Monday, June 27, 2011

The Basement Still In The UK Top 10

Figures out today from The Bookseller magazine shows The Basement is still in the Top 10. It's funny because it's been an eBook bestseller for more than six months now but the only time they have used my name is when it's fallen five places! Maybe I'm just being paranoid! I think the only writer who has spent more time in the UK Top 10 is Stieg Larsson.

Also, I have to say that I'm pretty sure The Bookseller is wrong because The Basement has been Number 5 or 6 on the UK KIndle store chart all week and in the Top 4 of the iBooks chart.....

Anyway, here's what the magazine had to say today!

Philip Stone, charts editor: For the third week in a row, crime-writer Karin Slaughter's The Unremarkable Heart, Random House Group's first ever direct-to-digital fiction title, takes top spot in The Bookseller's e-bestseller list.

Last week's number two, Stephen Leather's The Basement, falls five places to seventh overall, while George R R Martin's A Game of Thrones, the first installment in his epic medieval fantasy series, A Song of Fire and Ice, climbs three places into second position - off the back of solid downloads at, and Apple's iBookstore. All three retailers (as well as WHSmith) are selling the ebook at £5.49 — two pence dearer than the print edition's average selling price at UK bookstores last week. The second book in the series, A Clash of Kings, re-joins the chart in 10th position, while Rosamund Lupton's AfterwardsCaitlin Moran's and How to be a Woman are the two new entries.

Lupton's first novel, Sister, was one of the bestselling bestselling novels of 2010 thanks to a spot in WHS's Richard and Judy book club, while sales of Times columnist Moran's memoir/rant has benefited from an extract in her employer's own magazine.

Pos Title Author
1 (1) The Unremarkable Heart Karin Slaughter
2 (5) A Game of Thrones George R R Martin
3 (4) Catch Your Death Voss and Edwards
4 (3) Life and Laughing Michael McIntyre
5 (8) Killing Cupid Voss and Edwards
6 (-) Afterwards Rosamund Lupton
7 (2) The Basement Stephen Leather
8 (6) London Calling James Craig
9 (-) How to be a Woman Caitlin Moran
10 (-) A Clash of Kings George R R Martin

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Basement hits Number 2!

The Basement has just reached Number 2 in The Bookseller magazine eBook bestseller list. This is what the magazine says today -

Philip Jones writes: There is nothing remarkable about the number one title this week in our e-book bestseller chart with Karin Slaughter reigning supreme for a second-consecutive week. The 49 pence e-book exclusive is riding high in both the Amazon Kindle and Apple iBook charts: though it is not currently number one in either list, its culmulative total takes its above The Basement, which sits below it in both charts.

There are some notable new entries in this week's list, with the most newsworthy James Craig's London Calling, the first part of his Inspector Carlyle series that has been released digitally early by its publisher Constable & Robinson. The B-format print edition is not released until August.

The Kindle edition is promotionally priced at £1. Constable & Robinson has signed up to publish the first three books in the series. Mommy, May I? by A K Alexander is the follow-up to Daddy's Home - both self-published.

Pos Title Author
1 (1) The Unremarkable Heart Karin Slaughter
2 (7) The Basement Stephen Leather
3 (2) Life and Laughing Michael McIntyre
4 (5) Catch Your Death Voss and Edwards
5 (3) A Game of Thrones George R R Martin
6 (-) London Calling James Craig
7 (-) Mommy, May I? A K Alexander
8 (10) Killing Cupid Voss and Edwards
9 (-) Star Sullivan Maeve Binchy
10 (5) The Family Martina Cole

Actually Karin Slaughter's book isn't really a book - it's a short story and an excerpt from her new novel at a special low price. But her fans are buying it so who am I to argue?

Some great news from US Indie writer John Locke - he's become the latest author to sell a million copies on Kindle. He did it in about five months. I'm some way behind - close to 300,000 - but then I don't have as many cheap books for sale as he did. In a way it would be great if my publisher were to cut the prices of all my backlist - I'd hit a million within months. But that's not going to happen and at £4.99 a copy it's hard to get the big sales figures!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My New Free Short Story

I'm a great believer in giving away things for free. And giving away books and short stories is a great way of pulling in new readers. I gave away close to 40,000 PDF downloads of my book Private Dancer before publishing it as a paperback and I'm convinced that's one of the reasons it continues to sell so well.

Anyway, I'm planning to put up a free short story on Smashwords - the first of my Inspector Zhang stories. Inspector Zhang is a detective in SIngapore who loves mysteries but they are few and far between in the low-crime city state. He finally gets his wish when a dead body is found in a locked hotel room. The story is titled Inspector Zhang Gets His Wish and is about 8,000 words long. It has already been published in an anthology out of Singapore and sold by my good friend Phil Tatham at Monsoon Books. I'm planning to do a collection of short stories about Inspector Zhang and I though this might get some interest going - and also give me the incentive to write more. I already have five done but figure that I need a dozen to make a book.

I have asked Stuart Bache, who does many of my covers for Hodder and Stoughton, to come up with the cover and he's given me two great ideas to think about.

The one problem is going to be offering it on Kindle, as Amazon won't let self-publishers offer their work for free. I'll almost certainly have to sell it at the Amazon minimum (99 cents, equivalent to about 62p in the UK). Hopefully Amazon will eventually spot that it's free on Smashwords and will then do the same as part of their price-matching guarantee! We'll see.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Basement Is Still In The Top 10!

The Basement has now been in the Top 10 eBook bestseller list for six months, which I think is pretty good going! It's now selling 1,000 copies a week on iBooks alone!

Here's the latest list from The Bookseller Magazine -

Pos Title Author
1 (2) The Unremarkable Heart Karin Slaughter
2 (1) Life and Laughing Michael McIntyre
3 (4) A Game of Thrones George R R Martin
4 (5) Catch Your Death Voss and Edwards
5 (10) The Family Martina Cole
6 (3) Bone and Cane David Belbin
7 (9) The Basement Stephen Leather
8 (-) The Tiger's Wife Téa Obreht
9 (-) Confessions of a GP Benjamin Daniels
10 (-) Killing Cupid Voss and Edwards

Friday, June 10, 2011

Amazon Clamps Down On Titles

Amazon yesterday clamped down on a very clever marketing technique that got a book to the top of the UK Kindle lists. The book is Catch Your Death by Louise Voss and Mark Edwards, a writing due who have pulled every trick in the book to get their book into the Kindle bestseller list. Mark has a great blog at where he details his struggle to get his work noticed among the hundreds of thousands of eBooks.

Their smartest move was to actually title their work Catch Your Death (For fans of Dan Brown & Stieg Larsson). It was a brilliant thing to do, a technique that is often used by the big publishers. Hodder and Stoughton did a similar thing to promote my Spider Shepherd thriller Hot Blood. They put a sticker on it which said "Better Than McNab Or Your Money Back" and later went on to use a slogan which said "If You Like McNab, You'll Love Leather".

There's no doubt that cross-promotion like that works, and the clever use of the names of Brown and Larsson in the title is what helped propel their book to the top of the charts, even though truth be told neither the writing style nor the content has any connection at all with the two best-selling authors.

The fast rise to the top (it reached Number One after just four days in the Top 100) helped drag their first book, modestly titled Killing Cupid: The Gripping Stalker Thriller, with it, and it's today also in the Top 5.

I wasn't the only one who spotted the effectiveness of this technique, it was highlighted by Philip Jones of The Bookseller magazine who wrote - Voss and Edwards' Catch Your Death enters the charts thanks to a cheap price (95p on Amazon) and a stroke of bibliographic genius. The full title on Amazon is "Catch Your Death (for fans of Dan Brown & Stieg Larsson)". Ker-ching!

Ker-ching was right, with Voss and Edwards selling 1,500 copies A DAY!

Someone else who spotted the technique was James Craig, the Scottish author of London Calling. His book had made it into the KIndle UK Top 10 under its own steam. Early this week Craig cunningly changed the title of his book to London Calling (For fans of Ian Rankin) which at the time I thought was a bit of a stretch, but good luck to him.

Frankly I didn't think that Amazon would allow cross-promotion like that to continue for too long, I tried some time ago to add the words The Kindle Bestseller to one of my titles and it was immediately removed from publication until I took out the word "Kindle".

Yesterday they clearly stepped in to stop what Voss and Edwards and Craig were doing and both their titles have reverted to the norm - Catch Your Death and London Calling.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

One of the fascinating things about ePublishing just now is that no one really knows what the rules are and the Indie writers are pretty much making it up as they go along. It's going to be fascinating to see what Voss and Edwards come up with next!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Six Months On And Still Flying High!

The Bookseller magazine has just released its eBook bestseller list for last week and two of my titles are in the Top 10. Not bad considering they have both been in the Top 10 for six months now. The Basement has been helped by booming sales on iBooks where it is the bestselling book on the overall chart and Hard Landing is Number 2 in the iBooks Crime And Thriller Chart.

Pos Title Author
1 (-) Life and Laughing Michael McIntyre
2 (-) The Unremarkable Heart Karin Slaughter
3 (9) Bone and Cane David Belbin
4 (-) A Game of Thrones George R R Martin
5 (-) Catch Your Death Voss and Edwards
6 (-) The Confession John Grisham
7 (-) Water for Elephants Sara Gruen
8 (5) Hard Landing Stephen Leather
9 (7) The Basement Stephen Leather
10 (-) The Family Martina Cole

I have to say that while it's nice to be in The Bookseller chart, I don't think it's very accurate. For instance the Number 5 book Catch Your Death isn't available on iBooks and Sugar and Spice is Number 4 on the Kindle but not showing on The Bestseller list.