I published Rock’n’Roll Suicide on Kindle at the end of October, since then have been tweeting and doing other things to try and increase sales.
Right before I published, my friend Martin Johnson (@johnson_mjj) advised me on formatting issues, and went on to help with marketing advice, then Terry Tyler (@TerryTyler4) kindly gave me lots of pointers, most notably putting me on to lovely Maria Savva (@Maria_Savva), who has since let me guest blog. Along the way Darcia Helle (@Darcia Helle) read my book and liked it, and she also gave me advise and let me guest blog, then Mary Metcalfe let me do the same. And Jennie Orbell (@JennieOrbell) has been a tower of support, advising me on blogs and so on.
The negative facts are that I have not sold (or given free) many books yet. The positive facts are that most of the few people who have bought it have posted 5* reviews, and I’m building up quite a few of these, and this has been a wonderful feeling, the thought that people have actually given up time to reading my book and liked it.
This is the crux of the whole thing, where I think the people who are against giving books away free, versus those who feel it’s immoral to do so, are actually missing the real point. Nobody is bothered about paying a nominal amount for a kindle book, they’d pay more for a cup of coffee. What is important is people’s time. And if you’ve written a book that bores them they’ll not so much resent paying 77p for the book, what they’ll be angry about is wasting their time reading the part of it they read before they gave up. At a party for a magazine I used to work for, when sales were struggling, I always remember a man saying you couldn’t give away a magazine even if there was a £5 note attached to each copy if people didn’t actually want it.
So this is the real point: we want other people to be prepared to spend some time reading our books, and hopefully liking what they read. And everyone’s time is at a premium, most particularly their leisure hours.
One thing I gained from John Locke’s marketing book, is to try and sell a brand, which I think I’m doing. Jack Lockwood, my hero, is going to feature in a number of books, and John Locke says that he built his ‘Dominic Creed’ brand as a series of books rather than a one off, which is what I always planned to do.
It’s all about time again. You read a book you enjoy, or you watch a TV programme you like. You almost ‘make friends’ with the protagonists, equally you’ve learnt to hate the baddies. You’ve invested time in getting to know them. So if another book or TV programme comes on with those same friends and enemies, you’re halfway to enjoying it before it’s even started.
Jennie Orbell’s blog this month touched on an extremely emotive issue, and that is a writer’s confidence. I used to write articles about practical DIY and building for magazines, and, because I am not an architect or surveyor, and was dealing largely with people who were eminently qualified, I always had the feeling that I was in some way a fraud, and despite having practical experience, my lack of conventional academic training would be found out. That tremendous writer and journalist John Diamond, who died about 10 years ago, in his book once wrote that in his first journalist job he knew next to nothing about the subject he was writing about, but others assumed he had the knowledge, and he went along with it. He always had the latent fear that one day he’d be ‘found out’ as bluffing his way through. I think we all feel this way to some extent, and Jennie’s momentary crises of confidence are what we all share.
Here’s another thing: we are all liars. Writing is all about telling stories, bluffing we know more than we do (especially when we do research), in fact telling lies that we hope other people will believe. We all hope we’ll get away with it, that we won’t be ‘found out’, but it’s something we all, secretly, dread.
The nice things
A very pleasant spin off to all this marketing I’m trying to do for myself is discovering new authors to read, such as Terry Tyler, Maria Savva, Pam Howes, Darcia Helle, RJ McDonnell, and the lovely Rosary McQuestion, who wrote the marvellous ‘Once Upon another time’, plus others, and enjoying their books and giving them honest reviews. And Clive (Mullis) , who kindly read and reviewed my book. ‘Banker’s Draft’ is on my list Clive, will read next, and sure I’ll enjoy, same with John Hanley’s ‘Against the Tide’, also on my list.
Jack Lockwood mysteries
So last week I finished Doppelganger, number two in the Jack Lockwood mystery series. I wrote it a while ago, and altered large chunks of it recently, and made the ending better – it was originally a very happy ending – yuck. One thing I’ve discovered I like is when a character is in trouble, and suffering, struggling to get out of a mess. There’s shaudenfraude at their predicament, but more than that, your unspoken agreement with the reader is that he (or she) will get out of the mess eventually, but may not necessarily be blissfully happy at the end of the book. Life isn’t like that, and if everyone walks off into the sunset too smiling and happy it’ll all seem too good to be true, for a thriller genre. Not so, of course, for a romance.
Come and get it
My free period for selling Rock’n’Roll suicide ends this Friday, so please feel free to download it, RT my plugs, or just d. load the first bit to see if it’s to your taste. http://amzn.to/X1dgz9 and http://amzn.to/11wLfqQ Again, I wouldn’t expect you to waste your time. Why should you? And my previous blog has the first part of Doppelganger, which is, at this moment with Julia Gibbs, (@ProofreadJulia) for her help avoiding typos and glitches.
Doppelganger should come out around beginning of February.
Jack Lockwood is on a roll . . .