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CoverYou can also download 55% of the ebook for free as a sample, or buy the whole thing for $4.99.

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Prevail – a review

Prevail: The Inspiring Story of Ethiopia's Victory over Mussolini's Invasion, 1935-1941Prevail: The Inspiring Story of Ethiopia’s Victory over Mussolini’s Invasion, 1935-1941 by Jeff Pearce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s a fascinating story of events in history that I knew very little about. Hardly surprising – the way in which the whole business of the brutal Italian invasion and occupation of Ethiopia was swept under the carpet by the Allies means that very few people have heard about it in any detail.

Pearce has done an excellent job in piecing together a coherent account of these times from what must have been extremely fragmentary sources, and putting it into a readable form.

This is not a book that will have universal appeal, given the somewhat specialist subject, but for those interested in the byways of history, it is a highly interesting account of a neglected topic.

View all my reviews

Thank you

A big thank you to everyone who has read and ranked my Sherlock Holmes titles. Up to an average of over 4.5 stars for all titles. Very nice to see.

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Thank you all!

Some things you won’t believe about one of the world’s largest IT companies!

Click on the screenshot below (and any screenshots on this posting) to examine this more closely. It’s my author page from Amazon US, listing my titles. Note how in the top row, two of my titles are listed as selling for $0.99 (Kindle editions). Now, this is not true – neither I nor my publisher has discounted these titles, and this price is plain wrong.

Happily, on the very same page, the “correct” price is listed. What does that tell you about Amazon’s vaunted IT expertise?

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But wait, there’s more… I was looking at that in Safari from Japan. Let’s look at it in Chrome:

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Back to $0.99 on the same page, different browser.

And click through to the actual book pages (Chrome again):

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and:

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Actually, these are meant to be the same price, $2.99. So let’s go through the Hola Chrome extension and pretend to be in the USA:

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We are now entering serious WTF country:

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So… Depending on your browser, and where Amazon thinks you live, Amazon quotes different prices to you for the same product, or even quotes different prices on the same page, which are not the same as the price the publisher quotes.

Oh, and speaking of which, despite requests made over several months, the publisher of some of these paperback titles is given wrongly. These are NOT Createspace publications.

So, given that Amazon doesn’t seem able to get a simple thing like catalogue listings correct (pricing and metadata), how far can we trust their sales reports?

Time for Jeff Bezos to cease his psychopathic fantasies of 3D phones and unsold tablet devices, drone deliveries, and all the other things that bubble up in his mind from time to time, and look at the reality of a dysfunctional sales system.

Is Amazon just a vast Ponzi scheme playing on investors’ greed? Probably not, but it certainly seems to have many of the characteristics of one.

What does an Amazon ranking mean?

My latest Sherlock Holmes book Notes from the Dispatch-Box of John H. Watson MD is doing extraordinarily well. Somehow, it has reached the dizzy heights of between 12,000 and 13,000 in the overall hard copy rankings on Amazon US, and 70 in the British Detectives category.

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This is quite uplifting. The British Detectives category includes such names as Agatha Christie, P.D.James, Dorothy Sayers, Ruth Rendell, Barry Maitland, Leslie Charteris, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself. It also includes Kindle and audiobooks (though there is a separate category for Kindle), as well as books that have yet to be published, and still manage to rank in the top sales.

For what it’s worth, there is as yet no ebook edition of this title, and there has been only one customer review on Amazon.

Which all goes to show what a complete load of rubbish Amazon rankings and reviews really are, along with the myth that “no-one buys print books”.

Even so, it’s very nice to see the book up there. I hope that people who have not yet bought the book will enjoy the three Sherlock adventures in this collection: The Russian Bear, The Hand of Glory, and The Missing Spoon.

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The Untime – Revisited

The Untime-2 (working title) is coming on nicely – up to about 30k and going strong. It’s taking off in unexpected ways – lots of very deep Lovecraftian horror, which is largely post-Jungian in nature.

The Untime is good (though I say it myself) but this new story goes far deeper into the black reaches of madness and those dark corners of the soul that you never really wanted to know existed. Some gender politics as well, and, with luck, a story that grips and holds your interest.

Meanwhile, The Untime is available from Amazon, etc.

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The Fiddler’s Elbow

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This is the past two years of my “Author Rank” on Amazon US . It includes both paper and ebook sales.

Here’s ebook alone:

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And here is paper:

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Never mind the actual values, but let’s look at the variance and the trends.

What, Watson, can we deduce from this?

I think the most obvious conclusion is that the algorithms have been severely disrupted by Kindle Unlimited. This provides borrowers with an “all you can eat” mentality (which encourages them to stuff their ereaders with books they will never get round to reading, in the same way that a salad bar encourages plates to be piled high with food that remains uneaten. Sounds great for the authors – until you realise that this is a monopoly vendor situation, and you must accept Amazon’s lack of transparency in order to take advantage of this scheme.

International fame, if not fortune

This is a review in the Dallas Morning News – not of my books, but a couple of other excellent titles. But in the review:

Hundreds of Holmes pastiches, ranging in quality from godawful to brilliant, are published every year. A few pastiche writers — Nicholas Meyer, June Thomson and Hugh Ashton for example [my emphasis] — sometimes are good enough to make you forget you’re not reading the Master himself, having Watson narrate a lost but newly discovered story from some secret bank box or barrister’s drawer.

So wonderful to see this!