Why Is It That Total Rubbish Always Sells?

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When it comes to book sales, more ofen than not, total rubbish sells to the detriment of quality? Of all my books, the quality ones from my point of view stand apart from the rest as evidenced by the four and five star reviews they attracted. Yet for some inexplicable reason they simply fail to appeal to the majority of readers. Why is that I wonder?

I freely admit that my best seller to date is total rubbish. Why? Because it was written quickly with little editing! As a consequence many reviewers quite rightly condemned it. Despite that, it exceeded my wildest dreams when it comes to sales. It still appeals in America to this day. What does that say about readers? Not a lot…

Meanwhile, two titles I am proud of, Goblin Tales and Cataclysm simply fail to attract readers, even though in the main, they both have excellent reviews. As the title suggests, the fantasy anthology Goblin Tales is all about goblins. I thought it was high time that a series of stories was written about a band of friendly ones for a change. On the other hand, my novella Cataclysm is a mixture of scifi and a degree of poetic license on my part regarding the ancient history I employ within it, along with a tragic love affair between the hero of the story and a beautiful transgender entity. Click on the above links to read the reviews for yourselves.

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It’s early days yet, but I wonder if my latest erotic scifi novella The Guardian,which I am also justifiably proud of I might add, will go the same way as the above two titles? In its case only time will tell. So far it has received two four star reviews:

Another Great Yarn. By Derek on August 4, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

Jack Eason spins another great yarn here, with a little archaeology, a little space travel, a mysterious baddie of course, and even a little bit of spice thrown in for good measure! Top read.

Great read. By Chris Graham on August 2, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

An enigmatic beginning to a fast paced story, involving quite a few nerve wracking events for the heroes before reaching a finale with a twist that will make you want A SEQUEL PLEASE.
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Note that in neither case did the reviewer feel the urge to condemn or pore scorn, despite the popularly held misconception that any book these days must have a mix of good and bad reviews to make it appeal. Here’s hoping that The Guardian appeals. If you are currently reading it, or have just finished, please add your review to the first two.
Thanks
😉

From now on it’s entirely in your hands!!!

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The one and only chance anyone had to get themselves a free copy of my latest scifi novella The Guardian, is at an end. As I mentioned in the previous post read hereat the end of its promotional period I said I would give the story its final edit. Well I did. Yesterday (Monday) I uploaded the totally error free version to Smashwords, Creatspace and KDP, prior to it coming online at full price.

How do I know it’s error free? Trust me, if it contained so much as a single error Smashwords would have immediately rejected it. When it comes to quality control they are extremely particular, more so than Creatspace or KDP even know how to be!

To buy your eBook copy in the format of your choice on Smashwords click here

To buy your Kindle or paperback copy at Amazon.com  click here

To buy your Kindle or paperback copy at Amazon.co.uk click here

With so many new books coming out daily, it came as no surprise to me whatsoever how few free copies were actually downloaded. The days of a free copy of any book in a promotion being taken up in its hundreds or even the low thousands are well and truly over thank goodness. In The Guardian’s case, over the five day period one hundred and five free Kindle copies were taken. If you are interested in sales statistics, here is its final rating at the end of the promo.

Amazon.com rating:

#27 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Erotica > Science Fiction

#1517 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction

Amazon.co.uk rating:
#7,003 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

#21 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > Erotica > Science Fiction

In Amazon.com’s case the best it placed was nineteenth in the top one hundred free list. In Amazon.co.uk’s case it achieved even better at sixteenth.

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Well that’s it. I can do no more, except to continue advertising it on numerous social media sites, and here on my blog from time to time. Now its fate is in your hands. You need to read and review it. If you don’t, it will wind up among the millions of unread books out there. Even if science fiction, or in this case – erotic science fiction, isn’t necessarily your bag, the very least you can do is to help spread the word by reblogging this post, and by uploading the above links on your Facebook page and Twitter feed as well as any other’s you may contribute too. Plus, don’t forget to recommend it to a friend.

PS – If you do decide to follow Chris-The Story Reading Ape’s example (thanks Chris, much appreciated) by writing a review, please make sure that you post it separately on the Amazon site for your country as well as Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, both on the Kindle and paperback versions. Why? Because any review posted on Amazon.com does not automatically get added to the Amazon site you purchased your Kindle or paperback copy from in your respective countries, and vice versa. While you are at it, don’t forget to add your review on Smashwords (click on the link above) as well pretty please.

PPS – now its high time this writer took a much needed rest until next year.

Thanks

😉

 

The Guardian Is Now Available For Purchase

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Click on the cover to go to Amazon.com

Well, here it is folks. The Guardian is now available for purchase in paperback. You can order your copy on any Amazon site as well as on Createspace. If you are one of the minority of people who never buy anything online, (I’m acquainted with one or two of them) but would still like to purchase a copy, simply go to your local bookshop and ask them to do it for you. All you will need to provide is the following information:

The Guardian by Jack Eason

ISBN-13: 978-1515213611
ISBN-10: 1515213617
BISAC: Fiction / Science Fiction / Adventure

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If you buy directly from Createspace or your nearest Amazon outlet it will cost you US$5.38, or your country’s equivalent (£3.45 here in the UK) plus postage and packaging.

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You will note that I’ve changed the cover. While I still like the original cover pictured above, to give The Guardian a decent chance to attract readers across the world, I decided to go with the more professional looking one seen at the top of this post. One or two of my fellow writers pointed out that to their way of thinking, the original gave the impression of it being a cover more suited to a horror story, instead of an erotic science fiction tale.

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Will it appear as an eBook? Given the way books offered in that particular format instantly attract internet trolls and pirates, especially when offered for free in any online promotion, I’m sorry to disappoint any of you but it won’t happen in the immediate future. In six months or so, if and when I do decide to offer it as an eBook it will be via Smashwords.

So for now my muse and I are taking a much needed R&R break until next year. We’re both worn out. Go on, buy yourselves a copy, you know you want to. Don’t forget that like any other book out there, The Guardian needs reviews, be they good, bad or indifferent to help sell them.

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What’s The Ultimate Conundrum?

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No not the Dodo – read on!

When it comes to that book we as writers have spent many months working on, sooner or later we are all presented with the same conundrum. Will it sell, bearing in mind that this business is extremely fickle?

Daily I see countless writers both new and old, endlessly talking/blogging about spending not only a considerable amount of time and effort, but also their hard earned money, on a book they wrote some time back that simply isn’t selling, in the vain hope that what they’re doing will increase it’s chances in today’s saturated market. In short we’re talking about idiots!

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it until the day I die. If your book doesn’t work, no amount of spending money on changing its cover or having it properly edited, together with purchasing a number of copies of the new version from your publisher to give away in a book store or writer’s convention in the vain hope of promoting it to an already jaded public, will make one iota of difference in the end. What you are doing is flogging a dead horse!

Despite what so many still foolishly believe, the fact that you have availed yourself of the services of an editor and maybe even a publicist, or perhaps you have spent money having it’s cover, hook and link added to one of the countless number of book advertising web pages who demand payment for your doing so, spending your own money before the first sale has even taken place. Or maybe you even shelled out yet more money by employing a professional reviewer to help kickstart your book’s chances. Even then, using all of these options still doesn’t guarantee sales. No marketing strategy ever does, no matter how professional it may appear to be to the average man or woman.

There is no magic formula for literary success.

In the end, the only thing that does matter when it comes to sales, is whether or not the story in question actually appeals. It’s immaterial that you and your immediate family circle and close friends loved it. After all, you and they are too close to it to be objective.

So, what might the discerning reader be looking for? I can’t speak for others, but when I am perusing the millions of books currently available, first of all I narrow down my search to the genre that has appealed to me my entire life. Next, I totally ignore the often gawdy covers, if I want to look at pretty pictures I’ll buy a glossy magazine, published for air-heads who don’t read!

Instead I begin with a book’s hook. If what I’m reading intrigues me, bearing in mind that as a successful science fiction writer, I am extremely hard to please these days, then and only then will I read the first few pages. If I feel that the story appears to show promise, I’ll buy a copy. If not, I move on to the next one.

Oh, and before you ask – no I don’t take any notice of a particular book’s reviews, no matter whether they are good, bad or indifferent. Unlike the vast majority, aka ‘The Great Unwashed’, I prefer to make up my own mind. The other thing to remember is that having enjoyed reading a specific work, when I see another by the same author, I will always seriously consider it.

What do I mean when I say does a book appeal? There is nothing mysterious or complicated about it. If a story has been carefully thought out. If it builds towards a climax, with the odd red herring thrown in for good measure. If the characters and their relationships with one another are believable. Then and only then do I consider that any given book appeals/works.

There are a few other things to remember. In this business, to succeed you have to gain a reputation as a storyteller – not an easy thing to achieve. To do that first you have to have written several books, preferably honing your skills with each one. Normally your first few won’t do it for you. Secondly, you will find that even though your book or books are beginning to be read as a result of those free giveaway promotions, (more often than not by tightwads) there is no guarantee that you’re book(s) will actually sell in their thousands, meaning that you will earn serious royalties. Even if they do sell, the chances of more than ten to a dozen copies per year is slight, no matter how much time, effort and money you may have put in to promoting them.

Only one of mine ever became a best seller. Because of it, I earned that most elusive of epithets from my fellow published writers – consumate storyteller.

At the risk of repeating myself – unlike so many of you today, never once have I pinned my hopes on whether or not any of my covers appeal. What ultimately matters is what’s contained within any given book’s pages, and whether or not the story actually appeals. Remember, in this game you are only as good as your last book…

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The Latest Progress Report for The Guardian

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If you read the lovely Jo Robinson’s post yesterday on getting bored with your current WIP, https://litworldinterviews.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/do-you-love-your-book/ all is not lost. It might just be that you are nearing the end of the particular WIP, even though you don’t realize it.

What do I mean? Read on…

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I’ve finally realized after many sleepless nights and endless hours of thought that my current science fiction WIP – The Guardian in all likelihood will end up as a long short story. In fact, the more I think about it – it’s a given. Each story always dictates its own length. Despite what many may think, the writer often has no say in the matter. Why? Because once we start a story in a specific way, it inevitably guides you towards where it needs to end, regardless of what you want. In other words, the story is in charge, not you.

In this particular instance, one thing and one thing only brought me to this conclusion. The Guardian’s natural fast pace. The very thought of trying to maintain such a pace until I pass the eighty or one hundred and fifty thousand word mark, simply doesn’t bear thinking about. I did that once many years ago to the detriment of my health, never again. Yes I could have written endless pages of totally boring, nauseous descriptive prose and mind numbing dialogue. But that’s not me these days. That’s not the way I write any more. After many years I’ve finally seen the light!

For the handful of individuals who actually bought and read my scifi novella Cataclysm, (published last year) who got in touch with me privately, the one thing that the majority of you communicated was the fact that I kept it uncluttered and fast paced.

Maintaining a blog like mine soon teaches you how to convey what you want to say with the bare minimum of carefully chosen words.

Many writers still prefer to delude themselves into thinking that writing between eighty and one hundred and fifty thousand words is the only way to go. Not necessarily so, especially in this day and age. The times we live in along with reader tastes have dramatically changed in the last ten years or so, in favour of the shorter literary work. Both of the aforementioned are signs which no writer can now afford to ignore.

Think about it, how many times recently have you read a book from beginning to end, only to forget what it was all about by the time you eventually arrived at the last page, or far worse, wound up totally confused from information overload? Even the top one percent of writers hate having to artificially fill a manuscript merely to keep their literary agent, editor and publisher happy.

I recently learned that busy commuters across the world are my main reading group these days. Fifteeen years ago it was my contemporaries. Times definitely change…

As an Indie, I now only have to please myself and the wishes of the modern commuting reader who wants a fast paced story, paired down to the essential nitty gritty, and of course, told well. So now that I’ve finally made the decision, based purely on the way the story is panning out, I’ll be heading towards the first of several possible conclusions. I’ll settle on which one over the next few weeks.

I’ve only ever written one novel (back in 2003) that exceeded one hundred and fifty thousand words. The fact that writing it led to my suffering a total mental breakdown brought on by the stress of it all, which damn near ended me, should be a salutary lesson for anyone contemplating writing such a lengthy work.

The novel in question became my first published work back in 2010. It was a science fiction space opera entitled Onet’s Tale. While it still appears on Amazon, it is no longer available. Besides my paperback ‘author’ copy, and my Kindle one, I still have it as an unedited .pdf file for anyone who wants to read it. If you want an unbiased view about it, ask Chris The Storyreading Ape what he thought. He read the .pdf version.

I’m not an old stick in the mud. I do take notice of trends. Now I’d better get back to it. If anyone thinks that writing is easy, tell them to just try pairing down a story to its absolute essentials as I did with Cataclysm last year, and am currently doing with The Guardian, to suit a specific emerging eBook market – the busy commuter. The things we do for our readers eh?

PS – because it will be a long short story, when the time comes I’ll price it at a mere US$0.99. If Amazon allowed it, I would like it to be even cheaper. But unfortunately Amazon doesn’t do Permafree.

Be good…

😉

Introducing the award winning Belgian/Flemish writer, Robert Van Laerhoven

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As readers if you have never heard of him before, it’s not really surprising. Until now, few of his books have appeared in the English language. Usually they are published in Dutch and French, only available in paperback and hard cover. Hopefully that will change in the not too distant future. Like all of us, all he wants is to ensure his books are read by the widest audience possible.

Bob, as he prefers to be called, is an award winning Belgian/Flemish writer. I’ve known him for years. So far he has written more than thirty books. Among the awards he has won is the much coveted Hercule Poirot Prize for his crime novel Baudelair’s Revenge, published in 2007, (paper and hard cover) set in Paris in the eighteen seventies.

A few days ago he contacted me via chat on Facebook to ask if I would be willing to participate in a project to our mutual benefit. On Saturday he sent me an email explaining exactly what he had in mind.

In essence, if I was prepared to read and review the English language version of his collection of short stories Dangerous Obsessions, he would like to do the same for one of mine. Needless to say I readily agreed. So I suggested that for his part he read and review my novella Cataclysm published in 2014. He emailed me to say he had ordered the paperback version yesterday (Sunday).

Normally this is an arrangement that I would not enter into. But Bob is such a likeable character, it would be churlish of me to refuse. So why not oblige him?

He offered me a link to a free PDF version of the collection to read. But, if I’m going to fully support his wanting to break into the fastest growing English language literary market – eBooks, particularly in the USA, I’m going to do it properly. So I started as I mean to go on by purchasing a Kindle copy.

He went to the expense of having the collection translated by Bryan Doyle here in the UK – accredited by the Flemish Fund for Literature. Bob asked that I review it on Amazon and Goodreads. I told him that I’m more than happy to place a review on Amazon, but not Goodreads, explaining that the latter is still riddled with author hating trolls.

So from now on my evenings will be taken up with reading through the short stories in the collection. The following link is for the interview with him that his US publisher Anaphora Literary Press produced – Bob’s Interview.

If this writer who’s first language is English can’t support another who is more comfortable writing in Flemish, what is the world coming too?

PS – why not join me in helping Bob out. Get your Kindle copy by clicking on the Dangerous Obsessions link, or go to the Amazon site you usually use. Then read and review it. Come on folks, let’s help a fellow writer.

PPS – My fellow bloggers, you can all do your bit by reblogging this post. Bob’s name and his books need to become known to the entire English speaking world.

PPPS – before anyone thinks of pointing out the obvious yet again – I only use Amazon.com links in my posts. Why? Because the majority of my readers live there. Ok?

😉

What Happened To The Well Written Book?

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E.L James

Fifty Shades of Grey, that’s what!

Come on now, own up, how many of you read it from beginning to end, and liked it? When it first came out I did what I usually do when a novel captures the public’s imagination, I went to my local Amazon site. Using the ‘See Inside’ option, I began to read the first paragraph of the Kindle version. That’s as far as I got. To say I was appalled would be an understatement. It wasn’t the subject matter of the book that bothered me. There have been many well written examples of erotica across the centuries, if that’s what rocks your boat. It was the simple fact that Fifty Shades is so poorly written. Having said that, I must congratulate Erika for writing a book that has sold in its millions.

Now it has been made into a movie, it evokes memories of when Vladamir Nabokov’s novel, Lolita, a tale about a paedophile’s sexual obsession with a twelve year old girl, published back in nineteen fifty-five, eventually appeared on the silver screen in the early nineteen sixties, starring James Mason, with Sue Lyon taking the part of his vulnerable young target. Thinking about it, Lolita was probably the first modern fiction written about paedophilia. Back then in the fifties and sixties, the practice of grooming children by both men and women to fulfill their depraved sexual needs was hardly ever heard about. Thankfully today’s society abhores paedophiles, therefore no book of fiction featuring one of them would ever be taken up by any reputable publisher, not even Amazon. If a publisher ever contemplated it, massive public protests would ensue and they would soon find themselves out of business, especially here in the UK.

Whoops, sorry about that, I’m getting a bit off piste…

The point I’m trying to make here is that even though English wasn’t his first language, at least Nabakov knew how to write, unlike Erika, who has no excuse whatsoever given her former occupation as a television executive, where an excellent command of the English language is mandatory to hold such a position; paramount in fact.

What totally galls me and just about every other writer I know, whether mainstream or Indie, is that Fifty Shades of Grey, appears to be what many think constitutes a ‘well written book’ these days. It isn’t. But it is proof that language standards have dropped, nay plummeted.

It doesn’t help when books like that are critically acclaimed, purely because it is popular with airheads and other illiterates, while genuinly well written books are totally ignored, or worse, not even considered by publishers and the general public.

Erika was lucky that she self published it when she did. Had she tried to do the same today, I doubt if she would have been successful. Why? Because as Derek Haines says in his recent post  Self Publishing Is Dead, Long Live Self Publishing | Just Publishing the gold rush days for those wishing to cash in on self publishing are now well and truly over. In other words, if that is your reason for writing a book, you are too late. Hopefully once the get rich quick fraternity have given up and disappeared, only those of us who are serious about writing will be left.

If Fifty Shades is the kind of badly written book you truly want to read, god help you. Here’s a thought – why not choose to buy a truly well written book instead? You never know you might actually enjoy reading it, whether its erotica or something else.

😉

The Sixth Guardian Progress Report

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This is my creator’s eighth book in twenty years of slaving over a computer keyboard, so pay attention to what he has to say about it humans, or else!!!

Sorry about that, it can get a little tetchy at times, par for the course for something like The Guardian. Your all right, you don’t have to work with it on a daily basis. Now, before it comes back, read on…

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I’m about to start writing chapter four. I’m more or less happy with the core of chapter three. As I said previously, I’ve begun to ramp up the action somewhat. I’ve also added a bit more for you to surmise about. I’m talking about the relationship, if you can call it that, between Lynne and Adler. I’ve decided to add one of the three new characters – Brett, Cliff and Bayla, into the mix as a possible rival for Lynne’s affections if Adler doesn’t declare his feelings for her one way or another. Which one of them it is, and why, you will just have to find out when you read the novel won’t you. It might be that a love triangle develops – only what I’m thinking at the time will determine what happens between Lynne and Adler. I’m still undecided about that situation at the moment.

I’ve also introduced a few items that they need to protect themselves like LSAT Assault Rifles and the XM25 air burst grenade launcher, as well as the M110 Sniper Rifle, all of them actual weapons, but still under development and testing at the moment, plus C4 plastic explosive, fragmentation grenades and Claymore mines. Even though the story is set in the twenty-second century, twentieth century explosives like C4 and the highly effective Claymore mine, still have their uses in the eyes of my team of ex military personnel.

Meanwhile The Guardian is always somewhere, waiting, watching, hatching plans, and now keeping its eye not only on me, but you too. I beg you, for my sake be careful not to upset it. It is gradually becoming more involved, making its presence felt, not only to me, but also as the story unfolds. Now its time for more thinking. I most certainly don’t want to get on its wrong side by taking some time off for myself now do I.

More later

😉

Visual Research for my new Science Fiction novel

I thought you might like to take a look at the kind of information I am currently studying for my forthcoming science fiction novel, set on Mars in the twenty-second century. It might be the Christmas/New Year break, but holidays are meaningless to a writer, especially this one…

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To begin with take a look at this:

And finally this video shows the location for my new novel – Valles Marineris or The Great Rift, which is 2,500 miles long, 120 miles wide and up to 23,000 ft deep, and no you haven’t gone deaf. There is no sound with this last one. 🙂

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Fun time over. Now it’s back to hard research. You might be taking it easy, but I’m not. I have a lot of reading to do.

😀 😀 😀

Goblin Tales’ First Review

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Thanks to Chris, the Storyreading Ape, Goblin Tales has its first review.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved these short tales! December 3, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This book has 30 short but immensely enjoyable stories about five Goblin brothers and their ‘Humin’ friend.
Unlike many fantasy tales involving Humans and Goblins, this book contains no gory bits, spurious violence or endless wars, nevertheless, it is very entertaining.
Be careful though, especially if you tend to read out loud to yourself, the temptation to utter the words spoken by the Goblins is overwhelming and if you are in a packed commuter train or bus, you may get funny looks from your fellow travellers.
Mind you, you may also get more space to stretch out and get comfortable as they sidle away from you….
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Thanks Chris
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