Thursday, 15 December 2011


You learn strange things about people on the Internet. For instance, I was on the Kindleboards forum a few hours ago, came across a discussion of free and 99c ebooks, and hit on this comment: "I think a low price says the writer didn't have a lot of confidence in it, or didn't care too much how it did. Rightly or wrongly. If it's not worth much to him or her, why should it matter much to me, as the reader?"

And since all of my self-published books on Kindle are 99c, I wasn't exactly pleased. I mean, I've had novels published by four major publishers. My stories have appeared in most of the better magazines in the genre I work in. And most of what I've put out electronically has been published in hard print at some time in the past. The quote above just didn't make the slightest bit of sense to me, and so I tried to put the guy with that opinion right. Only to be rebutted by an American living in the UK, who told me she and plenty of people that she knew regarded 99c ebooks as potentially inferior, and $2.99 to be the proper starting rate. Bizarre! I don't buy cheaper tickets at the cinema on an Orange Wednesday and expect the movie I'm about to see to be inferior. If someone wants to put their work out at a very accessible price, why not? And does the extra two bucks make the ebook that they're buying suddenly -- magically -- better?

So why do I price my ebooks thusly in the first place?

One -- I'm trying to reach a brand-new market, and this seems like the best way to do it. Someone unfamiliar with my work, who buys one of my Kindles for less than the price of a cup of coffee in a diner, might like it enough to either buy some more 99 centers, which is fine. Or they might take enough of an interest to buy one of my novels or conventionally published collections. And that is what is happening. I know this because some of those people write and tell me so. In fact, one guy brought everything that I have out there electronically.

Two -- I'm not inclined at this stage of the game to shell out on having my ebooks formatted professionally. Don't get me wrong, I put a lot of effort into getting them in as good a shape as I can manage, which means spending hours checking through and taking all of the tab indents out. So once I have download them to Amazon, they're mostly good, but you come across the occasional page where a couple of paragraphs have too much indenting in them. And the fact is, I am pretty conscientious when it comes to my work, and since these ebooks are a slightly imperfect product it seems only fair to charge the minimum price for them, rather the same way you would charge a lot less for a second-hand book.

You know what? I'm half tempted to try a small experiment -- reprice all my Kindles at £2.99 and see if they sell better or attract a more discerning audience. But I doubt they will. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


Last week, I took part in the online launch of Dark Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes (see 'Sherlock Holmes Week,' further down this blog). And this week, Gaslight Gallery -- a website about the entire Gaslight series -- is running a short interview with me. Yes, another one! I certainly have a load of people asking me for my opinion these days, more fool them. Incidentally, 'The House of Blood' -- my story from that anthology -- also appears in my Kindle collection More Sherlock Holmes in the 21st Century.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


When my first novel -- The Harvest Bride -- came out in 1987, it was not only nominated for a Bram, it got a fine big bunch of good reviews as well. And the best of them -- so glowing that a quote from it is still on the banner of my website home page -- was from that excellent and prolific writer of horror and suspense, Ed Gorman. Now he's done the same again, publishing his summings up of my collection Shadows and Other Tales and my newest venture, Our Lady of the Shadows, on his blog, alongside a small interview with me. You can read the whole thing here. When you're a writer, you discover down the years there is a small handful of people that you find yourself beholden to. And Mr. Gorman's one of them in my case. Almost a quarter of a century has passed since my debut, and the guy's still handing out the praise. So huge thanks, Ed. More power to you.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


There were two events pertaining to the Great Detective last week. Firstly, I published on Amazon Kindle the third of my Immortal Holmes series. The 3rd Sherlock Holmes in the 21st Century contains three brand-new long stories. Here's the blurb:

"Sherlock Holmes didn’t die when he plunged down the Reichenbach Falls. He turned out to be unkillable, and is still with us to this very day, travelling the world and delving into all its most confounding cases. But these are not merely ordinary crimes … supernatural forces are at work. In “The Hunters and the Hunted” Holmes is confronted with a deadly insect swarm in Kenya … but what is directing the creatures toward their victims? In “Above the Boulevards” a powerful and mysterious vigilante is protecting women on the streets of Paris. And in “The Crimewave” Holmes is called back urgently to his beloved native London. And he no longer has Watson by his side … so here’s your chance to make the journey with him."

And secondly, Bitten by Books hosted a launch event for Dark Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes. The anthology is from Edge Publishing, and contains my very first Immortal Holmes story, 'The House of Blood,' set in Las Vegas. The event went on a full 24 hours with readers taking part and asking questions; I was one of the authors who answered them, and you can take a look at the whole thing here.