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Friday, May 02, 2008

A REMARKABLE FOUR MONTHS...

This morning, for the first time since its release on December 27th, 2007, A Quiet Belief In Angels slipped out of the Top Five on Amazon. Whether it will climb again we shall see! For more than sixteen weeks Quiet Belief has been in the top three or four, and last weekend spent two days at number one. The book is still selling, and by approximate calculations the better part of 180,000 copies have now found their way into peoples' hands. There are more than 175 reviews of the book on Amazon currently, and that doesn't even touch on the quantity of e-mails I have received through the website (over 1000 in the last six weeks alone...and yes, I have answered every one of them, and yes I have continued to e-mail back and forth with quite a few people, and yes, I will always answer e-mails and messages because answering questions and talking to people about books is what it's all about!)

Aside from that, the first three books - Candlemoth, Ghostheart and A Quiet Vendetta, all originally published under my full name, Roger Jon Ellory - were given new covers and re-released under 'RJ Ellory' to fall in line with City of Lies and A Quiet Belief in Angels. My pat response to the question "Why are you now RJ Ellory and not Roger Jon Ellory?" has always been 'Because it saves on the cost of printing ink...', but that is not true. The abbreviation came about as a result of a discussion between a Sales Director at Orion and the chief buyer of Waterstones some while back. When asked why my books weren't selling as well as Orion had hoped, the buyer made the recommendation that my name be shortened. This was to ensure that people remembered it with greater ease. Whether it worked or not I don't know, but I feel privileged to be in the august company of such other 'abbreviated' writers like JK Rowling, EM Forster, HG Wells, JD Salinger, AA Milne and JRR Tolkien!

Additionally a new advertising campaign starts on the London Underground from the 5th of May. This is simply a picture of the cover of Quiet Belief, and alongside it some of the comments that have been made by reviewers on Amazon. This is the first time there has been an independent publicity campaign, and it's going to be very interesting to see what happens as a result.

Aside from that I have been doing library talks and signings, and also attended the London Book Fair at Earl's Court. I met a good number of my foreign publishers from such places as Brazil (a wonderful gentleman called Jorge Oakim), also Malta (a splendid fellow called Ed Azzopardi who sat beside me at dinner that evening), and others from Scandinavia, Lebanon, France, Germany, South Africa and Spain.

To date we now have a good number of languages secured for the books, including Japanese, Lithuanian, Brazilian, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Taiwanese, Norwegian, Swedish, Portuguese and Bulgarian. Additionally City of Lies and A Quiet Vendetta are availbale in large print from Clipper, and Quiet Belief is out in abridged audio, due out soon in unabridged audio, and the next book - A Simple Act of Violence - is also coming out in audio alongside the book.

Which brings us to A Simple Act of Violence. It is done, copy-edited, being bound in Advance Reader Copy proofs, and will be released either at the beginning of September or the beginning of October. It could come at either time, but the decision about which month depends to a degree upon the marketing and promotion that needs to be in place for a book to be released. Regardless, I am very excited. I will say nothing about it, save that it is a book I am very proud of indeed, and I really do hope that you like it.

So that's where we are at the start of May 2008. Aside from resigning myself philosophically to the fact that A Quiet Belief in Angels will not be in the Amazon Top Three ad infinitum, I am very pleased with the way things are going (though I have exceptionally high standards, and shared a brief and drily humourous conversation with my editor the other day that went along the lines of:
"So how many have we sold?"
"God, I don't know, maybe 250,000 in all."
"And what's the population of the country?"
"Sixty, sixty five million I'd say."
"Okay, so we need a copy of each book in every household in the country, and then we go global."
"Right, right...couldn't agree more? And then?"
"Well then we need to seriously look at some of this space research. I cannot believe there are no other inhabited planets in our solar system -- "
"Sure as hell there are, and they want to read, don't they? I mean for God's sake, who doesn't want to read?")

You get the picture.

So enough already.
Will try and post more frequently, but as I said that last time, and though I say it with the best will in the world, there is something about life that seems determined to upset the best laid plans an' all that. You're all-too-familiar with that one, right?

Trust you're all well, and I send my very best wishes, as always.

11 comments:

Adam Bird said...

Hi Roger,

Glad that everything has taken off for you, especially with all the hard work and effort you have put in getting where you are today!

I have now read all of your books, and although I was totally amazed with A Quiet Belief, my favourite was A Quiet Vendetta! This book literally blew me away, and I just cannot for the life of me see how your not already a household name.

Am looking forward to the new book already, the synopsis on the Waterstones website in very intruiging!!

All the best

Adam

R J Ellory said...

Well, strange that you say that about AQV because that was the book my wife could not read (too violent), and she didn't read City of Lies or AQBIA. Then, eventually, she read AQBIA, then City of Lies, and finally she read AQV and wound up liking that the most. You'll perhaps be pleased to know that A Simple Act of Violence is very similar in length and structure (but where the concentration in AQV was on the back story, in Simple Act the front story takes centre stage), and they could be called 'companion work'. AQV was about the Mafia - how wonderfully warm and generous they are, whereas Simple Act is testament to the truly marvellous and philanthropic organisation known as the CIA!
I look forward in anticipation to your thoughts on it once it has come out.
Have a great bank Holiday Adam, and we'll speak soon.

Kerrie said...

I think it was only a temporary slip Roger. A QUIET BELIEF is still at the top of the Amazon.uk RSS feed that I get. I posted a review the other day on my blog of CITY OF LIES. I did at points get to feel that I'd like to throttle John Harper though..

R J Ellory said...

You have my permission to throttle John Harper - for his innocence, his naivete, his gullibility, his frustrating ability to miss the point at every turn...but, in all honesty, he probably wound up happier than all of them!
Great to hear from you. Trust all is well Kerrie. Speak soon.

m j bulmer said...

Hi Roger,
Good to hear your news!
Glad the book is all signed and sealed, but the delivery part, well September is a long hot summer away but we will just have to be patient won't we?!
I think because I read AQBIA first and then the rest of your books it seems a lifetime ago. However, the London publicity thing seems exciting, you must get a thrill out of it and I do hope readers keep buying the book and enjoy your work as many of us have and will continue to do so. I like Adam really enjoyed A Quiet Vendetta (although for me Candlemoth is my no 1) and still wonder from time to time what our old 'friend' Perez is doing these days, hopefully retirement which is something Roger you must never do!!
Take Care
Mary

R J Ellory said...

I can imagine that Perez will never officially retire. A man of his calibre would always need to keep a weather-eye open for whoever might be onto him. London advertising? We'll see whether or not there's an increase in books bought, or if it merely slows the decline of sales. A bit like trying to prove a negative! Am off somewhere on Sunday to see where they have put up this 96-sheet poster for AQBIA. This is the largest poster that you can get, and is somewhere around the size of two houses!
Good to hear from you Mary. Trust all is well.
Best, as always,
Roger.

Iqbal said...

Hi Roger,

Being a grad student, I didn't have time for reading anything other than papers and references. Now that I'll graduate this summer, I'm in the middle of reading A Quiet Belief in Angels and I can't put it down. In fact, I've already lined up most of your books to buy on amazon.

After reading your post in May, I tried to send you an e-mail through your website, but there was an error and I'm not sure if you got it or not. I hope you did.

Best wishes.

R J Ellory said...

I think you sent it again, as I did get it today and I've replied. Great to hear from you Iqbal, and there's a much more detailed answer in my e-mail back to you.
Take care, and best wishes,
Roger.

Manuel Antão, PMP said...

Hello.

Nice to hear from you!

"Editorial Presença" is one of the biggest publishing houses in Portugal. These are indeed good news! I'm going to spread the word that "City of Lies" and "A Quite Belief in Angels" will be translated into Portuguese. I'm curious about who is going to translate your books... It's not going to be an easy task. I've already read "Candlemoth" and "Ghostheart" in English. I'm saving "City of Lies", "A Quite Belief in Angels" and "A Quite Vendetta" for later... I'm planning on reading them all with all the time in the world when I go on Holiday to Algarve in July...
Do you have any idea when the books will be published in Portuguese? I'm also planning on reading one of them in Portuguese to see what solutions were found in terms of translation. It's also going to be a treat...

Take care,

Manuel Antão

R J Ellory said...

I actually don't know who is going to translate them, or when they are being released, but I am at Orion tomorrow and I will find out and let you know. I now have your e-mail address from the e-mail that you sent me and I'd like very much to keep in touch.
Thanks for the great news. It really has made my day!
Best wishes,
Roger.

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