Saturday, 27 July 2013

Books - More Fun Please!

I read The Bookseller today and felt inspired to share my thoughts!

In the current edition, e-book vs paperback fiction is mentioned. It's expected that e-books are going to overtake paperbacks next year in sales volume, but it is predicted that sales revenues will still drop, due to the lower price of e-books.

This caused me to think about books in general, and why people are not buying new books. When I decided to write, I really wanted to write for the average person, who just wants to have fun reading. I personally think that most books are too serious. For people who've read my biography, you will know my wide experience in different jobs, and that is exactly what inspired me to NOT write 'realistic' stories. Life is wonderful but it's also sad, harsh and boring. 

Let me give you an example. Being a doorman doesn't involve constant fighting, stopping brawls and so on - actually 95% of the time you'll be standing in the doorway freezing cold, with 10 layers of clothing on, thinking about a warm bed, but you still have to be aware of everything that's going on around you, just in case. Likewise, being in the army doesn't involve people going on missions and fighting all the time. There is a lot of boot polishing, keeping things tidy, marching and - once again -being cold!

Anyway, my point is that realistic books are not always FUN - and there is nothing wrong with a bit of fun!

In my opinion, the average person wants to be entertained. We all have problems and I don't thing that after a hard day most of us want to read about more problems. I think most of us would prefer an 'easy' read. Most of the books coming out in recent years are a bit too serious for the average person, and that definitely includes me! Where has the fun gone? When did everyone become so serious? 

The Young Adult genre is generally a bit more over the top, with a lot more fun - and strangely enough, research has shown that these are predominantly read by adults and not teens:

More than half the consumers of books classed as for Young Adults are over 18, according to research drawn from data on US readers by Bowker.
Fifty-five per cent of buyers of YA books, designated by publishers as works for young adults aged 12 to 17, are 18 or older, according to the Bowker Market Research survey, the biannual "Understanding the Children's Book Consumer in the Digital Age" report.
The largest segment were aged 30 to 44, accounting for 28 % of sales, with the adults responding that 78% of the time they are buying their books for their own reading.
Source: The Bookseller
Why is this? Is it just that we all want to read entertaining books but are afraid to admit it because we shouldn't be associated with 'that' sort of book?

In conclusion, I think that unless the book industry starts to recognize the desires of the average reader, book sales will carry on falling!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Bestseller

Recent events surrounding J.K. Rowling's pseudonymous novel 'The Cuckoo's Calling' has stirred up loads of talking.

J.K. Rowling's new book received very good reviews, had a good cover etc, but this still didn't do anything for the sales figures.

'Nielsen BookScan data reveals 17,662 copies of the hardback were sold in the seven-day period ending 20th July—up from just 43 copies the previous week—putting Rowling in third place in the chart. It sold fewer than 500 copies in its three–month period on sale before the Sunday Times' sensational exposé' - The Bookseller

That brings me to the conclusion - and it reinforces what I've been writing about previously- that the reviews, the artwork and so on don't really make a big difference in sales. Books being in the shops do.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2013

Well, this year's event was the biggest one so far. Over 14,000 tickets sold! Although it didn't feel overly packed, as it is so well organized.

On Thursday my wife and I attended the opening party. It was unusually warm for Yorkshire, with a beautiful evening setting over Harrogate town, and the arrival of so many amazing authors to one location made it particularly exciting!

The new addition of wigwam tents outside the hotel was a very good idea, especially locating the book shop there was superb! I think that WHSmith did a marvelous job! I also want to thank the lovely staff at WHSmith for donating a ticket for the opening ceremony to my wife.

We met up with my editor Ali, my publicist Ben, and many other members of Headline Publishing and together we waited the nail biting moments to hear the announcement of the winner. This year we had a deserved case of deja vu - Denise Mina! Congratulations!

Over the next 3 days we had great fun and met a lot of people - Chris Carter, Lyndsey Faye, Julia Crouch, Tom Wood, Simon Kernick, Colette McBeth, Claire McGowan, Stav Sherez and Elly Griffiths, to name just a few!

I highly recommend the event to all crime and thriller fans. It's predominantly crime but you can meet thriller writers too!

The only thing I wanted to say it's such a shame that there isn't anything like this purely for the thriller genre, like ThrillerFest in the US (http://www.thrillerfest.com/). So here's a thought - lets not forget thrillers, and try to get a thriller festival going on here in the UK too!

What do you all think?