken Follet (Re-read)
The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus, Ayşe Osmanoğlu
Circe, Madeline Miller
The Governor’s Man, Jacquie Rogers
Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch
White Heron, JJ Marsh
A Murder in Paris, Blake Pierce
Dorothy Dunnett Society and Historical Writers’ Association Short Story Competition 2020, Historical Writers’ Association Dorothy Dunnett Society
Two Women in Rome, Elizabeth Buchan
A Sister’s Song, Molly Green
Barbarian Princess, Damion Hunter
Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Whirlpools of Time, Anna Belfrage
The Raider Bride, Johanna Wittenberg
Murder Lost and Found, Debbie Young
The Order, Daniel Silva
Portrait of a Spy, Daniel Silva
A Sister’s War, Molly Green
Britannia World’s End, Derek Birks
Double Agent, Tom Bradby
Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder, TA Willberg
The Lost Apothecary, Sarah Penner
Midnight at Malabar House, Vaseem Khan
Slough House, Mick Herron
The Heist, Daniel Silva
The Girls from Alexandria, Carol Cooper
The Legions of the Mist, Damion Hunter
A Comfortable Alliance, Catherine Kullmann
On a Falling Tide, Georgia Hill
The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger, Suzanne Fortin
Stasi Wolf, David Young
Stasi Child, David Young
The Defector, Daniel Silva
Discovery, Barbara Greig
A Mirror Murder, Helen Hollick
No Stone Unturned, Pam Lecky
Westwind, Ian Rankin
The Wall at the Edge of the World, Damion Hunter
E-ON, Dave Mason
Berlin Noir 2 (digital box set), Philip Kerr
Twilight Empress, Faith L Justice
The Irish Princess, Elizabeth Chadwick
To the Lions, Holly Watt
The Comedy of Terrors, Lindsey Davis
The Messenger, Daniel Silva
The Secret of the Hôtel du Lac, Kathryn Gauci
Whispers of the Runes, Christina Courtenay
Sons of Rome, Simon Turney and Gordon Doherty

 

Non-Fiction
Travel in the Ancient World (2nd ed), Lionel Casson
Spycraft: Essentials, Bayard and Holmes
From Spare Oom to War Drobe: Travels in Narnia with my nine-year-old self, Katherine Langrish
Wide for the Win, Mark Leslie Lefebvre
The Successful Author’s Mindset, Joanna Penn
The Gendered Brain, Gina Rippon

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series.Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers. Double Pursuit, the sequel, is now out!

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines and taste world the latest contemporary thriller Double Identity… Download ‘Welcome to Alison Morton’s Thriller Worlds’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be among the first to know about news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

Publishing my husband's book - risk or triumph?

Hooray! It’s launch day for my husband’s book! It’s all about how to make optimum use of your Filofax (or other planner/personal organiser  such as Gillio, Van Der Spek).

Steve is actually a bit of a guru in this world. Although he bought his first Filofax organiser in 1986, he moved to an electronic organiser in the 1990s. A change of job in 2005 where he worked in a high security environment prompted his return to a Filofax.

He’s used one daily ever since. (Actually, he has a double cupboard full of them.)

Now retired from being a radio and electronics engineer, he now devotes his time to the Philofaxy blog website and the planner community. I’ve lost count of the meet-ups he’s organised in London, New York, Los Angeles, Edinburgh, Chenonceaux, Niort (France), Toronto, Denver, Washington DC, Stockholm – to name just a few.

Quirky fact: he featured in the highly acclaimed The Dull Men of Great Britain book published in 2019 by Random House due to his Filofax dedication. Since 2016 Steve co-hosts a podcast, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Plannerverse, devoted to making better use of planners.

Philofaxy meet-ups in Los Angeles, Chenonceaux and Denver

So he’s the person qualified to write this guide. But like most normal people, he had little knowledge of the publishing world. However, sharing an office with me while I published eleven novels rubbed off on him. He knew it was a case of ‘known unknowns’.

I agreed to edit, format and publish it for him. I’d published two non-fiction books, one back in the clouds of the past, i.e. 2012 Military or Civilians: The curious anomaly of the German Women’s Auxiliary Services during the Second World War  and more recently The 500 Word Writing Buddy: 35 inner secrets for the new writer. My experience with non-fiction was limited, to say the least.

But now I had a secret weapon: Vellum publishing software. But first, editing. Luckily, Steve has seen how hard I am on myself when I run my first self-edit over my own work. Ditto on my critique writing partners work. (She takes an equally ‘robust’ approach!) Anyway, I didn’t spare him. A very kind beta reader with deep knowledge of the organiser world, Janet Gustafson, gave me valuable technical input.

Revisions sent back to author – weird to be on that end of the process for once. 😉 When it came to formatting, I have never made so many sub-headings! But Vellum came up trumps. I used the same approach to front matter and back matter in the print version as I do for my novels – endorsements, very short author bio, title page, copyright then, as it’s a non-fiction book, an introduction and note. Then straight into it! At the back, a chronology, lists of (known) models, a request/plea/grovel for a review and then acknowledgements.

I’ve been publishing my own work for a fair number of years and have set up my own imprint – Pulcheria Press – plus I have publishing accounts at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Ingram Spark, so Steve had his own in-house publisher.

While he’s a seasoned blogger (far better than me!), I created graphics for him and some PR marketing material and draft posts as well as author page on retailers. This book world is a slightly weird world and I hope I’ve been a good guide.

His pleasure when he saw the lines climbing on the sales graphs this morning was a joy to watch. Readers (and fans) in UK, US, Australia, Japan, Germany, Italy and Canada have bought already in ebook and print. He’s enjoying the supportive comments on social media from his world wide community of which he’s an integral part and where he has so many friends. As he says,”You cannot put a value on friendship, it is priceless.

There will be bubbly tonight, possibly sooner…

You can buy it now from:
Ebook: Kindle (Amazon worldwide)    Apple    Kobo    B&N Nook
Paperback: Amazon UK   Amazon US    Barnes & Noble  Book Depository  Abe Books

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series. Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers. Double Pursuit, the sequel, is now out!

Download ‘Welcome to Alison Morton’s Thriller Worlds’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be among the first to know about news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.