So, here's the thing! As I write, A Life for a Life is at No.14 in the Top 100 of the paid Kindle Store! I know, how awesome is that? But... what exactly does it mean? Let's add some context, develop the character, provide some description, because unless you're an avid Kindler I've noticed that people are totally underwhelmed! In fact, it means squat in the general scheme of things because the majority of the population don't know anything about a Kindle, the bestseller charts, the Top 100, my book - In second fact, I wonder if the people who don't own a Kindle - or haven't read my book - are brain dead - just one of many random thoughts I sometimes have!
So, let's put some meat on the bones, some flesh on the meat, and then bring it all to life by running a megawatt of electrical current through the corpse! Mmmm, didn't somebody do that once and call it Frankenstein's Monster? Oh well, if they didn't, maybe I will! Maybe I already have, maybe A Life for a Life is my monster!
Where was i? Oh yes! Context - Apparently, there are over 750,000 books in the Kindle store - that's a lot of books! How did mine end up at No.14? I suppose that must be the million dollar question, which if I had the recipe for moving up the charts, would make me a million dollars. I know, John Locke wrote a book called How I Sold a Million eBooks in Half-an-Hour, (You owe me for advertising this for you, John!) and I'm sure he tells a good tale and made another million bucks with it, but I think its more than that. I think that you have to write a book that the 'majority' of people want to read. I say 'majority' because you only have to look at the spread of reviews written about most of the books in the Top 100 to realise that not everyone will agree on the merits of a book. Some give it a 5* rating, and say that they couldn't put it down (the Kindle was stuck to their fingers); while others gave it a 1* rating, say it was drivel, and that they stopped reading it after the first page and deleted it from their Kindle. Who do you believe?
I suppose it's a bit like an inconclusive experiment, you have to go with the weight of evidence either for or against. Anyway, some iffy research on how readers find books suggests that there's a lot of books readers read based on recommendations. Okay, I'm nearly okay with that, except I've said above how one man's fluffy bunny is another man's mad dog, so that sounds a bit strange. I mean, as well as being a writer I'm also a reader, and I select books based on genre - I love historical fiction (In fact, I love crime, fantasy, scifi, etc), and usually read any and all books if they're historical fiction regardless of who they're written by - yes the cover, blurb, and subject matter are all input into my equation on whether or not to buy, but hardly have any influence on the decision at all. I suppose for me, the Acid Test is the writing! Once I start reading it has to grab me and keep me interested. Sometimes, I'll read a first chapter, put the book down, and then dread picking it up again because - to be honest - its not very interesting.
So, for me, as a reader, the start of a book is the most important. If I've read the first chapter, and either don't want to put it down, or can't wait to pick it up again then that's a good book - so far. What it means is that the writing is good, the story's begun, and has reeled me in - I'm one of the characters, on the rollercoaster, part of the action - now it has to keep me in there! I'm reminded of the original film Tron about a hacker being sucked into a computer programme - that's what I want, I want to be sucked into a book's storyline until the very end.
I've seen reviews about books, and read books myself, where the middle of a book takes forever to read, a lot of the narrative is padding and reading it is a bit like wading through treacle. The snappy dialogue has been replaced with boring conversation that appears to go nowhere, but worse - the ending is rubbish! I hate it when you get to the end of the book and don't feel satisfied - the author has run out of ideas, or got lost somewhere around Chapter Three! Life's too short to read books that don't add to your life experience.
Well, that's it, I've done my blogly duty - or should that be blogging duty - whatever, init! It's been ages since I've written a blog. Well, let's face it, let's call a banana an apple - I don't get paid for blogs! I know, it's not always about money, but you crazy people want everything for free. And let me tell you, there's no such thing as a free sushi! - Not in this game.
Let me also tell you about The Shadow of Death - Parish & Richards 4, which will be published in about three weeks. While I've been writing this blog, Not only has A Life for a Life moved up to No.13 (and then some - I'm No.11 now - How did that happen?), but I also received another 5* review wondering when the next instalment was coming out - now you know - in three weeks time - spread the word. Take a read of the blurb I've just put up on the book page, and if you haven't already, read the first chapter. I'm at 47,000 words, so I'd better get my skates on instead of writing blogs about writing, and reading, and blogging, and the book I'm meant to be finishing!
Go away you crazy people, stop looking in my windows and asking for more books... TELL EVERYBODY, I'M NOT FEEDING THE CRAZY PEOPLE, I'M FINISHING THE SHADOW OF DEATH SO THAT IT'LL BE OUT IN THREE WEEKS! Three weeks I tell you - not a minute more, nor a minute less - Three weeks - Threeeeeeeeeeee...
Hi, I'm Tim Ellis - I write a lot and I hope you enjoy what I write.