It’s been a fair while since I blogged here but I have an excuse. I have been renovating a property and creating a garden from scratch. This has meant, no writing, no book promotion, no nothing except for aching joints and a depleted bank balance.
The result of no ebook promotion has been sales dwindling abysmally. They were never fantastic so I need to do something different. More promotions, maybe. But there is a downside to ebook publishing if you are trying to get an agent at the same time. This became apparent at the recent Crimefest convention I attended in Bristol, UK, last week.
If an ebook sells well, 10,000 plus, then you would expect agents and publishers to take notice. But one prominent agent said that maybe if a book sells well there are not enough additional sales out there. On the other hand, an ebook that does not sell well (and that is the majority, I would suggest) then it means there is no market for it. Fact is, it can be a mixture of luck and timing that a book takes off and surprises the author.
At Crimefest I allowed myself the luxury of a flicker of envy listening to a panel of debut authors, all half my age, sitting there with book deals and burgeoning careers. When I really read between the lines of so many of the crime thrillers on sale, apart from stunning opening chapters, the actual essential storylines all seemed fairly tame when you realised what the book was about. Tame, that is, to my work which comes across as more complex and even far-fetched.
That is what the lovely lady author who conducted my one-to-one manuscript assessment called the nub of ‘The Immortality Plot’ but then smiled and said that was just her; many books seem far-fetched to her. But she called it a fast moving thriller and very well written.
The odd thing is, sections of the book I had originally written in earlier drafts and subsequently deleted partly as a result of ‘advice’ from experts and agents, were the very elements she said should be in the book.
For instance, I had covered the murder of the protagonist’s wife, scenes at the mortuary and even her funeral. These now have been drip-fed into the other parts of the book. This should be in, she declared.
What, in the first 3,000 words (the assessment)?
Readers should be in full possession of all the facts, she said.
What, in the first 3,000 words?
Hmm! not sure about that. I have drip-fed facts into the story because I want the reader to work and NOT to know everything about everything from the outset.
I had a close encounter with a couple of literary agents who (not at Crimefest) seemed excited about the book, gave me notes and said you’re telling the reader too much, too soon. So, I re-wrote 40 percent of the book and they still passed.
What is it that famous saying ‘Nobody knows anything’ (in the film and book business). I take all critiques seriously because I can learn but what I can’t do is account for taste.