A Precious Gift

Have you ever wondered what would be the ultimate Christmas gift?  Well, I suppose, the worth of any present depends on both the intended recipient, and the size of the budget you have at your disposal. However, this year, if you want to give something really special, something that will be appreciated much more than you can ever imagine, whilst at the same time cost you nothing more than a little honesty and a few minutes of your very precious time, then why not leave a review for a book you have recently enjoyed.  The Thinker

Authors spend an enormous amount of time constructing a story that will be both interesting and engaging. In many cases, this will involve a great deal of research and endless hours of re-writes. It is generally accepted that it will take most authors, at least, two thousand hours to write a novel worth reading. So a total stranger first buying a copy of their work, and then taking the time to tell them what they thought of it, is a priceless gift. But it doesn’t stop there, a review is a gift that just keeps giving as it will help other potential readers to decide whether they should also read a work, or not.

Personally, I treasure every review I have ever received, good or bad. The good reviews spur me on, make me more determined to write something even better in the future, while a bad review, (thankfully only a very small number) as long as its constructive, will encourage me to address flaws in my writing and up my game.

So if you want to spread a little happiness this year – leave an author a review of his or her work.

Happy Christmas to you all, and take care.

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Feed an Author, Leave a Review!

To a struggling author, especially the indie authors amongst us, reviews are just, if not more important than sales.  When your sales are generated through something like Amazon, the prospective reader/purchaser has nothing physical to pick up, flick through, and read the odd page or two, in order to determine whether or not they might like what is inside. Even if you provide a paperback version, the reviews your book receives on sites like Amazon and Goodreads are essential.  The_Journeyman_Cover_for_Kindle

So after a rather lengthy, and what some might consider a rather obvious observation, I hope that you will forgive me for what looks like a bit of outright begging.  The Journeyman, the second book in the Alex Keyes Trilogy was released on 24th of October, and although the sales have been very good, the book has only managed to generate one review.  So if you bought a copy, have read it, and have the time, please leave a review.

Alex Keyes Trilogy Previews Now Available

I have been asked on a number of occasions if I would consider providing a preview of both The Apprentice, the first book in the Alex Keyes Trilogy, and The Journeyman, the second book in the series.  So bowing to popular demand here are the two links to a free download sample.

 

Previews

The Apprentice Preview

The Journeyman Preview

Released Today

“The Journeyman”, the second book in the Alex Keyes Trilogy goes on sale today in both Kindle (£2.96) and Paperback (£9.78) formats.

The_Journeyman_Cover_for_Kindle

To celebrate the book’s release, we have reduced the price of The Apprentice, the first book in the series down to just £1.99 on Kindle, which means you can now get both books for under £5.

Here’s a sample of what people thought about “The Apprentice”:

5.0 out of 5 stars

Exciting Read 17 July 2015

By Nicua Shamira

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Having read Theo’s previous book, an autobiography ‘A Hell for Heroes’, I was very keen to read more from this engaging author. I was not disappointed in the least and finished the book in a weekend. ‘The Apprentice’ is a story of Alex Keyes – an ex-Olympian whom is forced to become a spy. But there is so much more to the story than this, an engaging depth that draws you in.

Alex is a strong, lethal fighter but who also has a very human side which tends to cause him degrees of pain and concern. This is what I love about Mr. Knell’s writing and his character – the range of understandable and relate-able emotion as well as a story that doesn’t follow the same blueprint as those in similar genres.

The story follows Alex on a secret mission behind the Iron Curtain – a journey that will test all his skills and make him question whom he really is as he is forced to almost change identity to make his way across the harsh land and help him survive several hit men.

I can’t wait for the next installment in this series and would recommend it to anyone, regardless of their preferred genre, for an engrossing, enjoyable read.

5.0 out of 5 stars

….shadows and half-truths almost at every turn….a splendid read… 2 Aug. 2015

By essgee

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

…I enjoy watching the manner in which a writer weaves the elements of a good novel together… Theo Knell has delivered an excellent smorgasbord with a British Special Forces officer, a bevy of Russian and Czech Cold War intelligence spies, both sides of the internecine religious conflict in Ireland, and a couple of interesting female characters to spice up the emotional and romantic interludes… the best intelligence and counter-intelligence narratives include shadows and half truths on both sides, almost at every turn… second-guessing, and even third-guessing is the order of the day in The Apprentice… a splendid read…

4.0 out of 5 stars

A Dangerous Game 10 Aug. 2015

By John Holt

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Set during the Cold War era, and the troubles in Northern Ireland. The Apprentice is an old fashion spy story. Mr Knell writes of what he knows and draws on his experience in the military. The result is a well-paced in depth action story of intrigue and arms dealing, with a twist.

Overall Rating – Currently 4.8 of 5 Stars.

Amazon Links

The Apprentice – Amazon.co.uk

The Apprentice – Amazon.com

The Journeyman – Amazon.co.uk

The Journeyman – Amazon.com

 

What price a good read?

My first book, A Hell for Heroes, “Heroes” was published by Coronet in October 2012. From the outset, the book has been priced at £18.14 for the hardback, £8.99 for the paperback and £5.99 for the Kindle version, and it is still selling well.

Although in a completely different genre, (Heroes was an autobiography and The Apprentice is a cold war thriller), applying that original pricing scale I estimated that a fair price for my first novel, (The Apprentice) would be around £3.85 for the Kindle version. Apparently, I was wrong. Even though the book has received some outstanding reviews, and the FREE countdown promotion I ran at the end of June generated close to eight hundred downloads in five days, physical sales, where people parted with their hard earned cash, have dwindled. So, what to do?

Well, being the type of person I am, given its reviews, I wanted to know why it wasn’t flying off the shelves so to speak. New authors cannot afford the luxury of pride, so I contacted some very successful and knowledgeable authors for their take on the situation.  Trial TA2

I had apparently committed a pretty basic “No-No”. It would appear that the writing on my cover is the wrong way round, in that my name is larger than the title of the book. As I mentioned earlier, I had some pretty good sales with Heroes and if The Apprentice was in the same genre of non-fiction, then my prospective audience may have recognised the name, put their hands in their pockets and parted with some cash. But that was not the case. The non-fiction readers were no longer my target audience and, therefore, most of those finding my book in the thriller category would have no idea about who I was or the standard of my writing. To them, Theo Knell was just another new author looking for people to read his book. Continuing on that theme, I was also advised that £3.85 or $6.00 (US) was a little pricey for a New Author.

Consequently, as a result of this very valuable advice, I have had the cover redesigned so that the title is now larger than the author name, and I have lowered the Kindle price to a more acceptable £1.99 or $3.00 (US).

So, if you’re looking for a good read that will make you think, while at the same time drag you into the story, why not visit or the review page below  and take a look at what some readers think. That part is free!

Reviews at Amazon.co.uk

The Apprentice – Amazon.co.uk

The Apprentice – Amazon.com

 

What is More Important?

As an author, what would you consider to be more important, book reviews, or book sales?

To most of us struggling authors, the answer to the above question seems simple enough – it has to be book sales. If you publish through a traditional publisher who has a substantial promotional budget, access to the TV and press, and the ability to put your books on the shelves of the major bookshops, it will probably work for you. But if you’re an indie publisher and your sales are purely Kindle or E-book orientated, then it’s a different scenario. When you don’t have something with an attractive cover that will make your book stand out on the shelf, draw the prospective reader in, something they can pick up, flick through and read the odd page or two, then they have no way of deciding whether they might like what is inside or not, and as result you cannot hope to generate sales. As an E-Book publisher, the reviews that your book receives on sites like Amazon and Goodreads are your best promotional tool as, in reality, they are the shop front for you book.  Trial TA2

So after a rather lengthy, and what some might consider a rather obvious observation, I hope that you will forgive me for what looks like a bit of outright begging.

My book The Apprentice, the first book in the “Alex Keyes” trilogy, was published on June 22 of this year. The combined sales and a free download promotion have been extremely encouraging, however, as of today, I have only received five reviews, although I’m not complaining, as they were all “Five Star”. So with the hope that I don’t offend anybody, if you have downloaded and read the book, and can spare the time, could I ask you to please leave a review on either on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com, and to make it easier for you, the links to both sites are shown below.

Thank you to everyone who has either bought or taken part in the free download promotion.

Amazon.co.uk – Reviews

Amazon.com – Reviews

 

Hope For Us All

On the 16th of June, I published a post on this blog titled, “Are you an aspiring thriller, writer?” The subject covered the rapidly changing world of publishing for the writers of the so-called “boys books” genre.

To quote one editor: “Market research is telling us that the majority of books are now being bought and read by women and that they have no wish to read military-style thrillers. So unless your work can meet the new guidelines, immediately appeal and connect with a female audience, it won’t even make it onto the desk”.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to read this “five-star” review written by a woman on Amazon.com.  Trial TA2

“Having read Theo’s previous book, an autobiography ‘A Hell for Heroes’, I was very keen to read more from this engaging author. I was not disappointed in the least and finished the book in a weekend. ‘The Apprentice’ is a story of Alex Keyes – an ex-Olympian who is forced to become a spy. But there is so much more to the story than this, an engaging depth that draws you in.

Alex is a strong, lethal fighter but who also has a very human side which tends to cause him degrees of pain and concern. This is what I love about Mr. Knell’s writing and his character – the range of understandable and relate-able emotion as well as a story that doesn’t follow the same blueprint as those in similar genres.

The story follows Alex on a secret mission behind the Iron Curtain – a journey that will test all his skills and make him question whom he really is as he is forced to almost change identity to make his way across the harsh land and help him survive several hit men.

I can’t wait for the next installment in this series and would recommend it to anyone, regardless of their preferred genre, for an engrossing, enjoyable read.”

It would appear from the above review, that it is not impossible for the writers of the so-called “boys books” to meet the new publishing guidelines.

Have a great weekend all.

Amazon.co.uk – Reviews

Amazon.com – Reviews