Sunday, 26 December 2010

REMIX stats on UK Amazon

  • At some time today, Kindle sales of Remix went over the 5,000 mark, and are currently ticking up like a taxi meter in a traffic jam.
  • On Christmas eve, I received my very first cheque from Amazon, for £194.22 (buns for tea!)
  • My royalties in the UK for the seven days up to Christmas were £256.62.
  • Remix has spent 74 days in the UK Kindle top 100 so far.
  • It has 50 reviews on UK Amazon, 41 five star, 8 four star and 1 three star.
  • I am amazed and delighted.
HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my bloggie friends

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Future Me

There is a website called FutureMe, where you can write an email to be sent to yourself at a date chosen by you in the future.

I've got one in their system awaiting its moment, though I can't now remember what my concerns were at the time of writing or when it will arrive. It's interesting, because it gives you a way to juggle time.

On FutureMe's site, you can read a selection of anonymous emails, and they make poignant reading, like this one:

stop it
Stop thinking about him.
written Apr 11th, 2005, sent 1 year into the future, to Apr 13th, 2006

Did she manage to stop thinking about him? Or perhaps they got back together...

Writers are no more bound by chronology than God; we can nip back in the novel's time and change things just like a Time Lord (how handy that would be in real life). So much power confuses me, particularly with the current book, where alternating chapters deal with each heroine. It's hard to ensure one of them doesn't get to Thursday while her alter ego hasn't moved beyond Wednesday morning.

Saturday, 11 December 2010


Amazon is my new best friend.

We haven't always seen eye to eye - I remember getting a bit huffy with it a couple of years ago, though I don't suppose it noticed and I've now forgotten why. And ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) is in my opinion a waste of time, a view coloured by my entry, Trav Zander, being kicked out in the very first cull.

But Amazon has done for me what YouWriteOn, Authonomy and two years of submissions to literary agents didn't succeed in doing; it's allowed me to offer my writing via Kindle to the paying public and see whether readers like it.

And the good news is that a lot of them do. As I write, I've sold 3,166 e-copies of Remix since publishing in August, mostly in the last two months. Virtually all those are Kindle sales. I couldn't have done this with the paperback, even if I'd spent every waking hour selling it, because publishers have a monopoly on the paper book trade it's impossible to crack. Even Eragon , often quoted as an indie success story, was a flop when it was self-published; this is a quote from Wikipedia:

Paolini and his family toured across the United States to promote the book. Over 135 talks were given at bookshops, libraries, and schools, many with Paolini dressed up in a medieval costume; but the book did not receive much attention. Paolini said he "would stand behind a table in my costume talking all day without a break – and would sell maybe forty books in eight hours if I did really well. It was a very stressful experience. I couldn't have gone on for very much longer."

I feel incredibly lucky that the launch of the Kindle in the UK coincided with the decision to self-publish my third novel.

Amazon, I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Novels need readers

A novel only half exists until someone reads it. The reader completes the process the author began, which is why it's so very unsatisfactory to be an unpublished writer.

I hadn't fully realized this until I self-published Remix. I'd got intimations from members of YouWriteOn and Authonomy who read and reviewed the first few thousand words, but until members of the public choose to pay for your book and spend hours of their time reading it right the way through, you don't know how important this is. These people have a different approach to fiction from writers, agents and publishers. They don't care if you have POV switches, or if your novel doesn't neatly fit into a genre; and no one has told them that books about rock stars never sell. All they care about is whether it's a good read; whether it holds their attention and entertains them for a few hours. Their priorities are so different, I've concluded it's only the stranglehold the publishing industry has on the bookshops that has kept them in business this long.

When I was writing my first novel, Torbrek...and the Dragon Variation, I had the naive idea that if you wrote a reasonably coherent book, you could get it published, and once in the bookshops, the Public Would Decide. How wrong I was. But with the rise of independent authors, who self-publish after rejection by the mainstream, and the advent of the Kindle, we are heading for the situation I imagined, where readers get to choose.

Which is no bad thing.