On Geographically-Handicapped Gutter Trolls

Here’s a thought. I have a pretty, little gutter troll (named Equivocal Destines) which is unnaturally handicapped by life circumstances partially beyond its control. WTF? Well, let me explain.

a) I’m Australian. If you know anything at all about the Australian education system, you’ll know that “foreign languages” appears nowhere on any pages of any timetable. Well, I did a year of French, but only because I was in a special program, and I remember precisely 2 sentences, neither of which are particularly useful.

Why is this important now? Because it guarantees that my little gutter troll is written in English. Pretty good quality English (thanks to my year 6 teacher, who was evil on proper spelling), but English none-the-less.

b) I live in Poland. Why? Long story. Don’t ask. What’s the level of the average Pole’s English. Well, under 30yo, pretty damned good actually, if they’ve lived in a big city for long enough. In the villages, no good teachers, so no proficient students.

Here’s some fun statistics from http://wordcounttools.com/

Words = 113,154

Characters = 621,304

Difficult Words = 29,853

Dale-Chall Readability Score = 8.6

Readability level = 11-12th

So my little gutter troll is hobbled by my almost complete inability to market it to the people I’ve chosen to live amongst. It’s not the book’s fault really, but I’m pretty sure it’s not happy about it.


On My “professionally-written” Gutter Troll

The most recent review of my novel included the statement, “it’s professionally-written”. That’s most definitely a compliment and a valuable review, but not an immediately helpful one.

Why? It goes back to my theory of amazon.com having “neighbourhoods”. My novel is currently in The Gutter, which is the least desirable neighbourhood to be in. Check out my last post (written yesterday, posted this morning) for why. Maybe I should call them what they are – virtual shelves. In this case, my novel’s on the bottom row of one of the bookshelves in the back corner of the bookshop, behind the concrete support pillar, next to the toilets. Simply put – Amazon has no reason to put it on display next to the door or the cash registers. It might be junk.

So back to the “professionally-written” review. Excellent! Finally there’s a reason to move it from the less pleasant smelling area to a bit closer to the money. It says nothing about how to get it there though. To do that, people (who are not me) will need to:

1) pile on more adjectives. “Professionally-written” is good, but I also have to hope people would like to use words like “engaging” and “a good read” (not an adjective), or perhaps just “good value”.

2) say these things publicly. It’s no good saying nice things if no-one ever hears them.

I’ll have a think about how to achieve point #2 and get back to you. Point #1 is out of my hands so I just have to hope for the best on that one.

On Gutters and Forklifts

I’ve decided that amazon.com has neighborhoods. They aren’t physical, obviously, being a virtual bookstore (and an everything else store) so much as associational.

Let me explain. I’m a new author, therefore completely unknown. I published my first book directly to amazon.com at a certain time, and in a certain genre. Publication date and genre are now my two first associational biases. Any other fantasy books published within a few days of mine will necessarily appear close to mine on the virtual shelves. I say “necessarily” because amazon.com no doubt uses some very smart software to show similar things as groups and all of these books are similarly unknown.

None of this is amazon.com’s fault, it’s just the way the system has to work.

Anyway, so I describe my current little neighborhood as “The Gutter”. Why? Because no-one knows if any of these books, including mine, are any good.

So the question becomes, how do I lift my book out of this gutter into a nicer neighborhood?

….. I’ll think it over and post my thoughts a bit later.

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