Thursday, 4 February 2016

New Website Incoming

In about a month’s time we’ll be moving to a new website. A rebrand has been long overdue because the 90days moniker only ever applied to Dead on Demand (and, in retrospect, it shows). Writing fast was something we wanted to do just to prove we could. In the 23 days it took to write, edit and publish Dead on Demand we showed that two idiots can write a novel.

What we didn’t prove was that we could write our best work in that same timeframe. Like many novices we made a lot of mistakes that would have been blindingly obvious to a more experienced author. We had too many characters for a stand-alone. We had names which were too similar such that the good cop and the bad cop were easily muddled. We relied on shock value too much.

We’re still proud of having written Dead on Demand. It’s been surprisingly well received with a 4* average worldwide after over a thousand reviews across all venues. And many thousands of you have gone on to try the (much better) sequels Cleaver Square and Ten Guilty Men.

In a few shorts months we’ll be coming up on 4 years since Dead on Demand, and we’ll be publishing the 4th book in the series, The Patient Killer, with a killer early-bird special price by way of a thank you to those that have stuck with us. The Patient Killer will launch at 99p/ 99c for the first week, AND we’ll have free ARC copies available before publication.

Before then we’re moving to which will allow us to shed the 90daysnovel moniker (with this site remaining up as a redirect), add some shiny branded graphics, and focus on balancing the content between stuff for readers and random blog posts. We’re also aiming to get blogging more regularly again this year, and we’d love to get a ‘Resources for Writers’ section of the website going (so if you’ve got requests, leave a comment).

Thank you again for sticking by us. We don’t deserve it, but we’re grateful nonetheless.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Paid Up

Authors complain about money. A lot. Most of them think they’re underpaid which may well be true.

But I’ve never once seen an author say ‘I’m being paid too much’. Actually I have never heard anyone say they're being paid too much.

So let’s change that. I’m being paid too much.

This month Cleaver Square will hit 20,000 sales on Amazon Kindle in total. We’ve been charging £1.99/ $2.99 for the book for most of that time (and when we didn’t it was via short term Kindle Countdown Deals). When you add in paperbacks, translations, etc, it’s earned something like £20,000 for us - which is pretty good for a book written in our spare time. And we'll continue to earn on it for a long time - because copyright lasts until 70 years after we're gone.

So I’m going to cut our prices. Again. We’re going to go right down to the wire and put Cleaver Square down to 99c/ 99p. That’s the lowest price that Amazon allow us to set.

We’ll go with the lowest price possible in every other region too. Whether you’re in Canada or Australia, Ireland or France, India or China, we’ll price at the lowest possible price that we can.

And Dead on Demand will remain free.

Finally, for those who have already got Cleaver Square, we’ll do two things:
  1. We’ll cut Ten Guilty Men to 99p/99c for a week when book 4 launches.
  2. We’ll launch book 4 at a preorder special price of 99p.
Yep. Our next full length brand new DCI Morton novel which we’re due to publish in Q1 of 2016 will be available to preorder for 99p/ 99c (and then go up to £1.99/ $2.99 after that - still cheaper than virtually everyone else).

If the big publishers want to ask £11.99 for a preorder then let’s prove that we can do it for less than 10% of that and still turn a profit. Readers do not have to be gouged for authors to earn a fair wage. And if £2.98 for three books is still too much you can borrow it for free with Kindle Unlimited or pirate a copy. Nobody should miss out on killer fiction because of the price.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


As an author you have to be a one man mariachi band pretty much 24/7. It’s like running a very small scale start up. You design the product. You project manage. You do graphical work. You market. You answer the phones and emails. You deal with money in, money out. You organize freelancers.

But really you just want to write.

When I heard about I had to give it a try.  

RockingDesigners is a new service from Adrijus at RockingBookCovers. You’ve probably read some of the authors he’s designed covers for which include bestsellers like Russell Blake, Jude Hardin and many more.

That quality usually comes at a hefty price (and it should!) but this new offering isn’t about book covers or fully-fledged websites. Instead, he’s offering authors the chance to buy graphics for everything from bookmarks to facebook covers, twitter headers as part of a subscription service.

It’s a win win. The cheapest package is $50 per month for ten items (per month) which puts it in the same ballpark as Fiverr in terms of cost, but you get brand name quality instead.

I signed up for that plan last week, and I’ve had four designs through so far; two twitter headers (one for my 99c promo for Cleaver Square, one for Dead on Demand) and a twitter-optimised banner for each book (which also looks good on facebook).

Here's what we've had so far:

Top to bottom that's banner, twitter header (for last week), twitter header for today, banner for our permafree. For each of these I got two concepts to choose from, and Adrijus has very kindly remade the 99c banner for use post-promo by swapping out the 'On Sale Today' text for a tagline. He also sent over the 3D book mockups he used to create these graphics, so if you include the multiple options, the updated text and the 3D mockups I've had 11 graphics designed for the ridiculously low price of $20 (four out of my ten designs for the month).

That's insanely good value. I can't hire an amateur in a third world country for that sort of pricing, but for pocket money pricing I've had one of the best graphics designers in Ireland on call to design stuff as and when I've needed it.

The click through on these has been super high. I've split tested graphics on facebook plenty of times, and the numbers don't lie. Good design makes a huge difference - and it looks awesome. Seriously go look at the twitter headers in-situ ( For $5 (or less!) a pop.

At that price, I can't afford not to.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Cleaver Square Promo: August 31st 'til September 6th

To celebrate the launch of Ten Guilty Men, we’re offering you the opportunity to pick up Cleaver Square at a discount.

From today until the 6th of September, Cleaver Square will be on a Kindle Countdown deal.
Still free.
In the UK, the price will drop from £1.99 to £0.99 for the whole period, while in the USA it’ll drop to 99c before climbing back to $2.99.

After that our pricing will still be cheap –“Three for three quid (and 98 pence)”.

That’s Dead on Demand for free, Cleaver Square for £1.99 and Ten Guilty Men for £1.99 (launch special). Total cost for the three: £3.98.

That’s days of reading (nearly a quarter of a million words, over a thousand print pages) for the price of a pint of beer (not that we’re knocking the beer).

Launch price £1.99
Usually £1.99 but 99p from August 31st 'til September 6th.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Ten Guilty Men Launch Marketing Plan

Back in 2012 Dan and I launched Dead on Demand free for 5 days, and every step of the way we told you what we were booking in terms of adverts, when and how much it cost.

We then shared the results.

At the time we were aiming for 10,000 downloads.
We managed 55,500. Happy days.

This time around, we’re going for a triple whammy of deals:
  • Dead on Demand for free.
  • Cleaver Square on Countdown for a week
  • Ten Guilty Men for £1.99/ $2.99 (launch price).
This makes the whole DCI Morton series incredibly good value – and no part works, no samples pretending to be books, no hooking you in then jacking up the price. What we’re aiming for is everyday good value, and a risk free sample so you can try before you buy.

I want you to keep us to that. If you ever think we’re being unfair, tell us. Let us know if we’re not delivering the value you deserve, and we’ll see what we can do. We got asked about Kindle Unlimited a while back – and we’ve delivered. Front and backlist, books new and old, are all free for subscribers. If you’ve got Kindle Unlimited (or take out a free 30 day trial) then you don’t have to pay a penny to read our books legally.

So onto the marketing plan. We don’t like spending oodles on adverts. Realistically a big spend will result in big sales – but it won’t necessarily result in a positive return on investment, and someone has to pay for advertising (either by cutting our already-slim profits, or by increasing the price), which means sensible investment is the order of the day: we need to get back more in sales than we put in.

This isn’t long term brand building. It isn’t throwing money at the wall and hoping it sticks. In a market with razor thin margins, that sort of thing would be reckless. Our brand building comes from our books. If you enjoy them and think the price is fair, then you’ll come back.

We hope.

So far readers have returned. Most of those we’ve spoken to have said Cleaver Square is vastly better than Dead on Demand (we think so too), but Ten Guilty Men is at least as good if not better.

I’m hoping for a strong launch. We’ve had a fairly good preorder run, especially in the UK, but we think once we’ve got a sample up, reviews flowing in, and the instant gratification via kindle, that Ten Guilty Men should do reasonably well.

Here’s how we’re going to do it:

Firstly, we’re promoting Dead on Demand at the end of August and the start of September. Free books are easier to sell to people who haven’t heard of you. That hasn’t changed since last time. The big risk is that we might suffer some list fatigue as Dead on Demand has been downloaded so many times, and we’ve used all the major advertising venues before.

Secondly, we’re going to 99c/99p for Cleaver Square for one week from August 31st til September 6th. That’s all of next week. That means new readers can have two full length novels for under a dollar.

Third, we’re promoting Ten Guilty Men. It’s hard to advertise new eBooks, but we’ve got a few adverts booked. By the time we get to the TGM adverts, we should have some early reviews up (both as a result of preorders and because we’ve been sending free review copies to anyone that would take one!).

So without further ado, our draft advertising schedule. We’ll be adding more to this as we go, so come back and check it out in a week or two. If you want to see how successful this run is, feel free to track our book rankings.

Aug 25th:
Flurries of Words (Dead on Demand)

August 28th:
BKnights free book promotion (Dead on Demand)
Kathleen Ball Blog Feature (Dead on Demand)

August 29th:
KUForum Ad Day 1 (Cleaver Square)

Aug 30th:
Kindle Nation Daily free eBook highlighter (Dead on Demand)
KUForum Ad Day 2 (Cleaver Square)
BookButterfly (Dead on Demand)
Mailshot goes out to my mailing list: combining New Release notification with Countdown announcement plus a reminder that DoD is free (Dead on Demand, Cleaver Square, Ten Guilty Men)
KUForum announcement post

Aug 31st:
BargainBooksy (Cleaver Square)
DigitalBookSpot/BKnights (Cleaver Square)
KUForum Ad Day 3 (Cleaver Square)
GenrePulse (Cleaver Square)
Kboards 'Bargain Book Promo' (Cleaver Square)
Kboards announcement post (Cleaver Square)

September 1st:
Flurries of Words (Cleaver Square)
KUForum Ad Day 4 (Cleaver Square)
FKbooksandTips (Dead on Demand)
Booksends (Cleaver Square)
Pixel of Ink (Cleaver Square)
eReaderIQ (Cleaver Square)
eReaderNewsToday (Cleaver Square)
Amazon 'Share With Followers' email blast (appear to go out in batches over time)

September 2nd:
Fussy Librarian (Cleaver Square)
KUForum Banner Day 5 (Cleaver Square) (Dead on Demand)
BookButterfly (Cleaver Square) (Ten Guilty Men)

September 3rd:
KUForum Ad Day 6 (Cleaver Square)

September 4th:
KUForum Ad Day  7 (Cleaver Square)
BookBub (Dead on Demand; UK, USA, Canada, India) (Dead on Demand, Cleaver Square, Ten Guilty Men)

NB - The Spanish version of Cleaver Square goes free on the 4th for 5 days.

September 5th:
Flurries of Words (Ten Guilty Men)
KUForum Ad ends (Cleaver Square)

September 6th:
FKBooksandTips Deal of the Day (Cleaver Square)
FKBooksandTips New Release (Ten Guilty Men)

September 12th:
Robin Reads (Ten Guilty Men)

September 13th:
Kindle Nation Daily Book of the Day (Ten Guilty Men)
BookGorilla (Ten Guilty Men)

Saturday, 22 August 2015

9 Days to Go

Dan left on his trip this morning. Thanks to you guys, he’s off on a three month culinary adventure in Copenhagen funded by royalties from Cleaver Square.

While Dan is off learning, I’ll be here in the office working away on DCI Morton #4. Before he left, we plotted out most of the storyline, and we’ve written the first few chapters to make sure it feels right.

But after this point, DCI Morton #4 is likely to be a bit of a solo effort. We’ve got to keep up the pace of production, lest we lose the momentum the series has going, so we’re aiming for a (slightly ambitious) early 2016 release. We’ll confirm more on that in a few months’ time as #4 moves into the editing stages.

Before that, DCI Morton #3, Ten Guilty Men, launches at the end of the month. Many of you have pre-ordered it already which is awesome (so thank you very much). Those early purchases make a big difference to the momentum we’ll have as the books launches, and I’m pleasantly surprised by the take up as I know pre-orders are a hard sell. I’ve bought several thousand eBooks in the past few years but there are a grand total of zero pre-orders in my Amazon account history.

Pre-orders should be a hard sell. No samples. No reviews. No word of mouth. And in our case,very little paid advertising (because, let’s face it, we have to build that cost into the price of the book so you guys would be paying for it!).
Despite that we’ll launch with sales that exceed the lifetime average for an eBook. Yep. Day zero, and we’ll have more than the average eBook typically sells (which isn’t much – 2.6 million eBooks on Amazon, thousands more every month, equal very few purchases per title for those below the tip of the iceberg that you can see in the charts).
What we really need are reviews. We’ve sent out a lot of free ARCs to reviewers, but we’ve still got time to send out a few more. If you want a free copy, send us an email before the end of the month with your preferred electronic format (sorry, no paperbacks – the costs of shipping globally eat up too much of the budget… and we’d have to build that cost into our pricing so they wouldn’t be truly free unlike eBooks).
And on the subject of print, we’ll have the trade paperback version of Ten Guilty Men available asap. If you’re after a signed copy, shoot us an email. For obvious reasons it’s me or Dan (as I’m in the UK and he’s in Denmark so it wouldn’t be practical for us both to sign copies).
Thanks again for your support. I hope Ten Guilty Mend does it justice.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Four weeks/ pre-order time!

Four Weeks to Go!

There are just four short weeks until Ten Guilty Men is out.

Which means it is pre-order time. We sent off all the files to Amazon less than an hour ago, and we’ve already got a page on Amazon UK. We expect to have pages elsewhere within 72 hours.


We’re launching, as promised, at £1.99 GBP/ $2.99 USD and $3.99CAD/AUS. That’s roughly the same according to today’s exchange rate from

Amazon do allow us to fix just the USA price and allow the others to float according to the exchange rate, but that means that one day the book would be £1.98 and the next it could be £2.02 which is plain daft. We hope you don’t mind the ~1% variation in pricing. We’ve tried to be as fair as we can with pricing – which is very difficult with international taxation being so variable. In the UK that £1.99 includes 40p of VAT, while in the USA you’ll get sales tax added at checkout.

This weekend we’ve done our final check of the file – and, as usual, fixed a few issues that have slipped by multiple rounds of copyediting. And, as usual, there are probably some we haven’t spotted. If you spot one, let us know and we’ll fix it ASAP. As ever, we do write in British English and we copy-edit to New Harts Rules/ the Oxford Dictionary so our apologies to those that prefer American English, but if we tried to localise we’d probably get it half-right and that looks worse than leaving it as intended.

So go check out the sample (once Amazon have it up), pre-order if you like it, or wait and read it with Kindle Unlimited for free if you prefer.

We’ll update this post as more store pages come online, more versions (paperback etc) are available but if you’d like us to let you know about a specific language/ edition feel free to email us with your request and we’ll personally notify you when that version is out.


When will I be charged?
Amazon charge on release - so expect a charge to be made on or around 31st August.

How will it be delivered?
Amazon will whisper-sync it to your kindle the first time you connect after release.

How much is it?
£1.99 or regional equivalent.

What order should I read the DCI Morton novels in?
Any. They're stand alone so you can pick which one you like, but the chronological order is:
1. Dead on Demand
2. Cleaver Square
3. Ten Guilty Men

Can I have a free copy?
Yes - if you're willing to give us an honest review in return. Send us an email if you'd like a review copy.

Can I interview you on my website?
Yes. Send us an email.

What if I don't like it?
You'll have a full seven days from release to return it for a full refund, no questions asked. Just use the 'Return' option within Manage My Kindle.

Will Ten Guilty Men be included in Kindle Unlimited?
Yes. For at least the first 90 days, you'll be able to read for free if you've got a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

I've read Ten Guilty Men. When's the next one out?
We're aiming for early 2016. Watch this space.

Who made the cover?
Nadica Boshkovska. She's excellent. I highly recommend her.

Can I get a signed paperback?
Send us an email, and we'll see what we can do.