This is the 2nd post derived from kindle threads.
A few days ago, I started a thread in the fiction forum, inviting people to promote their own or other literary or general fiction. 2 days later, one reply. So, thinking this location might lack visitors, I started a similar thread in the main kindle forum - this is the landing stage when people log on so plenty of traffic. A couple of books were posted this time, along with posts suggesting that maybe people couldn't cope with a category as 'undefined' as general fiction and that maybe I should try the literary fiction forum as it is very active (it isn't).
This generates lots of worrying questions - and remember we're dealing with an almost entirely US environment here and their understanding of genres etc may be different from mine. Also, bear in mind, if anyone dared venture into the first post, I pointed out that I was meaning any well-written general fiction, or novels that didn't necessarily conform to all the rules of a particular genre.
Now, it could be that no-one wants to read literary or general fiction. And if this is the case, that could be the reason why virtually no-one is publishing it. It could be that no-one is writing literary or general fiction - and if they're not, the reason might be because they know it won't get published traditionally. Certainly, it's easier for publishers to market books which they can fit neatly into the same genre/category/list.
But I think the main problem is people are scared of the word literary, that readers are scared it might mean something with arty concepts and no story and that writers are scared it assumes a level of ability that their book may not have reached.
I will now play down the word literary in favour of the word general and if anyone can suggest a word to describe a well-written or imaginatively-written story, please let me know!
I'm currently running a thread on the kindle main forum on book reviews. And we're talking customer reviews here, that anyone is free to post on online sites.
The subject arose because this morning I received my 7th 5 star review (sorry - had to get that in!). But unlike the previous ones which have been works of literature in their own right, this reader simply stated that they couldn't write reviews but enjoyed the book and wanted to tell people about it.
Now, I appreciate all reviews - though, obviously, I prefer it if they say good things :). I appreciate someone going to a lot of time and trouble to tell others their impression of the book, and equally, I'm really pleased to hear a reader has enjoyed it.
But I wondered what other readers felt. Especially as kindle has an almost entirely US readership.
It turns out opinions vary enormously. Some readers won't even look at a new author unless they have a fair number of reviews. Some won't look unless the reviews are good. And some won't look unless some of them are bad! Others make their mind up based on the free sample download (on kindle you get 10% of the book). Certainly readers who look at reviews are very savvy about who's written them.
What is noticeable is that, on kindle it seems to be the norm to write a carefully constructed essay, while on smashwords a couple of sentences suffice.
But the main thing to emerge from today's kindle thread is not about reviews as such; it's about what readers want from a book description.
I'll deal with that another time!
...well, hopefully soon!
I've just submitted files to amazon's search inside facility and, if I've got it right, you'll soon be able to read part of The Girl on the Swing on amazon uk and .com.
I don't fully understand how it's organised, having been sent 2 diffrerent sets of invitations (well, 3 actually, but 2 were identical) that seem to lead to the same seller central site. Taking no chances, I responded to both.
It's noticeable that, while amazon.com feels secure and established and automatically linked to the kindle ereader store, by contrast, amazon uk is the poor cousin, lagging behind. Even if, for tax reasons, they have to be run as separate companies, I'm surprised at the lack of interchange of information, which could surely be shared with a simple tick box signature from the customer. An author currently has to repeat everything such as their author page on each site.
But maybe that is changing.
While amazon uk seems to be in a state of constant change and beta testing, if it develops in the way the US store has, with links to e books and a more developed forum, then it could revolutionise publishing for independent authors in UK.
No wonder publishers are worried!
Great excitement. After ongoing problems with the necessary account, amazon uk seem to have got their act together to give me the access I need to install the search inside feature on The Girl on the Swing. For those unfamiliar with it, this is a fairly recent development on amazon which allows the prospective customer to open and read part of a virtual copy of a book. For debut novelists it's likely to make a big difference. Even if you refer to a web page with the first chapter or 2 on,chances are readers will hesitate at having to go offsite to read something when they can read other books at the click of a button. It's especially good for illustrated books because you can see the content on each page exactly as it appears in the print version.
Now I just have to get my head round the file upload and get it submitted satisfactorily and quickly in case they think of suspending my account for slow response again!
And for today we're on that topic that seems to go round in circles. Whether to use a pen name for different genres.
Ruth Rendell also writes as Barbara Vine, and Iain Banks puts the initial M in the middle for his science fiction.
So here is my dilemma. I write literary fiction and non-fiction under my own name. Now I want to publish a genre book in a different style. I have 2 concerns
a) I don't want to disappoint my litfic readers.
b) I don't want to put off a potential new readership who aren't into the slightly feminine litfic world of Swing.
I've tested this out already on authonomy. And my genre books have attracted a more male-dominated readership. The book in question at the moment is on authonomy under the username cave man and the pen name AM Banks.
And this brings me onto another aspect of using a pen name - the opportunity not to advertise my gender, especially when writing a blokey book in a man's voice and a genre where I suspect male readers will accept it better if they think it's written by a man.
Then there's the question, if you use a pen name, should you be upfront about it from the start? If I publish it on kindle then, unless I set up a new account - which I believe is not allowed - then I'll have to be.
I suspect I'll deliberate over this until it's published...and then some!
Last night, in somewhat of a daze due to half a bottle of wine and a Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton concert on tv, I signed onto Twitter. I've resisted it until now and have no idea what to do with it. I think it may be a cross between facebook and stalking, except that you only sign up if you want to be stalked. I've yet to work out how to link it to other virtual places people inhabit but I'm sure I'll get the idea. For anyone who would like to stalk - I mean, follow - me, I'm aliartefacts.
Yesterday's post wouldn't link (Ali technology fail) so if you're reading this, please read the previous one!
First Blog Post!.
Oh dear, no-one likes to be first to arrive at a party, do they?
I didn't have a website when my archaeology book was first published. In fact, my publishers did all the work for me.
Now I've published a novel, all that's changed. Everyone tells me I must have a website and I must have a blog.
So I set up the basics and published it straight away, knowing from experience that it would probably take at least a month for search engines to pick up the metatags (oh yes, I can talk jargon, don't tell anyone but I used to be a computer programmer!). I thought I'd have weeks to build the site before anyone noticed it. Wrong. Google's found it within a week. Not that I'm complaining.
Well, here it is. I've no idea how easy it will be for people to post comments or whether I get to approve them.
Expect a few more posts over the coming weeks.
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