Monday, 12 August 2013

Why Is This Book Not Selling?

This is a question every writer asks sometimes. We have some judgement about idea and story quality, and I'm quite sure of my own writing ability. In short, I know the stories are good - at least by some measure, as no story is good in any absolute sense. No matter how good a story is, someone, somewhere won't like it. In any case, the written work goes out into the world and sometimes simply doesn't sell.

When this happens, and it happens to everyone, doubts niggle at us. Maybe we are wrong, maybe it isn't as good as we thought. After taking a critical look and listening to a few reviews and some thinking, maybe a few minor changes are made. And it still doesn't sell. So, maybe a little promotion. Still nothing. And there is no sense in asking ourselves why, so then it's time to ask another professional.

And here is one of the few places where this is possible. I'm glad to see a return of Why is this book not selling? A place where I have recently submitted this book in order to try and gain some insights into why potential readers are passing it by and buying other similar books instead.

Just when you think a book is going to fail to catch anyone's attention, a review site picks it up and you get this.

It is rare to come across a really new end of the world story, but within Chris Northern's new book there are four takes on an idea that is, at least, new to me. In a way, these four stories read like an unfinished Thriller because there are unanswered questions. But I still found each of the four stories fulfilling enough in its way and can only hope my investment in the characters will be justified by more of the same.

Here's the basic idea: some individual or organisation has developed and released a virus that brings on a permanent psychosis, a mental disorder, different for everyone but definitely 100% contagious. That's right, over a fairly short period of time, everyone goes crazy. Everyone!

The results aren't hard to guess at. It's the end of the world by virtue of mass insanity. More complicatingly, the same 'Mad Genius' responsible for the virus that makes people crazy is also distributing a vaccine to a chosen few - we assume - who then can inoculate a handful of people to try and keep some kind of society going.

You would think that would be enough to make some pretty entertaining stories, and it would be, but the Mad Genius mentioned above (at least we must assume he or they are responsible) are also releasing genetically engineered monsters into the mix and all of a sudden the title, Dancing with Darwin, started to make sense to me... can humanity, insane and without the benefit of civilization, survive against the new competitor species?

I really hope we see more of these from Chris Northern, a relatively unknown indie author.

Reviewed by: Rob A.