What. A. Title.

I wonder how many copies of this were shifted on the strength of that alone.

It sends intrigue levels off the scale, gets money jangling in purses and fingers eager to enter credit card PIN numbers into whichever machine needs them to complete the sale.

And the intrigue doesn't end at the cover. But this reviewer is no spoiler. All I can say is it's one of the most original concepts I've encountered for a while, with a theme that's mind-blowing but not to the extent that it's all too implausible.

And, like this review, it's refreshingly short, even though the subject matter could have led the author to write a thick, headaching tome.

**** (Four out of five)

Why An Ebook Will Never Be Enough

When you were a kid, or whenever you started dreaming of being a successful novelist, chances are you never dreamt of seeing your work on a mobile phone or tablet screen (probably because neither was around back then).

A print copy you could hold in your hand and get others to hold in their hands was what it was all about. Seeing your name on a glossy dust jacket, your words beautifully typeset on high quality paper. Signing copies at your local bookstore in front of a queue of excited fans that was so long, it snaked through the fiction, non-fiction and travel sections and out of the door.

Surely, that was the stuff of your dreams?

Ebooks are inexpensive, quick and convenient, and better for the forests. But it's seeing our work in hardback and paperback, even if it's through Createspace, that's still the be-all and end-all.

Isn't it?

Thoughts On Self Serve Author Interviews

Nobody wants to interview you.

That's the first reality that needs to be dealt with here. As an unknown, self-published author totting up moderate sales, there are no journalists knocking at the door, clogging up your inbox or hassling your phone. No editors are sending hacks to get a scoop off you on your latest book.

But there are a few sites about that offer Self Serve Author interviews. Basically, they give you a list of questions and you fill out the answers. It's more of an application form than an interview really. And, much like applying for a job, you've no idea who, if anyone, will read your answers. And don't expect any replies.

But is it worth doing?

YES, because you're able to think about and write down and correct your answers. You're not being recorded so you can say something, think twice about it and say something else, while deleting your first answer forever. And we're writers, so we've got to be better, more experienced at writing answers rather than speaking them.

NO if you're going to be dull, boring or formulaic. You're an unknown, so interest levels in you are seriously low. So try and think of a way you can make your answers stand out from the hundreds of others. You might not grab any headlines, but you might, just might, interest a few readers enough to check out what else you've written...

I completed another interview last week. My first answers were dull and formulaic. Even I couldn't be bothered to re-read them. Then I deleted them all, and went with this... way more interesting, I think.
Will it help me sell more books? Who knows?

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself...
Chapter One
Jon Lymon toyed with an extra long hair in his eyebrow, one of the joys of being the wrong side of forty. He was troubled by the question he'd just been asked. 'Tell us about yourself.' What was there to tell? What order to tell it in? What did his audience need to know right now? What kind of information did he need to keep from them in order to maintain interest and suspense for as long as possible?
He figured it was OK to tell them he was from south London in England. And that he had two young daughters. He figured revealing that he’d written three novels was none too controversial either. That was why he was here, right, to tell people about his books, so maybe, just maybe, one or maybe even three of them clicked download on Amazon.
So yeah, three books, all thrillers, the last two a little more horrifying than the first.
Being British, he was a little reluctant to namecheck the books here. Seemed a bit salesy, a bit too in your face for him, surely.
The Diamond Rush. Last Night At The Stairways. The Wronged.
He clearly wasn’t as British as he thought.
Now Lymon began to worry that his answer to the question was getting a bit too long. He’d lose his audience. He had to do something, and fast. Before it was too late.

Tell us about your latest book
Chapter Two
Lymon’s latest book, The Wronged, was a horror thriller that he’d originally written as a screenplay in the early Noughties. The screenplay had picked up some positive reviews, but he knew there were faults with it. He fixed those faults and repackaged it as a novel.
A lot of the new stuff in it was inspired by him being a father and how that was changing him as a person, and how he knew he couldn’t let those changes take over his life. He had to retain some of the free will, the passion and the danger that had been in his life up until then. But what if someone totally changed and completely denied the person they were for the sake of their child. Surely, there’d be a backlash. Surely, the original animal inside would want to get out… 

A Pro Procrastinator (Six Reasons Why You're Putting Off Starting Writing Your Next Novel)

My fourth novel is all planned. Just need to write it. And think of a title for it.

It's been ready to write since April. Yet I haven't got round to writing it. I know it's there, sending me nudging reminders, and yet I've been putting off double-clicking the icon on my desktop that'll take me there.

I know for a fact I'm not the only writer to suffer from this procrastination, but what can be the cause of it, and how can you stop yourself getting really good at it? Here's a few theories behind what might be causing it:

1) LAZINESS. Obvious cause, but most writers aren't lazy. Most of us are writing books in the spare time we get between working jobs that pay and looking after kids that cost.

2) THE BOOK SEEMS SO GREAT IN MY MIND. WHAT IF IT DOESN'T LIVE UP TO EXPECTATIONS WHEN I WRITE IT? All the excitement of the possibilities that you feel during the planning of a book have to be realised when you start writing the thing. And sometimes they're not. Sometimes that twist that seemed so groundbreaking during your planning phase just doesn't work when you start turning notes and thoughts into prose. It's this fear of your book turning out to be more average that you pictured it being that can stop you taking the plunge in the first place.

3) THERE'S OTHER STUFF YOU'D RATHER BE WRITING RIGHT NOW. Maybe your last novel was a bit of a hassle to write (mine was) and you're waiting for the scars to heal. Writing short stories or something under an alias for a totally different market seems more appealing right now. You need to pen something you'll enjoy, and you know a novel is six months of your life signed away.

4) WRITER'S BLOCK It's the big fear that loiters in the back of all writers' minds. Have my ideas dried up? Have I exhausted all the energy needed to commit to a novel? The only way around it is to start writing something, however bad.

5) WAITING FOR INSPIRATION This is usually a bad idea. Often, inspiration comes while you're writing. It shouldn't be used as the spark to get you writing. Best to get your head down and stuck in, however unappealing the prospect may be.

6) DEMORALISED BY THE SALES OF YOUR PREVIOUS BOOK All this self-publishing has brought the idea of making a living out of writing tantalisingly close to everyone with a computer and an internet connection. Just write, package, do a bit of marketing and watch the sales roll in. But if that's not happening, it takes a lot of willpower to start another project from scratch. What's going to make this new book perform better than the old one that's shifting at best a copy a month? How are you going to make anything new you write stand out when your old stuff is hidden among the thousands who are uploading to Amazon and Smashwords every day? 


I saw the technique at work here, and became frustrated.

Some books can pull you in without revealing their techniques, but not this one.

Oh no. So often Koontz withholds vital information by cutting to backstory, or by getting the character to say 'I wasn't ready for the truth yet,' or some such cop out, that prevents him from revealing plot info when you, the reader, are ready for it.

Yes, it made 'Fear Nothing' a page turner. But I found myself rapidly turning pages because I was skimming swathes of back story and blocks of description to get to the twists.

And sometimes it took forever. Sometimes the delay was too long. Sometimes scenes went on too long, like near the start when Christopher Snow was running away, freaked by a cat and escaping into some underground pipe.

I did sympathise with the protagonist (yes, it's Christopher Snow) because of his medical condition, but ended up frustrated by everyone else in Moonlight Bay who all, without exception, took so long telling him what they knew or took great delight in spinning out what he needed to know, that it was as if they were waiting to get killed before they could reveal their information.  The whole approach just didn't ring true. I felt myself shouting at the characters, "just tell him what you know and stop fucking about talking about other stuff." I felt Snow should have been this frustrated too, but he seemed unflappable.

On the plus side, Koontz's attention to detail was good, his descriptions vivid. There was just too much 'I'm going to make you wait for the juicy bits' that I ended up seeing through the technique and becoming thoroughly annoyed by it.

** (Two out of five)