When we started Fahrenheit Press we promised you we’d do things differently - that we’d be transparent with all of you - authors and readers both.
So in that spirit, here goes some honesty and transparency…
We kinda fucked up.
We published Derek Farrell’s debut novel Death Of A Diva back in November and it did really well – so well that it became a No.1 category best-seller on Amazon in its first week of release.
To be honest we thought 'job done, we’ve got a proper hit on our hands here, shall we order the yacht before Christmas or wait for the January sales?'
– sadly since then things haven’t really worked out they way we’d hoped.
Now don’t get us wrong, sales have been pretty decent – in fact for a debut novel from a completely unknown author they’ve been bloody good. Even more importantly, readers seem to love the book - to date it has 20 FIVE STAR reviews on Amazon.
Without fail everyone who reads the book falls in love with the two main characters, Danny Bird and his awesome un-flappable sidekick Lady Caroline. We probably get more emails asking when the next Danny Bird book is going to be published than for any other book on our list.
So we’ve got great sales, happy readers and a sack full of fan mail – what could possibly be the problem?
Well there's the rub - this awesome, funny, clever and elegantly plotted crime novel has been totally imprisoned in the LGBT categories on Amazon and as a result it’s not breaking out to reach the wider audience it deserves.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re hugely proud to publish a crime book where the main character is a happy, openly gay man - though if we’re being really honest it was totally incidental to us when we decided to publish the book. All we look for are great stories told great – we have no other agenda to push.
We published Death Of A Diva because it was a great crime book and it’s really beginning to bug us that it’s being typecast as purely of LGBT interest on Amazon.
Now to be fair to Amazon, we’re not blaming them for this at all – the blame for the ghettoisation of this book sits fairly and squarely on our shoulders – we wrote the blurb and we chose the keywords that the Amazon algorithm uses to help categorise the book.
We’re also not blaming readers browsing through Amazon looking for their next read – it was us who took the decision to slap a bloody huge mirror ball on the front and emblazon the title in the brightest, most fabulous pink neon we could find.
It’s our fault the book has been typecast - we fucked up.
We marketed the book (bloody successfully by the way) at too narrow an audience, which means that it’s not ending up in front of all the readers who we know will love it. That in turn means the author isn’t getting the wide acclaim (and the royalties) this book deserves.
We know 100% that it’s not Amazon or reader prejudice that’s holding the book penned in the LGBT category because we actually have another crime book on our list (A Slow Death) where the main character is openly gay and his sexuality has barely been mentioned in reviews or indeed in the categorisation used by Amazon.
Nope, much as we’d love to pin the blame for this on someone else - it’s our marketing of this title that’s been at fault.
So, this is a public apology to both the potential readers who have missed out so far, and to our author Derek Farrell who trusted us with his debut novel - frankly you both deserved more from us.
So what are we going to do to put it right?
Today marks the start of the re-launch of Death of Diva as a straight up contemporary crime novel.
We’ve swapped the fabulous glitter ball cover for something a bit more grown up and we’ve sprinkled some heavy duty metadata magic behind the scenes to ensure the book gets re-classified on Amazon.
At Fahrenheit we’re proud of our links with the LGBT community and we’ll continue to publish books regardless of the gender or sexuality of the authors or their characters. In this instance though we think we got a little bit carried away with the opportunity to be ‘fabulous’ and as a result we were accidentally guilty of the kind of lazy LGBT stereotyping that we hate seeing elsewhere.
Apologies all round. We’ll do better.
NOW BUY THE DAMN BOOK!