I spoke to a very helpful literary agent today. As I am about to publish the fourth novel about the Royal Navy I was wondering whether to use this as a lever to get a mainstream contract. When I told him my sales and review numbers, he was very much of the opinion that I would do better to carry on with my self publishing policy. The days of large advances from publishers are well over and by the time an agent has taken his cut and the publisher has offered a pittance as a royalty there is very little left. His point is that the number of readers hasn't changed much but the number of authors has so there is less to go round in terms of revenue. Coming from an agent I was impressed with his candour. It does make me wonder where the conventional publishing world is going though. Anyway the book is almost ready to go. After some dialogue I am now in a position to revert to the original cover photo I wanted. This shows one of 846 Squadron Sea Kings (one of mine when I was the squadron engineer) taking off from the original RFA Reliant both of which are stars of the story and so far more relevant.