That’s right, you heard correctly. Call it my little Valentine’s gift to you readers.
If you can’t give your love the gift of love then give them a little murder, betrayal, and £750k of drug money to play with.
This slipped past me almost unnoticed (partly because The Gamblers was first released on paperback in November 2011), but I thought I’d say a few words to mark the occasion.
This last year has been an interesting ride on Kindle. Sales were marginally better than I hoped upon release, though it’s never troubled the best-seller charts (not counting the occasional chart place in the hard-boiled hit parade). And in that time I’ve managed to release another book, making me almost prolific, haha! I’ve learned a lot about this indie-publishing business too during the last year and I thought I’d share these thoughts with you (feel free to click away when you get bored):
1) There’s a vibrant hard-boiled crime and noir community out there. I didn’t realise just how vibrant it was until I joined Twitter and noticed that not only are there lots of people doing what I’m doing, but they’re doing it a lot better too. What this means is I know I have a lot more to learn. It also means that it’s not a lonely place, and there are a lot of great writers to chat with online. That feeling alone is marvellous.
2) I’ll never make my living as a full-time writer. This isn’t some whiny point declaring woe is me, it’s more a simple statement of the facts as I see them. Getting noticed is incredibly difficult and involves more effort than I can manage if I’m to keep earning a living as a graphic designer and pay my rent. I can only do it to a minor degree, far less than I would like, which means minor returns. But I’m cool with that. Sales might take off to a degree over time, given a more substantial back catalogue, but I’m pretty certain the best I can hope for is something that can supplement my full-time job income rather than replace it. Regardless of this, I’ll keep writing. I love doing it, because it’s not about the money, it’s more than that… I don’t want to sound all poncy and pretentious, but it fulfils me in a way that I can’t quite explain – whether that’s spiritual or what have you, I don’t know, but there’s a sense of contentment I feel when I’ve finished a project that I don’t get from any other aspect of my professional life.
3) The Gamblers wasn’t a one-off. I was worried that I might return to my pre-Gamblers routine of starting projects that remained unfinished, but this hasn’t been the case. The Hunters, the first of a series of hard-boiled and blackly comic crime thrillers featuring two dysfunctional criminal brothers, made an appearance and will be quickly followed by three other books later this year and into 2013. Also, I have another noir that is on schedule for late 2013! The floodgates are well and truly open.
4) I’m going to stop trying to sell my wares all the time on Twitter. I’ve been scaling this back, but unless I have a specific deal going (two-for-one deals, a price drop etc.) I’m going to cease with the Twitterbombs. To be honest, Twitter is an abysmal selling tool and I find that I get more sales through providing interesting content on this blog, or links to interesting content on Twitter, than I do by saying, ‘Oi! Buy my books’. If I slip with this promise at any point, feel free to pull me up about it 😉
5) I won’t be doing any more KDP Select giveaways. Initially, KDP Select kickstarted sales of The Gamblers again after they went dormant for a while, and it’s given The Hunters an initial boost, but repeated freebies have done nothing more for me in terms of sales and are probably detrimental in the long run. And what’s the point of giving away my work to hoarders who don’t read it? It’s a waste of my time and theirs – they’ll only end up deleting it unread anyway. Better a tiny audience of devoted readers than a larger audience of those who couldn’t care less. So, I have a few ideas of my own to boost sales in the summer months, involving a slightly more structured giveaway of my own devising (I’ll reveal more another time).
6) It’s been fun, thus far. I’ve enjoyed having all three of you visit my blog from time to time and read my work, and I hope to keep you entertained for many years to come. And if the standard slips do let me know. I’ll come back stronger and better for it.
…as the old saying goes
I know a lot of you folks seem to be a little reticent to download links to my novel, so you can finally view the first few chapters in your browser and try before you buy.
I guarantee you, once you start reading you’ll be turning these pages faster and faster!
A couple of examples of posters that will be seen around London pubs and cafes during the end of 2010/beginning of 2011.
I’ve also slipped a few into The Metro and Evening Standard when I’ve been on the tube mornings and evening
They use pithy snippets of dialogue from the novel, to give a flavour of its essentially hardboiled noir nature. Basically, if you like the dialogue then chances are you’ll like the novel too.
It might look a tad crappy, but it’s a start. I can’t upload the flash version because I don’t have the upgraded video facility, but, like I’ve said, it’s a start. It’s going on the http://www.thelondondailynews.com/ website, hopefully at some point this week.
To be honest I did it rather quickly, so the design is very generic and Helvetica and my Flash skills have pretty much atrophied after years of zero use, so it has bugger all functionality (it just kind of sits there and links back to Lulu). Still, some presence is better than no presence at all (although I’m sure there are those who’ll beg to differ).
I’ll probably actually sit and design a better one during the week and plan it, rather than improvise (which is not the designer’s way, or not this particular designer anyway).
I’m currently sub-dividing my free-time between my second novel (which is an unconventional murder-mystery thriller) and trying to generate publicity for The Gamblers.
It’s not an easy thing to do. Publicity for a self-published work relies on a lot more work for the author than it does for an author who is represented by a publishing house. Posters, leaflets, flyers, sample chapters etc., all need to be overseen or designed by the author. Then comes the legwork, putting posters and leaflets in pubs or cafes that will allow such things, finding other suitable locations for posters, putting professionally designed sample chapters in public places (where people might be tempted to pick them up). I’ve also got in touch with a few contacts who might be able to review the work, and others that I have agreed to write articles/reviews for in an attempt to generate sales.
If anybody can think of any novel (pardon the pun, ha ha) way of generating publicity then please do leave a comment below. I don’t necessarily guarantee I’ll do them all, but if you leave a good idea I may very well give it a go.
I could go into the hundreds of minor and not so minor amends that went into the second edition of The Gamblers, but unless you’re academically inclined you’d probably be bored by it all. Some of the amends were purely typographical (correcting small spelling mistakes or grammatical errors that the various spellchecks didn’t pick up first and second time around); some shortened and refined sentences that were in terrible danger of tipping over because of the weight they were carrying; some corrected ambiguities that were kindly pointed out to me by previous readers; and others shortened or deleted paragraphs that either hindered pace or provided pointless repetition.
But the upshot is that the novel is now four pages shorter and a much better read, but considering previous readers have told me that it is already a bloody good crime thriller, I think you’ll find it very enjoyable.
It’s on sale at Lulu now for £10.99 and it should soon be up on Amazon too.
Oh, for those that want to taste before they buy, here’s the first 200 pages as a PDF. Enjoy!