Sunday, December 29, 2013

How My Novel Climbed 97,388 Amazon Places In A Single Morning

So how do you get your novel to climb 97,000 Amazon places in a single morning? The answer is that you get it mentioned on National Public Radio. NPR may not have a huge listenership compared to some commercial stations in the US but it's a listenership that buys books. On Friday last the great Nancy Pearl, "America's Librarian", went on Morning Edition to talk about some undiscovered literary gems from her personal library. The very first book she mentioned was The Cold Cold Ground. (You can listen to the entire story, here.) Nancy described it as "one of the best crime novels she had ever read" and the host of Morning Edition read out the first paragraph of the book. Within minutes TCCG began climbing on the Amazon rankings and by the end of the day it had cracked the famous Amazon 100. Now of course this was only a temporary blip and soon it had begun to fall back down again. But still it was nice to get a little glimpse of the dizzy heights of best sellerdom even if it was only for a brief period of time. 
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It was especially pleasing for me that this happened to The Cold Cold Ground, a book that I worked really hard on, was well received in the UK and Ireland, which won a couple of awards but which was utterly ignored in the American press because it didn't have a big publisher and a big ad campaign behind it. Apart from the honourable exception of The Arizona Republic I didn't get any newspaper reviews in the American papers (there was however a nice write up about me as an author in The Wall Street Journal). It shows you how difficult it is for a new or newish writer to break through if you don't have a marketing juggernaut behind you (or you don't live in Brooklyn). If a crime fiction reviewer is sharp enough or is well read enough to have heard of your book, chances are their editor will spike the review because the paper needs to appeal to a broad audience and the audience demands reviews of all the old favourites plus all the new Nordic Noir books. Classic Catch 22 then: you can't get reviewed because no one's heard of you and no one's ever going to hear about you because you can't get reviewed. So it's very nice to know that at least someone looks outside the box for the unconventional and the different. And to have that someone be the great Nancy Pearl is especially sweet. 
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If you want to look at my current fading amazon ranking or even buy the book itself you can do so, here. And thank you again NPR and the well read and wise Nancy Pearl! I enjoyed my moment in the sun. 

31 comments:

Alan said...

Adrian,If the gods smile once they may again.It seems an auspicious omen nevertheless.I looked on eBay and your new Duffy is selling form Germany but sales to the U.S. are blocked. Strange thing the fates as I am reading a rather good novel about the troubles by a Scot named Liam Mcllvaney "All The Colours..".He has emigrated to New Zealand and is a Professor of Scottish literature. His dad was quite well known for "Laidlaw."Best Alan

seana graham said...

That's fantastic. It may not stay at the top but I bet it will continue to have an effect on sales. She is listened to by an awful lot of book lovers.

John McFetridge said...

Great news. I'm already looking forward to the boxed set of Duffy books.

And then the "comeback" book #4.

adrian mckinty said...

Alan

Oh I know All The Colours of The Town very well. Its a terrific book. I'm going out to see Liam in April...

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

I hope so but, well, we'll see...

adrian mckinty said...

John

Ha! Yeah when everything else I do tanks I'll be writing Duffy sequels/prequels...

Craig said...

Did you have a heads-up that it was going to be mentioned or was it a "What the..?!?" moment when you saw the jump?

adrian mckinty said...

Craig

It was totally out of the blue. First thing I knew of it was a twitter alert that said I was Amazon's biggest climber of the day. I was completely baffled for a couple of hours but then my brother in law emailed that my book had been mentioned on NPR. And then Jill from Prometheus Books emailed to say that she's heard it getting mentioned too much to everyone's utter amazement.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Mazel tov, and good for Nancy Pearl. But don’t forget that another American newspaper called you ”One of eight crime writers worth tracking down.”

(My robot-prevention words are "spamewe lordship.")

adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Indeed thank you sir

Steve said...

And "Falling Glass" was mentioned today in the "Top of the Class: Stellar Mystery & Thriller Reviews from December" email from Audible.

heels5 said...

Adrian,
I have read and re-read the last few pages of "I Hear the Sirens in the Street" and can't describe the visceral reaction that I experience each time. Those passages are truly memorable. I am anxiously awaiting the next Sean Duffy installment.

Karita dos Santos said...

I hope the whole trilogy takes off in the US! I'm personally waiting to hear what happens to Killian next...

Best wishes!

KIKAREN said...

Adrian
That is just brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

Anne said...

I think the Nordic Noir phase is dying out in the UK. However, could there also possibly be a lingering political bias against novels set in the north of Ireland? One of the big successful UK television series of 2013 was Top of the Lake, set in New Zealand. So, is there a gap for an Irish/Antipodean crime novel writer? I've never heard of any of the Ned Kelly award winners, so perhaps this could be your chance, Adrian!

trevor said...

Have just watched "The Fall" on DVD, about a crime series set in Belfast. Some good actors in it--John Lynch, Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan and an amazing little eight year old girl. The accents were there aplenty and there was an occasional recognizable landmark as well as some very low key references to recent history. But I wouldn't take it as evidence that they're ready for some brilliant McKinty stuff just yet. What's your view Adrian?

adrian mckinty said...

Steve

That book is the little engine that could

adrian mckinty said...

Heels

I love the end of sirens myself

adrian mckinty said...

Karita

I wish I knew what happened to poor old Killian...

adrian mckinty said...

Kikaren

Thank you for that!

adrian mckinty said...

Anne

I got shortlisted for the ned Kelly awards last year but I did not win unfortunately

adrian mckinty said...

Trev

I don't know. I'm hoping that times are changing and that everyone is getting fed up with these Oirishy Quiet Man bullshit novels... We'll see...

Peter Rozovsky said...

Anne, if the Nordic noir phase is dying out in the UK, publishers and punters are keeping it on enthusiastic life support. Death is no bar to a fourth volume in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy. Barry Forshaw has written and published two guides to Nordic crime fiction (bless his heart; he quoted me in one of them.) And a spate of Nordic authors new to me has flooded my mailbox in recent months. Perhaps publishers, recognizing that most fads eventually peter our, are making a conscious last-gasp effort to take advantage of residual enthusiasm for icy climes and o's with slashes through them.
=================================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com

Sheiler said...

Well, for what it's worth I hounded my 5 followers to buy your books. And I wrote Sinead O'Connor about you since she posted something recently about attending a crime fiction event...awards ceremony? in Ireland. I once wrote her after she was published in an OpEd for the Washington Post, and she wrote back. That was 7 years ago? See, I know I have her ear now.

Congrats Adrian. Really well deserved. So sorry it had to come from NPR.

Julio said...

Te invito a visitar mi blog www.misqueridossabuesos.blogspot.com sobre novela negra.
Un saludo

Deaver said...

So I am one of the NPR folks that "ran out" and bought TCCG. Wow...couldn't put it down. Without NPR, living in a small West Texas town, I would never have found you. Couldnt put it down. Second part should be at my door step Monday. Keep it up. Great writing.

adrian mckinty said...

Deaver

I appreciate it, mate.

I've never had a book tour and I've never been to Texas (unless 2 hours at Houston airport counts which I dont think it does)so its not surprising that you've never heard of me or my stuff.

I am glad that you dug TCCG, I think part 2 might be slightly tighter and (thus to my eyes at least)better.

hockeywanderer said...

I am grateful to the Wall Street Journal for that feature as I'd otherwise have never known of the Duffy series. Now I'm feeling a bit impatient for #3.

adrian mckinty said...

Hockey

I'm very glad. The NYT has consistently ignored everything I've done but thank heavens for the WSJ and NPR.

Chris said...

I am grateful, too. But for the WSJ I would never have known about Sean Duffy, and now I can't wait to read #3! Plus I have read all the others and forwarded the WSJ article to a bunch of friends. I'm somgladmthe word about your great work is spreading.

adrian mckinty said...

Chris

Cheers mate, really appreciate your comment. But for that article and Nancy Pearl I wonder if they'd even have brought out the 3rd book in the trilogy in the US...