Wednesday, 4 April 2018

R.I.P. Kindle Scout

Goodbye, Kindle Scout, it was fun.

Back in February Kindle Scout stopped selecting books. The weeks passed, and speculation grew. No books chosen for four weeks, five, six... then the announcement appeared on the site.

With hindsight, the signs have been there since the end of summer 2017, after the Kindle Scout/Press team changed. Megan, who everyone liked, was promoted to Montlake, Amazon's romance imprint. The new team encouraged NaNoWriMo authors to submit their books to Kindle Scout, which struck me as quite odd - they wanted books that had been written in four weeks, only a month afterwards so with minimal revision? Then they offered critiques to the top non-selected books. I didn't understand this. Why spend time and money on books you are not going to publish?

Kindle Press will continue, but the new team do things their own way:
  • They have announced that Kindle Press is no longer interested in sequels, just the first book in a series or a standalone.
  • Though some books still get good promotions such as Bookbubs, this seems to happen less frequently. Instead books are getting price drops without accompanying promotion.
  • Kindle Press will no longer update the back matter to include links to later books in a series, even though when a reader has finished Book 1, that is the very point at which she needs a link to Book 2. 
  • And of course, new authors won't be offered contracts through Kindle Scout.
So what happens now to Kindle Press authors? I love Kindle Press. I've sold over 10,000 copies of my first two Time Rats novels because they were KP books. I wear my KP tee shirt with pride. But nothing lasts forever, and everything changes.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Future Warrior is out!

I've just clicked Publish on KDP, and the third in my Time Rats trilogy is out in the world, blinking in the sudden light and hoping someone will buy it. For the first week the price is a bit lower than it will be, at £1.99/$2.99.

In Future Warrior (Time Rats Book 3) readers meet Quinn's son Cato, who is a student at Cambridge and not surprisingly has a difficult relationship with his father. (You would too, if your father was Ansel Quinn.) Liam Roth has a main role in this book, and I particularly enjoyed writing his scenes. In this new version of 2135 he is not rich and successful, but scrapes a living as a barista with a part-time market stall selling old books. He is determined to escape his poverty whatever it takes. And of course, in this timeline he has not met Floss, and has no idea why Angel is somewhat reserved with him.

Having finally got over Kayla, Jace is trying to meet someone new, and goes on a series of disastrous dates. Angel doesn't understand why he doesn't just ask Floss out...

I've formatted the paperback with Createspace, and am currently waiting for the proof to arrive. It'll be available very soon. I've made it so that anyone buying one of my paperbacks will be able to get the ebook free.

I'm raising a virtual glass of champagne to the success of my latest novel.  Cheers!

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Russian assassins, real and fictional

Five years ago I wrote Wolf by the Ears, a novel involving a Russian oligarch. The spark for the story came from the death of Boris Berezovsky, which struck me as decidedly fishy and unlikely to be suicide, which was the official verdict. The Oscar Pistorius case happened about the same time, and it was striking how every last detail of that murder was reported, while we were given almost no information at all about Boris Berezovsky.

My conclusion was that the Kremlin had picked their moment to get rid of an enemy who was working against them. Berezovsky had just lost a hugely expensive lawsuit against Abramovich, a buddy of Putin's, and faced financial ruin. (You can read a long article about their feud here.) Badri Patarkatsishvili, who was present at a key meeting between the two men and was to have testified in support of Berezovsky, had died in 2008, allegedly of a heart attack. That left Judge Gloster, with no concrete evidence, to decide which of the men was lying about a verbal agreement. She decided in favour of the more personable candidate, Abramovich. Berezovsky trusted our legal system and our police because they are not corrupt like Russia's, and both let him down.

I did a lot of research into other mysterious deaths of Russian nationals on British soil, which turned out to be both fascinating and worrying. The FSB is known to research methods of killing undetectably, and Putin passed a law in 2006 making it legal to kill Russian traitors on foreign soil. It seemed to me that our government was turning a blind eye in order not to get on bad terms with Russia. The Kremlin knew this and took advantage of it. I cringed at photos of David Cameron cosying up to Putin. 

For more details of possible assassinations, see this Buzzfeed article. Our government's timidity bears some responsibility for the recent attack in Salisbury.

I seem to be writing about politics, something I generally avoid. What I really want to do is sell books. So if you haven't read Wolf by the Ears, why not take a look? It's a good read, and topical.

Friday, 23 February 2018

TIME RATS 3 is on Kindle Scout

It's that all too rare occasion when I have completed a new book. Hurrah! This one is Future Warrior, (Time Rats Book 3).

Normally I post when I reach the magic 60,000 word count, my personal point of no return; but perhaps with this novel being the last in a trilogy, I found the final few chapters hard to write so went a bit quiet. I had a particular struggle with the villain's come-uppance, and I'd tell you about it except it would be a terrible spoiler. You'll probably understand why when you read it. Here's the ebook cover:

In this book the timeline has switched and Liam Roth, instead of being the rich and successful owner of a vast internet gambling empire, is struggling to make ends meet working as a barista and living in a grotty high-rise. And you get to meet Quinn's son, Cato, in 2063.

As with the first two Time Rats novels, I've put it on Kindle Scout for a thirty day campaign to see whether Kindle Press wants to publish it. If they do, and you've nominated it, you will get a free copy of the ebook when it comes out. To nominate TR3, go here.

If it's not selected I'll self-publish it immediately, and have an introductory price of 99p for a few days. Sign up for my mailing list and I'll let you know. (I should say my mailing list is only ever used to tell fans I have a new book out.)