Last time I said that I would keep you posted about my marketing efforts, and this is sort of related to that. I decided that I have been a rather selfish author, concentrating on my own books and my own sales, and – in the spirit of “what goes around, comes around” (which I apply in all other areas of my life, with volunteer work and the like) I decided to try to become a productive member of the writing community. As a first step, I scoured Facebook and Twitter for suitable groups of authors, readers and bloggers. My aim was not to find reviewers or readers, but rather to be more of a reader and a reviewer myself, and to learn more about my author contemporaries. I found four seemingly like-minded groups of people – three involved in crime fiction and one in historical fiction – and signed up. And the long and short of it is that I don’t belong anywhere.
The crime fiction people are all about über-realistic bloody murders and “disturbing psychological thrillers” – that’s a big thing at the moment, the criminal who messes with your head first figuratively and then literally. As someone who has never actually got past the Guildford Cathedral scene in “The Omen”, I’m not very comfortable with head-messing. My Sam Plank novels all have murders in them, certainly, but death is very definitely a by-product of the financial crime, and I certainly don’t dwell on it. And any in-depth psychological analysis would be completely anachronistic, even for a curious man like Sam.
Meanwhile, the historical crime people aren’t sure what to make of Regency non-romance. Regency fiction seems to concentrate exclusively on bodice-ripping – “The Lascivious Duchess and the Gallant Groom”, or “The Indiscretions of Lord Albemarle”. For urban drama and detective stuff, we have to wait for the Victorians, and they go quite mad on it all. And as for financial crime at the centre of it all, well, that’s impossible to categorise.
So, fascinating though it is to read about the latest publications of all these other authors, and their special offers on Amazon – “99p until midnight – that’s only 20p per vicious slaughter!” – I don’t feel I can bring much to these particular parties. I can see now what all those publishers meant when I first took them “Fatal Forgery” and they dithered over genre and “which shelf you can live on”. On the plus side, perhaps Sam’s unique selling point is that he is unique. Martha certainly thinks so.