The latest KDP Select promotion has been a blast! This one was for three days whereas the previous one was two days, but here are some comparisons.
Last time the bulk of the downloads were UK. This time it was the other way around and US (or more accurately, Amazon.com) saw the majority of the action. In fact there were more than twice as many downloads from Amazon.com alone than there were worldwide last time.
Last time Convictions hit number one in store for free downloads in the UK. This time, the overall chart position was lower. The UK high was 37 (I think). But this time, the book also got into the top 100 in the US, with a high of 15. And in both US and UK, it made number 1 in the Police Procedurals chart.
The last of the free download figures have just about finished trickling in from the US. The book went back to being charged about an hour earlier UK than US, so I’ve already started to see sales kicking in there. In fact, it’s now back up to number 27 in the Police Procedurals chart (paid this time, of course) which is brilliant!
Convictions was downloaded from every Amazon outlet but Italy. And UK and US sales of my other books, especially Gone Bad, have been very good indeed.
I’m happy to chalk this up as another successful promotion. Massive thanks to everyone who downloaded and/or bought books. I hope you enjoy reading them.
We’re about two-thirds of the way through the current Convictions KDP Select free promotion, and it has turned out both different to the last one and, in terms of downloads, phenomenally more successful.
It’s different in that while last time far more downloads came from the UK than the US, this time it has been the other way round. It’s been more successful in that by the time we hit the halfway point of this (three day) promotion, there had already been more downloads in the US alone than there were worldwide at the end of the last (two day) one.
I think that’s pretty amazing and to celebrate I’m making Heartbreaker free as well, for one day only.
So until midnight PST Sunday (about 8 a.m. Monday in the UK) both Convictions and Heartbreaker are free for you to download. You can get them from Amazon: here are the links for the UK and the US.
Can’t be bad. Happy Easter!
Howard Linskey was originally from Ferryhill in County Durham, which made us practically neighbours, although he's moved around a fair bit since then and now lives with his wife and daughter in Hertfordshire. He has worked as a barman, journalist, catering manager and marketing manager for a celebrity chef, as well as in a variety of sales and account management jobs. He has written for newspapers, magazines and web sites on a number of subjects.
Howard's debut novel, The Drop, was one of my top five reads of last year. The follow-up has just been published, and he was kind enough to stop by and talk about it.
Tell me about your book.
My new book is The Damage, published on April 2nd, which is the follow up to my debut novel The Drop. It follows reluctant Geordie crime firm boss, David Blake, as he tries to avoid becoming the victim of a gangland hit.
What was your motivation for writing it?
I wanted to write a story that showed the reality of life as a gangster. It’s not that glamorous and it must involve huge stress, with the constant fear of imprisonment, injury or death.
How long did it take you to complete?
This one took me a year.
What's your favourite part of the creative process?
The fine tuning when you are almost there and you finally like what you have produced. I tend to not be so keen on the first draft of anything I write because I am pretty hard on myself. Starting a new book is always hard, knowing that you have about a year of hard slog and 90,000 words to go!
How much difference does an editor make?
A huge difference. That second set of eyes is really important to me. They make me question everything and cut out anything that slows down the turning of pages. I was lucky to work with Keshini Naidoo on The Damage because she is a great editor.
How important is a good title?
Along with the cover it’s the first thing you notice, so I guess it needs to be both catchy and evocative. That way someone might actually take the time and trouble to read the blurb on the back cover and hopefully you can reel them in.
How important is a good cover?
I did an event at ‘Wordfest’ the other day and members of the audience all admitted that they really do judge a book by its cover, so it seems they are hugely important. I’ve been lucky with mine though. Alan Forster’s cover designs for The Drop and The Damage are superb.
What are your views on e-book pricing?
It’s a bit all over the place at the moment but I am sure it will settle down eventually.
What aspects of marketing your book do you enjoy?
Anything that involves meeting people. It’s great to chat to crime fiction fans at signings and events. That’s what I enjoy the most.
How do you feel about interviews?
I quite enjoy them and I’m getting a bit more used to them second time around. I used to be a journalist, so I have interviewed stacks of people but I’d never been on the receiving end of the questions until The Drop was published last year.
How do you feel about reviews?
They were universally positive for The Drop, so there was nothing for me to get upset about but ask me again in a month after The Damage has been reviewed and I might feel differently! My attitude is you should bask in the afterglow of a good review but not take a bad one too seriously. Just keep on doing what you are doing. Writing is very subjective so I wouldn’t take a negative review too personally … I hope!
Where do you find out about new books?
I get recommendations from friends and read reviews but usually I do it the proper way, by browsing the shelves of my local book shops until I discover something I like the look of. To be honest I struggle to get the time just to read all of the books that friends have written these days, so I am always in a permanent state of guilt.
What are you reading now?
JJ Connolly’s Viva La Madness which is great so far. I bought it because he is adapting The Drop for TV and I was very keen to read his follow up to Layer Cake.
What makes you keep reading a book?
If the story is fast paced and I care about the characters enough to want to know what happens to them, I’ll keep turning the pages, particularly if I can’t actually spot the ending before I reach it.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve just finished a short story for Paul D Brazill’s Brit Grit Too which was interesting, as I had never written one before. I’m having a bit of a break from writing while I plot my next book.
How can we keep up to date with your news?
I have a really good page on my publisher’s site and I have my own web site too.
Other than writing/being published, do you have a claim to fame?
No, it’s only ever been writing with me. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a one-trick pony.
What would your epitaph be?
When I finally snuff it, all I really want carved on my tombstone is ‘Howard Linskey – Top Five Thriller Writer of the Year 2011 – The Times’. That’ll do me! Don’t even need any dates or a RIP. It’s my ‘they can’t take that away from me’ moment.
Thanks for an interesting and informative Q&A, Howard. Good luck with The Damage, and I can't wait to see The Drop on TV!
Howard's books are available from Amazon in the UK and US.
March was a pretty successful month for me and my books, and so far April seems happy to keep the party going.
For starters, I'm delighted that Gone Bad has been nominated for a Spinetingler Award in the Best Short Story Collection category. If you have enjoyed the book, I’d be grateful if you’d take a moment to vote for it.And while you’re there, charity collection Off The Record is up for Best Anthology. (Hint hint!)Thank you! (Voting is open until the end of April.)
The first issue of Grift magazine is out — I got mine the other day and it looks great! Loads of articles and terrific fiction from people including Ken Bruen, Lawrence Block and Chris F. Holm. There’s even an interview Chris Rhatigan did with me and it goes without saying that I’m over the moon to be in there. Sincere thanks to Chris and to editor John Kenyon for the opportunity. Convictions played a blinder during last month’s free promotion and has continued to sell steadily ever since. (Heartbreaker did well when it was free, but nowhere near as well as Convictions. And, oddly, where Convictions was more popular in the UK, Heartbreaker did better, on a ratio of about 2:1, in the US.)
Convictions is free again from Amazon this weekend, from today until midnight PST Sunday. It’ll be interesting to see if the UK bias kicks in again this time — and even more interesting to see if it can do as well second time around. Wish me luck! (And if you didn’t pick up a copy last time it was free, please grab one this time. Thank you!)Quick clicks: Amazon.uk and Amazon.com
There have been some great books published recently in the crime genre, so I thought I’d do a quick round up of some of the ones that have caught my eye.
Abide With Me: Ian Ayris
This is an absolute cracker of a book and definitely a favourite of mine. It’s a coming of age story full of brutality and compassion, hurt and hope. Lovely stuff.
Snapshots: Paul D. Brazill
Twenty-one short, sharp snapshots of the dark side of life, as seen the booze and blood splattered chiaroscuro lens of the irrepressible Paul D. Brazill. Can’t be bad!
The Damage: Howard Linskey
Newcastle gangster David Blake is back in the much-anticipated sequel to debut novel The Drop, also highly recommended. And I’m delighted to say that Howard will be here on Saturday with a Q&A, so watch out for that.
The Late Greats: Nick Quantrill
Another sequel, in this case the follow-up to Broken Dreams. Both books feature Hull PI Joe Geraghty, a flawed and complex character driven as much by misplaced guilt as the need to see justice done.
One of Us: Iain Rowan
The debut novel from an award-winning writer, and one I’ve been looking forward to for ages. Illegal immigrant Anna gets the chance to gain proper identification papers, but at a price ... how much is she prepared to give up to be one of us?
Frank’s Wild Years: Nick Triplow
This is a cracker, a tale of betrayal and redemption steeped in whisky and blood, and another personal favourite.
So there you go — six of the best. (And if that wasn’t enough, my own debut novel Convictions is free again for three days from tomorrow. Happy Easter!)
Designer goods, beautiful women, wealthy men, a lifestyle preyed on by a serial killer.
A killer who is watching everyone, including the police.
No, an outline of my second novel, Mr. Glamour.
My debut novel Apostle Rising was published in paperback by Black Jackal Books last year. It was about a serial killer crucifying politicians, and sold extremely well, received excellent reviews, and sold foreign rights to the largest publisher in Hungary.
Now Black Jackal Books have published Mr. Glamour, and I’d like to tell you a bit about it.
The settings are exotic, and the pages drip with wealth. The story’s told in my usual style, and my readers will know what that means. I have been told I write with a blend of lyricism and graphic description. I like to explore what motivates people and I certainly do so with the leading characters in Mr. Glamour. The two central cops, DCI Jackson Flare and Inspector Steele, are unusual and strong in their own ways, as reviewers are already picking up. At the beginning of the novel Steele hates working with Flare for personal reasons. She doesn’t by the end, and the investigation takes them both on a journey which changes them and their opinions of one another.Let me give you the setting if you are tempted to read Mr. Glamour.Something dark is preying on the glitz of the glamour set. There is a lot about designer goods and lifestyles in Mr. Glamour. The killer knows all about design, he knows what brands mean to his victims. He is branding their skins. And he has the police stumped. As Flare and Steele investigate the killings they enter an exclusive world with its own rules and quickly realise the man they are looking for is playing a game with them, a game they cannot interpret. The killer is targeting an exclusive group of people he seems to know a lot about. The police investigation isn’t helped by the fact that Flare and Steele have troubled lives. Harlan White, a pimp who got on the wrong side of Flare, is planning to have him killed. And Steele has secrets. She leads a double life. She is an interesting woman who pushes her sexual boundaries in private. She travels a journey into her own past and rescues herself. And in a strange way she is helped by the killer she is looking for. And Flare has some revelations in store.As they try to catch a predator who has climbed inside their heads, they find themselves up against a wall of secrecy. The investigation drives Flare and Steele to acts of darkness. And the killer is watching everyone.Then there is the sub plot.Contrasting this lifestyle is the suburban existence of Gertrude Miller, who acts out strange rituals, trapped in a sterile marriage to husband Ben. She cleans compulsively and seems to be hiding something from him, obsessed that she is being followed. As she slips into a psychosis, characters from the glamorous set stray into Gertrude’s world, so the two plots dovetail neatly with one another.And when Flare and Steele make an arrest they discover there is far more to this glamorous world than they realised. There is a series of shocks at the end of the novel as a set of fireworks go off. Watch out for the highly dramatic ending.It is already picking up some great reviews.
Advance praise for Mr. Glamour:“Richard Godwin knows how his characters dress, what they drink and what they drive. He knows how they live--- and how they die. Here's hoping no one recognized themselves in Godwin's cold canvas. Combines the fun of a good story with the joy of witty, vivid writing.”Heywood Gould, author of The Serial Killer's Daughter.“Smart, scary, suspenseful enough for me to keep the light on until 3AM on a Sunday night, Richard Godwin once more proves to fans of crime fiction the world over with Mr. Glamour, that he is not only one of the best contemporary writers of the procedural cop thriller around today, he is a master storyteller.” Vincent Zandri, author of Scream Catcher.“Richard Godwin’s top-of-the-line psychological police procedural driven by its heady pace, steely dialogue, and unsparing vision transfixes the reader from page one.” Ed Lynskey, author of Skin In The Game.“Mr. Glamour is a striking effort from one of the most daring crime writers in the business. It is the noirest of noir...and hellishly addictive.”Mike Stafford, BookGeeks Magazine.“This first rate detective thriller will have you gripped from the start. Richard Godwin is an author not to be missed.”Sheila Quigley, author of Thorn In My Side.“Mr Glamour is, in every sense of the word, the real McCoy: genuine hard boiled detective fiction. Lean, gritty, and tough, it’s a journey into the heart of darkness ... you won’t soon forget. Connoisseurs of Nouveau Noir will have to add Richard Godwin to the list of writers to watch!”C E Lawrence, author of Silent Kills.“Involving and compellingly sinister, Richard Godwin’s Mr. Glamour portrays cops and criminals, the mad and the driven in a novel of psychological noir. Read it while snuggling with your stuffed teddy bear for comfort.”Gary Phillips, author of Treacherous: Grifters, Ruffians and Killers. “This is one outstanding novel written by one amazing author.”Fran Lewis Review.I think Mr. Glamour will appeal to mystery and crime aficionados, to readers interested in psychological profiling and designer lifestyles, to thriller and noir fans, and to anyone who enjoys a fast paced narrative with strong characters.Mr. Glamour can be bought now at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, at all good retailers online and in stores in April. If you Google it you should see a range of options come up.And you can find out more about me at my website, and my stories here.