105,000 words, 5 years’ work, price 99p, #17 in the charts: the mad economics of writing

 I’ve written a novel about rats and humans, set 150 years ago in a harsh, dark city very like Victorian London.

Some stories come easy. The Twyning was not one of them. It can be tricky, I discovered, to write a novel in which rodents and humans share centre stage. Having two narrators, a young boy and a rat, is not entirely straightforward. There are questions of balance and taste, of how graphic descriptions can be, in a story of inter-species war which I hope will be read by readers of all ages.

I think I cracked it as well as I could but, with false starts and interruptions, The Twyning took the best part of five years of my life to complete.

It was published last month. For 24 hours, on 10th February, it is being sold for 99p on Kindle, which works out at just under 20p for every year of work.

Here is the odd part: I’m delighted. It’s good news if a book is chosen as a Daily Deal on Amazon. My rats have soared gloriously to #17 in the Kindle bestseller list. As I write this, there are five more hours before it returns to its normal price, and I rather long for the 99p to be reduced still further – to 20p, or maybe 10p  –  in one last brave push for the top spot.

There is, of course, the niggling worry that these are the economics of the madhouse. Nothing can surely work on this model (except, arguably, for readers) in the long or even medium term.

Right now, though, I’m thrilled to play the game. Readers are readers. What the hell, it’s only money…

The Twyning reached #13, and will now, one assumes, slowly make way for other Daily Deals. Funny old business…

It is available on Kindle here.