September 30, 2011
September 23, 2011
I was surprised—shocked, even—to see not one single ereader company at Bouchercon, the largest gathering of crime fiction fans and authors in the world, particularly since according to the latest poll from Harris Interactive, 47% of ebook purchasers are mystery/thriller readers. Contrast that with the next largest group—science fiction—at only 25%, and even with Harris’ questionable methodology, it’s clear that this is a group about which companies like Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Amazon should care.
Of the big 3 ereaders, I’m rooting for Kobo for a number of reasons. But following their Big Announcement and missed email marketing opportunity this week, I’m not holding out a ton of hope for them.
First, the email. On Thursday, I received a marketing email from Kobo. I always open them even though I never click because I’m curious to see what their Top Picks Just for Me! are. Most of the time, they’re neither top nor for me, which just tells me they have folks writing marketing emails who don’t read the books they’re touting. Which is a damn shame.
This one was especially noteworthy because they’re suggesting the new book based on the TV show Castle. That’s fine of itself—I’ve heard these books are actually not horrible—but that they don’t make some kind of funny joke about the fact that on the show, the character Castle was signing the cover of “his” book rather than the title page is an opportunity missed. Guess they don’t watch the show either.
Later that same day, Kobo began touting that they would have Really Big News in conjunction with Facebook’s Really Big News. I can see it now: The intrepid PR team on the phone with The Kobo Client saying, “And we’ll drive excitement around the announcement by previewing it through social media!” Perhaps someone even squeeed.
And what was the news? That Kobo is making it “easier” to share what you’re reading on, you guessed it, Facebook. Hate to break it to you, gang, but that’s not news. You might well have news, but when you hide it behind:
Kobo will soon launch a revolutionary advancement in social eReading, and this news will change the nature of how and what we read,” said Dan Leibu, chief technology officer, Kobo.your audience (including media and consumers) neither understands nor cares. You might get a footnote in some of the Facebook stories, but nothing that will impact your business. The only impact on your brand will be negative.
Oh, and have you noticed that not everyone is all gaga about Facebook right at the moment? Might have been an idea to hold off on this Big Announcement until next week. Or not do a traditional announcement at all (gasp!).
I really do hope the good folks up at Kobo get their marketing act together. That they come to realize that books tend to be purchased by people who, um, read. And that said people already congregate online and in person. A little observation would go a long way.
September 22, 2011
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September 19, 2011
September 9, 2011
September 7, 2011
So here's my crack at fiction. It's very much a work in progress...that might never get finished. Your thoughts, comments, and criticisms are more than welcome and always appreciated. And special thanks to my husband and to Jen Forbus, for giving me the courage to post this, and to keep exploring the story.
There were obstacles—the dog she was certain would chew off her right arm if given half the chance—but also the distractions that comprised her secret life, the one in which she was alternately a thief, an avenger and a zoologist.
Everyone knows that looks are deceiving. She learned early to use this to her advantage. It was easy to steal things because nobody suspected the kid with the bright eyes and innocent smile. She wasn’t really shy, but she knew that out in the world, she could be anyone but herself.
It never occurred to her to wonder how many kids led multiple lives. Whether it was normal to be a teacher’s pet, thief, miniature zoo volunteer, and the one who let women keep getting killed? She almost told the docent at the Woodland Park zoo, the one who let her hold the tiny baby snow leopard.
Running away was never a serious option, mostly because she didn’t want to. She had a routine. She had a knife. And best of all, nobody really noticed her. She didn’t have to tell anybody much of anything because nobody ever asked.
She knew that eventually someone would probably want to know what she wanted to be when she grew up, and so she tried a few different professions on for size. Got a part in a school play. Learned to play the piano. Used the shavings from the pencil sharpener to lift fingerprints from the windowsill. Ultimately, the future seemed at best unlikely, and so she focused on the immediate. On her distractions.
She stored her loot in a hole in a tree trunk. She shoved it into a plastic bag, where she knew it would be safe. She never left the knife there, though. As items accumulated, she sometimes redistributed them, handing a dollhouse chair to a little girl at the zoo who looked sad and a pack of gum to the boy who whose mom had just smacked him.
She had heard that the rain somehow attracted killers, caused them. She knew the truth, too, that the rain for which the Pacific Northwest is famous made it easy for people to…ignore. Running from shelter to cover, never looking up. It made people easy to grab, to hide. Anonymity was a given when everything is covered in constant sheets of gray. She also knew that most serial killers are never caught.
Because cops are fucking inept, she concluded, yet again.
The thing was, they’d had him in custody. She was home with the sitter she liked, the one who let her stay up to watch Mr. Bill on Saturday Night Live. Dad was expected back by midnight. But he was late. Really late. Or early, depending on how you looked at it. Turned out he had been picked up because he matched the description.
Yeah, no shit. He matches the description because he kills people.
But they let him go. Probably because he had a kid waiting at home.
September 6, 2011
Still not convinced? How about this: I'm giving away, to one lucky reader, copies of both of Billingham's first Tome Thorne novels. Just enter your email address below. I'll pick a winner at random next week!
Blurb: A taut police procedural that keeps readers guessing
Author's Website: www.markbillingham.com
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