Friday, 21 January 2011


Although I’ve been earning a crust as a writer since my late teens I’m a relatively new author so I’m still learning on the job.

I had my first Public Lending Rights statement today and it appears that (between 1st July 2009 and 30th June 2010) 2648 people have borrowed STOP ME from libraries in the UK. This pleasantly surprised me as, bar visiting bookshops and checking Amazon, it’s very difficult to gauge exactly what sort of impact your work has had out there.

Whether or not the same amount of people will want to seek out my next thriller is an entirely different question but these small insights make everything seem worth it.

It’s becoming easier to track sales in the US. Nielsen BookScan – the industry book sales analysis software – is now available free to authors in the US via the Author Central facility on Amazon. Info HERE. I’m hoping UK authors might enjoy the same privilege soon.

Although I seem to be building a significant readership in the US (a large proportion of STOP ME is set there) it has still to find a publisher there. In the meantime, however, there’s Novel Rank. UK authors can use this so they can at least find out exactly how many books they’re selling through Amazon worldwide.

It is exciting to see every copy sold. It means somebody else is about to (hopefully) enjoy your imagination and the results of all your pains to get it onto the shelves.

It’s dangerous to get obsessed by these figures though. It’s not possible to record every sale and the age-old tradition of passing on the book to a friend doesn’t register on any analysis radar.

That’s why getting such immediate feedback from readers is such a pleasure. And that’s one thing that Email, Websites, Twitter and Facebook have certainly done to bring us all closer together.

It’s made writers quite sociable and, although it doesn’t get us out into the fresh air, it’s got to be a good thing.

If you want to be sociable with Richard got to:


  1. I agree it's fantastic that so many people are using libraries, even with little known books like mine (2980 borrowings in my first year as an author to June 2010). I can't imagine how many copies of popular books must be borrowed - and now they're closing the libraries. Terrible news, especially with bookshops closing.

  2. By Peter Stuart Smith

    Thanks for the information about Amazon and Novel Rank, Richard. I'd not been aware of either, but I've now applied to Amazon and I'm checking the Novel Rank website on a daily basis.
    What I've found rather odd about it is that my best-selling book in the UK isn't the latest one at all, but the Kindle edition of 'Joint Force Harrier'. And in the States it's 'The Moses Stone', not the latest 'James Becker' release.
    My only niggle with the site - and it's probably Amazon's fault - is that the ASINs for the Kindle editions of my latest books aren't accepted by A message comes up saying that the ASIN (copied from Amazon) isn't recognized. But hopefully that will be fixed soon.
    Otherwise, it's brilliant!

    25 January 2011 08:05