Thursday, 4 May 2017

Amazon's Contest for Best Self-Published Novel 2017 - Help Needed!

Like a blind squirrel will eventually bump into a succulent acorn in the forest, I have apparently written a pretty decent book. 

It's called A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice and I've entered it in a big literary festival.

It has twelve reviews in six weeks since release - eleven 5*reviews amongst them.

*Shiny Reviews UK

Most say it is a page turner and most say they read it quickly and speedily. 

In today's day and age, busy people, living in the brooding shadow of FOMO**, are grateful for books which don't get in the way of a busy life. 

This fits the bill, yet its still complex and psychological. It will keep you guessing all the way through.

Best Self-Published Novel 2017

So, quite proud of what I have achieved, I have entered it into the aforementioned literary prize. Here are the details.

The prize is £20,000

Twenty large: Love those words when connected together like that.

I know I'm 100/1 to even get selected, but a few friends and I have had a look at the field of likely winners - and the books I'm up against aren't that intimidating.

There are some beauties, and there are some beasts - but there's nothing scary in there.

And I'll have well known supporters like Georgia Rose, Terry Tyler, Brenda Perlin behind me - all of whom rate Shiny and have blogged about it.

And Barb Taub too. 

I'm lucky that one of the best reviewers in the caper likes my work. That's a real stroke of fortune.

Have a read of this review when you've got time. 

She explains in one superb essay what contemporary fiction is all about and what I have tried to say in this book. Do you remember that? When novels tried to say something?

(Thank you, Barb).

Barb Taub's Review

I can win this competition. But I need your help. 

I will at some point be judged on the content of the book, and that's when things will get interesting, but first, I have to demonstrate to Amazon that I can sell a book and can get people to review it. 

In many ways, this element is more important nowadays than a writer's ability with a pen. 

Sad but true. It's the way it is.

I can win this or go close. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I am generally shy about talking about my stuff, but not this time. 

Shiny is a decent book. I worked hard on it, drafted endlessly, then redrafted, delayed publication, sliced off 15,000 decent words, and thought about every line.  I even, like Carol, had posters up on my wall to work out my Plan.

I'm going all out.

Here's how you can help me?

How YOU Can Help

1) Over the weekend beginning May 4th - that's today - Shiny is on Kindle Countdown. 

Which means that the price of the ebook for 160 hours is either 99c or 99p depending on where you are.

If you don't have a Kindle, download the book to your Phone/Laptop. 

The software is simple to download.

Seriously, you don't even have to read it: I need the sales/downloads to have credibility in the competition. 

Eventually, someone on a judging panel will read the book and that will hopefully be enough.

(Shiny is one pound/one dollar too. A quid. Please don't make me use the coffee comparison :-D  )

Over the weekend, I am being promoted on E-Reader News Today and several other websites. This is thanks to the managerial skills of my great friend, Georgia Rose. 

The book should therefore go out to around fifty thousand people, possibly more. 

If this works, I'll submit to Bookbub for a few quid and take a proper gamble.


2) If you are feeling daring, read as far as you can and then review it. 

I don't care what star rating you give me, it's 

It's the number of reviews that count in a competition like this.

(I have a hilarious 1* review on one of the football books. I had a tee shirt made, which I sleep in. One of them said that there was "too much shit about clothes," which makes me and my son, Matt, roll.)

Here's a few easy tips. In this case, if you don't want to go through all this. 

The words I Liked It will do, plus the star.

I need plenty of reviews to stand any chance. No idea how many sales. Even then it is a longshot. 

But longshots win plenty of races.

3) If you don't like the book, send it back to Amazon. They will refund 100 per cent with no comebacks. I hardly ever inspire the refunding of books, which is a good sign.

4) If you don't have a spare pound or cannot be arsed with the downloading, then write to me and I'll send a PDF/Mobi file. For those who definitely like to review, I have twelve signed paperbacks left. I'll pay the postage. Contact me on the usual channels and I will send them to you.  Pass them to a friend.

Your help will be much appreciated. 

Marky xx

BUY Shiny Coin here - UK

BUY Shiny Coin here - US and ROW

*Loads more information exist about Shiny on this blog including it's origin, extensive reviews from Georgia Rose, Terry Tyler, Brenda Perlin and others, and an Outtake/Extract.

**FOMO = Fear of Missing Out: One of the prime reasons Psychologists believe people spend an inordinate amount of time staring at phones.

Wiz Green = Mark Barry


  1. A terrific post for a superb book!! I hope you have masses of downloads Mark - Shiny deserves all the love and support she can get :-)

    1. As it was you who helped my pile into this process (and I could have done a lot more, I know), you'll know how hard it's been. Thank you. I am looking forward to the "scores on the doors" when it comes to downloads. I'll keep you posted :-D Mark

  2. As you know, Mr. Barry, I am one of your biggest fans, and was delighted to find A SHINY COIN... as beautifully realized -- page-turning, emotion stirring, character/plot driven -- as my other favorites of your catalogue. I'm more than happy to send this piece around to, hopefully, stir up some much-deserved attention for both you and your new book. Here's to the win!!

    1. Thank you, Lorraine. Your comments and support are much appreciated :-D :-D I would love to win this tournament, but, you of all people know that I'm probably not visible enough, sadly. Here's hoping Shiny somehow finds its way into the hands of the judges - I'll get confident then. Hope everything is well over there in paradise :-D

  3. Good wishes with this one. I do love the vulnerability in this story. Carla, as well. Very drawn to the characters who had been hurt in some way. By life or by others. Who can't relate to that.

    Good wishes. I hope everyone reading this picks up a copy. And good reading to all.

    1. Thanks, Brenda - that's awesome :-D :-D I like my real characters (as you know!)

  4. I’ve downloaded the kindle (and hoping to get to it in the next week or so) but I’d still like a signed copy, please Mark :-)

    1. Cathy, I sent yours a week and a half ago! You are the third person that has not received a paperback and I am furious with the mail. Please accept my apologies. I shall send a signed copy tomorrow morning. Don't read it on Kindle - you'll love the PB :-D Yours, Mark :-D

  5. Oh no! I thought it was funny I hadn’t heard from you. Please don’t apologise but perhaps you should have words with Royal Mail! That’s not on at all. Ok, I’ll wait for the paperback :-) x