Thursday, 29 May 2014

Amazon Reviews

I have been very intrigued by the thought that the Angel Mountain Saga now has total sales well over 70,000 (around 35,000 for "On Angel Mountain" alone) but has very few customer reviews on Amazon.  So what does this tell us about me, the books, or Amazon?

Well, for a start, it shows that there are obviously people out there who like the books enough to want to buy them.  Secondly, the level of sales shows that there is a relatively buoyant book market in West Wales, where the books are set, since this is inevitably where most of my marketing effort is concentrated.  And thirdly, it tells us that very few of my readers are getting their copies of the books from Amazon -- so most are buying physical copies of the books (rather than Kindle versions) from bookshops and other trade outlets.  That's nice -- the power of Amazon is being resisted........ and it clearly does not yet dominate everything!

That having been said, I do supply Amazon with books on a pretty regular basis -- one or two orders a week, usually for very small quantities.  I make no money out of these sales -- their discounts demanded are so high, and the postal costs are so high, that having sent off an order there is no margin left for a small publisher like me.

So I use the Amazon web site as an advertising medium, and there is no doubt that it is very good at informing readers what a book is about and encouraging a purchase.  Amazon customers can literally do it with one click of the mouse these days.......

Bottom line -- I need more customer reviews!  So if anybody likes a particular book enough, and is happy to spend a few moments putting a brief (or long!) review onto, I'd be very grateful indeed!  Whether we like it or not, one of the things which gets books moving is the number of reviews featured on Amazon, and the average rating given to a book by readers.  So even if you didn't buy your copy of the book from Amazon, please post up a review, or two, or three.......  or do it on Goodreads instead.

Thank you!

Here are the direct links through to the Amazon web site, for all 8 of the novels:

Monday, 19 May 2014

Twenty-seven years of book sales

This is an interesting diagram -- showing the total number of invoices issued by Greencroft Books per year, between 1986 and 2013.  Over most of that time I have had between ten and twenty titles in print,  and year on year the number of invoices written out has fluctuated above and below the 200 mark.  The peak activity period between 2001 and 2009 coincides with the writing and publishing of the Angel Mountain books.

But the last 8 years have seen a gradual decline in activity, coinciding with the slow demise of bookshops as Amazon has stolen more and more of the book trade, and as Ebooks have appeared and made a dent in the market.  Now there are just a few bookshops left in West Wales, and ironically some of my best sales outlets are not bookshops at all, but stores like Vincent Davies in Haverfordwest,  Picton Castle, Tregwynt Woollen Mill, Window on Wales in Solva, Newport Information Centre, Ocean Lab in Goodwick, and -- of course -- the Pembrokeshire Candle Centre, which just happens to be run by my wife!!

The times they are a-changin'..............

Friday, 16 May 2014

The Spirit House at Brithdir Mawr

The Spirit House being thatched by Alan Jones and friends, March 2014 (photo: Tony Wrench)

The finished Spirit House, seen from the slopes of Carningli

This is an interesting new feature in the landscape -- the Spirit House built by Emma and the members of the Brithdir Mawr community.  It looks a lot like the thatched round houses built at Castell Henllys and now run as an educational / visitor centre to teach people about the Iron Age.  Given the obvious similarities, the National Park could not very well turn this one down when they received the planning application (yes, it has planning consent!), having given themselves consent for the cluster of thatched round houses not so far away.......  so that was a pretty smart move on the part of the folks at Brithdir!

Another reason for the planning consent was probably that this is classed as a "religious building" and meeting house -- it is not intended to be a dwelling house. I have never quite understood the logic of the planning laws which say that new dwellings are not OK in most locations in the countryside,  whereas buildings not intended to be lived in are OK.  The environmental / visual impact is exactly the same.........

Anyway, there it is, and I really like it!  Let's hope it brings pleasure and spiritual awareness to lots of people in the future.  The entrance looks straight up at Carningli, so the mountain is clearly the place where the spirits are deemed to be.  Haven't we heard that somewhere before?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Three cheers for the artists


Three cheers for the clever people who help to make books visually attractive.  Inside and on the outside.  This illustration is from Boz Groden, who did the quirky and very appealing illustrations for my children's book called "The Strange Affair of the Ethiopian Treasure Chest."  It's rather good -- worth sharing!