The highlight of my week from a literary point of view was the interview I had with Debbi Mack, a New York Times best-selling author, last night. We set this up about two months ago. I learned a little more about Google hangouts when Debbie sent out the invite; took a little while to get going. We chatted for about 35 minutes, which will be edited to about 30 minutes for the YouTube channel. She said some very positive things about my book The Devil’s Trinity, which she is currently reading, but that wasn’t the point of the interview. We talked about my latest release, Where the Wicked Dwell, and why I decided to go with the character, Marcus Blake, who appeared in A Covert War. She could have asked me anything because I would have rattled on until she decided I’d said enough. Anyway, I tried to explain my reasons for re-introducing Marcus Blake, which were purely mercenary: to sell more books.
I think it’s a truism that authors who write series novels will sell more books than someone like me who writes stand-alone books. I did say, however, that by going down this route, I might be letting my standards drop simply because I am being propelled along a route I really don’t want to go. I believe that writing with a single character doesn’t let the writer wander too far away from a channelled path. No doubt there will be writers who disagree with me, but because my books are inspired by world or local events, I find the task of writing to ‘order’ as it were, is rather like being in a straight-jacket, and it saps inspiration. But hey, it sells books!
I’m finding that now, because I have resurrected Conor Lenihan from my thriller, The Eagle’s Covenant. This was in response to comments I’ve received about wanting to see this guy again: something I’d never planned to do. So I’m tackling the problem of how I cast this character in a completely new role and avoid too many similarities between that and what went before. But where will the inspiration come from? What I am considering is actually making this a sequel to the previous book, beginning where that one ended, so that the two books could be seen as one complete story. If I did that, I could publish the two as one book. It’s an interesting thought.
I’m also taking advantage if Ingram Spark’s free promotion and having Where the Wicked Dwell published in hardback. I did this with A Dangerous Game last year. It looks good against my other hardback titles, and Wicked will make a nice addition to the bookshelf.
I’ve had no feedback from the cross-promotions I did last week. I haven’t seen any significant change in the sales of my books, although I am giving away several copies of my latest book every day, and adding about ten subscribers a day to my growing list with Mailchimp. I’ve seen some comments from authors on a particular Facebook group complaining about readers not buying their books, even when they are on sale for $0.99. They say the free copies are being downloaded, but no-one is buying. One author suggested it’s our own fault for giving books away. There are so many free books available now on Amazon, so what’s the point of buying? I’m not sure if that’s true, but I do believe it is necessary to establish yourself as a reliable writer, and hope that readers will be prepared to part with their money to buy your books, and you can only do that by attracting them to your product with giveaways in the beginning. I hope so. Wish me luck!