Sunday, 13 February 2011

Should I move on from Men Behaving Badly?

Okay, so I need your help. If you've read The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil you will have your own opinions of it, hopefully positive. You may even be able to make comparisons between my style and that of other writers. However, those who have not read it won't know what to expect, and this is my problem.

In the past I've tried to give readers an idea what to expect by sharing the comparisons that other people made about the book. At book signings and readings people have pointed out similarities to Robert Rankin and Douglas Adams. I'm a huge fan of both these writers and I'm very flattered by the association. Other people have said it's a bit like Terry Pratchett which, to be honest, is probably a bit too much as he sets the bar so high. Some people have even said that it sounds like the English comic absurdity of Tom Sharpe but I think this is from people who have read about it but not actually read the book. I'm very flattered by that possibility.

Those comparisons are on the comic fiction aspect but other parallels are with fantasy and sorcery writers. I'm now using the term urban fantasy as there is magic in my stories, admittedly much of it implied, but the stories are set in the contemporary world of England in the 21st Century. So the genres here are likened to Harry Potter and Dan Brown, although I don't write children's books and I don't write about the supernatural in the way that Dan Brown does.

Based on this feedback I've pitched my marketing material at fans of these authors mentioning them, hopefully subtly enough, to give a hint of what readers will find. Sometimes I worry that readers won't believe me though, as some of these comparisons are pretty staggering. I would tend not to believe a bloke down the pub who said that his small press published books are a bit like these luminaries.

So the phrase that grew up was that The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil is a bit like Harry Potter meets Men Behaving Badly. Men Behaving Badly because the characters in the book drink far too much dark rum, smoke too many cigarettes and indulge in the occasional Moroccan woodbine, actually more than occasional.

Now I'm in the process of moving all my books to a new publisher, a small press similar to my current publisher but in a position to allow me to concentrate on writing. So it's an opportunity to make some changes in the marketing blurb.

I'm concerned that some of these comparisons are a little too strong, almost unbelievable. Others are a bit out of date or just not very well known. The Harry Potter connection was interesting because that series is now finished and readers might be looking for something new. But there are no broomsticks in my stories and no sparks flying from the ends of wands. In fact the Hidden Masters only contains a couple of events that are clearly supernatural so Harry Potter may not be that appropriate. Also some people don't like Harry Potter because they say it's derivative and unoriginal and stuff like that. However, my point is that Potter is popular and I'm only interested in comparisons that I can use to get my message across to new readers. So if you hate Harry Potter and can't put down your vitriol then I probably don't need your input. At the same time I'm wondering if the Men Behaving Badly connection is now a bit dated so should I stop using that?

So my request is this. If you have read The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil, and you enjoyed it, please tell me how I should be marketing it. What comparisons with other authors can I use to tell new readers what to expect? This naturally has to be from successful, popular, published authors but I can't help that. Of course if you can think of a way to describe the book without comparing it to published works then that would be great. My new publisher is waiting for the marketing text and I can't write it without your help.

If you want to know what all the fuss is about read the publisher's blurb here

If you don't want to wait for the new edition don't bother with Amazon, they are listing it as out of print. It's never out of print as it's print on demand. It's best to buy it from Blackwells here or order it via your local book shop on the ISBN 978-0-9515329-1-1

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Hidden Masters' Pocket Book of Tarot

The first edition before resizing
I've just reformatted the Hidden Masters' Pocket Book of Tarot. I'm in the process of moving my books over to a new small press which will allow me to be much more hands off and concentrate on just writing. The current format of the Pocket Book of Tarot is 90 x 140mm.

The blurb describes it thus: "Everything you ever wanted to know about Tarot but couldn't be bothered to ask. Well bother no more as this book gives it to you straight and simple in handy reference form, ideal for the beginner of the forgetful expert alike. Keep it with you when you are impressing your friends, so that when ignorance strikes you can just nip off to the loo or sneak under the table for that elusive definition." I suspect it's the world's only Tarot book with jokes.

However, the new publisher can't do books as small as that so it's going to be 127 x 203mm, about half again as wide and tall and almost twice the area. It was about 80 pages with all the front and back blurb but now it'll be about 50 pages.

So the question is can I still legitimately call it the Hidden Masters' Pocket Book of Tarot? It'll certainly be thin enough to go in a pocket but it'll have to be a bigger pocket than on the back of my jeans. I'm wondering if I should call it the Hidden Masters Little Pamphlet of Tarot and Joke Book. Not so snappy eh?

More about the book here

You can still buy the first edition here - buy it while it's still small enough for your pocket! Just £3.99

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Chapter Titles from the Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil

1      The Esbat
2      Elastic
3      Ritual Mechanicians
4      It’s a Beer Thing
5      More Beer
6      The Devil’s Legs
7      Illuminating Experiences
8      Dodgy Characters
9      Chocks Away!
10    The Taste of Dragons
11    Elementals My Dear Wayne
12    Creatures of the Night
13    Vortex
14    Board of Enquiry
15    The Return of The Devil’s Legs
16    Just The One Then
17    Mission Improbable
18    Dubious Infidelity
19    Death By Sword
20    Black
21    Escape to New York
22    How Many Magicians Does It Take?
23    My Number Which is 300
24    Stake
25    Trouser Negotiations
26    Round Table
27    Hit it!
28    Enheavyment

If you want more click here for an extract from Chapter 2: Jack Barrow on astral travel

And click here for the whole of Chapter 3.

Publisher's blurb here

Don't forget Amazon aren't selling this and list it out of print. It's never out of print as it's print on demand. It's best to buy it from Blackwells here or order it via your local book shop on the ISBN 978-0-9515329-1-1