Selling books – or not

Posted: February 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Game is Altered | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

My week began very well. On Tuesday I received a gleeful email from my publisher telling me that The Game is Altered had been picked for Wednesday’s Amazon Kindle Daily Deal. This, apparently, would guarantee us selling more ‘units’ in one day than either of my books had sold – ever. ‘Excellent!’ I said.

My agent was excited too. We were all geared up to spread the word the next day and get the book ‘out there’. You can only buy a book if you know it exists right?

I went to visit a friend that evening. Before I told her my news I wondered if anything could go wrong. Nope – it was guaranteed. Finally I would widen my audience. My friend and I drank (several glasses) to the book’s success.

I rolled home around midnight. Logged on. There was my book on the Amazon Kindle Daily Deal – HOORAY – heavily discounted and already climbing the Kindle chart. I checked Twitter (it’s a reflex) and people were tweeting about my book. People I didn’t know. I tweeted and started ‘advertising’ on my networks.

I was teaching the next day and needed to sleep – but I decided to download the book quickly before I sloped off to bed. I wanted to check how it looked on my Kindle – and besides, it was only 99p. I downloaded it and opened it up. The Game is Altered it said across the top. Except it wasn’t. It wasn’t my book. It was another book entirely. Initially I thought it could just be a glitch with my Kindle – but you know, I’m a techie and if there’s a bad link it will be reproduced whoever is downloading it, wherever they are. The title said The Game is Altered – but the content was another novel.

By this time it was 12.50am and I couldn’t call my publisher. I couldn’t call anyone. My family was asleep. I emailed Amazon. I downloaded it again (stupid – it was still the wrong book).

The following day I discovered that a ‘technical error’ meant that the wrong ISBN number had been uploaded and it was going to take some time to rectify the mistake. My book was withdrawn from the Daily Deal. There was no Kindle version available for four days.

Now – I want to halt this little narrative to say something about being a writer. You hole up for months, tapping away, ruining your back. You come up with something that a publisher is prepared to pay for (we’re not talking life-changing amounts I assure you – I earn more in 2 months working part-time than I received for this book in advance). It gets published – but it’s not in any bookshops you visit. It’s only on Amazon. You work like a PR exec to try and market the thing – but you know – you’re a writer not a marketing bod. And finally, a glimmer, a chance for people other than your friends to know it exists…

I felt miserable for a good few hours on Wednesday. How do I feel now? Meh! No one’s hurt (unless you count my publisher’s pocket). The technical glitch has been put right (kinda) and despite the rant about writing, I’m philosophical. I don’t write to sell books. But for now I have to peddle my wares to give my writing life a chance. The link to Amazon is on the right by the way.

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