Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Today’s Post Is Brought To You By The Letter E

Allan Guthrie runs an interesting new blog called e-books that sell, and yesterday he had a fascinating post titled ‘Observations from the e-front’. It got me thinking, mainly because my e-book doesn’t sell, whereas the books on Allan’s blog sell in their thousands, and in some cases hundreds of thousands. Mostly it got me thinking about the reasons why my e-book doesn’t sell - apart, obviously, from reasons such as ‘a lack of promotion’, or ‘failure to establish word-of-mouth’, or (the classic) ‘it’s rubbish, mate’.
  Anyway, here’s my variation on Allan’s ‘Observations from the e-front’; any and all feedback is hugely welcome. Except for the ‘it’s rubbish, mate’ variety, obviously - we’ve covered that one extensively already, ta very much.
Observations from the e-front (a writer replies while thinking aloud)

1. I don’t belong on ‘e-books that sell’.
2. Mainly because my e-book doesn’t sell.
3. That’s my fault - I’d rather to have readers than money (I like my day job; I write for fun).
4. But I want to connect my e-book with readers. Where do I go?
5. How do I persuade readers to take a chance on my book?
6. Can I be sure my book offers value for money?
7. Can I be sure my book offers value for time?
8. What websites and / or blogs should I be touching base with?
9. Can a UK reader download a US-published e-book?
10. What other questions should I be asking myself?


Available on Kindle and many other formats

When a heist goes west, Karen and Ray head south, next stop the Greek islands. On their trail are Karen’s ex-con ex- Rossi, his narcoleptic wheelman Sleeps, jilted cop Doyle, and Melody, an indie filmmaker with an eye for the wide angle and a nose for the big score. The Monte Carlo grand prix of road-trip comedy capers, CRIME ALWAYS PAYS is a furiously fast and funny screwball romp that barrels through Amsterdam and Rome in a welter of double- and treble-crosses in the company of a motley crew with their eyes on the prize of riding off with the loot into that glorious Santorini sunset …

“CRIME ALWAYS PAYS is part road movie and part farce, reminding me sometimes of Elmore Leonard, sometimes of Allan Guthrie, sometimes of Donald Westlake and sometimes of the Coen brothers – sometimes all at once.” – Glenn Harper, International Noir

“The comparisons to Elmore Leonard’s style are warranted and deserved, but Burke has managed to put his own unique spin on it … For anyone looking for some escapism, a great read, and a lot of fun, CRIME ALWAYS PAYS is for you.” - Smashwords review (*****)

“FIVE stars for sure!” - Smashwords review (*****)

“CRIME ALWAYS PAYS is a fun yet complex novel, which definitely falls under the heading of screwball … The unique mixture of a fun cops and robbers caper and the complex plot and character relationships makes this novel highly enjoyable and worth a read, or even a re-read.” - Smashwords review (****)

“The end result is a little like what might be expected if Elmore Leonard wrote from an outline by Carl Hiaasen ... [It’s] about the flow, the feel, the dialog, the interactions among characters, not knowing who’s working with - or against - who, the feeling that anything might happen at any moment. It’s as close to watching an action movie as a reading experience can be.” - Dana King, the New Mystery Reader
  If you fancy reading some sample chapters, feel free to clickety-click here


Paul D. Brazill said...

I think maybe it's the selling yourself that does the trick. And the less than a dollar helps!

BTW, I've noticed that all the less than a dollar books I've bought at Amazon - Al's, Terminal Damage etc- have cost me over three dollars. I'm assuming that discounts don't apply to people outside the US. (They won't let me use Amazon.UK.)

Crime Always Pays should be a big success. It's a wonderful book.
Mind you, that could just be me being daft and not pressing the right buttons.

marty said...

As someone who reads a lot, and just got a kindle, i'll cheerfully pay two to three dollars to try a book. The biggest problem is finding the books. Amazon doesn't make it easy to sort by price, beyond their top 100 lists, which in the case of mysteries, is only a top 16 or so. I've bought a lot of books from Guthrie's new ebook blog, or when an author i follow on twitter alerts me to one.

Honestly, saw guthrie's link to youur post a minute ago and just bought Crime Always Pays.

Allan Guthrie said...

Paul -- there's an international downloading charge. If you're in the UK or the US and order from the appropriate website, there's no download fee.

Dec -- the most important thing, I'd suggest, is to get control of the book so you can update your product info yourself, and also so you can check your sales figures to see what effect any promo might have (sales are updated pretty much in real time). Amazon allow UK (and I presume Irish) authors to self-publish these days. Take advantage of it if you can. Makes the world of difference.

Re 4: Amazon itself. The discussion boards are incredibly active. Also all the ebook reader forums. Most have areas for author promotions.

5: That's not an issue. The number of peope who have looked at your CAP page on and bought the book is higher than mine. The issue is that potential readers don't know it exists.

6, 7: Yes.

8: The ebook reader discussion forums are free. So are blogs like the Kindle Authors blog. Other blogs (Kindle Nation, for instance), are so penetrative that they can afford to charge a small fortune to display your book on the blog as a daily sponsor, if that tickles your fancy. All the responses I've heard are that it's been worth the outlay but I've not tried it myself.

9: There's no longer a reason for CAP to be US published. But that aside (it makes no difference to the answer): if you link to then I can buy it. I can't buy it from your current link to The reverse is true for US customers.

Allan Guthrie said...

Marty: Thanks for demonstrating point #5 so effectively!

Declan Burke said...

Paul - much obliged for the feedback, squire, and the plug - nice one.

Marty - appreciate the interest, and do drop me a line to let you know how the book treats you.

Allan - I'm not going to warn you again about this stalking malarkey. Once more and I'm getting that restraining order, and you can bat your silky lashes at the beak.

Cheers, Dec

John McFetridge said...

Right now in these early days of e-books I think some types of books are selling better than others - mainly familiar genres; horror, hardboiled, serial killer stuff (I'll admit I get most of my information on this from JA Konrath's blog). Oh, and romance.

(I mean direct-to-ebooks, not including ebook versions of big publisher books)

In that way I think e-books are now in a similar position to where the pulps were in the late 40's and early 50's. At a low enough price they filled a need in the market that other publishers weren't.

And so something like Crime Always Pays with a lot of humour and not a lot of violence is really of the genre. Something like The Baby Killers even less so.

But the market is changing every day. I think the reason romance and crime took off first for ebooks was because those of us who read in those genres generally read a lot of books a year and it's taken the rest of the market a while to catch up. But it will.

michael said...

Marty, some tips to finding books at Amazon (my guess this works at Amazon UK as well)
1. Go to Kindle store.

2. On far left column scroll down until you find a link to e-books by genre. Click Mystery & Thrillers

3. On left column under Browse, Click Thrillers

4. On right side there is a little box saying Sort By Bestsellers. Click on the arrows to right of word bestsellers. Choose Price: Low to High and click on it.


Using search go to Crime Always Pays.
Scroll down to Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.
Click on side arrows to check out books you might be interested in. See one you like, click and go to that books page (where it has even more recommended books)
Crime Always Pays page has 81 different but similar books for you to try.

Dorte H said...

Paul: I know all about those less than a dollar books (= $ 3.44 in DK). But if you can find the same books via Smashwords (e.g. that new collection by Nigel Byrd) it´s $ 1.

Declan, when you have the answers to those brilliant questions, please come back & share!

Pepper Smith said...

I think my emails to you must be going to your spam folder.