"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Thursday, 21 June 2012


TIW has stalled for so many reasons its not true. This happened with Carla. 42,000 words in four days and then nothing for a fortnight. I wonder why that is? As it is, I'm going to be seven days late now in publishing the book so the ETP is July 7th or 8th.

I'm getting some top quality feedback on Carla. I've got to find some way of spreading the news that it's worth a read.

I was chatting to my bookie, Jim, yesterday afternoon. He features in Carla and also in August's planned book Gyrospoons which is based in Newark. His wife has a Kindle so I seized the opportunity to sell him Carla. He looked unconvinced, as they all do, despite him being in the book.

Unless your name is something like Lee Childs, Val McDermid or Kathy Reichs, people assume that reading anything you produce is going to be an uncomfortable experience.

I don't understand that at all. I'd rather slice my ear off with a kitchen devil than read anything by Val McDermid again, yet its that brand recognition thing. Readers like it.

Val isn't a writer - she's a brand. You read any of her novels and you know exactly what you are going to get. Its the same book written umpteen times, like a Big Mac in a McDonalds in Brighton tastes the same as one purchased in Newton Le Willows. Readers like that homogenity. That comforting shroud.

Reading a book by an independent author is a lucky dip and the reader has no idea what's going to happen.

My attempts to sell Green Wizard books to real life acquaintances in Newark have had mixed results so far. I've actually lost two acquaintances, including one to whom I sent the first three chapters of The Ritual. I'd been talking to her for six months. She works in the tanning salon opposite the bookmakers and I would pop out to have a natter in between races while she smoked a crafty fag on the street. Quite a sexy older woman, fond of leopard skin leggings, wedges, gold, and her own tanning beds. She looks a bit like a brunette Beverley Callard, to whom I was once (weirdly) partial.

I thought things were going well between us until she agreed to read my book. I sent it over by e-mail. She never replied. I don't think she read it to be honest and I'm far too embarrassed to do that thing where you ask for feedback, so I tend to avoid her now. 

I used to hate that when I was a bid writer. Ringing up funders and finding out why you failed to win business is pointless and soul destroying as far as I'm concerned. You lost, you lost: No need for a post mortem. 

Another hard cultivated acquaintance received my business card with all the enthusiasm of a bride about to shake hands with a leper in the wedding train. She still hasn't spoken to me since. And I was going to give her the book free. Can someone explain to me what I did wrong there? I'm clueless.

That's the thing I'm finding most difficult, sales. I can sit and write all day, but that's not what this game is about. It's about slapping skin and most of that process makes me feel a bit ill.

Alongside writing TIW, the next few weeks will be spent converting and reformatting three of the five books into paperback format on Amazon's Createspace. I'm starting off with Ultra Violence, then Carla and finally TIW - the "City Trilogy". They will all be in paperback by the end of August. How I do this is another matter because according to Dawn, its an arse of a job.

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