Dan Waddell posted the following informative piece on his blog, Murder Is Everywhere, on May 11. Reading good mystery fiction is far more complicated than it was. It used to be that an afternoon of browsing in a bookstore led to the creation of a long list of books from which to choose. With the advent of Amazon, the browsing could take days and books were only a mouse click and a few days away. Then publishers became more concerned with the bottom line than the satisfaction of the readers authors had to become their own best publicity directors. It is that situation that led to blogs such as this.
Now Dan explains a complex situation that will inevitably lead to another group of readers being left behind.
I posted this on the website blog recently, but I’m still getting a fair few emails asking about it, so I hope you’ll forgive me for posting it here.
The most common question I’m asked these days, or at least the second behind ‘Rough night?’, is: ‘When’s the next Nigel Barnes book out?’ It’s a fair question. The second book in the series, Blood Atonement, was released in August 2009, almost three years ago, and in modern publishing that’s an age.
So to set the record straight, and keep those of you who are interested updated, I thought I’d let you know what’s going on. I haven’t ditched the series, and nor do I have writer’s block (I don’t really believe in writer’s block, or at least none that an impending deadline hasn’t cured, and since finishing Blood Atonement I’ve written two kids non-fiction books, and a historial thriller called Unsinkable under the pseudonym Dan James.) The simple fact is that Penguin, my former publisher, didn’t want any more Nigel Barnes books. That’s their prerogative, though I’d be lying if I said wasn’t disappointed, especially as the decision came on the heels of The Blood Detective’s nomination for the CWA John Creasey and the Macavity First Novel awards. But that’s the way it is now and anyone entering publishing has to be aware we are in febrile times, and the bottom line is what counts.
So I was left with a series but no publisher. I have a family and they need feeding, and I needed to keep writing. So Nigel Barnes was ‘parked.’ I soon missed him though. For my own amusement as much as anything I wrote a short story involving him and DCI Grant Foster. I may release it in electronic form, or I may turn it into a novel. But as Nigel and Grant were back in my head, and I had a series of plot ideas already sketched out, I dove straight in and wrote another book, working title ‘One Soul Less.’ A draft is now finished and my agent has been casting her critical eye over it (gulp). I’m sure there’ll be a few tweaks to be made, but it’s my hope that I can release it some time this year. You might need a Kindle to read it though, though I’ll explore print-on-demand too. I might even see if a publisher wants to release a print copy. All options are still open.
In the meantime, Nigel has become a bit of a hit in France. The Blood Detective (aka Code 1879) has been nominated for a prestigious literary award over there, been released in mass paperback, and in late June I’m heading to the South of France for Soleil Noir as their guest, to discuss crime fiction and almost certainly drink too much wine. It’s a dirty job eh? I’m also working on a new historical thriller that might be a Dan Waddell book or a Dan James book, as well as keeping my hand in with some non-fiction.
So, regarding Nigel, the news is there is no concrete news. But soon there will be, and rumours of his demise are greatly exaggerated (though someone very close to him might cop it…)
As Dan mentions, increasingly more authors are being published in the electronic format. Barnes an Noble has the Nook but, as with physical books, the world belongs to Amazon’s Kindle. The least expensive Kindle, the model I have costs $79.00. Most new and/or popular books cost approximmately $10.00. To protect the device, a cover is necessaary; these come in a dizzing array of styles and prices. Amazon does offer daily deals on books to registered Kindle owners. Mine was a Christmas gift. I have about 40 books of the 1400 books it can contain(??). I haven’t read anything on it yet. I like the feel of books. I also like to patronize my library. What will happen to readers if most books are published as e-books and readers can’t afford the cost of the device?
I am not a Luddite but I am prone to attacks of “what if?”