The Surreal Killer

The Surreal Killer
Machu Picchu. Peru

Saturday, August 10, 2013


            It would be ever so nice if Amazon included their existing feature that shows you where your sales originate for e-books, as well as for conventional print volumes.  It’s always good news when the counter ticks over a new sale on your KDP Reports page, and you mentally tote up the additional sale.  For me it’s a minor miracle every time someone buys a book I wrote, which reinforces the all too rare message that writing these books is worthwhile.   But, and it’s a big but, unless the reader writes a review that I manage to find and read, and I recognize their name, I have no way of finding out who buys my books and why they buy them.  

            Think about how much easier it would be to design the next plot and location if the author knew 95% of their books sold in New Jersey (or New Zealand, or New Caledonia).  Wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier to know where the next murder or two should take place?  Where the next hero should come from?   Whether the folks buying the books are from London, Liverpool, or Lincoln, Nebraska, so might prefer an urban or rural setting on one or the other side of the ocean?

            Are readers of my books men, women, or undecided?  Statistically speaking, they’re probably women, since I write mysteries.   But it would be good to know this.  The right balance between hard-boiled and cozy depends on the readership demographic.  Come on, Amazon, you can find this out and tell me.  All this stuff is somewhere there on the big computer in Seattle (or wherever Amazon keeps it).

            I started writing this series with Roger being an inveterate punster.  One or more bad puns per chapter were the goal.   And he did it for a couple of books.  Some of the reviewers liked the puns as a literary device, while other reviewers did not.  I listened to the reviewers, who may or may not represent the broader readership, but that’s all the feedback we authors get.  The puns went the way of all bad ideas, and were dropped from the series after novel #3.   Did that have any impact on whether the readers now came from New Jersey, New Zealand, or New Caledonia?  I have no way of knowing the answer to that question.  Amazon does; I don’t.

            My most recent entry in this series, “The Deadly Dog Show”, should appeal to both mystery fans and to dog people.  Once again, Amazon knows whether the readers now come from New Jersey, New Zealand, or New Caledonia.  And whether that’s a different group of locations (and readers) than the folks who bought the previous books in the series without the canine theme.  I have no way of knowing the answer to that question.  I’d certainly like to know this.  C’mon, Amazon, help us out here!  This should be easy data to obtain from the records of who purchased the e-books.  Please share it with your authors, at least in summary format.

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