"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

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Upward Curve

Hi all. News desk.

I'm going to resume interviews this week. No excuses - just been incredibly busy with The Illustrated Woman. 

That should be completely finished on Tuesday night. The feedback I've received so far from my four readers is this.

a) Good story. Vote for Alan!

b) This is going to be your breakthrough book. Transplant it to America and you have a guaranteed bestseller.

c) Could not put the book down and I read it in one sitting.

d) I'll talk to you on Sunday night. (This is from my oldest reader who has been with me from the start. I'm worried about that. It could mean anything.)

I still don't know what I think of it. It's a radical departure for me and a very experimental book. We'll see.


The Paperback/ e-book Schism. 

My royalty cheques continue on an upward curve. Each month, more people buy my stuff* though there is something interesting going on.

My paperbacks sell really well. 

E-books? Not so well. 

I'm going to analyse why that is. It may be one of two reasons.

a) My paperbacks are a good price. All of them will be comparable to a first time author in Smiths, or Waterstones. No more than £8 (The Ritual) and as low as £6.50 (TIW). UV, Carla and Hollywood Shakedown, my three most popular books, are £7 in paperback.

b) My e-books are too expensive at £2.99. I'm under pressure to lower the price, but it pisses me off, to be honest. I work damned hard on my stuff and much of it is comparable to published work. Now, because of desperate authors giving their books away free and for a quid, It is necessary for me to do the same. 

A bad book won't sell at any price (with the exception of utter drek like Fifty Shades and South of Bixby Bridge), but a good book's progress will be killed by high prices.

High prices? 


I wouldn't even bend down to pick up £3 spilled from my pocket onto the pavement.

Yet, £3 is clearly Mount Kilamanjaro to a back garden ant hill when some desperate, impatient author wants to move from rank 560,000 to 232,000 and their primary method is to slash the price of their book. 

So readers realise there is absolutely no point paying a market price for work because there's something similar next screen along for FREE. 

Clever readers. I admire them.

Yet, if every author - good, bad, indifferent, contemporary, YA, fantasty, erotica, non-fiction REFUSED to give their stuff away free AT ANY TIME, and pulled out of Prime, then together we might save the e-book market. 

I wrote this on e-reader house the other day.

 I wish it would stop. Today. Full stop. It's embarrassing, demeaning, symbolic of desperation and insecurity, cheapens Indielit, and reinforces the mistaken impression that Independent authors have no value except that which they assign to themselves. If everyone stopped doing giving their work away free, then the whole free bookl market would collapse overnight. I feel strongly about this. I would never have started Green Wizard had I known that everyone would start giving away their labour free, thus making the whole enterprise pointless - except for Amazon, of course.

Luckily, there is Createspace. Thank you Mr Createspace. 

In six months time, I am going to prove there is a market comparable to the download e-book market for high quality production paperback books. 

The number of people who say that they are not interested in e-books is growing all the time and believe me, I'm a talker. I'm in your face. I can talk to you about reading all day and all night. 

Through my research, I would even go as far to say that, for certain people, Kindle is putting people OFF reading. 

Anyway, I'm going to test this theory out with the Independent Paperback Gift Shop Catalogue in Mid-October. We'll see.

*Believe me - upward curves are relative. :-) :-) I'm still going to put the entire amount on a horse on Wednesday!


  1. Just a quick note here; The majority of my sales have come from softback sales from face to face meeting and now that I have the "square" and a book with me at all times; I can sell anywhere...immediately. My e-book sales hit a high time in August but still are very slow.
    And I agree cutting prices is ridiculous. If a person reads your story they are going to like it and come back for more.
    Keep writing...I have enjoyed the stories I have read from you and I am looking forward to more!


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