Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Of The Year

Audible.com has picked Falling Glass as its best mystery or thriller of the year. I am absolutely delighted and also amazed; there are thousands of mysteries released as audiobooks every year and if you look at who I topped in this category its quite the collection of superstars. These are big names whose publishers supported their books with massive amounts of advertising, book tours and media appearances. Because I have been unable to find a US publisher Falling Glass had zero advertising, I didn't do a book tour and I did zero media. Falling Glass got the top spot on its writing and more importantly, I'm sure, because of the excellent performance by that brilliant actor and narrator Gerard Doyle. 
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I give a lot of credit to the editors at Audible who saw through the hype machines of the big publishers and picked the book they liked the best. I thank also the writers who reviewed Falling Glass on their blogs, the 207 listeners who rated the book on Audible and the people who took the time and trouble to review Falling Glass on Audible's web site, on Amazon proper and Good Reads. I really do appreciate it. I always read reviews and though I often violently disagree I take them all on board. A big thank you also to Mr Doyle and everyone at Blackstone Audiobooks. 
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Despite this award and the great reviews in the British press I still don't have a US publishing house. Why? Well, the book business is an arcane world. Publishers and editors say they like to try the new and the different but in fact they don't. Apart from the rebel badasses at Serpents Tail everywhere its the same story: if you don't fall neatly into one of their genre boxes they don't know what to do with you. I've always had that problem and rather than pander to the lowest common denominator I've always wanted to write my own books in my own way. Sometimes you pay the price: Here in Australia my publishers Allen and Unwin were so unconvinced by Falling Glass they didn't email me about it or tell me when it was coming out and it was a huge surprise when I just happened to see it in my local bookshop. It's hard enough to write a book but when you struggle to get noticed even by your own local publisher you do sometimes wonder what's the bloody point.
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But maybe the struggle is the point. I bet if I put my mind to it I could write a knock off Michael Connolly or Lee Child and make boatloads of cash. But I don't want to. I'm not that much of a cynic and books are too important to me. I don't want to write for money or for the whims of editors in corner offices, I want to write the books that move me and make me think and make me excited. My readers get invested not just in the characters and the story but also in the words and sentences that make up the story. My readers like irony and judicial profanity. My readers like a good joke and a well turned phrase. My readers admire wit. My readers know who Seamus Heaney is. My readers DONT HAVE TO HAVE EVERY LAST THING EXPLAINED TO THEM. My readers aren't prudes. My readers don't have to be told why its wrong to pour a shamrock on the head of a pint of Guinness. My readers can spot the gag in the sentence that begins chapter 2 of Falling Glass. My readers can recite poems from memory. My readers aren't frightened by a page without dialogue. My readers can name the Presidents back to 1932. My readers are sometimes poleaxed but seldom banjaxed. My readers are a select group and, you know what, I'm really glad about that. Slainte.