My friend Clive La Court challenged me to write ( :D ) something light and airy (Carla is a heavy heavy book), so I did.
I was proud of the result. It's a nice looking, professionally presented paperback too - a great gift for someone special *plug plug*.
As I have said in many an interview, for instance, the latest edition of Indie Scribe
the key isn't in the writing, it's in the marketing, so on publication, I invested in thirty odd paperback books from Cspace with the intention of behaving like a proper publisher.
Beanz Meanz Heinz
I advertised for readers here.
Eventually, I sent out 24 copies of the paperback. It cost me, in total, about £200. Not a lot if those readers actually reviewed the book on Amazon/their blog, but it's still a fair lick to shell out for a freebie.
My objective was to get at least 15 reviews on UK and 10 on US. That would make the financial investment worthwhile.
I've no idea whether this has worked or not. Nearly three months have passed. I have 6 on UK and 5 on US.
Scores on the doors
So far, five people responded.
Three 5*, one 4* and one 3* from someone who liked the writing, but didn't enjoy the story, which suits me, rather than the other way round. He even contacted me privately to tell me his thought processes, something he didn't have to do.
Three others have really enjoyed the book but have not reviewed it on Amazon for whatever reason, but at least I know what they think...e.g.
just finished The Night Porter by Mark Barry Wiz Green @GreenWizard62 Brilliant book great read was a night porter myself for a year so kind of connect with it getting all my family to buy it bring on the the next one
That leaves sixteen other paperback books, twelve of which I sent to people I don't know. Book reviewers, readers, and a lady who runs a chain of bookshops. Nothing has happened on this front.
What's happened? Using my literary Cracker head, I can speculate.
a) They love the book but a busy life means they haven't got round to writing the review yet.
b) They haven't read it because they are too busy. I can think of three of those, perusing their timelines. In the end, though, this tells its own tale. I didn't create enough of a buzz.
c) They have a TBR list and its way down. In the end, though, this tells its own tale, sadly. I didn't create enough of a buzz to propel my book up their personal charts.
d) They don't like the book but won't give me a review out of a sense of politeness.
That is no good to me whatsover: I'd rather have 1* on Amazon than no review, something I have made clear.
Don't believe me?
Read the opening page on the Amazon preview of this book. Actually, you will get everything you need at the end of the first paragraph.
Now check the number of 5* reviews this book has received.
See? It means nothing.
The two concepts - the array of words this author has thrown together to make a form of prose, and the reader's response to that array - don't match.
A phalanx of 5* reviews like this is no good to a reader unless the author has brand awareness. For an author with limited exposure, a battery of top ratings is suicide as far as I am concerned.
At least a 1* review is - trolls excepted - an honest review. A brilliant author like Scarlett Thomas gets 1* reviews. I hated Glen Duncan's Last Werewolf Trilogy and he writes in a way I can only dream of replicating.
Hell, Seb Faulks, who is a magnificent writer, gets 1* reviews.
If a reviewer says The Night Porter is badly written I'll laugh in their face, but I can appreciate someone not enjoying the story, and the footnotes, I knew in advance, will piss a few readers off.
That's writing from the heart. That's writing for your biggest critic - you.
I thought the novel would sell more in the early stages than it has done, but I have become resigned to being one of those authors whose work is praised, generally liked and talked about, but doesn't sell in numbers.
Sad in one way, positive in another.
I suppose I could write a vampzombromanceroticthriller novel starring a dashing ex-CIA agent saving the world, but that would compromise everything I believe in as a writer and the best advice I have ever received is write from the heart, not the head.
|Badly written, massive selling |
pulp fiction and a great cover
My bank manager doesn't believe that's the best advice, I might add.
The most financial successful writers are those ghosters who follow the trends: for example, the women who ghost Jordan's fiction make more than any ten original fiction writers combined, and those wretched potboilers are train wrecks that make Harry Potter look like Dosteovesky's Crime and Punishment.
Still, a Jordan fiction writer is probably sitting under a parasol in Cote D'Azur sipping a Pimms having her shoulders lashed with suntan oil, while I'm digging around at the bottom of my teapot for a teabag with some remaining juice.
*Actually, I applaud all those writers who look at the sales charts to see what's trending - its happened since Dr.Johnson - before they pick up the feather quill and India ink, but I just can't do it. It's not in me.
** If anyone has a spare box of peppermint tea to donate to a starving writer, I shall swap it for twenty primetime Retweets and a Facebook plug #cooldeal.