Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Kindling interest


So I have this book, A Time For Silence, which is published by Honno as a paperback and as an e-book, on Kindle, Kobo etc. I think I may have sold one through Kobo, and perhaps a couple through etc, but really I mean Kindle. People use Kindle. This still surprises me. A book is a paper thing, with pages you can turn, flip through, mark and scribble on, and why would anyone want an electronic device instead?
I discovered why they might, when I started reading Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell books and found my wrists snapping under the strain of wrestling with 24 kilos of paper. So I bought a Kindle. I still thought of it as a minor addition to the library and surely people didn’t them on a regular basis.

Having featured on the Kindle monthly deal, in June, I have concluded that people do use Kindle. Lots of people use Kindle, and even actively look for books to load on them. Better still, they keep an eye on such things as Kindle deals and buy accordingly. Not just dozens of them, but hundreds of them. Thousands, even. I hadn’t realised there were a thousand people with Kindles. We live a sheltered life in West Wales.
When you feature in an Amazon deal, you can pretend to be as blasé or dismissive as you like, but it is impossible not to become hooked on checking your rankings. There’s the general ranking of hourly Kindle sales, but there are also the genre rankings. It was hugely gratifying to find myself #1 in literary fiction. I would never have presumed to define my book as literary fiction, which is surely reserved for writers like Iris Murdoch or A.S.Byatt, but then I found it also contained Jeffrey Archer, which pricked the bubble a little. And I also did well as popular fiction, which is, presumably, the opposite of literary fiction, all with the same book.

I was listed too in Crime/thriller/mystery. This worried me. I never considered my novel to be a thriller, or even really a mystery. Would readers be disappointed at the lack of police procedure and car chases? But at least it does contain a crime. How I found myself as #1 in contemporary romance I can’t imagine. My book deals with domestic abuse, depression, suicide, murder, but not a trace of romance. Still, who’s complaining? Now that the monthly deal is well past, I have settled down to being #1, on and off, in Welsh Crime, which is almost as good as being the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.
What I gained most from the monthly deal, apart from sales of course, was an astonishing harvest of reviews. There was one who denounced it as rubbish suitable for women, and another dismissed it as cheap and cheerful (cheerful?), but mostly they were written by people who liked it. Genuinely liked it, thought deeply about it and would like to read more.  People who don’t even know me. Which made me feel for the first time that I’m truly an author. Published. Promoted. Approved.

Very reassuring.
Now I can just concentrate on the next one.
Motherlove, out in February. Thought I'd just drop that in.