Yesterday was the first ever Joffe Books Christmas party and what a day it was. With some of the biggest names in the Joffe stable travelling from all over the country to be there in central London and what a delightful bunch of people they all were (considering we all write about murder and mayhem!).
For me, it was very odd because I was, for all intents and purposes, the new kid on the block. I joined Joffe just about six months ago and went from knowing no authors at all to rubbing shoulders with bestsellers Joy Ellis (1.5m sold), Helen H Durrant (700,000) and Charlie Gallagher (200,000) and of course, so many others of equal status all of whom have such fantastic books out there in the world and all of whom are clambering their way up the charts.
And again, it’s strange because these people are not household names in the traditional sense but time and time again, they beat out many of the ‘names’ in the best selling chart. Indeed, from my own point of view, I’ve been in front of James Patterson, Peter James and even herself, JK (bow down, all) and I can’t quite take it in. Book 3 in the Paterson & Clocks series came out on Friday and already it’s in the top 200 bestsellers (I did get notice that it hit No 87 at one point but that it will take a few days to settle down).
Mind boggling for a bloke who just taps away on a laptop on his dining table.
I’m in the middle of the first round of self-edits for my fourth novel and, despite people telling me it gets easier, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Sure, the process has changed in the way that I write (I did the first draft in a month instead of the usual three (ish) and I’m happy with that, but I still hold the same doubts and worries and wondering if I can do it again.
My two previous books have been pretty successful and so there’s a pressure on to better, or at least equal, them, and I struggle with that niggling away at the back of my brain. Constantly. I don’t want to let down those readers who are looking forward to the next in the series and have become invested in Paterson & Clocks as people.
Last night, as I sat glued to the screen, cutting bits out there, tightening sentences here, it suddenly dawned on me that I was probably overthinking things. When I started my first book, I wrote it for myself. It was the kind of book I wanted to read. I wanted my characters to reflect real life, to show real policemen under pressure, they swear, they dig each other out, they make inappropriate quips, they fight amongst themselves, they bitch, all the things that the more mainstream authors tend to omit, and villains who do some truly awful things.
Whether that will harm me in the long term remains to be seen but I decided that that was what I was going to keep on doing-write the kind of book I wanted to read. It’s all I know how to do.
And whilst I was procrastinating instead of writing (let’s call it research-it makes me feel better) I came across an article about the author of ‘The Danish Girl’ and his struggles to write.
The struggle continues…
Well, the day is coming and it’s coming soon! Quicker than I thought too.
I have recently been given confirmation that my second book in the Paterson & Clocks crime thriller series is to be released on the 30th of this month. That’s just two days away!! I found out two days before I was due to travel away to my son’s wedding and have been unable to update anything – blog, Twitter, Facebook. I promised myself (and my wife) that I wouldn’t use any form of social media whilst I was away and that was something I wholeheartedly agreed to. But now I’m back.
So, the new book is called ‘The Lost Children’ and is a dark tale in many ways. I will be honest and say that I have no idea how this will be accepted overall but I do know that it will cause a knee-jerk response in many readers and that knee-jerk will undoubtedly be based on gut reaction and personal prejudices but not the story itself.
Although it is a crime thriller, the story at the heart of it is very real and based on true events, past and present. One advance reader has already written to me to let me know that it had them in tears and for that to happen in a crime thriller, well…I knew I’d told the story properly.
Anyhoo, don’t forget – it’s out on Thursday the 30th of August 2018
Hmmmm….. Book 2 was due out at the end of July but that has now been pushed back until the end of August. No worries. These things happen. But I was hoping to keep some momentum going with this one and hoped that it would help boost Their Last Words which recently dropped out of the Top 100 Bestsellers on Kindle.
On the plus side, it would seem that of the reviews that have been left, the majority have been very encouraging and are looking forward to Book 2 so with a bit of luck and a following wind, they will be keeping an eye out for it. Hopefully, I won’t have lost too much traction….
There’s a lot to do though. Title and cover are the biggest things to sort out and honestly, I don’t have a clue what to call this!
Book #1 (TLW) has been out for a few weeks now and it’s still in the Top 100 Bestsellers chart. Can’t complain about that! As of today, it’s at No68 so, it’s on the slide but I’m hoping to see that swing back up when #2 is released. At the moment I don’t have an exact date but Joffe were looking to the end of this month. Don’t know if that will happen though as, at the moment, we have no title and no cover but I know that Joffe Books move fast so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it makes it in time.
This has been an interesting day to say the least. The book came out just after midnight and went straight into the top 500. At the end of the day, it finished at number 32 and peaked at 31. For a first time author with no history or following, I’m extremely pleased with that and am indebted to my publisher Joffe Books and to their publicist Jill Burkinshaw.
Jill has been organising blog tours and FB events (great launch party!) and all kinds of stuff to get me out there so a big thank you to her. I’ve long heard that Jasper Joffe has some kind of magic dust he sprinkles on his authors and I think I got an extra helping. Big thank you to the man himself.
If you’d like a copy, the launch price is just 0.99p so grab it while you can from Amazon. It’s also available to take away on an iPad in a bookshop (apparently…)
So….I’ve almost finished book 3 now and I’m pretty much near where I wanted to be in terms of word count. I went back over it and realised that I’d need to put in a few more chapters to explain a few things and tie a few ends up and that, coupled with a growing realisation that I’m more of a tell-er as opposed to a show-er, got me to re-think one or two of the scenes.
Now, I know that the conventional wisdom is to show rather than tell and, for the most part, I’m good with that but I’ve noticed that so many authors drag their stories out with sooooooo much description that it does nothing but point me in the direction of the nearest sofa to get my head down for half an hour. Hands up who gives a rat’s arse what colour the sugar shaker is? Anyone care what the pattern on the carpet is? I fu#king don’t! All I care about is the story and how it engages me and whilst I can understand that some people like to flower up their prose and find clever analogies, I’d rather say that the ‘shotgun blast cut him in two.’ Doesn’t need to say how the blood matched the curtains or how ‘the spray of blood reminded him of a Jackson Pollack bestseller’. We all know what happens when someone cops a shotgun blast at close quarters, don’t we? We’ve all seen enough Arnie Schwitz-Swhazzzen- Shwartzer- that Terminator bloke- to know what happens.
So,it seems to me that the best writers have nailed the art of balancing their show ‘n’ tell and got it just about right- enough showing but not so much that I’m off for a kip. Balance is the key here ladies and gentlemen, balance. I guess that takes awareness. I’m off to become more aware.