I’m thrilled, amazed, baffled, and terrified to reveal that my debut novel THE EDGE is included in this month’s Amazon First Reads selection for the UK and Australia!
1st November has been my release date for a long, long time. As I’ve discussed on this blog many times before, publishing is a long, slow slog of a process, and each writer has many secrets to keep along the way. Amazon First Reads was the biggest of mine.
Because although November is still the official release date for the ebook and paperback, and that’s when it’ll release to the North American markets, I’ve known for months that, actually, 1st October was the day. But I couldn’t tell anyone! And trust me, this is a rather big secret to keep.
What is Amazon First Reads?
On the first of every month, Amazon hand-picks a selection of books to offer to Prime members for free (and non-Prime members can get them at a discount) ahead of their official publication, and members can select which title interests them the most. This is invaluable for the authors included, as it means when their book officially releases, it already has chart ranking and a good number of ratings associated with it, which makes readers more inclined to buy the book for themselves.
Being included in this program is like having a super-charged release day. Be honest: are you more likely to pick up a book with 100 reviews, or 0?
The Bad Side
I have anxiety. Not just social anxiety, but the regular kind: worrying myself half to death over things I can’t change.
There are certain things I can do ahead of the 1st November release date to help my book find its readers: be active on social media; run a giveaway; post content warnings on my blog. Regular readers can check the blurb and reviews and decide if the book is for them or not — and if it’s not, they won’t buy it.
But on First Reads, THE EDGE is the only psychological thriller option. Less competition may sound good, but the reality is that people who have no interest in sisters, or who are sensitive around themes of death and suicide, or who wanted something more male-orientated, will choose THE EDGE as their one free book of the month — and then absolutely hate it.
And the good/bad thing about Amazon First Readers is that they love to leave reviews, and they’re not shy about saying when a book is so terrible they had to stop reading it.
I can’t control the wrong people finding my book. I hope, so much, that there are no wrong people for my book, that it has enough in it to appeal to a wide range of people — but I can’t know for sure. And because I’m a pick-at-the-scab kind of anxiety sufferer, I’ve looked at the kind of reviews left on previous First Reads selections. One-star ratings for swearing, for being “too woke”, for “taking the lord’s name in vain”…
Believe me when I tell you I have a good reason to be worried!
Feelings and That
Despite my fear about what may or may not be said about my book in the next days and months, I’m trying to be good to myself and follow the advice of many writers before me: do not read reviews!
Because really, those reader reviews are not for me. Maybe there are things to learn from them — do I have an annoying bad habit? Do I need to improve a certain element of my writing? Was there something that they really didn’t like that I should avoid in future books? — but mostly, those reviews are for readers. It’s not my place to wade in there and make it all about me and my feelings. Reviews are there to help readers find books that suit them, and whatever those reviews say is valid.
Tomorrow, THE EDGE ceases to be mine.
It doesn’t matter what my favourite twist is, or which character I liked the best, or what I meant by certain metaphors or imagery. From tomorrow, it’s all down to what each individual reader thinks. Their impression of the book is the right one, whether they’re on-board with my vision or not. They own their own interpretation of the story.
And to be honest, that’s an incredibly strange thing to have to accept.
I don’t know how my month on First Reads will go. I don’t really know what to expect from it.
(I have, of course, spent sleepless nights worrying over the worst possible outcome: everyone who selects it hates it, the max five-star rating gets decimated to one, and nobody wants to buy it when it actually releases on 1st November.)
Despite the possible negatives, I’m still immensely grateful to be included in October’s selection. Every writer dreams of having their book put in front of as many readers as possible, and what could guarantee that more for an unknown debut author like me than being included in a limited selection of books that’s viewed by a lot of people across the world?
October is going to be a very, very strange month. While my book goes to proper, non-industry and non-family-and-friends readers for the first time, I’m also trying to finish writing a new psychological thriller novel — one I’m not allowed to say much about yet! In my very stressed, very anxious state, doom-scrolling negative reviews of THE EDGE is probably not the best idea… But if there are a handful of positive ones, perhaps they could be just the fuel I need to get me over the finish line and, once again, to the end.
If you’re someone in the UK receiving an early paperback today, someone with a pre-order, or a First Reads member who’s somehow found their way here, I just want to thank you for all the support you’ve given to a completely unknown author.
I really hope you enjoy THE EDGE — but if not, please do still feel free to leave an honest review. Just don’t EVER tag me in them!!
One thought on “THE EDGE is an Amazon First Read!”
Just finished The Edge. I couldn’t put it down and am so glad I picked it as an Amazon Prime First Reads. Totally absorbing and outstanding for a writer’s first book. Good luck and keep them coming!