So, here's the thing! I took a few days off from the obsessive displacement activities of blogging, tweeting, checking my month-to-date sales, checking where I am on the Amazon bestseller lists, seeing who's above me and below me, and wondering why nobody in Vietnam wants to buy my books, to do some writing! I know, call me names like wordsmith, writer, or ink slinger, see if I care!
I'm at 20,000 words for my third Parish and Richards novel The Flesh is Weak (first chapter available here or there), and I've identified the title of the fourth book in the series: The Shadow of Death. Trouble is, I can't write fast enough. I know I'm reasonably prolific, but what I'd like is an autopilot (or should that be an autowriter?) - a button to press, which would allow me to write and do all the other things like eat, take a shower, slurp coffee and ginger beer, walk the dogs, sleep, watch some TV! Wouldn't that be great, hey! In fact, in my next blog I'll tell you about my writing day - excited or what!
The first two books in the Parish & Richards series are selling very well in the UK: A Life for a Life and The Wages of Sin, and one assumes being received well by those wonderful reader people, but sometimes one ponders the imponderable! Well, you do, don't you? Especially when you've sold a hundred books and nobody comes back to leave a 5* Review! I mean, what's going on? Now, some of you might be happy for readers to return and leave something less than a 5* Review. You might be driven - in your tortured minds - to say, "Hey, all reviews are good, helpful, and very wonderful!" And I say, "You're insane - get in that cell, and don't expect to see daylight anytime soon! Whoops there goes the key swilling down that drain!"
I've heard some readers say, "Yep, look at the reviews, take them to heart, make my choice based on: 1) How many there are; 2) The quality of 'em; 3) What they say about plot, characterisation, and the sustainability of the Amazon rainforests!" Other readers, however, sit in the middle, like those birds on the telegraph wire in Hitchcock's The Birds, wondering which person's eyes to nibble on first. Finally, there are those readers who say, "Reviews are subjective! One person's 5* is another person's 1*! Hey bozo," they continue in a high-pitched guttural wheezy type of voice, "books aren't kettles or ray guns! Now if you give a 5* Review to a kettle or a ray gun I might take some notice, but a book - go stick you head in the sand, I want to make my own mind up!" Which type of reader are you?
So, I thought, maybe if I change the book's categories on Amazon sales might pick up. Maybe I've got my books in the wrong categories and that's why they haven't gone viral! I mean, does anyone actually know how those categories work? You can only choose two when you upload your magnus opus, so maybe the two I chose were the kiss of death (oops, those idioms get everywhere), black book holes, or doorways into alternative universes! Before I focus on my mainstream crime thrillers, let me mention two others: Orc Quest: Prophecy (YA Fantasy) and The Knowledge of Time: Second Civilisation (YA Science Fiction). Both of which I think are pretty good, but have only sold a handful! Well, I scanned down the categories and realised there was a 'Juvenile' category - I know I should have spotted it before, but I was looking for 'Young Adult' forgetting that American was a foreign language!
Anyway, I thought this has got to be the reason sales are non-existent, so chose sub-categories within the main 'Juvenile' category and sat back rubbing sweaty hands and waited for fame and fortune to come knocking on my metaphorical cyber door. You're sitting on the edge of your seat drooling now, aren't you? You want to know whether sales soared, or if the books became scuttlebutt and went viral? Sorry to say - I've seen more movement watching paint dry! Changing categories hasn't made the slightest bit of difference!
In fact, I won't even talk about my crime novels, because changing categories hasn't altered their sales either. So, what's a guy to do? What innovative strategy should I use next? I see posts - often - asking about book promotion - where, how, who, what? I see indie authors frequenting padded cells - often - wearing straightjackets and flipflops and trading Viagra for cigarettes - they want to know how to reach their target audience - any audience - where to go, which best foot to put forward first, who's hand to shake using the secret handshake, or where the skellingtons are buried! Send your answers on a postcard to me @ here, but don't write in invisible ink, don't mention blogs, blog tours, guest blogging, forums, kindleboards, or anything that's been mentioned before because not only is it boring it also doesn't work, and if you're doing all those things you can't be writing - like wot I'm not now! Ta Ta For Now (or TTFN)!
Hi, I'm Tim Ellis - I write a lot and I hope you enjoy what I write.