Crime novel blog part 7 – available for pre-order

In some ways, it’s disappointing that I can’t be announcing that Cold Inside has been accepted by a literary agent. However, as I always love to look on the positive side – ask anyone, they’ll tell you I’m the most positive, cheerful, never-grumpy-at-all person they ever met * – I’ll take the personal satisfaction of being able to say I have just made my sixth novel available for pre-order on the Amazon Kindle store.

You can get all the details about this book, and the Amazon links, on the Cold Inside page on this site. The Amazon links are also included in this blog post underneath the really rather cool cover that you can see right here…

Cold Inside

  

If you are interested in finding out even more about this book, please get in touch via the contact page on this site. The same goes for anyone who fancies an advance review copy, or just wants a free copy of the finished version.

 

* That’s obviously a complete fabrication.

Crime novel blog part 6 – COVER REVEAL

It’s coming…Cold Inside

Check out the book page on this site for Cold Inside to find out more.

If you are interested in finding out even more about this book, please get in touch via the contact page on this site. The same goes for anyone who fancies an advance review copy, or just wants a free copy as soon as it is available.

Crime novel blog part 5

My first proper crime novel, where ‘proper’ means there are no vampires in it, is ready for publication. A lot of proof-reading, re-reading and editing has been done over the last few months. Four test-readers have passed the book as not only fit-for-human-consumption but also “unputdownable”, “brilliant”, and “Entertaining all the way through”. There was also this comment in a rejection letter from a literary agent that I particularly liked, and have already mentioned at length in this blog: “cracking pace, plenty of tension, with credible characters and dialogue”.

The downside, because there’s always a damn downside with everything, is that after a heck of a lot of rejection letters from literary agents it’s starting to seem inevitable that I’m going to have to self-publish this book, and I already know what that’s likely to mean after self-publishing my first five novels: single-figure sales and a total lack of reviews anywhere, even on Amazon where the seething masses seem to want to spout their opinion on pretty much everything. Except any of my books.

I don’t want to announce the title yet, because it’s a pretty good title and there isn’t another novel (at least on Amazon) with a similar name.

If you are interested in finding out some more about this book, please get in touch via the contact page on this site. The same goes for anyone who fancies being an advance copy reader, or just wants a free copy as soon as it is available.

My favourite rejection so far

This is part of the crime novel blog series, but it’s also the pioneer of some kind of masochistic sub-category or soul-baring splinter group. I’m regularly receiving rejection emails for my new crime novel, pretty much as expected because that’s how the world of an unknown author works, and the first [enter a number of your choice here] rejections I received were all drawn from the same generic “Thanks but no thanks” brush-off pool.

Then this one turned up today and I thought it was worth mentioning for several reasons. First, it’s personalised rather than being just another copy/paste “there’s the door” rejection. Secondly, it is incredibly positive, despite being what it is – a rejection. And finally, the reason cited for rejecting my work is not any kind of a criticism of my work. Have a read, see what you think. I’m expecting you’re going to want to read my book, but I could be wrong.

This is the main content of the rejection email, completely unedited:

Your opening chapters are very well done: cracking pace, plenty of tension, with credible characters and dialogue. But – I’m afraid there is a “but” – it’s so hard to sell new fiction in the current harsh climate, even well-written crime fiction like yours, that I just don’t think we’d succeed in persuading cautious editors to take you on.

Seriously, that’s far from bad. I’m not personally aware of this “current harsh climate” but I’m guessing that’s because I’m an unknown author with no real understanding of how there are dozens of new crime novels every time I look on a bestseller shelf in any book shop or supermarket, or Amazon.

From that rejection email, it seems to me that the problem here is “cautious editors”. I’m thinking that my book needs an editor who isn’t a timid mouse. Might that be you, or someone you know? If so, you know what you need to do.

If you are interested in finding out some more about this book, please get in touch via the contact page on this site. The same goes for anyone who fancies being a test reader, or just wants a free copy as soon as it is available.

Crime novel blog part 3

 

There’s a big difference between being able to write a book and being able to market it, convince pretty much anyone to read it, or get any interest at all in it from a literary agent. That’s what I’ve managed to figure out. It could be wildly inaccurate assumption based on limited experience, but I couldn’t tell you whether that’s the case or not because guess what – I do not know.

I also don’t know what I have to do to get past the kind of insta-rejection responses that I’m encountering when submitting my crime novel to agents. I’ve done all the right research, taken a great deal of care when writing my query letter and synopsis, and I’m not spamming loads of agents at once. I’m finding that the rejections come back quickly enough that I can afford to submit to no more than two agencies at the same time without feeling that I’m wasting time.

Test reader response has so far been extremely good. Personally, I believe I have finally found the genre where I always needed to be writing. I put off writing a crime novel for ages because that level of plotting scared me. Then I read a bunch of recent crime novels, where the titles on Amazon are always suffixed with something like “A gripping thriller with a twist you will not see coming”, and I knew that I could not just compete with these books but shoot bloody great holes through them.

For a start, I’m not using an unreliable narrator to tell the story. I don’t have drunk protagonists, or delusional ones, or ones who might not be the person they are telling the reader that they are. Because, frankly, that’s all just bollocks. I spent a long time figuring out who was going to do what to whom, and why (because that is very important), then I planned the whole thing out scene-by-scene to make sure there was no filler, no bullshit, no point where the reader would want to look up from the pages, let alone stop reading to make a cup of tea. I’m sorry if you miss that cup of tea, but that’s how it’s got to be.

My test readers keep telling me there’s an agent out there who will bite my hand off for this one, but I’m still not sure. It’s those damn rejections… they just seem to come back way too quickly. I suppose that’s the way life is for an unknown, debut author, and I just have to deal with it. I’ll just get on with writing the next one while I wait and wait and wait for someone to pick this one up.

If you are interested in finding out some more about this book, please get in touch via the contact page on this site. The same goes for anyone who fancies being a test reader, or just wants a free copy as soon as it is available.

Crime novel blog part 2

This is the second instalment of the ongoing progress of my sixth novel, a crime thriller set in England, in the winter of 1985. I’m still not giving away any plot, character or title details until my test readers have given their initial feedback.

The book is ‘finished apart from some editing’, which means it’s half-finished. Editing will follow my usual routine, where I re-read it with a chainsaw a dozen times, at the same time that my test readers have a go at it.

Considering how many crime/thriller novels I’ve read, it’ surprising that I didn’t try to write one a little sooner. It’s also a relief that I waited this long, because I’ve learned a hell of a lot from writing the first five novels, mostly that my choice of marketable genres was terrible.

If you are interested in finding out more about this book slightly earlier than everyone else, please get in touch via the contact page on this site. The same goes for anyone who fancies being a test reader, or just wants a free copy.

I’ll be keeping these blog posts short as I’m using whatever free time I have (not much, as always) to edit the novel and write the intro letter and synopsis that I’ll be using when I start contacting literary agents.

Crime novel blog part 1

I’m 70,000 words into the first draft of my next novel, a crime thriller set in England, in 1985. For now, I’m not giving away any plot, character or title details at all, but I will be sharing all that as soon as the book is in a 90+% finished state and my test readers have had a chance to rip it to shreds.

I’m going to give this one a chance to be traditionally published, rather than abandoned to fend for itself in the self-published wasteland with my other novels. This book deserves that chance, and I thought it would be fun to report its progress on my site in this blog.

If you are interested in finding out about this book slightly earlier than everyone else, please get in touch via the contact page on this site. The same goes for anyone who fancies being a test reader, or just wants a free copy as soon as it is available.

I’ll be keeping these blog posts short as I’m using whatever free time I have (not much, as always) to get the first full draft finished as soon as I can.

Painting The Dragon – in pre-order for 12th Dec publication

The latest novel in the Kate Hayes series – Painting The Dragon – has been submitted to Amazon for pre-order. I’ll add the Amazon .com and .co.uk links on this site as soon as they’re available.

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Painting The Dragon should be available for pre-order within 24-48 hours, depending on your Amazon region. The publication date is set for 12th December 2016.

Once again, I have managed to hit a promised publication deadline. Just imagine how great this would be if I was writing for my day-job, not to mention how great it would be if anyone actually read any of these books.

As always, if you would like a free copy to review, or just to save yourself 99p, all you need to do is ask.

Branded (more writing tips & opinion)

Your protagonist has a phone. Heck, yeah, we all have phones. But your protagonist only needs “a phone”.

Cody reached into his pocket and pulled out his Samsung Uberphone ZX81 and…

No, no, no. And no. It’s a phone. Your reader will imagine it to be whatever phone they want it to be. But not if you tell them the make and model. They could even begin to despise the character because of the phone he or she is using, but mostly they just won’t care.

The same goes for tablets or e-readers. Either don’t mention the damn things or just mention in passing that Cindy was reading. Does it really matter to your story or plot whether Cindy was reading a paperback or on a Kindle? No, it doesn’t. Unless she’s being stalked by the Kindle Killer, in which case it’s essential that we know (or at least suspect) that she is reading on a Kindle.

But 99.9% of the time we do not need to know what make or model of electronic device a character in a book is using.

Playing The Ace – permanent price drop

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I have dropped the price of Playing The Ace, the second book in the series The Truth About Kate Hayes, to mark the imminent release of the third book in the series – Painting The Dragon. This means that the first two books in the series are 99p/99c each.

The Kate Hayes series is now officially labelled Fun, filthy, feel-good bloke-lit. Because why not? Anyone who feels excluded by that sub-genre should embrace their inner rebel and just read the damn books anyway.