Are women hardwired to love thrillers?

A report in the Telegraph newspaper last week,written by thriller author Rebecca Whitney,highlights how it is women who predominantly read this genre of crime novels.

whitneysmall

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11440540/Thrillers-and-crime-novels-Are-women-hardwired-to-love-them.html

As Mark Twain observed – ‘There are three kinds of lies : lies,damned lies and statistics’ Some of the research findings quoted in this report,such as 68% of readers of thrillers are women,need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Any survey is dependent for its accuracy on many different factors. What’s produced from a poll taken at a conference of fans of crime fiction would produce different results to a street survey of passing shoppers.

This newspaper report makes a number of sweeping generalisations about how the sexes are hardwired differently,that had they been aimed at proving differences between the races,would have caused outrage. Nevertheless,the writer’s thoughts on how women relate to working out how to resolve an unhappy situation to restore order,is a precise way of summing up what happens in the story arc of a thriller.

Crime stories are one of the best selling genres of fiction,with the figure of 25% commonly bandied about for online sales. This partly influenced me,when I was thinking what to write about for my first novel as 2014 began. I’d already written fourteen short stories and novellas,as well as several hundred poems in the previous eighteen months. These tackled love and romance,science-fiction,the paranormal,self-identity and thrillers with a twist to them.

I had a number of concerns that I wanted to address about the state of modern society. These included CCTV,the dehumanising effects of video-gaming,exposure to violent images and how demobbed soldiers remain traumatised by what they’ve seen and done in combat zones. Such themes suggested a psychological thriller to me,and as part of the overall atmosphere of paranoia that I intended to create,I would emphasize how the system,the establishment,protects itself with cover-ups when it makes mistakes.

I worked long and hard on ‘The Perfect Murderer’,which took some 4,000 hours to produce. I was pleased with the result,while being unsure if it worked as a story that would grab a reader. Fortunately,a good and trusted friend volunteered to be my first reader. She has a fine mind and keen eyes,so is good at pointing out semantic mistakes and dodgy grammar. I was interested to know what she would make of the plot,as she doesn’t normally read thrillers.

The Perfect Murderer - a novel about a serial killer who makes no mistakes.

The Perfect Murderer – a novel about a serial killer who makes no mistakes.

I was pleased at recent feedback that I got from her,as she said something about smiling at the thought processes of a psychopathic murderer. This man is completely repellent in the way that he considers people,and in what he’s done by murdering a victim a year for forty years,but he’s superficially charming – to get what he wants from people,as psychopaths do. He also has his own physical frailties and eccentric preoccupations,so I tried to make him human through these – wrong-footing the reader,who suddenly realises that they’re feeling sympathy for a serial killer ! It looks like I pulled that trick off,from my friend’s reaction.
Writing is a bit like being a magician,in that you know how the trick is done,but you’re not sure if your sleight of hand and misdirection has worked on the audience.
Whether ‘The Perfect Murderer’ will sell is another matter. Its success may be assisted by my bumbling attempts at self-promotion through the social media,and also by my free book giveaway on Smashwords.
I hope that what Rebecca Whitney says about women being the main readers of thrillers is true,if the downloads of my erotic verse collection is any indicator of my potential reading public. 500 have taken ‘What Do You Like ?’,and I suspect that they are mainly female. I pray that they also like psychological thrillers,and that they remember my name when I publish the novel.
As a marketing strategy,giving away sexually suggestive poetry as a way of selling a novel featuring two sociopathic killers,sounds unlikely to me. But then who knows ? As the old saying goes – ‘You have to go fishing where the fish are’,which is what I’m trying to do.
I wonder if my bait will work.
Advertisements

Different versions of your book – racy and literary.

After contemplating becoming a transvestite in another posting today ‘Self-Publishing And The Sexes’,I’m also pondering the advice given by Fay Weldon.

Fay Weldon

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/fay-weldon-interview-abandon-your-dignity-and-write-a-racy-pageturner-10086140.html

She reckons that we should write two different versions of our book – one for traditional publishing,which is literary in tone,and another dumbed-down racy version for readers who use Kindles and other e-reading devices. This means ” abandoning one’s dignity.”

After eighteen months of trying to sell my books,I’m not sure that I’ve got any dignity left – and if I have,it’s probably slipped down the back of the sofa and is beyond retrieval. Fay Weldon has a history of making tongue-in-cheek provocative statements,but I think that she may have a point.

I’ve mentioned in other blog postings that I’ve been giving my ebooks on Smashwords away for free. I started this three months ago,as a promotional tactic to help launch my novel. It’s also a basic form of market research,to see what draws readers. I’ve tried changing tags and book covers,to see if this increased the downloads of a title that was being ignored.

The only conclusions that I’ve made,is that people like sad titles,rather than happy ( who’d have guessed that ? ),as well as titles with a name in or that’s in the form of a question. Unsurprisingly,any mention of sex or erotica helps to shift copies – so bear that in mind when choosing your descriptive tags and book title.

This is proved by the success of my first volume of erotic verse,which is called ‘What Do You Like ?’,with the subtitle ‘9 Erotic Poems’. This has been downloaded 500 times,as of today,which makes it the most popular of my forty-four free titles.

Fay Weldon’s advice may impel me towards a career writing torrid romances featuring villainous lovers with smouldering eyes,heroines with heaving bosoms + of course,the obligatory randy vampire and horny werewolf !

Pinterest and Self-Promotion

As I’ve commented on this blog before,writing a book is relatively easy compared to the Herculean task of actually marketing it. People need to know that something is available to buy,if one is to make a sale. One way of doing this is self-promotion – selling yourself.

There’s lots of different ways of doing this,and social media is the way to go,assuming that funds aren’t available for a costly advertising campaign. The notion that one can simply write a book,upload it without saying a thing about yourself,and it will sell like hotcakes is laughable. Remembering that most ebooks struggle to reach sales of 100 over a couple of years,is a great goad to get involved in all of this putting yourself about by schmoozing. But I warn you,it feels like pushing a length of string,as no discernible progress can be seen.

I’ve read advice that gaining a significant amount of followers for a blog can take a couple of years. The same thing is said of Pinterest,which I hadn’t previously considered as a venue for self-promotion. I’ve looked at it plenty of times,enjoying the wonderful images that people compile,but hadn’t really noticed anyone trying to sell themselves and their products. As one of the main selling-points of a book is its cover design,then it’s easy to appreciate that Pinterest is a great place to gain attention for one’s stories.

I’ve been trying all sorts of things to raise my profile,since finishing my novel ‘The Perfect Murderer’ last November. I don’t really feel like a creative writer anymore,as all I’ve produced in three months is four poems. Instead,I’ve been researching marketing,blogging,making postings on this blog and Face Book,as well as updating the already published books to mention these places to find me.

I started a business account with Pinterest,to promote myself as a brand. I’ve been adding to my Pinterest boards,though what good they’ll do I don’t know. I like sharing nice photographs and spreading knowledge,but it’s an astonishingly time-consuming process. I did a board on favourite art on Tuesday,and thought to add some biographical detail about the artist. This needed checking,so pinning 73 images took me nine hours !

https://uk.pinterest.com/pithywords/art-i-like/

Linking some of these to my existing books could be a bit tricky,but the thing is one links one page to another,then to my blog,to my Face Book page,to my Linked-In account,to my Twitter feed ( maybe ),to my Smashwords shelf,to my Amazon page,to the Good Reads book review site.

By which point Paul Whybrow has disappeared up his own arse !

Referencing myself via the Pinterest boards is easier for some of my chosen subjects than others. For instance,some of the book covers I designed for my stories used copyright free paintings,which I included on the ‘Art I Like’ board,along with my designs. The theory is,that anyone who likes my taste in pinned images,might click on the cover and onto the sales sites where they’re sold.

I’m considering doing a similar thing on Tumblr and Reddit,but that would mean repeating a lot of what I’ve already done,which runs the risk of boring people. Doing this is such a lengthy and involving task,that I now understand why people work as social media marketing consultants.

I am in danger of developing carpal tunnel syndrome,from the amount of clicking that I’ve done recently on Pinterest. I’ve put together nine boards so far :

      * Joy – Pins To Make You Smile  * Doom  * Animals As Friends * Rust Never Sleeps

     * Art I Like  * The Road Goes On Forever  * Look At That View  * Colours Of Nature

      * Wise Words

The latter board uses the common Internet trope of placing inspirational quotes on a suitable background image. I’m aiming to include lots of sayings to do with literary endeavours,to encourage other writers – and maybe even myself ! Here are some of my favourites : 

Anais Nin offering a toast

Anais Nin offering a toast

quotegraycieharmon

quotepatrickness

quotegabrielgaeciamarquez