Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Thank you

It's a funny old game, this writing business, isn't it?

As a general rule, it's best to be positive on social media – at least those postings that are publicly viewable, like this blog. So, by and large, I am. Most writers, I suspect, suffer not so much from the long dark teatime of the soul (thank you for that, Douglas Adams) as the seemingly eternal struggle to remain vaguely sane faced with a keyboard and a blank screen. (The ones with a sheet of paper are either already hugely successful, or can afford a typist to sort out the mess, or are just playing at it.) You’d never know this from their cheery blog posts and the seemingly infinite Twitter tags of #amwriting (for which read #ammessingaroundontwitterbecausethealternativeisstartingonanotherbottle). And the cheery boasts of “I’m #56 in the Amazon charts of books about red-heads in boats” are seldom accompanied by anything about actual sales figures because we all like to retain some tattered vestiges of pride.

From which you might guess that I’m having a crisis of writing confidence (or ‘another day at the office’ as writers call it). Sales of Back Home are disappointing and I’m at the 20,000 word mark in the next James Burke book which is, so the Internet tells me, the point at which writers decide that their book is absolute rubbish. (Other points where writers have their doubts are the 30,000 word mark, the 40,000 word mark and the 50,000 word mark. After 50,000 words it just seems easier to finish the damn thing and worry about it afterwards.)

I was at the point where you throw things at the computer screen and suggest that you’re going to get a proper job (or, alternatively, live in a cave and eat worms) when I got an email to tell me that I have a 5-star review for Back Home going up on another book blog site. Looking at amazon.co.uk, there are now six 5-star reviews there and a further two on amazon.com.

I can-not begin to describe how much difference it makes to get the sort of praise that is being lavished on Back Home. I really am so grateful to all of you who have taken the trouble to review it. I do hope that this works through to better sales, but, even if it doesn’t, it means a lot to me that at least some people have really enjoyed my work.

Thank you all so much.

Now back to the writing.


  1. Good for you! As for the sales, it's mostly about visibility on Amazon - which you get from sales....argh!!! The reason many books don't sell is simply that no-one comes across them; Amazon works like a search engine. This can be down to the 'keywords' you choose when publishing (or that your publisher chooses for you, maybe...). The way to raise visibility online is obviously through book blogs and upping your following on Twitter, but mostly to do with sales. See if you can get your publisher to do a 99p sale for a week. That will get the book featuring on more 'also bought' lists, which is how it gets seen. If you do this, I will help to promote it to my ludicrous number of Twitter followers!!! Of course, it's also to do with such things as price, cover and blurb. Here are my suggestions, based from a reader/book buyer's point of view:

    The cover is great, no probs there! £2.82 is too expensive for people to take a punt on as a one off, as it's the third in the trilogy. It's a stand alone book, but few will take a chance on it with that opening blurb line because they'll think they have to read the other two first. I'd suggest re-writing the blurb without the first line, instead adding 'this is the 3rd part of the W papers trilogy, but is a complete stand alone', AT THE END. In other words, write the blurb as if it's a stand alone, rather than the 'Back in England etc' bit.

    I think it's a superior book to Cawnpore (which I do like a lot, but BH is far more slick and entertaining). I hope this helps!

  2. Very many thanks for this, Terry. I'm published by Accent Press, so I've passed these thoughts to them. They certainly make sense to me.