SO I FINISHED another novel. Instead of the usual 6 weeks, however, this one took me a little over 14 months. Why? I hear you cry. You know, i'm not sure myself.
It could be that i'm now in a job where i actually have to work for a living, and damn hard too. It could also be the fact that i've met the love of my life and we've settled down so i no longer have 4 days off in which to just sit in front of my computer and write.
But most likely, i think it's because i listened to the feedback i was getting, and there were two main points i had to work on.
The first was the constant "it's really good and commercially viable but just a bit too much like Peter James".
So i had to think of something that was still set in Brighton (partly because i'm stubborn, partly because i know the city so well), was still crime, but couldn't be accused of being anything like a Peter James novel.
The second was that i needed to work on my characterisation. It's very hard to do for characters other than your main when you write first person, as everything about them has to be discovered by either what they tell the main character, or what the main character picks up and thinks about so that you the reader get an idea.
Well, fourteen months later i finally finished But for the Grace of God, and early indications from the few who've read it seem to imply that it's a corker.
It's a story about someone who has lost himself, grappling every day with an addiction that turns him into the sort of person he used to despise, and his journey towards personal redemption. It's dark, violent and sometimes downright depressing, but i think it's a more carefully crafted novel than any of the previous 6 i've written, and i'm sincerely hoping that this time i see some proper movement in the way of traditional publishing.
It's currently with my agent so i'm in the waiting phase, and keen to crack on with the next project.
That said, i'm now prevaricating over what to write next.
I have the sequel to When Good Men to finish, a sequel to But for the Grace to start and another idea for a fantasy series in my head that i can't shake, although it's not fully formed yet. So instead of just cracking on and doing something, i find myself sitting here thinking about which one to work on, knowing full well that if i try and do more than one at once then i won't give it the attention it deserves and it will come out half-arsed.
So if anyone has any suggestions, don't be shy. I could do with someone to (not literally) smack me around the head and point me towards a project...
Morning morning! In celebration of it being Sunday, I've decided to post up a short story that I wrote as a kind of tester for a novel I have in mind. I'd be interested to know your thoughts, so please don't be shy about commenting!
97 Ways to Die in Istanbul
Steam from the tea on the table
in front of me curled upward in lazy spirals, joining the swirling cigarette
smoke that hung, haze-like below the awning that shielded us from the merciless
The other tables outside the
café were crowded with men sheltering from the heat, drinking tea, smoking,
playing draughts and backgammon while the noise of their conversation
punctuated the gloom like the buzzing of angry wasps.
Raising the glass to my lips, I
took a sip of the hot tea, the bitterness eased with a hint of cinnamon.
I said nothing as I studied the
man opposite me. It appeared that he had
woken up that morning and decided to adhere as closely as he could to the
stereotype of a traditional middle-aged Turkish man.
One of the first things that
had surprised me about Turkey was the sheer number of different skin tones and
hair colours of its native peoples. I'd
always thought of the Turks as dark haired and wiry with naturally tanned skin,
but it was just as common to see red or blonde hair, blue and green eyes, and
skin so fair that it burned just looking at the sun.
Not so Erkhan Cosar. He was in his mid-forties, his thick dark
hair greased back and speckled with gray.
Several days worth of stubble surrounded a black moustache so thick that
it seemed to take on a life of its own.
He wore a dark blue shirt with
alternating bands of colour shot through it, red, yellow, orange and green, the
shirt trying and failing to cover the dirty white vest from behind which sprouted
a forest of chest hair.
Taking a long drag of his
cigarette, he breathed out a plume of smoke that hit my face like a slap.
"So, Mr Price", he
said in horrifically accented English, his R's rolling the words to the edge of
understanding, "you wish to make a purchase, eh?"
I nodded, the small movement
enough to send fresh rivers of sweat down my already soaked back.
"That's correct. I believe my colleague has already detailed
to you exactly what I need?"
Erkhan raised his hands, palms
up and shrugged.
"He was not exactly clear, no. And we did not discuss price".
I held back a smile. Every piece of business I'd ever done in
Turkey was vague and slightly confusing until a price was agreed. Once that was done, the vagueness would
disappear with startling speed and you'd find yourself on the sharp end of
proper Turkish efficiency.
I took another sip of tea, and
glanced around to make sure no one was close enough to overhear our
"I need a pistol,
9mm. Minimum of fifteen rounds per clip,
seventeen would be better. Also a
silencer, new. I don't want to find it
getting loud on me after a few shots.
Three extra magazines and one hundred rounds".
Cosar leaned back and looked at
me appraisingly. I knew that he would be
desperate to find out why I needed the weapon.
If there's one thing Turkish men love more than drinking tea and playing
backgammon, it's gossip.
"That won't be
cheap", he said with a feral smile, testing the water.
I shrugged. "Money isn't the problem, so long as the
price is fair. Time is. I've been assured that you're the man to see
if I need exotic goods quickly. If that
isn't the case…"
I let the sentence hang and
pulled out my wallet to pay for the tea, making sure that he could see the fat
wodge of Turkish Lira and US dollars within.
Erkhan sighed and stubbed his
cigarette out, the rickety wooden table wobbling as he stabbed the butt into
the ashtray several times.
"You English", he
said mournfully, "are pitifully bad when it comes to the formalities of
haggling. I can get what you need right
away. It will cost you", he paused
while he worked out how much he could overcharge me by, "two thousand
I did a quick calculation in my
head. Two thousand Lira was about
£700. Cheap for the UK but horrendously
expensive for Istanbul, where you could but an AK47 for less than a thousand
"I'll give you the
equivalent of fifteen hundred in US dollars", I offered.
He squinted up at the awning
while his lips moved silently, then he grinned and nodded, leaning forward to
shake my hand before I could change my mind.
"Done. Come with me". He dropped a five Lira note to pay for the
tea, then led me out into the narrow, brick paved street. The sun hit me like a napalm strike, every
inch of me too hot in the space of one burning breath.
Fishing my shades out of my
shirt pocket I followed my guide through a maze of twisting streets, stepping
around men with carts, shouting out the eclectic items they had for sale, from
televisions to fresh fruit, and one man even selling fish from a rapidly
melting pile of ice in the centre of his cart.
Women in full Burkas rubbed
shoulders with teenage girls in miniskirts and crop tops, while young men with
carefully styled hair and designer clothes swaggered past, silver and gold
flashing at throat and wrist.
We'd only gone two streets when
I picked up the tail. Two men, one in
his forties with a tweed jacket over a pale yellow shirt, the other a young man
with a thin fake-leather jacket, skinny jeans and a pair of oversize shades
that made him easy to spot in the reflection from shop windows and cars.
Their wearing jackets in the
heat wasn't particularly unusual, plenty of men here did. What gave them away was the way the older man
kept his left arm stiffly pressed against his side to secure something beneath
his jacket, and the way the younger man's right hand kept drifting into his
jacket so that his fingers could brush something reassuringly.
Another five streets later I
realised we were travelling in a wide circle.
I wasn't particularly concerned.
I had no doubt the men were Erkhan's, his occasional casual glances in
their direction was enough to prove that, and they were most likely there to
make sure I had no one following as well, in case I decided to rob them.
A call to prayer rang out from
a nearby mosque, the plaintive sound echoing through the streets as I stepped
aside to let a sleek black BMW pass as it navigated the tiny, pedestrian filled
"Just one more
street", Erkhan said over his shoulder, turning to the right and leading
me into a shaded road, the buildings to either side tenement blocks that
blotted out the sun.
The buildings here were in poor
repair, the paint peeling around cracks that ran through the outer walls from
top to bottom. Halfway down the street,
two men lounged against the wall on either side of the dim entrance to an
alleyway. They glanced up as we
approached and the nearest one came lazily to something that resembled
He nodded at Erkhan and gave me
a long look from behind his shades. Both
he and his colleague wore light jackets, the bulky outlines of their weapons
easy to see underneath.
The standing man leaned over
and whispered something to Erkhan, who whispered back furiously, then
shrugged. The conversation went on for
perhaps thirty seconds, then abruptly Erkhan waved at me to follow and turned
into the alleyway. It was wide enough
for four men to walk in a line, with several doors on either side and a short
flight of stairs at the far end that led up to a black metal gate.
It was to this that he led us,
and it was only when I waited while he unlocked the gate that the skin between
my shoulder blades began to prickle.
There was almost no sound in
the alley, the cries of the hawkers in the next street muted by the thick stone
walls, and the screeching of metal as the gate drew back was shockingly loud.
Behind the gate was a door
which Erkhan opened with a key, leading me into a hallway where we both stooped
to remove our shoes. Once that was done,
he showed me to the salon and waved towards one of the three plush red sofas
that sat in three sides of a square around a small black coffee table.
"Please, wait while I get
your goods", he said with a smile, and I sat back and waited, the itchy
feeling now gone but a bubble of worry in my gut taking its place. Everything had seemed fine until we'd reached
the alleyway, what had changed?
Could the man on the gate have
said something to concern him? That was
the only thing I could think of, and breaking all protocol I went back into the
hallway and put my shoes back on before returning to the sofa and sitting once
If things went south I didn't
want to be running through the streets of Istanbul in my socks, particularly
not with armed men chasing me.
After five long minutes, Erkhan
returned with a large box which he placed on the table in front of me. Opening it, he gestured to the contents and
stepped back with a smile on his face.
"Please, have a look and
tell me if you are happy", he said as I leaned forwards and began to take
out the items within.
First came a Sig P226. A fantastically reliable pistol, if a little
tricky to master. Then came three
magazines, a box of one hundred 9mm rounds and a silencer. Best of all, there was a shoulder holster cut
so that it would fit a silenced weapon, tooled leather with two spare clip
holders that sat under the right arm with the pistol worn on the left side.
I fed rounds into one of the
clips and slapped it into the weapon.
Pulling the slide back, I saw that the serial numbers had been filed flat. A round fed into the chamber and I screwed
the silencer on before slipping the whole thing into the holster and sliding
the leather on over my shirt to check the fit.
"Perfect", I said
with a smile, pulling out my wallet and counting out the dollars as
promised. Erkhan scooped them up with an
"Thank you Mr
Price". He held out a thin jacket,
white cotton that was only a little stained.
"I suggest you wear this to hide your purchase".
I nodded my thanks and put it
on. It was a little baggy but that's no
bad thing when you're trying to conceal a weapon. His eyes flicked down to my feet as I stood
and I knew he's seen the shoes. He said
nothing, instead waving me out of the front door and closing the door to leave
me alone in the alley.
Well, almost alone.
The two men who had been
following us stepped out of a doorway on my left as I passed, halfway to the
alley's mouth. I nodded at them but they
said nothing, just watched.
I'd almost reached the entrance
when the men outside swung in, a wall of muscle and moustache that looked
impossible to breach.
Turning back, I saw Erkhan
walking down his steps, a large revolver clenched in his right hand. Even from this distance I could see that his
hands were shaking and I realised that for whatever reason this was happening,
he'd been too scared to try it without backup.
"Ok Erkhan, what is
this?" I asked, head cocked
slightly to one side as I listened for movement behind me.
He shrugged and smiled
apologetically. "This is what you
would call an ambush, I think", he said, then snapped out a command in
Turkish. I spun around at a sound behind
me and saw the two guards from the entrance had stepped into the alleyway
itself, one pulling a 9mm pistol, the other drawing an MP5K submachine gun on a
short sling from under his jacket.
Turning back, I saw Erkhan stop
about twenty feet away, his other two men about ten feet closer and sporting
the pistols they'd tried so hard to hide on the streets.
"Why Erkhan?" I said, my heart in my throat. I'd been in worse situations, but not many
and not often. Five men in a small space
versus myself with a weapon I'd never fired before. I was surprised that it had even gotten that
far, why not just kill me before we'd reached the house?
Erkhan shrugged and walked
closer, still careful to keep his men positioned between us.
"Nihat told me when we
arrived that he'd found out something interesting about you, Mr Price. You see, I never enter into a business deal
with anyone unless I know a little about them.
You, I found out plenty about and it all seemed, uh, tip top, do you
say? But then one of Nihat's friends
called him and said that you are in Istanbul to kill some people who are very
important to my business, and I'm afraid I can't have that. Now, you and I are both businessmen, of a
sort. Do you think we can come to some
arrangement, or do I have to tell my men to pull the trigger?"
I shook my head slowly. Someone, somewhere had talked, and if I ever
got out of this alive then I would find out who if it took me the rest of my
life. Only half a dozen people knew why
I was here, and I trusted all of them implicitly. Should one of them have sold me out, I was in
very hot water indeed.
"Look, Erkhan, if you'd
said something before, we wouldn't have needed to let it come to this", I
said, stalling for time. No, because I would have snapped your neck
like a twig the second you told me your suspicions.
Erkhan shook his head. "I'm sorry Mr Price, but actions speak
louder than words. Had we but spoken,
how could I have guaranteed my own safety?
And besides, those same people have offered me a lot of money if I
deliver your body to them."
I wondered why he was still talking. If he was going to jump me then he should
have done it by now. It wasn't until I saw
his eyes flicker over my shoulder that it made sense. A gunshot, even in this part of Istanbul,
would draw the police like flies to a corpse.
I spun, my right arm flashing
up to block the knife that Nihat was plunging towards my back. He grunted in surprise but recovered quickly
enough to throw an elbow into my temple, sending me reeling as the others
I slammed into the wall, my
vision blurring as all four of Erkhan's toughs approached me, guns now hidden
in favour of knives and in one case a particularly nasty looking butcher's
"There are 97 ways to die
in Istanbul, Mr Price", Erkhan called over their shoulders, "as the
saying goes, and 95 of them are stupidity.
I'm truly sorry, I hate to spoil a business deal by killing the
customer, but as I'll get the goods back when this is over then technically, I
suppose, this wasn't business at all, so I'm ok".
I saw his smile as the thought
occurred to him, and had a second to shake my head in wonder that Erkhan could
be so concerned with the morality of business while watching a man get stabbed
to death on his orders.
I reached for the pistol even
as the first man closed in, knife flashing low in a disemboweling cut. My foot lashed out, cracking into his hand as
he howled and pulled back, knocking into the man next to him.
Seeing a gap in the circle, I
charged that way, ducking a vicious swing from the hook. The man I'd kicked, however, saw what I was
doing and threw his knife left handed.
It was a bad throw, but close enough to make me duck back to avoid the
As I ducked, Nihat leapt the
remaining distance between us and landed on my back, driving me to my
knees. His knife flashed in reflected
sunlight from one of the windows high above as he plunged it over my shoulder and
towards my throat.
I threw my head backwards in a
savage headbutt, catching his chin with the top of my head. I saw stars for the second time in less than
a minute as pain lanced through my skull, but Nihat gave out a high pitched, bubbling
scream and as I twisted to avoid the knife I saw that he had bitten through his
tongue, blood spurting out as he released his grip and staggered backwards,
knife dropped and forgotten.
Scooping it up I rolled
forwards, coming up to my feet and spinning just in time to block another
knife. Steel rang on steel as the blades
met, his tiny darting lunges being stopped by my blade as I backed away,
looking for a position where they could only come at me one at a time.
The man I was fighting was
good, a proper knife fighter. He kept pushing
at me, seeking a hole in my defenses that would allow his blade to slip
through, one of the quick lunges slicing the arteries in my throat, thumb or
The others hung back, seemingly
happy to let the man do his work, and he grinned from beneath his moustache as
he launched a blistering series of strikes that my eye could barely
follow. His blade licked out, cutting my
shoulder, my wrist, my waist. I could
feel hot blood trickling down my body and I knew that he was going to win, knew
that I was going to die here, in an alleyway in Istanbul, because I'd been
stupid enough to believe that no one would sell me out.
And then he slipped. Only for a second, but it was enough. Stepping inside his guard, I brought my blade
up and buried it in his throat, staring into his eyes as understanding, then
fear, then acceptance, flashed through them before they glazed.
Pushing him back towards the
remaining two, I reached under my jacket and pulled out the pistol.
Without so much as a glance
back, they ran, leaving me in the alleyway with Nihat, who was on his knees
with both hands covering his mouth, and Erkhan, who stood, gaping like a fish
while I stalked towards him, pistol in his hand forgotten.
"There are 97 ways to die
in Istanbul, Erkhan", I said with a feral smile, "and number 96 is
trying to kill me and failing".
Time slowed as I pulled the
trigger, the empty click sounding wrong as it failed to fire.
I pulled again, the same empty
click punctuating the sentence forming in my head. Fuck,
fuck, fuck, he took the fucking firing pin out before he sold me the gun.
Erkhan grinned and raised his
own pistol, knowing I was too far away to do anything, having dropped the knife
to pull my pistol.
Left with nothing else to do as
the barrel snapped up, his finger whitening on the trigger, I threw my pistol
underhand, watching it desperately as it spun in lazy circles towards Erkhan.
Two things happened at the same
The first was a flash, a
thunderclap and the hot, searing agony of a bullet tearing through the flesh of
my upper arm. I staggered backwards and
sideways, knocked off balance by the force of the round as it took part of my
arm on its onward journey.
The second was my pistol,
thrown in desperation, spinning straight into Erkhan's face, the heavy butt
smashing his nose flat as he screamed with the pain.
Pushing my own pain to one
side, I charged the distance between us and grabbed Erkhan's right hand as it
went to his broken face, snapping his finger with a loud crack as I wrenched
the pistol free and placed the muzzle against his stomach, burying the tip of
the barrel in layers of fat.
I pulled the trigger twice, the
rounds tearing through him as I angled them upwards, tearing through, flesh,
bone and organs before exiting at crazy angles.
Erkhan stumbled backwards,
ending up sitting on the top step with a bemused expression on his face before
he slumped sideways, the light going out of his eyes.
Dropping the pistol, I scooped
up my own. A firing pin would be a lot
easier to get than a new pistol, that was for sure.
I stumbled over to Nihat and
grabbed him by the collar, jerking him to his feet.
"You and I", I said
in flawless Turkish, "are going to have a little chat about the friend who
told you about me. And if I don't like
the answers I'm getting, I can assure you that you will know it. Are we clear?"
Nihat nodded as I pushed him
out into the harsh sunlight. Sirens were
already echoing from the walls of the tiny, twisting streets as we took turns
at random, disappearing into the maze of alleyways in the city where,
apparently, there were 97 ways to die.
The picture above is my friend Harry. He worked as a custody assistant at Brighton Custody Centre when I was a police officer, and I always thought he was a cracking chap.
A few years ago, Harry went off to fight for his country in foreign climes, and I've recently discovered that some fairly nasty things happened to him and his squadmates while he was over there, resulting in injury and loss of life.
When Harry got back, he wasn't coping very well. He kept having flashbacks, remembering what had happened (he was almost killed) and the colleagues and friends he lost, and got worse and worse until he took a gun from the armoury with the express intention of ending his life.
Luckily, he didn't get that far, but unfortunately the armed forces took a very black and white, dim view of what had happened and charged and convicted Harry, who is now in prison.
Finally, they diagnosed him with PTSD, but again no help was forthcoming from the army, who sent a volunteer to listen to him but made no other effort to assist.
Harry has been getting worse, still suffering from flashbacks and now talking again about taking his own life.
There's a charity who think they might be able to help, and they've been for their first visit. The second isn't until Christmas Eve, and we're all hoping that they can help him in a way that the Army can't or won't.
Harry is a lovely guy. The only mistake he made was going to war for a government who've now cast him aside and conveniently forgotten the sacrifices he made for them.
Harry has a facebook page dedicated to helping him, run by his family. Please, please, please follow the link below and click "like". Then you will get facebook updates and in a few days they will start being mroe speficic as to how people can help.
Let's not forget Harry the way his Country seems to have.
Having published on Kindle twice now, I thought I'd share a few of the useful tips I've learned over the last year or so, in the hope that anyone out there considering doing the same can get a wee bump start.
Self publishing on Kindle isn't hard, but there are a few things you need to do to get it right. The hardest thing is selling the book, and if you want to sell more than a couple of dozen copies to your friends, you have to work out a way of marketing that isn't just driving your friends and family nuts on facebook or at dinner parties.
The reason I use Kindle as a specific example rather than B&N Nook or Kobo, is that for both of those you need a US government tax number, and as that could cause issues for me at work, I just publish on Kindle.
So, the first thing is your manuscript. Is it ready? Have you written it, torn it apart, written it again, given it to a couple of people to read, taken their comments into account, left it alone for a week then gone back and torn it apart again?
If not, then no matter how ready you think it is, it probably isn't.
Then of course there's proofreading.
You cannot, and I can't stress this enough, proofread your own work. It doesn't work. Because of the way our brains work, we skip words, letters out of sync and sometimes whole lines if we're familiar with a piece of writing, and you can't get more familiar than having written it yourself.
Even with someone else proofreading it there will be a few grammatical and spelling mistakes, but multiply those a thousandfold if you try and do it yourself, and there's nothing worse as a reader (apart from a crap book) for throwing you out of the story than constantly picking up on little mistakes.
So now you've got your manuscript ready for uploading onto Kindle. Amazon very kindly allow you to upload a word document, which means you don't have to faff around with .mobi files and such as you used to. You then check it through in the Kindle previewer and go back and change any formatting that needs fiddling with, then re-upload it.
Then, you discover, you need a cover. Don't ever be tempted to use a placeholder cover provided by Amazon. Your cover is one of the strongest selling points of your book, and should be chosen carefully and then tampered with by a skilled artist until it's exactly what you want.
I speak from experience here. My first book, The Follow, originally had a cover designed for me by the-publisher-who-shall-not-be-named. Speaking bluntly, it was pigging awful. It said nothing about the story and, well, it sucked.
So when I took my book back and published it myself, I trawled the internet for something appropriate. There are two sites particularly that hold many thousands of photographs you can buy the rights to. These are Fotolia and Shutterstock. Personally I find Fotolia cheaper and you can find many of the same photos on there anyway.
You choose your pic (I did this with the latest book by putting 6 pictures up on my blog and letting the readers help me choose), and once you're sure you've got the right one, speak to someone who knows something about art/graphics/CAD and get them to add the lettering for the book name and yours on the cover.
Unless you're experienced, don't take the shortcut of doing it yourself. Sloppy cover art or wording looks terrible and again will turn away from buying it anyone who hasn't known you since childhood.
Once you've got your cover and you're completely happy with it, upload it to Amazon. You should be aware that the book itself will be up on Amazon within a couple of hours, but the cover won't be there for at least 12 hours, so you may want to wait until you shout about your book from the rooftops until people can go to the website and see the cover in all its glory.
After the cover, this is the most important part of the whole sales interface. You want to be able to draw your readers in, give them a rough outline of the story but not give too much away. Hint, tease and offer glimpses, and leave them wanting to buy the book immediately.
I genuinely find writing a blurb harder than writing the bloody book in the first place! Run the blurb by someone else too, if it makes them want to buy the book then you're probably onto a winner.
So now you have to think about pricing.
As authors, we all dream of getting that huge publishing deal, and watching our books go for £8 each in paperback, £18 in hardback. After all, we've put a huge amount of effort, not to mention all the blood, sweat and tears, into writing the masterpiece that we're now bearing to the world.
Don't be tempted. If this is your first shot at publishing, or if you're convinced that this one is better than the last three on Amazon that only sold a few copies each, don't overprice it. If people haven't heard of you, you might get the odd one or two who chance it but it's unlikely that you'll get many sales.
Bear in mind that if you price it cheaper, more people will buy it and you'll make more money in the long run. In the UK, somewhere between 1.99 and 2.99 would be favourite. It's less than a pint, and that always makes people happy.
Another thing to be wary of is this. Don't underprice it. If your book is too cheap, not only are you not giving yourself much of a reward for the hours you spent working on it, but people will be wary of buying it. True, some people look for .99p books regularly, but I sold fewer than half the copies of The Follow at 99p as I did at 1.50 or 1.99.
So now you've got your manuscript, your cover, your blurb and your price.
Press the button and wait impatiently for that email from Amazon.
Is a horrible word, conjuring up images of men with greased back hair and well-cut suits smiling at you with gleaming teeth until you buy something you really don't want to.
But it's a useful tool. Social media is fantastic, but don't overdo it. It's a very fine line to walk, and whilst you want to keep reminding everyone on facebook that your book is out there (many people suffer from the "ooh, I'll buy that later" syndrome), you don't want to start alienating people.
Twitter, facebook, Google+. All of these are good. Also, find some writing groups. Start a blog. Send out a few free review copies to websites/facebook groups that review books.
If you enroll your book in KDP select, you also get 5 free days a year. Use them, but use them wisely. I sold a couple of thousand copies of The Follow after my first free day, during which i had over 8000 free copies downloaded. As an author it hurts because you feel like people don't rate your work enough to pay for it (particularly when friends and family thank you for making it free, that's like a knife in the guts), but ultimately it's worth it as there are websites and twitter pages that pick up all the free deals from Amazon and broadcast them to thousands of people, which raises your books profile.
Nag people to leave reviews. There's no point making your book free if you haven't got any reviews to help people choose to buy it after the free day ends. I had over 30 reviews when I made my first one free, with the majority of them 5 star. This helped the sales no end, but even a few good, honest reviews will help.
And that's about it from me, I can smell breakfast cooking so my concentration is fading fast.
All that remains for me to say is good luck, and I wish you every success.
SO WGMDN has been out for about 2 weeks now, and sales are going ok. Not amazing, but ok. It's that tricky second book, where some people are buying because they enjoyed the first, some because they like the cover and some because they're sick of me hounding them on facebook!
Then there are those who only buy based on the reviews the book has on Amazon. So far I have 5 reviews and they're all 5 star, which is great, and I'm really pleased that 5 people enjoyed it enough to review it.
It's a tough line to walk when you're self-publishing, trying to get people who've read your work to review it. What you actually want to say is, "come on, you say you loved it, please, please review it on Amazon, then more people will buy it and it'll start snowballing!"
But what you actually end up doing is annoying people on facebook to the point where they just ignore your posts.
So how, as said self-published author, do you maintain a buzz about a book without annoying people, and market it in an interesting but not too in-your-face kind of way?
I wish I had an answer...
My current plan is this: Hassle and cajole until I've got about ten reviews, maybe a dozen, then make the book free for 24 hours. The reviews mean that once the 24 hours is up, there should be enough interest for it to start selling properly, and then word will spread (I hope).
What I want as an author is for lots of people to enjoy my work, which is the primary reason for writing, but there is also a serious side to publishing in any form and that's to successfully market your product, be it a book, poem, short story or indeed any creative endeavour.
So I'm in that in between stage right now where I need to start the ball rolling a little more but I'm loathe to foist myself on people with the same reckless abandon I used with The Follow. I've been networking on social media, and whilst trying to market WGMDN and raise my profile I discovered something.
There are some awesome people out there.
Groups like StooshPR, who help creative types to network, are utterly invaluable. Not only does using them raise your profile but it makes you realise that you're not alone.
By their very nature, many creative pursuits are lonely ones, and groups like Stoosh, or Kindle Crime, or Brit Grit Alley really helps to give you a feeling of community as well as introducing you to new and interesting ideas and giving you the chance to help other people in turn.
So here's a huge shout out to those groups, check them out on Facebook and see how you can help, or be helped in turn.
Oh, and finally, if you get a chance to look at the reviews of WGMDN, see if you can guess which one was left by one of the UK's most famous crime authors under their assumed name... :)
Please share the love and pass this on. I've had some amazing reviews already, and this is the one that publishers kept saying, "It's good, it's commercially viable, it's just a bit too much like Peter James".
So read it, hopefully love it, then please leave a review on Amazon telling everyone what you really think. If you didn't like bits of it, be straight about it, but the reviews, the tags and the likes will help other people find it, so please help a poor starving author afford a turkey this Christmas.
Sorry, I meant help a poor starving author go to Turkey this Christmas...
Ok, so there are no ducks in this post. But it was a small fib, and the title sounded better than just "Cover".
Thank you to everyone who left a comment on either facebook or the blog regarding their choice of photograph, and as promised (to myself, at least), the picture that got the most votes would become the new cover, whether it was my first choice or not.
SO without further ado, look below to see When Good Men Do Nothing, and if you voted for any of the pictures, winning or not, then thank you for being part of the process towards this book hitting the (virtual) shelves.
IF all goes well then the book will be out this weekend, yes, THIS WEEKEND! The cover was the last bit and despite my sporadic social networking/marketing, I'm hoping that people who liked The Follow will be loving this, and people who didn't like The Follow will be loving it too.
Watch this space, and I'll update you as soon as I know when WGMDN will be hitting Kindles. Just like last time, I'll be asking you all to help share/promote posts, and if anyone wants a review copy to read then let me know, there are a very limited number available...
Not sure if I'm more nervous or excited. I'll tell you when I figure it out!