Wednesday, 29 January 2014

What makes a best seller?

That is a question I have asked myself many times over the last eighteen months. Holding Richmond hit the ground running -- Okay, seven sales in one weekend is a good start -- but the book entered the sales forum at the height of the "Twilight" craze. At the end of 2012 HR hit another good spell and sold a further seven copies in three months.

I got pilloried on one site for showing vampires as being unsexy and vile creatures of the night. As I said at the time, my vampires are based on the German Nosferatu played by Max Schreck

Anything less like "Twilight" I cannot imagine, there is nothing sparkly or sexy about the vampires in Holding Richmond. These creatures of the darkest fears of mankind are loathsome. Is that a reason for the books success I wonder? People got tired of sexy, young and sparkly things and went back to the 1920s imagery. 

I make no bones about it -- I like B&W films of this era -- and many of my stories are written in this style, whether it's the dark and sombre vampires of Holding Richmond or the Noire style of Pat Canella, I enjoy writing in the tight style of these stories, Pat was praised for her -- yes, her -- depiction of police procedural worm by a former Queensland police sergeant I chatted with. 

 Pat Canella is on the flip side of the coin to HR, she is coming up to two and apart from some sales on on the Waterstone's site in the UK, she has yet to sell at Amazon.

Unlike "Chronicles" or "A Sailor's Love" I wrote the story in under two hours for an entry in a UK contest, unfortunately it was too short for the contest and never entered. Another story I wrote at that time did though. "Did we see him?" my third best selling story was entered into a contest -- it didn't get anywhere -- and has gone onto greater glories on line. I plan to write a follow up to both HR & DWSH, if time permits. 

One factor which may bring sales is the mix of American history, vampires and an alternate history, add to that the what if? factor and you may be getting an idea of why it does well. So far it is the only book to get beyond fifteen sales -- well beyond -- as HR is on its way to the twenty-five mark and possibly even thirty. 
The most likely reason for its success is borne out by a recent study in the USA, which showed readers are favouring shorter reads. The lack of reading in my opinion is brought on by video games and dvds. I never had any and was an avid reader by the age of 7, the first thing I hunt out when I move is the nearest library.

To go back to my question, I have no idea why HR did well, "Chronicles" went well with five sales on its launch in June 2012 but since then it has done little.

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