If you don’t know anything about this festival you can learn more here. It was a great chance to meet friends and readers and to hear authors whose work I love debate issues about writing crime. It’s also a chance to network. I met my Dutch publisher, Claudia van der Werf from De Fontein, who will be bringing out the Scott and Bailey novels, starting next year. On Friday afternoon a panel on eBooks caused a great buzz. Other people have written eloquently about it – you can read a good account from Steve Mosby, also coverage on the welovethisbook website and from the controversial author at the heart of the storm.
The consensus is that eBooks are here to stay and everyone in the industry needs to adapt to the changing market. How cheap and disposable should our stories be was a key issue. How to value books? If people get used to downloading books for 99p or less will that devalue books as a whole, and end up leaving most authors even more hard up than they already are? So far my experience of digital publishing has been very positive. My publisher Constable and Robinson won the Ingram digital publishing award this year and Rob Nichols, the digital marketing director, is skilled at using promotions for limited periods to attract readers. It worked so well for me that Witness reached No.2 on Amazon’s Kindle fiction list and No.1 in Crime, Mystery and Thrillers. I’ve also self-published some of my backlist and set a modest price which keeps sales ticking over – and keeps out-of-print titles available for new readers.
On the Saturday evening I was delighted to be one of the suspects in Come Die With Me, a murder mystery dinner organized by Ann Cleeves, and based on her novel The Glass Room novel. One of the Vera Stanhope series. What’s special about the event is it gives readers an opportunity to meet and get to know the upcoming authors who host each table. And to take away free signed copies of the author’s latest title. My fellow suspects, real identities, author N.J. Cooper, publisher Jeremy Trevathan, forensic soil scientist Lorna Dawson and actor Jon Morrison turned in stellar performances. Though one of them was lying through his teeth and turned out to be the guilty party. It was a great event – part of a great weekend and I’m already looking forward to next year.