Friday, 20 May 2011

I Flatline at Weekends

I’ve been neglecting my blog. And like a sick patient in an understaffed hospital, my blog is suffering as a result. But don’t take my word for it, just scroll down to the very bottom of this screen and take a look at its cardiogram. Eek!

Obviously, the ideal pulse rate would be a once-a-day (or at least twice-a-week) rhythm of site traffic spikes, as my scintillating wit and industry relevant infoblasts bring waves of visits to each post, but, um… I’m still warming up to that. In the meantime, while I wait to be industry relevant and scintillating (and rather than resort to posting pictures of kittens), maybe a detailed study of my blog’s stats will suggest a suitable medicine.

My most visited (I won’t say ‘read’), blog post is without doubt my claim-to-fame one. There’s nothing surprising there: write about something famous and people will find it. But my second most visited post, and by some margin too, is a throwaway piece I knocked out in a few minutes, whose popularity seems to be based on the fact that the play on words in its title is also a popular spelling mistake. So clearly the best shot in the arm I can give my blog is a dose of…

…Harry Potter and the Googled Myrrhmaid!

There. Long term though, there’s no alternative to getting back into the driving seat and making the effort to blog more regularly, but I have to move house first. In the meantime, please don’t worry if the patient slips into a temporary coma, it should be over by the end of June. And don’t go away, because there’s loads of news about my novel coming up (hey, I saw that look!), and more about Dan and the Dead, as well as my adventures with websites, my thoughts on branding (cowboy!), the experience of being edited, and the ups and downs and headaches of working with ideas. I’m also going to be giving stuff away.

See you soon (I hope!)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Out to Launch

Last night I went to the launch party for Caroline Green’s debut YA title DarkRide, a book I just about finished on the train journey home. Not because it’s short, I might add, just brilliant and difficult to stop reading. Congratulations, Caroline!

The launch itself had all the essential ingredients -- wine, a reading, good company and a charming author – not to mention that other strange phenomenon of a 21st Century social life: the meeting of people one has already ‘met’ via social networking. In short, I had a great time, and I couldn’t help noticing that a lot of books were sold too.

The reason I find this particularly noteworthy is the fact that I was recently told (by those who know) that new authors shouldn’t feel the necessity to hold a book launch at all, at least from the point of view of sales. The reason being that all those who would come would probably have bought the book anyway. This has had me wondering about my own debut next year and whether I should go to the trouble of organising a launch party if, as is likely, the publishers don’t hold one. But last night’s spectacle of happy people chatting over dwindling piles of stock as the wine flowed has me thinking again. And after all, without that launch party I wouldn’t have met the author, I probably wouldn’t have bought her book any time soon, and I certainly wouldn’t have had it signed. So my question over whether to launch or not seems to have been answered right there. At least, from the sales perspective – it goes without saying that it’s always fun to open a bottle or two with friends, whatever the bean-counters think.

Before I sign off, I’d also like to send out congratulations to Fiona Dunbar, whose new book, Divine Freaks, is published today. Fiona was at Caroline’s launch last night, so I was finally able to chat in person with someone I only knew by reputation and facebook. Divine Freaks, by the way, is about a girl who can see ghosts, and you have only to glance at my last post to see why I find that interesting. Congratulations Fiona!