Tag Archive | GoodReads

Getting Noticed

So many books are published every month that getting your book noticed by potential readers is a problem for any author. I have just managed to prise the sales figures out of my publisher, (why are they so reluctant to give them?) because I wanted to look at how sales had been effected by the publicity I have been given. I was rather disappointed with the overall figure of 190 to mid June. It is also quite difficult to analyse the figures in relation to the individual pieces of publicity I received, however I have tried to make some sense of it.

Crucial Evidence became available as a paperback on 14th February 2014, five copies were sold before that date which I think were probably review copies, although I was a guest on the blog CMashlovestoread on 29th January. Amazon ordered ten copies on 13th February again I assume to have some in stock, although to begin with they were showing a three week wait for the book to arrive. Between 14th February and 20th February Amazon bought twenty-three books. Again I have to make the assumption that these were sales to friends and family who bought the book as a result of my emailing them about its availability. crucial11.jpg

The Western Morning News,  a regional newspaper in SW England with a distribution of over 20,000,  did a two page spread in their Magazine section on 22nd February and on 28th February an on line magazine AfterNyne broadcast an interview with me. Sales during the last week of February were quite low; one through the distribution company Bertram Books, two through Amazon in the UK and two Amazon US. My ex sister-in-law I think.

I had a book launch at The White Hart in Moretonhampstead on 8th March for my friends in Devon- a fantastic cream tea – and sold 20 copies to the those who attended.

At the beginning of March the novel became available in the ebook formats and by March14th thirteen books had been sold by Amazon Kindle. During that period I did a Giveaway of two books on Goodreads, which finished on March10th. Over 100 people put it on their ‘ to read lists’  but it is my impression this has not resulted in many sales.

I had been asked to do an interview for TalkRadioEurope and that was recorded in February but not broadcast until 27th March and on 3rd April the Exeter Express and Echo which has a distribution of 20,000 had a two page spread about me and my novel.  Between 14th March and 14th April two copies were sold through Bertram Books, sixteen were ordered by Books on Demand and eleven sold for Kindle.

Books on Demand are a German company who my publisher New Generation use for printing copies in Europe. I don’t know that many people living in Europe so I assume these sales were a direct result of the radio interview. TalkRadioEurope broadcasts to English speakers in Spain and Portugal. I guess sitting out in the sun by your pool means you read a lot- so quite a good market. Indeed sales in Europe continued with another sixteen being sold by Books on Demand on 16th April.

The novel is set in London and I wanted to have a launch party for people we knew who lived in the city and that was held on 10th April at the Slightly Foxed Bookshop on Gloucester Road. It was a lovely evening, there are some photographs on this blog at Celebration Party and Publication Party, and the shop sold twenty three copies. 2014-04-10 19.05.52

I did a talk to a local Ladies Group and sold a further sixteen copies of the book.

So what conclusions can I draw from this. I think I can say the following

1. Doing talks is the best way of selling books.

2.Two books for a ‘giveaway’ on Goodreads is not enough.

3. Some publicity is better than no publicity but only just.

4.Your own email list is a good source of readers.

5. Launch parties are good fun but can be expensive – I did feel like a writer when I was reading excerpts from my book in a bookshop.

I reduced the price for the Kindle version as I felt having looked at the top 100 books the price was too high but as yet the sales figures since are not available. t may be that it’s too late but it was worth trying.

My next publicity stunt is booksontheundergound.tumblre.com  who are placing ten books on tube lines. These are books I have bought and I think having some books available as giveaways should be part of any sales campaign. I would be interested in any ones opinions on marketing, giveaways and pricing.


I have been at sea for over two weeks and without any internet connection. I’ve missed two episodes of Silk but I will catch up with those thanks to BBC iPlayer and see what Martha Costello has been up to. So wait for those comments in due course.crucial11

In the meantime a number of people have written reviews about my novel Crucial Evidence on Amazon and on Good Reads. Some of the comments confirm what I have long suspected; that many people have very little idea about how the Criminal Justice system works. In particular one criticism of the novel was that Cassie Hardman gave away too much information about the case of R v Barker, because he believed the the proceeding were private. I do wonder if that is because cases are rarely reported in full in the newspapers these days, although the case involving Rebekah Brooks has been followed fairly closely in the news and we are getting a blow by blow account of the Pistorius case.

Perhaps the Bar ought to do more to ensure the general public do understand the process and how important it is and then perhaps the public would be more supportive of the Bar in their fight against cuts to Legal Aid.

Incidentally Crucial Evidence is receiving 4 to 5 star reviews on Amazon.

Silk Episode 2

Inner templeHow could Clive Reader ask such an obvious leading question? There were very few inaccuracies in this episode, and I suspect that was because there were fewer courtroom scenes, but that leading question did stand out. In case anyone doesn’t know what a leading question is – it’s a question that suggests the answer to the witness. It used to puzzle me when I first qualified but I was told I would know one when my opponent asked one and the advice was right.

In contrast I thought the scene where Caroline Warwick cross examines the defendant in the rape trial was worthy of an experienced barrister. Of course she really shouldn’t have been sent off to Bury St Edmunds to prosecute in a rape trial and her indignation is understandable. Unfortunately women are instructed in sexual abuse cases far too often, and I remember a very senior female Silk complaining about being given yet another rape trial. One thing that did jar however  was her rudeness to the barrister defending in the case. Silks try to be nice to more junior members of the Bar as they can often be the source of work. Although Martha Costello is shown representing a defendant without a junior barrister, Silks usually have a junior barrister with them. If a junior barrister is instructed and wants a Silk to lead them in the case they are unlikely to suggest someone who has been rude to them.

Amy Lang is a new pupil in chambers – a trainee barrister.  Once a young lawyer passes their exams, they are called to the bar in a ceremony at the Inn of Court of which they are a member, but they are not allowed to practice until they have completed pupillage. For twelve months they serve a kind of apprenticeship, accompanying their pupilmaster  (never a Silk) to court, reading their briefs and doing any paperwork they are asked to do. The first six months they can not appear in court or accept instructions on their own behalf and now they are assisted by their chambers with a grant. In the second six they are able to work and will receive payment – fees for that work. Amy should have already done six months as a pupil so her ignorance about the acronyms was a little surprising. Poor Amy makes a complete hash of her first appearance in court – she isn’t the only one and won’t be the last- but a ruling that your instructing solicitors should pay the costs of the hearing is a real no-no.  A barrister is meant to cover the back of their instructing solicitors . She was lucky that Billy was in a good mood-upsetting solicitors who regularly instruct chambers could have ruined her chances of success


Waiting for the jury to return with a verdict is a difficult time,many barristers escape to the Bar mess, drink coffee with friends, read the newspaper and  a few try to work, but concentrating is often impossible. For Martha the client comes first, so she spends the time with him. It is a reflection of the type of barrister she is;as Clive says  she always ends up liking her clients, so she stasy with him. 

Crucial Evidence Published

When I was awarded the degree of MA in Creative Writing in December 2009, I had about 50,000 words of a novel already written. Today three years and many words later, my novel has been published and I have a printed copy in my hand. The cover with the bar code of a DNA sample on the cover feels smooth under my fingers and there is the smell of new paper. I’m not sure I always wanted to be a writer. Certainly when I was a teenager I dreamt of writing a bestselling novel and I wrote short stories about young love.
Then life took over. I went to University and studied Law. I thought about writing academic books about the philosophy of law – after all why do people by and large obey the law- it’s a question that’s difficult to answer. But I didn’t really want to stay on at University, I wanted to get on with living and experiencing everything. I became a practising lawyer and if I wrote stories then it was in the form of jury speeches.
The life of a barrister leaves little time for anything other than work so although from time to time I would try writing a crime novel I never succeeded in finishing one. Now I have and I have a great sense of achievement. I have taken the road of direct publishing as the traditional route takes so long and is such a gamble.  crucial11
The story is of a mid thirties Barrister called Cassie Hardman. She is instructed to represent a young man, Lenny Barker, who is pleading not guilty to the brutal murder of prostitute Shelley Paulson. Initially Cassie believes him to be guilty until she discovers compelling new evidence. She risks her career and her ambition to become a QC to ensure Barker has a fair trial and will stop at nothing to locate the missing witness. Will she find the man in question before the jury retire to consider their verdict at the Old Bailey? And if Barker is acquitted who is really responsible.

Rules of Social Media Etiquette

I have just read Ashley Jillian’s post on Social Media Etiquette and whilst I agreed with most of it, I do like GoodReads so I’d say if you like books then it’s quite a good place to do a book review and pass on some good recommendations. But, when did cats ever do socializing. I love the creatures feline aristocrats, snobs to  their last claw, but social they are not. Now dogs, and that’s my baby, are great socialites. Rudi is really smart too. He was adopted from a rescue centre when he was eighteen months old, the product of a broken home. He’s a working Springer Spaniel and that spells energy. He loved hunting and we don’t, so he would go off and hunt for himself usually for an hour or so, leaving us hanging around waiting for him to get back to us. We tried all sorts of training techniques, but unlike most examples of bad behaviour disobeying a call to return is very hard to deal with, if you chastise the dog when it gets back to you, he’s more likely to stay away, so you give him a reward, in our case a small treat. Now he’s 11 and an old dog, so he doesn’t want to hunt so much, but he is greedy so he plays a game of hide and seek with us. He goes off and hides behind trees and bushes and then comes back, sits down besides you and looks up at you and then at the pocket where he knows you have the dog biscuits, willing you to get the bag of treats out and give him one. Like I said smart.