Thursday, July 18, 2013

my take on J.K Rowling's pen-name news, and an offer to my "potential fans"

A recent piece of news that caught my attention: J.K. Rowling outed as author of acclaimed crime novel 'The Cuckoo's Calling'

If you click the link you'll get a story that leads with flattery about the crime novel in question. The article's first sentence says the book has been "hailed as one of the best debut detective stories in years". Two sentences later we're told that Rowling's "cover was blown when the Sunday Times newspaper became suspicious that such an assured piece of writing could have been created by a first-time novelist".

In other words, the news story's angle is that this is a great book, and the book's very greatness is what led to Rowling being outed as the author.

Sort of makes me wonder if the story was written for a newspaper that's owned by the same company that owns Rowling's publisher. The article reads more like a publicity piece for a product than a news article.

It isn't until the eighth paragraph in the article that you read this: "The novel had sold around 1,500 copies in hardback. However, in the hours after Rowling was named as its author, it shot up the bestseller charts. It was listed as the third biggest seller on on Sunday"

I saw, in another article elsewhere, that the book was released eleven weeks ago.

So, 1500 copies in 77 days, or about 19 copies a day, which puts it at the 4,709th place on Amazon's bestseller list. And now, after it's revealed that Rowling is the author, the book moves 25K units overnight, and Rowling is #1.

There's a lot you can read between the lines with this story. You might wonder, for example, if the "outing" was truly the result of a reporter's canny sleuthing, or whether it was information deliberately leaked in order to create a story (and sell lots of books).

But what I'm most interested in is this: the article says the book was critically respected upon it's release, and it got a decent release boost from a major publisher (Little, Brown & Company), and yet it was only selling 19 copies a day. I haven't read the book, but if we go with the critical consensus and say it's really good, we're left with the knowledge that a really good book, in a popular genre (crime fiction) is still, despite how good it is, not going to sell very many copies if its author is unknown.

Where does that leave people like me? I think my book Blood Brothers is an excellent book, but I'm a no-name author who has chosen to forgo the traditional publishing route, and therefor has no big business to help get me the book out there. I don't even have access to the "critics" who "acclaimed" The Cuckoo's Calling. Furthermore, Blood Brothers is in a less-popular genre (Fantasy), and it's pretty unorthodox for the genre it falls into.

In other words, everything indicates that Blood Brothers doesn't have a chance of selling any copies, let alone 19 a day (let alone 25K overnight).

And you know what? I'm okay with that.

I still feel like it's a great book. I still had a lot of fun writing it, and I'm still very proud to think of what I managed to pull off. In the end, that's what matters to me.

But, because I love the book, I'm still willing to put some energy into trying to help it find an audience. And the idea I've got now is this:

If you want to read Blood Brothers, I'll give you an eBook copy for free if you agree to write a review. Email me: mf.soriano {at} yahoo {dot} com

(Two people have taken me up on the offer so far. Will you be the third?)

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