Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fifty Shades of Marketing.

Now, call me what you will, and say what you like about the 50 Shades series, but one thing emphatically can not be denied, and that is the marketing machine behind the books.

I'm currently, for my sins, still in Australia, and even here the bookshops are full of the stuff. Admittedly they are selling them off cheap now. In fact the refugees have abandoned the idea of coming from Indonesia on boats now. They're building rafts from 50 Shades books and rowing across. It's saving them a fortune...allegedly.

Anyway. This hyped-up media machine has got one thing wrong. Now, I know I'll be hounded down for this, and I probably shouldn't say it, BUT, I will anyway. The big mistake they made is pictured below...

 That's right. Her face, in my opinion, doesn't quite fit with the subject matter. I mean, she's a lovely looking woman and I'm sure she has a personality to match, but to be reading all this kinky sex action and have the image of the author at the back of your mind is a little ... well, a little off-putting, perhaps. Like opening a copy of Playboy and finding your mother spread across the centre pages.
Now, I am not being rude here, so calm down and put away your poison pen letters. I have oodles of respect for the dominatrix pictured above and I'm pleased for her newfound wealth. I just can't help thinking she should have gone the same route as myself, to remain a little more anonymous, maybe. Or, better still, to lie and use a double.


Now, the reason I can get away with saying this is because of my bio picture. When I published my first e-book I was warned not to scare the readers, having once been described as 'thugly', so I took heed and used a digitally altered photograph.
I see, amongst the slew of erotica now bombarding the world, there is an author called Anonymous. I like this approach. She's probably an eighteen-stone American gentleman with chronic skin disease, but we'll never know. He/she is an enigma. A Banksy. The person that stole my car in 2004 and never got caught....You get my drift? No?
Well, having just successfully slagged off the most successful author of all time, I'll move on to my little endeavours.
I've just been contacted by Israel's largest publishers, Kinneret, with an enquiry about purchasing the Hebrew tarnslation rights for the Facebook Killer series. Astonishing, I know. Strange? Perhaps a little. But I'll keep you updated. If anything happens I may even give away a few copies. Who knows? I'm sure I have followers who can read Hebrew. If not, it's quite an easy language to learn...if you plan to live until you're 310. I like the way they described my style as "Geurilla Publishing".
Apart from that, nothing! I'm just plodding away. 'Hunter' is up to 90,000 words, with around another 30,000 to go, and sales are okay, considering it's the slow season, at a steady 2,000+ per month. Nothing to bang on about really.
Well, that's it from me. I'm off to write an erotic novel now, involving a stallion and a Dutch woman in a wheelchair.
Regards, as ever,


Friday, August 3, 2012

Give a man a fish and he will feed himself for a day, give him a rod and he will sell it for beer money.

"A bit bloody dusty in here, innit?"

Shit. I just checked the date of my last blog entry. The first of June. So let me begin, even though I already have, by apologising for not motivating my lazy arse and letting my thousands of fans know what's going on in the f+cked up world of the ML Stewart monster.

As I mentioned on Twitter, I have been asked by HarperCollins UK to submit the full manuscript for my current book project "Hunter". This is on a strictly 'no promises' basis. In other words don't sue us for wasting your time if we think the book is shit.

One of HC's editors first contacted me earlier this year after reading The Facebook Killer (which she absolutely loved) and asked if I would consider writing a book for them. And so, after several emails, phone calls and storyline changes, I am now approaching 70,000 words of my latest novel, Hunter.

Set in London, it's the story of a serial killer whose horrific crimes were never rationalised, even though he was captured and is now imprisoned in the high security unit of Belmarsh Prison. When, twenty years later, another victim is found, mutilated in the exact same fashion, DS Liz Porteous is assigned the task of solving the riddle surrounding the original murders in a effort to stop the modern day body count rising.

If that sounded like a sales pitch, I'm sorry, it wasn't supposed to. I am writing Hunter in the same style as FBK. There are manic moments, dark (almost sadistic humour) and I defy anyone who eventually reads the book (whether it is published by HC or self-published) to work out the plot before I allow it.

One or two people have pointed out that FBK was a little two-dimensional, and my reply has always been - yes, it's supposed to be. You have one man and a laptop computer. That man's psyche becomes three, but they always belong to Dermott, and his apples, his victims, are just that. Victims. The reader doesn't need to know any more about them than what they give away on their Facebook page.

Hunter on the other hand delves much deeper. We learn a lot more about Liz Porteous, the serial killer's mind is opened up to us and, Edward King, a freelance journalist, makes a clumsy entrance to add to the storyline. But be warned, I do still indulge in moments of literary insanity.

As for book sales? Well [gets out the calculator] In a nutshell, I have sold (and given a few away) 81,384 books. Across the board I am currently selling a little over 1,000 books a month through Amazon, and around 1,700 per month via Smashwords, 99% of which go to Apple readers.
FBK 1 & 2 have been numbers 1 and 2 in the UK Apple Horror charts for over a year now, and are still fighting off the likes of Stephen King. FBK3 managed #17 in the Overall Apple Top 100, but that lesser known Fifty Ways To Beat Your Bitch opened the floodgates for an Erotifest and Apple buyers lost their minds, their principles and quite a lot of skin from their arse cheeks, too.

To be honest I rarely check my book sales nowadays, let alone the reviews. I just hammer away, day in day out on my next piece of work. I have a strict regime. Get up, read the paper online, drink horrendous amounts of tea until my kidneys scream, begin writing, smoke cigarettes until my lungs scream, move on to red wine until my liver screams, and keep writing until my characters scream.

I would just like to add that I have done no self-promotion whatsoever for almost five months now, and book sales have remained constant. It may be snobbery, but I now tend to look at the self-promo-prostitutes with an air of disdain...which, reminds me, I have a date with DS Porteous. It would be rude to keep her waiting.

Best regards,

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