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Wednesday 6 October 2010

Pirate Pair

Talk about pirates on Twitter reminds me that some folk might like to see David and Nina as dressed for our Mark Keating signing when his book called The Pirate Devlin was published.

That's not a look of passion on Nina's face, by the way. I think she's actually asleep.

Mark's book is now on our shelves in paperback form called Fight for Freedom. Obviously publishers fear the very word Pirate' is enough to put people off.

It was an exciting and well written book which many of our customers commented on favourably.


  1. I bought the Pirate Devlin _because_ it had the word pirate in it. I also bought Fight for Freedom because I thought it was another in the series. Not too happy to discover it was the same book.
    I also write pirate-based novels
    What is it with publishers? I am told over and over that "no one is interested in pirate novels - there are not many published" *rolls eyes upwards*
    There are not many pirate novels published because publishers and agents keep saying this load of nonsense! (I seem to recall the same was said about wizards and vampires.... let's just hope pirates are also about to prove them wrong)

    Have the publishers/agents any idea how popular the Pirate Festivals are in the US? Have they any idea of the buzz that is already going around regarding the anticipation of Jack Sparrow returning to the big screen?
    This is just a personal hunch, but maybe Mr Keating's book didn't sell as The Pirate Devlin because it was not marketed properly? I'm well into the pirate network but I only came across Mark's book by chance.

    When P.O.C. #1 came out so many people wanted pirate fiction to read (me included) but there was nothing - plenty of nautical stories, but very little pirate-based, and certainly none with a touch of fantasy. I wanted to keep the P.O.C. fix going - no books = wrote my own.
    Sea Witch. Huge plug. LOL
    No one wanted it. In the end I took it to a small indie publisher who grabbed it for their even smaller mainstream imprint. Given my limited marketing ability, the smallness of my publisher - but my huge enthusiasm and enormous love for my pirate - my series is getting noticed. Slowly, admitted, but getting there. IF I'd had a big publisher behind me, who knows what would happen? On the other hand, maybe its my free indie spirit joining with my pirate's nature that is driving sails (sorry sales, couldn't resist it mate,)

    Publishers.....Listen Up. Pirates ARE Popular! They are VERY popular but you need to target the Goth set, the vampire / wizard readers not the Hornblower or Patrick O'Brianites! Savvy?

    I wish fair seas for the Pirate Devlin. I wish the publishers had kept the better title though.

  2. Thanks for lovely long comment Helen.

    I agree about book with two titles. Not even a 'Previously known as ...' comment on the front.

    As to poor pushing by the publisher. I think most go for the principle of 'Throw enough s**t at a blanket and some of it will stick'. (Not that your books can be so described, of course) I could be wrong. I regret the passing of the day when most books would have a rep pushing them or did that ever happen?. A job I'll enjoy in my next life.

    However, there are some things that do have trouble getting out there. We are asked for Westerns about once every two years. Science Fiction sells slowly having been overtaken by Fantasy. Even that seems to slowing down. When a book is written in either genre, the publisher is careful to market it as mainstream. Look at Time Traveller's Wife. Way back that would have been on the SF shelf I think.

    I agree that you might have gone nowhere with a big publisher but if they had decided that you were to be flavour of the week, they would have put money and effort into you.

    Justin Thyme's author went for a small outfit on the basis that they would work at it for mutual success.

    Another favourite of ours is Jane Bailey. She has two great Cotswold books yet one nearby shop had no knowledge of the second despite doing well when the first was launched. Cotswold writer writing Cotswold books. You'd think a publisher would drop them one in the post eh?

    As to how to market Pirate books. Do you mean teen reads? Most Twilights are bought by teen girls who love the Mills and Boon with toothsome danger thing.

    The fact is there is such a thing as a niche. It's expanding that niche that is the problem. Suggesting to someone who has never read SF/Westerns or Pirate books that some are actually well worth a read meets a dead end because they still have lots of Celeb' Biogs/Misery Memoirs or Twilight rip-offs to read. That 'orrible thing called fashion gets everywhere.

    Now - confession. I still haven't managed to read anything of yours. I'm not likely to sell many if I don't, am I? I have six proofs still to read and a mountain of Modesitt and Robin Hobb of my own but I promise I'll fit Sea Witch in when I can.

    Liked the site. My old Dad had connections with Chingford and Walthamstow. Note your experience with Heinneman is similar to Jane Bailey/Constable.

    All best. Tony.