Almost three years ago, I turned my hand to crime. Crime fiction, at least. Actually, not even precisely crime fiction. Fiction with a crime in it. The idea had been on my mind for years, on and off, but in mid-2011 the end result was published in Australia and New Zealand as the novel The Fix.
In one sense, it sends my kind of character into a place characters like mine don’t usually go, and that’s a good reason to become interested in writing something. I wanted it to have its comic moments, I wanted to get the characters right, but in this case I also wanted to weave in a kind of storyline I’d never tried before.
At first, I wrote it as a film script, since I could picture it, from its opening chopper shot to its awkward conversations in city offices to its minigolf at the Gold Coast. But the producer wanted to get more out of that chopper if he was paying for it, and from that came a much more interesting ending and a sudden clear understanding of the novel it might be.
So why am I bringing it up now? Amazon approached me late last year asking if I’d do something directly with them. They wanted to release it – whatever it was to be – as an ebook and print-on-demand, and they had a promotional plan. And I thought it was time to give The Fix a run in the 200-ish countries in which it hadn’t yet appeared.
So what happened next? Interesting process. I mailed a paperback copy to Luxembourg (who’d have thought?) for coding, selected an Amazon cover template and, rather than leaving it in their hands, I bought the kind of cover image I’d always wanted to try for the book (or at least the closest I could get, without having to stage a photoshoot or spend my year trawling through image libraries).
Here’s how it looks on the US Amazon Kindle store (though it’s also in the UK, German, French versions, etc, of Amazon, in English).
I got to nominate the pricepoints, and that’s a subject Will Entrekin at Exciting Press and I talk about quite a bit. I settled on $4.99 for the ebook and $8.99 for the paperback, with comparable prices in other markets.
Amazon is soon to start promoting it, but I thought I’d let non-ANZ readers know now.
On the subject of Will and Exciting Press, does this Amazon signing mean I’m no longer working with Will? Not at all. I plan to do plenty more with Will. The Amazon opportunity just seemed like one not to pass up, and it’s not blowing too big a secret to say that this could be a chance to draw new readers to my Exciting Press books. Speaking of which, a new one is due out in less than two weeks.
Will has worked out that, not only is Perfect Skin a sequel to Bachelor Kisses, it’s no coincidence that the two Ricks who appears in Zigzag Street (as the lead) and Bachelor Kisses (as the housemate) have things in common. Maybe they’re the same person, telling you his own story in 1995 and in the background of someone else’s in 1989.
With Will having successfully published Perfect Skin as an ebook in 2012 and then Zigzag Street in 2013, he realised that publishing Bachelor Kisses in 2014 would complete this undeclared trilogy in reverse chronological order. So, as of now, he’s putting its loose triloginess right out into the open, acknowledging the reverse publishing and calling the package Brisbane Rewound. The rewinding, and the trilogy, will be complete with the publication of Bachelor Kisses on May 15.
But that’s not all. (By now you’re picturing me as a blatant infomercialler on one of those channels you choose to flick through at high speed. I’ve just showcased my patented fat-free griller, I’ve thrown in some tongs and a fork and I’m about to add an apron with my face on it for the people lucky enough to be the first 100 callers to read their credit card number to me all the way to the 16th digit.)
My 25,000-ish word novella The Heart of Robert the Bruce is now also available outside Australia. There’s quite a story behind it, which I can now update. Next month, a paper copy of Welcome to Normal, the Australian collection featuring the novella, will be added to the collection at the Teba Museum in Spain, becoming itself a small footnote to a fascinating piece of history. Plus, the novella is now available outside ANZ in two ways. It’s free from Gary Montague if you stay at his B&B – anyone who takes the trouble to go to Andalucia to pick up a story set there deserves to save their three bucks – while for anyone not in Gary’s villa, Australia or New Zealand, it’s now available as an Exciting Press ebook, formatted for a range of devices.
For anyone in Australia or New Zealand who is tired of reading about works not brand new in their countries, I’ll have a new novel for you in eight weeks. It’ll be called Analogue Men and it’ll be a comedy. I’m finally ready to play around again with a version of my turn-of-the-millennium style, this time with a character in his 40s.
Thanks for lasting this long. Please enjoy the apron with my face on it. Okay, there’s no apron, but the first 20 purchasers of The Fix will at least have the warm feeling of knowing they helped pay for the photo I bought for the cover. Thanks for that.