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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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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?


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


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

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




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:


We are now entering serious WTF country:


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.


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.


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.


The Fiddler’s Elbow


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

Here’s ebook alone:


And here is paper:


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!

The Untime is coming!

My 19th-century SF novel, The Untime, is now in page proof. I think it looks pretty good, and you can see the basic page design and read the intro and sample the first chapter here – note that Flash is needed to get the best results (there is an iPhone/iPad version of the printed page out there on the mobile site, but it’s not terribly good, to be frank).

Also on The Untime s site is a form where you can put yourself on a mailing list for the pre-ordering of copies. We’re planning some rather special little giveaways to go with these early copies, so why not sign up for the list (it doesn’t commit you to anything)?



New books (3) The Untime

I am far from being bored by producing Sherlock Holmes stories, but like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I sometimes feel that it is time for a change. Sir Arthur produced several different genres, including science fiction (the Professor Challenger series). Well, not to be outdone, I am also moving into that realm.

But instead of producing a science fiction story set in the future, I’ve chosen to set it in the past, where I am happiest. I seem to be at home in the 19th century, and so The Untime is set in Paris in the 1890s.

Here’s the description of the book:

The Untime; a mysterious and dangerous state, beyond our powers of conception.

In the Paris of the 1890s, Jules Gauthier, a young journalist, enters the Untime with its discoverer, Professor Lamartine. What they find there could be the end of our Universe as we know it.

When Lamartine disappears mysteriously, Gauthier, together with Lamartine’s daughter, Jeanette, and Lamartine’s rival, Professor Schneider, must brave the terrors of the Untime, journeying through time and space.”

For more about the Untime, including a preview of the introduction and the first chapter, click here, or click the book cover. There is also a form where you can join a mailing list which will inform you when The Untime is about to hit the shelves (either at the end of 2014 or early in 2015) and put you on the list allowing you to pre-order a copy.