Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Tis the Season for Sharing and Breaking Through the Clutter

Gearing up for the January 19, 2016 release of my second book — a gripping page-turner called 'The Perfectionist' and with a busy few weeks ahead of me, I'd like to use this opportunity to remind you it is a time to unite.

It is a time to celebrate.
It is a time you must spend in good spirit with others.
I believe that sharing is the heart of the Christmas holiday season.
And as you enjoy the festive period, think about lending a helping hand to others and sharing too.
Simple gestures. Simple thoughts of kindness. Little things that can help.
Believe me, it goes a long way.

Speaking of help, I'd like to add that anyone can support my book release by doing different things to help it get noticed. So, if you're interested, here's what you can do to support your writer friend after the launch:

1. Buy the book. An obvious point, sure, but important nonetheless. Also, consider pre-ordering the book. Apparently publishers pay attention to pre-orders to help get a sense of what titles are getting buzz.

2. Buy the book for others as a gift. Think of which friends and relatives would enjoy the book.

3. When you actually read the book, read it where people can see it. Read it in public. Read it on the bus or in the subway. Make sure your friends and colleagues see you reading it.

4. Leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or Facebook - wherever you can. Reviews are very important. The more reviews and ratings on Amazon for 'The Perfectionist', the better. Those first 10-20 reviews really matter and can set a book on the right path. If you don't like to write reviews, just give a rating.

5. "Like" the book on Amazon, "Share" it on Facebook... The more “Likes” a book has on its Amazon page, the more frequently it turns up in Amazon’s comparable titles elsewhere. This is an easy favour to ask, and it requires no money.

6. Spread news of the book through your friend networks. When 'The Perfectionist' is mentioned on Facebook, share the news with your social circles and, if you can, include a small note about the book. Spreading the word by saying "Simon's book has been published!" or "This new book by my friend is a wonderful read. Highly recommended!" This help requires no money.

7. If you know people of influence, why not arrange a connection? This is one of the best things you can do and probably the biggest way you can influence the life of the book. If your next door neighbour is the friend of a friend who knows a local celebrity - that's exactly the kind of connection that serves as a great introduction between me and even larger social circles. If you happen to know a book reviewer at a newspaper, say so. If a former workmate now runs a reading club in a sleepy village, try and help me by suggesting the book be a future choice in that club. Again, this help requires no money.

I know we live in a world now where we are bombarded with advertisements. But if my book can break through the clutter and get an edge, then it will be in large part through friends and families, and friends and families of those friends and families, etc. All those Likes, Comments and Shares on Facebook Pages are valuable recommendations. It's minimal effort and it helps me a lot. I read somewhere that that 70% of consumers trust social media recommendations, and only 10% trust social media advertisements; so getting people to engage with my book on the social media is another feather in my cap.

I wish you all a happy holiday.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

More Early Praise for 'The Perfectionist'

It's been a busy few weeks for the book promotion.

After uploading the video trailer on YouTube (https://youtu.be/6rXPMFLeKTg) on November 16th, I followed up with a promotion on Dailymotion (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3edhfz_the-perfectionist-trailer_fun) on November 23rd.

On December 1st, I was also pleased to be included on Paul Norman's Books Monthly. Paul's review of 'The Perfectionist' will appear in the January 2016 edition. Thanks for the support, Paul. Much appreciated!

Check out Books Monthly at this link: http://www.booksmonthly.co.uk/crimeb.html

On Friday 27th, Kate Moloney, who runs Bibliophile Book Club, reviewed 'The Perfectionist' and gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. She followed that up with the publication of our interview today.

Kate, thank you so much for the opportunity! The full book review and interview can be accessed at Kate's website at https://bibliophilebookclub.wordpress.com

I invite you to like her page on Facebook and show your support for the great work she is doing: https://www.facebook.com/BibliophileBookClub/

Here are a few excerpts:


"I was really looking forward to reading The Perfectionist as I loved the premise of the book, and I wasn’t disappointed ... Simon Duke has written a very well crafted novel, with a truly evil villain. If I had to pick a favourite character, honestly, I’d pick The Perfectionist. Intelligent, patient, calculating and just wicked. I liked Stokes as well, but The Perfectionist won out ... I would highly recommend The Perfectionist. Fans of crime thrillers and serial killer novels would devour this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads! Thanks again to Simon for giving me the opportunity to read The Perfectionist!"


– First off, can you tell everyone a little about yourself?

I was born in Stoke-on-Trent (UK) in 1979. I lived a while in rural England and had a very happy childhood. My family moved to France when I was eleven and I was parachuted into a French school without really speaking French. It took me a while to get up-to-speed with the other kids and I was (and I guess I always will be) an outsider and an observer. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, reading books and watching many American movies of that period. Meantime I grew fond of the modern gangster and of the transition from film noir and epic to the more gritty and realistic portrayal of crime in more recent times. Today, I’m a journalist and I’m often on the lookout for good stories. I’d also like to reassure you that, contrary to the dark subject matter of my books, I’m considered a rather well-rounded person with my heart in the right place, more often upbeat than a preacher of gloom and doom. I have yet to murder someone, but I do keep a list of potential victims in the drawer of my bedside table!

– Can you tell us how you got the inspiration for The Perfectionist?

I’ve always wanted to write about serial killers. I’ve read many serial killer books (fiction and non-fiction) and watched my fair share of movies on the persona. Some direct movie influences for The Perfectionist include Manhunter (Michael Mann, 1986), Se7en (David Fincher, 1995), Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton, 1986), The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991), Natural Born Killers (Oliver Stone, 1994)…

Serial killers fascinate me. In fiction, they are highly stylized, and even real-life serial killers have become celebrity monsters through media coverage. I read somewhere that serial killers are for adults what monster movies are for children: that is the guilty pleasure of scary fun. Serial killers are so extreme in their brutality and in their behaviour that we can be drawn to them out of basic and intense human curiosity. Their behaviour is seemingly inexplicable, so we feel a duty to try and understand what their motives are. And they appeal to our most primal feelings: fear, lust or anger. So I reckoned I’d give it a shot myself, but with a novel angle.

The killer in The Perfectionist could be considered the ultimate serial killer. He seemingly chooses his victims at random across America; he has been at large for more than two decades; he has flown under the radar of the cops and the FBI by navigating through the loopholes of the federal law enforcement system; he respects a unique and horrific modus operandi and fine-tunes methods of execution to seek artistic perfection. In the world of law enforcement, there exists a scale on which to rate killers. My killer does not feature on the scale.

Finally given my journalistic background, I’ve always dreamed of stumbling on a killer myself and pursuing him before submitting the proof of his guilt to the police. Gerry Stokes in the book lives that dream for me.

– Some of the killing methods are very violent, I bet your browser history is fun! Are they true to life and as gruesome as they are described in the book? How did you decide on the various modus operandi?

Indeed, I hope the FBI hasn’t hacked my computer. I’d have trouble justifying my highly suspicious Internet history! I must’ve researched dozens of the methods of execution and selected just some of the disturbing MOs that are out there. It’s a frightening realization that some of the methods of execution in The Perfectionist are shockingly quite commonplace. The Colombian necktie, for instance, is a frequent statement that is made in the world of drug cartels. Other methods I refer to in the book where used on a regular basis in the Middle Ages, Feudal Japan, or in Roman times. The killer in The Perfectionist respects a unique and horrific modus operandi and fine-tunes various methods of execution to seek artistic perfection. He has surgical precision. He’s highly intelligent and methodical. The human body is his canvass and he’s not afraid to experiment.