Sales

Cover for Damage Time by Chris Moore

You can tell the authors at conventions. You just have to listen in.  While the fans are likely as not to be talking what brilliant book they’ve read, or what film they’ve seen; the writers will be talking about money.*

Because their incomes can be so precarious, and like any other profession information is like oxygen, writers obsess about their sales. Especially since the information is often up to three to six months late.  A publisher once said jokingly to me “Sometimes I think we shouldn’t let you lot have sales information; you only ask more questions.” (I think he was joking)

About nine months ago amazon made weekly sales information on print books available to authors. The data doesn’t include all sales, but it’s useful guidance, as long as one bears in mind that it can be anything from five to one hundred per cent of the total.

What it does is highlight trends. I have no idea what causes this one, but over the first three months of the year, amazon was selling anything between fifty and a hundred copies a week of my two Angry Robot novels.  And surprisingly, over the first three months, it was Damage Time that was the bigger seller, albeit only marginally – fifty-five per cent to Winter Song’s forty-five per cent. I say surprisingly because I had assumed that Winter Song would be the bigger seller.

But over the last three months the sales have fallen to about half of what they were in the first quarter. I have no idea what’s caused that, because I’m still blogging, which I think is the main influence on sales, but sometimes things just happen. And it’s Winter Song that’s held up better -as I originally thought it would- with the year to date sales for that title now running at fifty-five per cent.

As a friend once said at Unilever, “We know that half of all our advertising spend is wasted – we just don’t know which half.”

And if a company the size of Unilever doesn’t know, with all its power, what chance does a simple author have?

* That’s a wild generalization, of course. The fans are likely as not to be asking writers how they too can become writers, while the writers also talk about what brilliant book they’ve read, or what film they’ve seen..

• August 10th, 2011 • Posted in Books • Comments: 0

Kindle Price Promotion on Winter Song

The word from Robot Towers is that those nice folks at amazon are doing a price promotion on Kindle for a range of Angry Robot Books; until August 31st, if you live in the UK and you have a Kindle, you can buy Winter Song for the ludicrously cheap price of 99p a copy.

And if you want more (why? <g>) there are fifteen other titles you can pick up as well. The full list is available at Angry Robot’s website.

• July 13th, 2011 • Posted in Books • Comments: 0

Displacement Reviewed at Innsmouth Free Press

In which our author celebrates an excellent review of a book that in internet terms has been out about a million years, and explains why.

About eighteen months ago Swimming Kangaroo Books published my debut collection Displacement. Unfortunately, despite several attempts to reshedule it, it ended up coming out less than two weeks after publication of Winter Song

It’s difficult -verging on impossible- to adequately promote two books simultaneously.  Anything less than a six month gap between them risks leaving one or both inadequately promoted. 

And because one was a break-out novel from a major house, versus a small press collection, unsurprisingly Displacement’s publication was lost in the blizzard of noise about Winter Song, and the subsequent shenanigans about the restructuring of Angry Robot.

By the time I got a chance to focus on Displacement, in the ephemeral nature of modern publishing, it was old news, and reviewers prepared to review small press collections are in any event, limited.

Which is why when it does get a nice review, I want to celebrate it.

Author, editor and critic Paula R Stiles has given Displacement a  thorough, considered, and generally favourable review over at Innsmouth Free Press. Which is not to say that she hasn’t pointed what she felt I could have done better, but when that happens the words of praise feel as if they’ve been rather more earned than a more gushing review.

I’m hoping to make a couple more posts about older books over the next couple of weeks, while continuing to look forward.

• June 8th, 2011 • Posted in Reviews • Comments: 0

Guest Blog

Award winning author Aliette de Bodard was kind enough to offer me the chance to guest post on her blog. For reasons that I make clear on the blog, I decided to talk about Winter Song, which proved to be an interesting exercise. It’s been so long since I’ve worked on the book that it was like revisiting an old home. The actual blog post is here – do drop by to read it, and while you’re at it, have a poke around the rest of Aliette’s site, which is one of the most fascinating on t’net.

• March 30th, 2011 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Happy Anniversary, House

 As I mentioned on yesterday‘s Film Blog, I didn’t plan on posting today due to lack of time (it’s the nine-hour lecture day…except that I just realized that I’ve been planning on catching the bus at nine when I should actually already be in the lecture!!!)

But it’s not every day that one racks up eight years living in the same house. So, happy anniversary, house.

And to justify posting this as a blog entry rather than a tweet, here’s a nice review of Winter Song. Because the novel came out last year, new reviews have been thinner on the ground than when it was first published in the UK. So a nice one now is an unexpected bonus.

• November 22nd, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Winter Song in Detroit

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes.

I was going to take the day off, but the weather is so bad that we’re stuck indoors so I have little option to stay in and blog…especially since I’m still not a hundred per cent. Which brings me as neatly (and as lamely) as a Radio 2 presenter to today’s post…. 

About six weeks ago, a friend wrote to me about a visit to a Detroit bookstore.  A couple of days ago, while confined to bed, I recieved an update:  “The thieves have apparently had their fill {and stock is in]: note that Winter Song is shelved between Charlaine Harris and Erica Hayes. Apparently the bookstore thinks Winter Song is vampire porn. Congrats, Colin, that’s a good market to be in!”

Hey, do you see me complaining? I’ll take vampire porn anyday…except that it doesn’t appear to be Winter Song — it’s been so successful that we’ve had to cunningly disguise it as Damage Time

Joking apart, that’s been a feature of the two books coming out so soon after each other — one sells through, and the other one takes its place.  It happened in Bath, as well. Does that mark a new trend, of short-life displays.

• November 11th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 4

Friday Bloggage

 As part of my Making A Film elective requirements, I’ve started a new blog which –like all the others in my class– needs to be on Blogger.com (I guess if my lecturer needs to read thirty blogs at a time, it helps if they’re all in one place!). Probably my second biggest time-sink over the next thirty days is going to be the Film Group.

As part of my course, a team of six of us have to shoot an eight to ten minute film the weekend of the 20th and 21st. The preparation for that is going to be huge — and none of us have any idea how long it will take. Part of that preparation is to blog about it, and if you’re interested, the link is here. Feedback is welcome — oh, and there’ll be lots of links to short films which are far superior to mine.   

You’ll notice that I said ‘second biggest time sink.’ The biggest? Well, that comes with good and bad news, from my pov.

First the good news: I have to work at the Eye Hospital for two days next week, two days the week after, with an option of a further two weeks work on the same basis. That brings in some critical cash to ease the shortfall of about a grand’s worth of income that fell through over the summer.

Now the bad news: I have to work at the Eye Hospital for two days next week, two days the week after, with an option of a further two weeks work on the same basis. I’m already fighting to juggle priorities, and I’ve just lost 14 to 16 hours a week.

But on the whole, it’s more good news than bad. I just need to raise my game still another notch.

Back to the new blog…

When I signed on, I suddenly realized that I already had a blog there,  my first attempt at a bespoke blog, about three years ago.

And boy does it show.

But one interesting post, which was supposed to be the first of a series, is some of the outlining process involved in Winter  Song, which is here. I haven’t sat down and analyzed how far away (or how close) this version is to the final one — it might be an interesting exercise — if I had the time. 

Meanwhile, I have a short non-fiction piece to write for my Feature Journalism elective, a horror story to write for Halloween (and my Genre Fiction elective) and a couple of pages for Black Death, which is my Creative Workshop piece this year. But at least today’s bit of Ultramassive is revised.

Onward!

• October 22nd, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Another Guest Blog

Some time ago, I made a conscious decision to switch off Google alerts — since I have a namesake who also writes about SF, and I also share a name with an England footballer of the 60′s and 70′s, a disproportionately large number of Google alerts had naff all to do with me. (And it’s even worse if you set GA to work on titles…you would not believe how many alerts come up based on ‘Winter’ and ‘Song’!)

However, this does occasionally backfire — as in the case of ‘Filming Winter Song‘ which is over at Andy Remic’s Blog. In fact, it’s been over there for a week now; Andy has had major problems with internet connectivity, and I should have kept an eye out for it. My bad.

So without further ado, here’s the link to Andy’s blog, where you can read all about his war with Sky and E.On, his tenth novel, and if you scroll down the pages a ways, my first thoughts on how the worlds of film and print might overlap in the case of my own fiction. 

Maybe I’ll have a go at writing one for Damage Time, as well.

• October 20th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 1

Genre Fiction

Into Bath yesterday to pick up some books, and (if I’m honest) to check on the state of play of Damage Time. Waterstones had four copies, although there was no sign of Winter Song, which is a tad disappointing, but hey ho. Then off to Toppings, where there were none. Hmm, have to speak to Rachel about that.

The man in Toppings offered tea or coffee to anyone who was interested, which I accepted. I of course then felt obliged to buy a couple of books, which was probably his intention all along. But by checking my Genre Fiction Reading List, I found a couple of gaps.

It’s actually a helluva reading list, comprising among others:

Alternate History:

Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle

Christopher Priest, The Separation

Keith Roberts, Pavane

Children’s Fantasy / Crossover

Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising

Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

Philip Pullman, Northern Lights

Fantasy

Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Dart

Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber

Robin Hobb, Assassin’s Apprentice

Robert Holdstock, Mythago Wood

Guy Gavriel Kay, The Summer Tree

Tanith Lee, Forests of the Night

China Mieville, Perdido Street Station

J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

Terri Windling, The Wood Wife

Horror

Karen Armstrong, Bitten

Clive Barker, Weaveworld

H.P. Lovecraft, The Haunter of the Dark

Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire

Bram Stoker, Dracula

SF

Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Iain M Banks, The Player of Games

Frank Herbert, Dune

Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber

Maureen McHugh, China Mountain Zhang

Kim Stanley Robinson, Forty Signs of Rain

Bruce Sterling, (ed.) Mirrorshades

Connie Willis, To Say Nothing of the Dog

Robert Charles Wilson, Bios

David Zindell, Neverness

Slipstream

Isabel Allende, Eva Luna

J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition

Jorge Luis Borges, Fictions

Helluva list, isn’t it? Of course everyone has their own choices — I’d substitute Pacific Edge for Forty Kinds of Rain, and where are Bester, Silverberg and Delany? But on the whole, it’s a pretty good list; of the 34 titles, I’ve barely read half of them, and that’s just the spec-fic part.

The set texts include Carrie, and then next up is Jetse de Vries’ anthology Shine. I’m looking forward to this module.

• October 8th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 1

Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three…

In an attempt to nail the WordPress / Facebook interface issue, I updated the Damage Time  page this morning; it was long overdue — I hadn’t realized that the pages still said April / June release. Me bad.

Of course, Damage Time  is out on Thursday. Bloody hell, that’s Thursday! It’s sort of snuck up on me. And the release date for the US is the 26th. Where Winter Song was recently the #1 selling title in Barnes & Noble! (so those drop bins worked then…)

The page cross-posted, so this blog is to see whether the blog is now cross-posting as well, or whether that’s where the problem lies…so here goes nothing.

I’ll stick one of the pictures that accompanied the extracts from Damage Time on here as well. Originally posted in April, I’ll have to re-issue them, so to speak. But that’s for another day — today I have Genre Fiction with the lovely Lucy English. Oh well, at least I should be spared the patronizing ‘I don’t mean to disparage Genre Fiction – but…’ that one of yesterday’s lecturers came out with.

Ta ra for now!

• October 5th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0