Slow Thriller* Writers and Free Books

(*It’s the rate of writing that’s slow, not the pace of the fiction…)

confusing author issues question-mark-1872665_960_720Back in 2012 I tried enrolling a novel of mine in KDP Select, or whatever it was called back then. I booked five FREE days, and was surprised when the book got thousands of downloads, hitting the number one free download ranking in both the US and UK Amazon stores. In the month that followed, thanks to the generous Amazon algorithms at the time, I sold several thousand full-priced copies of the book.

It was about then that I got a mail from a company called BookBub, explaining that they had promoted the title for FREE, without me knowing. That’s how BB started, targeting mainly indie authors as a means of showing how effective BB advertising could be.

I remember saying on Indies Unlimited back then that however beneficial a FREE run on Amazon might be, I didn’t think I’d ever pay to advertise the fact. Pay to give stuff away? I mean, who’d do that? Continue reading “Slow Thriller* Writers and Free Books”

I Have Never Paid for It

Bookbub is a new company which, as you probably know, sends out email shots to hundreds of thousands of registered readers, publicizing a handful of free and discounted books each day. It’s not just for indies either; recently I’ve seen ads for books by James Patterson and Ian Rankin.

Ad prices vary, depending on the book’s genre and offer price ( ). Their ad prices are apparently rising steadily. Also, they’re selective in which ads they take. The good folk at Bookbub clearly have impeccable taste, because last week they chose to publicize my novel HOPE ROAD. I didn’t ask them to feature it, and I didn’t pay anything. In fact, until they mailed me to let me know I’d been featured I had no idea that Bookbub existed. It seems that, as they develop their business, they select the odd Amazon freebie and include it alongside their paid ads, no charge to the author. Continue reading “I Have Never Paid for It”

Everybody’s Doing It

John BarlowI know a writer. He’s not a committed indie. In fact, he has a pretty big London agency behind him and is actively seeking a traditional deal. However, he’s writing in a very crowded market (crime), and until he gets a publishing contract he’s busy self-publishing his novels. He regularly has two or three titles in’s top 1000 eBooks, and at least one of these has peaked at a sales ranking in the single figures. By my reckoning, he’s earning a pretty decent living from these eBooks, so you might argue that he doesn’t really need an agent or a trad deal at all.

That’s as maybe, but what really intrigued me was that he let slip that he also (self-) publishes under a ghost-name. Continue reading “Everybody’s Doing It”

The Limits of Cheese

John Barlow
Author John Barlow

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks up to my eyeballs in cheese and honey. Not quite literally, but there was a point when I had to requisition a shelf in my neighbour’s fridge to accommodate all the samples I had acquired.

I recently got two commissions at the same time, both with the same tightish deadline: an article on cheese and another on honey. The publication I write for has recently succumbed to the effects of the global downturn, and freelancers like me are feeling the pinch. Eighteen months ago it was 4000 words and take your time, John, we reserved the flight and hotel. This time it was 1500 words and buy your own sandwiches. Continue reading “The Limits of Cheese”