Thursday, May 18, 2006

Word of mouse.

The internet is the new word of mouth - or word of mouse, as you might say. I don't know what effect all these wonderful blog reviews I've been getting will have on sales. That isn't really the point, though naturally I want the book to do as well as it possibly can. I'm just pleased to learn that my book has connected with this or that individual reader, and he or she has felt strongly enough to share their enthusiasm with the world.

Anyhow, there's been another blog review. Take a look.

My favourite bits? I did like this: "The way in which Roger Morris controls and manipulates his narrative and plot through the device of taking these ‘souvenirs’ is deft and supremely well constructed as we are drawn more and more into Rob’s sometimes crazed perception of reality."

And then there was this: "Full marks to Macmillian New Writing for publishing this novel. Roger Morris takes many risks in his prose with his crisp style and repetition."

Oh, and I mustn't forget this: "It is an excellent novel and one I would recommend."

Thank you, Alan Roche, for writing the review. I don't know Alan from Adam. So it's amazing to me that people other than my immediate family and friends are reading the book and being affected by it.

And thank you, Jai Clare, for putting the review up on your blog.


CalabazaBlog said...


Dr Ian Hocking said...

Congratulations on these reviews, Roger. Well deserved.

(A reader who liked the book too.)

Debi said...

Just checked you out on Amazon, Roger. Book looks great. Wish you loads of luck with it.
You probably already know this, but you'll need to register for PLR for loans from libraries ( and with ALCS re copying (
I also find membership of Society of Authors is really useful. Expert independent advice, v useful mag, good range of seminars, factsheets etc etc.

Roger Morris said...

No, Debi, I didn't know about the PLR or ALCS registering. I thought the plr was automatic! Told you I was naive! People have been recommending Society of Authors. I suppose I should do it.

Roger Morris said...

Oh and thanks for the kind words!

rashbre said...

Bob's Books now has the rashbre review, along with something else you may find of interest ;o)

We hope you'll play along!


Roger Morris said...

Hi rashbre - you got me!

rashbre said...

Excellent. Hold fire until we get the post promoted and cross posted.

rashbre said...

we are now 'in position' at the top of three blogs. Bob's, rashbre's and holyhoses.

Debi said...

ALCS membership is automatic if you join Soc of Authors. Really really recommend them.
If I've sussed this correctly, you've had no advance and are on royalties only. Is that right?
Now's the time to take advantage of this opportunity life has chucked your way. Grab it with both hands! And enjoy ...

Roger Morris said...

Debi - thanks again for the info. Yes, I got no advance, but will get royalties. Society of Authors was very sniffy about Macmillan New Writing initially - Mark Le Fanu declared against it, I think. That put me off joining, to be honest. I thought they would not approve of me, or look down their collective nose at me, or something. It reinforced my 'outsider' instincts, in other words.

Anyhow, it's very easy for them to take that attitude, but it overlooks the fact that it is exceedingly difficult to get first novels published - and even sometimes second and third ones, as your excellent post on your blog pointed out. (Go look, people.)

Having said all that, I can see that there could be benefits to being a member of Soc of Authors and will probably send in my subs next week. I'll join, if they'll have me, though it does make me think of that old Groucho Marx quote!

Debi said...

That's horrible and I can quite see how it would put you off. They really should know better.
Maybe he was coming from the point of writers' rights - and how you're not getting them? I certainly doubt they'd be sniffy directly to you. They know the reality round getting published better than anyone.
But I have found them really useful. Probably not worth cutting off the nose ...?
Anyway, if/when you do go to a seminar or whatever you'll see how true it is about writers - you'll be an outsider in a room full of others who could lay claim to the same status!

Roger Morris said...

Debi, it wasn't really horrible, to be honest, more patronising. And maybe I'm misrepresenting them. But I do remember he was quoted in the papers saying it wasn't a good deal for the writer. Well, okay, fine, but... What he fails to take into account is how hard it is for writers to even get their work read by publishers, let alone published. So he's coming at it from a very rarified position, I think. Anyhow, that's all water under the bridge really. I will join, I promise, and I'm really grateful to you for making me!

Lee said...

Actually, it may be just the opposite of what the Society of Authors seems to have been saying - people are very interested in the Macmillan venture and may be paying more attention to the first authors in its programme. And though I've only read your pdf-excerpt so far, I like what you've done with language, and how it serves the voice you've developed.

Debi said...

This has become an interesting debate.
Advances are calculated on the number of books the publisher hopes to sell.
So the higher the advance, the harder they have to work in order to make their money back. (Though the reality is that the vast majority of books don't sell out their advance so royalties rarely come into play at all.)
With my ex-shop steward's hat on, I'd say I am concerned that, theoretically MNW authors' books may not be given the push they deserve as Mac only have to make back the costs of production to break even.
Having said that, you're so right. It's so very hard to get published at all, that we have to be grateful for any new initiatives that can bring new writers into print. So long as it's only one way out of several and the writers get the publicity they deserve. (Hopefully Lee is right - you look like you're doing pretty well on that front.)
Then again, as I said on my post, new writers have problems whether they have a traditional advance or not. Except at least in those circumstances, they have the £££! And the publisher has the incentive to push hard ...

Roger Morris said...

Hi Lee, thanks for dropping in, and hello again Debi.

Lee, I think you are right in terms of the attention that the initiative has received - not all of it positive, it has to be said. But people do have axes to grind and most of the literary establishment (a.k.a. 'the tosserati' - please feel free to get the term in general usage) made their minds up long before the first books came out.

Debi, what Macmillan would say is that the financial risk involved means that fewer and fewer new writers get published, because the big publishers will only take a chance on books they feel reasonably confident will earn back the advance. The consequence of this is that some books (books like mine perhaps) which may have a chance of finding a readership, but perhaps a niche readership rather than a mass one, will get squeezed out. I'm really grateful to Lee for saying nice things about my use of language in the extract, but I was told by one editor who came close to making me an offer (which would presumably have had an advance of some kind) that what decided her editorial board against it was that they felt the style would be too much for the general reader. She herself was unbelievably enthusiastic about the book. It was a case of 'I love it - but readers will be put off by the style, sorry'. Actually, I don't think she said sorry.

The reaction I've had from readers is that they do not find the style a problem, in fact they like it. So maybe editors should give 'the general reader' more credit than they do.

I'm not sure the book could have got published by any other publisher. That one experience of coming so close (I had been told that an offer was virtually a formality) made me very pessimistic. But we'll never know, because it only went to that one other publisher who turned it down. My own belief is that I would have got the same response from other publishers and the text would still be sitting on my hard drive.

Advice like that offered by the Society of Authors is all very well, but they do not publish books. So it's not like they're saying don't sign that contract, sign this one. All they can say is, don't sign that contract. Which for the writer who believes in his/her book and wants to see it in print, isn't much use. It's not like every book has an infinite number of offers available to it.

Debi said...

That experience of teetering on the edge of a deal only to fall in the end must have been hideous.
It's so annoying (and speaks volumes re the state of publishing) that only writing that is perceived as 'safe' has a chance. You'd think that The Curious Incident of the Dog and Vernon God Little (to name just 2) would have shown that rules can be broken to extremely good effect.

Roger Morris said...

Hi Debi, I know risky books do get taken on - and some of them even succeed. But maybe there is a trend towards playing it safe? But the irony is that in publishing even when you think you're playing safe, you can still have a massive flop. And the books that take the most risks may be the ones that do best. Who knows? Not me!

As for my brush with that other pub co, at least I got a lunch out of it.