Simon Denman's Blog

Author of CONNECTED, a mystery thriller with a touch of speculative science & philosophy.

Magnified browser windowed showing the web addressFor those of you who may have wondered why I’ve been so quiet for the last year, it’s because I decided to put the writing of my second novel on hold in order to design and build a truly unique international book promotion website for readers, authors and publishers, called Readers in the Know. The rest of this post explains why.

When I published Connected back in June 2012, I knew nothing about book marketing but decided to try Amazon’s KDP Select programme and offer my brand new book free for its first 5 days. It took a couple of days to get started, but then, as luck would have it, in spite of having done nothing to promote it but email friends and colleagues, it took off. By the end of day 5, it was on 4500 Kindles (90% of which were in the UK), was No.1 in Amazon UK bestselling free titles for both Thrillers and Science Fiction and in the 3 weeks that followed, sold about 1500 copies at full price.

I then tried a bunch of other marketing tactics including Facebook and Goodreads advertising, in the process blowing a good chunk of the profit I had just made, before returning to free and discount promos.

Soon I discovered about a hundred websites (mostly US focused) with the sole purpose of promoting such book promos. Some were paid and some were free, although most of the apparent free ones only tended to guarantee your listing if you paid some nominal fee each time.

I subsequently found that by submitting the details of my promos to thirty or so of the largest of these sites, I could increase my free download count by a factor of 3 or 4, and in so doing, start to get the tens of thousands of downloads needed for a decent Amazon review count.

But as I went through this tedious and repetitive process of promo submission every six to eight weeks, some questions began to emerge and tug at my consciousness:

  • What if there was a website where I only had to enter my book and author details once, after which they would be permanently stored in a database?
  • What if, rather than assuming everyone in the world lived in the US, it showed the correct pricing, currency and links for each reader’s local country?
  • What if readers could then find me and my books even when there was no promo running?
  • What if readers could be “In the Know” about upcoming promos as well as current ones?
  • What if they could add my book to some kind of personal watch list and then get an automatic notification on the first day of its next promo?
  • What if I could then sign in and schedule new promos with just a few clicks?
  • What if I could schedule giveaway as well as free and discount promos?
  • What if I could also schedule author events and have readers who follow me receive updates about these?
  • What if I could also use this site to keep a permanent yet private record of all the promos I run, what results I get, and even have these results automatically charted for me.
  • What if I also had some insight into the demographics of all those who had shown an interest in my book?

And since no such book promo site existed, I decided to create one. The result is Readers in the Know which was launched to a select group of authors and publishers on the evening of May 31st 2014 and which is now open to all and completely free to join as a reader.

What’s more, there’s a 60-day free trial for authors and publishers so take a look, join up, add your books and let me know what you think.

August 17th, 2013

Aliens – Friends or Foe?

3 Comments, Uncategorized, by Simon.

Independence-Day-Movie-1280x720The image of visiting aliens as ruthless invaders hell-bent on destroying mankind in order to colonise our little blue planet for themselves, may be good for the Hollywood box-office, but how likely is it to reflect reality?

The deeper we delve into the cosmos, the more likely it appears that we not alone. Even if bio-genesis – the appearance of life from non-living chemical components – is a mind-numbingly rare event, the Universe is so vast, and the numbers of potential star systems so large, that even the slimmest odds could result in millions of occurrences. More

August 8th, 2013

Why did you do that?

2 Comments, Uncategorized, by Simon.

child uncertaintyI’m not sure whether there are more strange things happening down here in Cornwall than in the rest of the country, or whether I’m just noticing more of them since moving down here a few months ago. Either way, my local on-line rag, the Falmouth Packet, while rarely covering events of earth-shattering significance, is often an amusing source of the bizarre. This morning for instance, the following headline caught my eye:

Falmouth man who drove into River Fowey has ‘no idea’ why

From reading the story, at least part of the reason seems likely to have involved alcohol, a theory strengthened by his subsequent refusal to furnish a blood sample upon being admitted to hospital. However, this once again got me thinking about the whole knotty problem of Free Will and why it probably doesn’t exist – at least not in the sense that most of us feel it does. More

Audio book CD CaseFollowing my post a couple of weeks ago about the recording process for the audio book version of Connected, I am delighted to announce that the finished product is now available for purchase:

June 26th, 2013

Was Edward Snowden Right?

4 Comments, Uncategorized, by Simon.
Maybe photoshop, but wonderfully ironic if not:)

Maybe Photoshop, but wonderfully ironic if not:)

The recent case of Edward Snowden and his leaking of top-secret government information relating to NSA snooping project, PRISM, has come at an interesting time for me, since the collision of ethics and morality is becoming an important topic for a new novel I am writing.

There are no doubt many important questions raised by this case, but I’m going to focus on just two:

  • Under what circumstances, if any, is it ever right to whistle-blow?
  • Was Snowden right in this particular case? More

recording gear CLICK HERE to hear the title opening of CONNECTED, the Audio Book

When the nice people at Cherry Hill Publishing approached me last year, asking if they could publish an audio book version of Connected, I had little experience of this rich and rapidly growing format, or what the publication process would entail. More

istanbul riot red dress

The girl who has become the iconic symbol of the current protest

Prior to 2008, I had visited Turkey only twice, and both times for business events in Istanbul – the kind of events where sleeping, eating, partying… and of course a little business too… is all conducted within the walls of the same opulent yet generically international hotel.

Then in 2008, I met the woman who was to become my wife, and so began a love-affair (well, two I suppose) and a certain fascination with the city and country in which she had been born and raised. More

For some time now, the self-publishing world has been buzzing with word of a new promotional vehicle, the Blog Tour. To understand exactly what this is and how it works, I decided to take part in one – not my own, but that of US Author, Elizabeth Rose, who has organised one to promote her upcoming novel, When the Last Petal Falls.
On this stop of the tour, Elizabeth has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about the tour itself, blogging, and of course her book. More

I’m currently reading a rather fascinating book called Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D. and last week I read in it something both astonishing and disturbing. Every time there is a well-publicised case of suicide in the media, there invariably follows a dramatic increase, not only in copycat suicides, but in reported car and plane accidents as well. More

January 29th, 2013

Why do people post on-line reviews?

5 Comments, General, by Simon.

Amazon reviews
Driven mostly by convenience, wider choices and lower prices, more and more of us are now abandoning the high street in favour of the Internet. And where once we might have relied on the polished patter of a retail salesperson, we now have, via on-line reviews, access to the collective voices of hundreds of fellow consumers from around the world.

But what type of people post these reviews and why? Why is it that some people feel compelled to post thousands, or even tens of thousands of on-line reviews, while the vast majority rarely or never do? Is it a fair system? What is the psychology behind it, and what are the ethical implications of posting good, bad, or indifferent reviews? More