Friday, 28 February 2014

Update to 'Why I Wrote'... tab (see above)

'No Kiss for the Devil' - (Gavin & Palmer No 5) - available on Kindle.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Out of the jaws of Satan...

I've written before, both here and in Writing Magazine, about the way the big so-called 'legacy' publishers are using Amazon to find and sign up successful self-publishers (in other words, using Amazon as a convenient and cheap slush-pile).

This apparent benevolence in helping poor, deluded self-publishers climb out of the jaws of Satan (Amazon) and skip laughing gaily into the hip and happy world of paper publishing (a la Big Five, of course), has been defended in the main by various members of the industry suggesting in roundabout ways that they are merely doing what they've always done - spotted talent and nurturing it, and being able to give the rescued authors all the publicity, support and marketing power at their disposal. Lucky authors.


What they don't appear at all keen to acknowledge upfront is that they noticed the authors because they already have very extensive sales on Kindle, a ditto following of eager readers... and the big part of the marketing  effort (ie - getting an author's name to the attention of the buying public in the first place) has already been done by the author and Amazon.

All the legacy publisher has to do that is different is to publish the paper book.

Well, I draw your attention to an article in today's The Bookseller, which makes interesting if sobering reading for authors and writers alike, and shows up at least one BIG publisher who signed up Mark Edwards and Louise Voss in a six-figure deal in 2011 for four books, after they'd successfully published themselves on Amazon's Kindle and Thomas & Mercer.

Now it's allegedly gone very sour all round, with the publisher saying - among other things: "We... hoped that Mark and Louise’s legion of word-of-mouth fans would prove to be a loyal readership that would follow them through to physical and to their subsequent titles. Sadly, despite great efforts... "

In other words, they were hoping that all the pre-marketing by Edwards and Voss and their existing fans would do their job for them. Cheap.

The most interesting part, however, is the counter-claim by Edwards and Voss. I've a feeling from the strength of their response to HC's 'explanation' that the word 'bullshit' was lurking somewhere in the background, only Mark and Louise are undoubtedly too polite to say it.

Anyway, judge for yourselves by reading the article here. If what the authors say is true, all I can say is, it sounds horribly familiar, as I know several authors who have been 'dropped' because of sales not reaching an acceptable level. And the reason given by the authors? Oddly familiar:

There was no or very limited marketing by the publishers, and often no books in the bookshops for readers to find.

Happily, Edwards and Voss have reverted to Kindle, where they continue to be successful.

I wish them well. A happy escape.


Monday, 3 February 2014

More 'Watchman' reviews

I'm so delighted that 'The Watchman' is receiving some wonderful comments and reviews.

See another one here from Milo's Rambles review site. A lovely review and clearly done with a lot of thought. Thank you, Miles

See an interview here by John Forrester of The Crime Scene website. John put some searching and interesting questions that really get into the nuts and bolts of what makes writers write a particular story.

And finally, a review below, for which I state an acknowledged interest. (I've never met David Bremner, but my wife works for the association of which he's Chairman). As the body in the UK which knows all there is to know about microlights (one has a rather crucial role in 'The Watchman', for which I got technical advice from CEO, Geoff Weighell) I was very pleased that David offered to read and review the book. 'Highly recommended.' You can't get better than that!

First, a confession. Author Adrian Magson’s wife, Ann, is the BMAA’s accountant, and I was worried that if I did a bad review, I might never get my expenses paid.
In fact, there’s no problem. This is an excellent airport book, with loads of action that’s fast enough and entertaining enough that you aren’t tempted to stop and work out the precise technical details. And the microlight has been checked out by no less than Geoff Weighell, so you can be quite confident that bit’s technically correct, and Geoff’s assistance is acknowledged at the front of the book.
Adrian Magson specialises in spy and crime fiction, based on a number of heroes; Harry Tate, Gavin and Palmer and Lucas Rocco, each of whom has a number of books in the series. The Watchman introduces another hero, Marc Portman, an ex-military man who operates as a subcontractor for various clients, including, in this case, a senior man in SIS who hires him unofficially to keep an eye on two regular field operatives in an operation involving Somali pirates and al-Shabaab.

Having previously worked as a sales manager for a publishing company, Adrian clearly knows what works in books, and does so very professionally, since it is now his full-time profession; something achieved only by a very select few!
Don’t expect tons of introspection and deep insight into the human predicament here; the action starts on page one, and never lets up. Marc Portman is a sort of 21st century self-employed James Bond.

I’m sure Adrian won’t mind my slightly regretting the relatively limited rĂ´le for the microlight, but I have to say this didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book one bit.

Highly recommended.
David Bremner - Chairman - British Microlight Aircraft Association

Thank you to John, Miles and David for their excellent and encouraging words. Is it raining? Is it cold?

Who cares!

'The Watchman' - signed h/b edition available from Goldsboro Books London - delivery anywhere.