Thursday 8 March 2012

'Dear friends, please don't buy these books...'

Vampire Dawn book 1
A week ago, I did something that seems insane for a person who makes a living from writing books - books that have to sell. Something my publisher would hate. Something I would never have expected to do. And that was ask my Facebook friends not to buy my books.

Lots of my friends had received an email from Amazon saying that one of my (six) vampire novels was published on 1st March. (It wasn't, actually, as they're running a bit late. But no matter.) It looks like a good deal - a nice vampire novel by me for £5.99. Shouldn't I be pleased? No. Because there's no mention from Amazon that it is one of a cycle of six, or that they are novels for teen reluctant readers, so only 8,000 words long.

It's not what you think...
What might have looked like a lovely, affordable, friendly and supportive gesture - £5.99 to buy a novel I've been alternately grumbling and enthusing about for months - suddenly looks like a rip-off. The whole cycle will set you back £36. That's rather a lot for a friendly gesture. And, actually, even £5.99 is rather a lot when you find out how short the book is. Unless you are a reluctant teen reader, in which case it is brilliant value, and probably your school or library (or parent) paid for it anyway.

But my Facebook friends are not teen reluctant readers. I don't ever accept friend requests from readers, so I know they're not. I can't imagine how Amazon is targeting my Facebook friends. I assume they're not, actually, and that they're sending these messages to people who have bought others of my books or searched for them on Amazon. I hope there is nothing more sinister, anyway.

Looks good - but is it
what you want?
But I don't like it and I wish there were a way to stop it. I don't want my friends to be disappointed or annoyed that they have bought a book that isn't what they want, isn't suitable for them and isn't quite what it said on the Amazon tin. If my friends know what the books are and still buy them, that's wonderful and I will be really happy. But I'd rather they weren't bounced into buying them.

I value friendship and integrity above the few pounds to be made from a book - and certainly above the few pence to be made from a single book sale. I love that my friends are so supportive that some of them have ordered one or more of these books. The vampire books are very close to my heart and I think they're good - I'm pleased with them. But they are good at doing the job they set out to do, which is not pleasing adult readers who might expect more than 80 pages for £5.99

'Hello' from the vampires
So - if you're a teacher or librarian or the parent of a teenager who struggles to read a long novel (or just doesn't want to), please do buy the Vampire Dawn novels. But everyone else - make sure you know what they are before you buy. And, Amazon, please don't put me in the position of having to ask people not to buy my books!

You can find out if they are what you want by looking at the vampires' website.


  1. Amazon is greedy and should not be able to embarrass authors in this way! Ouch! I feel for you!

  2. Amazon probably are targetting your FB friends, FB seems to have an app to link to practically every other platform. D discovered the other day that because he was using an iphone, between FB and Apple, they'd manage to sync all his contacts into FB.
    All that said, I would love to read your books!

  3. Totally agree. Tricky situation indeed. Great covers, btw! xx

  4. Why haven't amazon sent ME this ad? Now I'm jealous!