Monday, 3 August 2015

Harlem to the Hamptons: What a swell party that was...

Thanks to Hosh Ibrahim for a lovely party at the art deco Bloomsbury Ballroom on Saturday. The entertainment, food, cocktails and – most important of all – the company were all wonderful. I have been feeling happy & lucky all weekend to have such wonderful friends.

More photos here if you'd like to see them.

I'm working on the next Emily Castles mystery and a new book. I'm also planning the BritCrime Ball, a free online Christmas party. The best way to keep up to date is by joining my mailing list.

You can also find me on Twitter and... I just joined Instagram. Not quite sure what I'm doing with it yet but I feel very modern.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

BritCrime Festival: Thank you

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the BritCrime Festival, the free online crime fiction festival I organised, 11-13 July 2015. You can find highlights and links to exclusive additional material here on the main site:

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Kindle Unlimited: So Borges it's Beautiful

I have a book that went out of print and I self-published it. It's got the best reviews I've ever had (Times Literary Supplement, etc.). Not many people buy it. It's a slow, beautiful read. The other day I put it in Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program where people with a subscription can borrow books. Amazon pays the author for every book borrowed. They used to pay the same amount per book, just over £1, so long as the borrower read 10% of it, but they got stiffed by people publishing pamphlets that triggered the 10% fee almost as soon as they opened it. Now they count per page and authors will get paid by volume rather than per item, like one of those NYC deli bars where you pile everything into a container and they weigh it.

Anyway... a few days ago someone borrowed my book. I noticed that they read 17 pages of it and then put it down. Fair enough, I thought. I hope you stick with it, but it's not for everyone. Nothing for a few days and then she (he?) picked it up again last night and read another 27 pages. (They're not print pages, these are "Amazon" pages, which like everything Amazon does, is secret and clever and difficult to fathom.)

It's a strange, wonderful experience, she (he?) reading, me watching her/him read. I was paid an advance for that book long ago. I've had the reviews. It's nice to earn some money for it still, after all these years. It's nice to watch someone read and wonder what they're thinking as they read it, and whether they'll continue, and whether they'll keep thinking about it long afterwards. I hope so.

I always say that having a Kindle is like being a character in a Jorge Luis Borges short story holding a whole library in the palm of their hand (because I'm pretentious like that) but being able to watch readers read... that's so Borges it's beautiful.

Helen Smith's books on Amazon
♠ Helen Smith in the Guardian: All Write Now
♠ Helen Smith on Rocking Self Publishing Podcast: Disruption and the BritCrime Festival
♠ Helen Smith on Joined Up Writing Podcast: The BritCrime Festival