Friday, 28 October 2011

Writers & Publishers Beware! There's a new disorder out there...KOD!

I've just discovered an insidious new disorder specific to authors and publishers of Kindle eBooks.   Kindle Obsessive Disorder.  I know, because I am currently in recovery.

It manifests itself  as an overwhelming compunction to check those sales figures several times a day.  It was bad enough when we only had the sales ranks to worry about for our hardbacks and paperbacks, but now that Amazon provides a continuous hour by hour update on sales of books in the Kindle Store it has become an obsession. 

Not so much of a problem when lounging by the pool in sunny Sicily, but a nightmare two chapters into your next book.  OK, it's important to know how they're doing, and to nip in the bud any significant signs of a dip  by changing the key words, or inviting readers to leave a review, for example.  But when it's first thing in the morning, every time you take a break, and last thing at night...that's spells disaster for the creative flow. 

So now I'm rationing myself to once a week.  Every Monday morning after breakfast.  That way I'll get a a whole week's total, and a much better indication of trend.  Then  I can get on with the real work untrammeled by peaks and troughs and pointless projections.   It's tough, but it has to be done.

The shaking has stopped, and the night sweats, and the incoherent mumblings.  I know it's only week one, but it's progress. 

Watch this space. I'll let you know how I get on.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2011

I think it's brilliant that writing, acting, and film making related to this popular genre is now receiving such good coverage on television.  I was also delighted to see due recognition given to foreign fiction.  I realise that The Killing wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but there was no denying the quality of the writing, or of the acting and film making in the original version which deservedly took so many awards.  For me, the US version set in Seattle (co-incidentally the headquarters of Amazon?) was every bit as well constructed and played out, and lost little in translation.

I'm sorry that Dennis Lehane wasn't nominated, and that Lee Child and David Baldacci lost out, but their time will come - and deservedly so not just because, as the final presenter put it so gracefully in the words of Billy Wilder, " Awards are like piles.....sooner or later every arsehole gets one."

I can't help feeling that there is a smidgen of truth in that, and that although ultimately award ceremonies in all areas of the media, and beyond, are primarily a marketing exercise, that shouldn't blind us to the recognition of exceptional talent that they showcase, and the opportunity they provide to reflect on what we really value, and how lucky we are to have a such variety of writing to explore, enjoy, and share.

Monday, 10 October 2011

A Trace Of Blood

Number six in the DCI Tom Caton Manchester Crime Series has been out there as a Kindle version for just one week and is already selling well.  The paperback version is in the system but I'm still waiting for it to appear in the Amazon Book Store.  For those of you who love the feel of a proper book I'll let you know as soon as it does appear.

I'm hoping that the fact that it's set in The USA as well as Ireland and the UK will help to bring my work to the attention of the many American readers who are into British Crime Fiction.  That isn't the reason I chose to do that however.  The maternal side of my family were from Kilfeighney North, and then Listowel - both in County Kerry.  Some emigrated to England, others to Canada, and the Catons to America.  I've always been fascinated by that and the historical genealogy in this book is in some ways a tribute to those roots and their spirit of adventure.

But it is still  a crime thriller in the DCI Caton mould.  I hope you enjoy it.

Next stop final proofing of The Cave - my first crossover novel for teens,young adults and adults.  And then on to writing chapter two of the next Tom Caton novel set in the murky world of Premiership football.  Watch this space.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Deganwy Authors Day and Book Fair

The weather was disappointing, and the competition from the Rugby World Cup was unfortunate, but the people were lovely, and networking with other authors and publishers was a real bonus. I should not be surprised by now but yesterday confirmed yet again that the benefits of sharing experiences, technical tips and contacts with each other should never be underestimated.  Incidentally, the Quay Hotel was a great venue and having stayed overnight I can recommend it.  Big, contemporary, and well appointed rooms, good dining, and great views.  Will be back.