Daggers Out!

Julie Andrews won the Best Actress Oscar for Mary Poppins (1964). It would not happen today. Not for a Disney family film. Just as I am unlikely to watch today’s Oscar winning films, so too was I never going to write a Booker Prize or Nobel winning piece of literature. The best I could ever hope for is a Dagger Award. Yet I read not so long ago that a self-published author cannot be entered for any awards or prizes.

On a whim I decided to look up the Crime Writers’ Association (the Dagger people) and found that anyone that has written a crime novel can be a member, even a self-published one. OK, I thought, I will join, maybe it will open some doors. Three of my four novels would count as a crime novel even though one is a comedy thriller. The new one – The Puzzle – definitely.

Then came the reality check. Each application is awarded points for various attributes and a minimum of 8 points is needed to be a member. I fail on the first hurdle which is sales of 300 printed copies or 500 e-books, neither of which I will hit because no one is buying. Even with constant posts on Twitter (I won’t call Star Wars, A New Hope, so X has no chance), and announcements on Facebook and Linked In, it is doing worse than ‘Rewind’ and ‘Trouble Cross’ in 2012, when I had no social media footprint at all.

I think sales only counts for 2 points anyway. There are others for professional proofreading of the book – no, professional editing – no, professional cover – well, OK, yes, I did pay for one, testimonials from other members – not likely, who do I know? Ergo, no point in even starting the application.

Getting back to the dearth of sales for ‘The Puzzle’, I am at a loss. I thought that with a meagre following of 700 on Twitter and most of my fellow employees on Linked In, I would be starting in a much better place than 2012. It would appear not. I cannot throw anymore money into it. My writing debt over the years is now over £11K. Since 2012 I have earned only £150 in royalties. I was hoping for a number of quick sales from people who knew me to lift me up the rankings, so I was more visible to all, but no. The book will have been out three weeks by tomorrow and it is at 441,000 in the rankings and falling each day.

‘Rewind’ had a few good reviews when it came out. With sales so low I am not expecting any on ‘The Puzzle’, I think only about 10% of readers leave reviews. I don’t myself. I would not know what to say. I couldn’t do it in English Literature at school. Still I don’t think James Patterson or Lee Child would be too bothered about that.

I do have a bit of feedback from one of my Wordle league group that is reading it. She said:

I’ve liked the fact that I’ve not seen some things coming and that my assumptions on others have been completely wrong….. very clever. Seriously I have enjoyed reading it and I’m sure others will too if they give it a try.

I only realised as I was writing this that this lady also read ‘Rewind’ last year and this is what she said about that one:

I’ve just finished reading the book, and I can hand on heart say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Jason is a brilliant character and I loved his wit and humour, together with the past/future references. I look forward to reading the follow-up 

These two books are different genres so that is a good thing that both can appeal to the same readers. Let us hope that more people do give ‘The Puzzle’ a try.






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