Thursday, 7 May 2015
Does sex sell?
Did you know that only 26% of those who eagerly started reading Fifty Shades of Grey got to the end? Maybe it proves that sex sells, even it doesn’t get read. I’m sure EL James isn’t that worried, but Hillary Clinton should be - less than 2% got to the end of her Hard Choices (aka Hard Read), and she’s going to need more fans than that.
I should point out that the book is not actually about sex, but it is about a political sex scandal, and tabloid journalism, and we know those two go hand in hand. Apparently a major factor in buying a book with a raunchy cover is still the ‘embarrassment factor’ of presenting your purchase at the WHSmith till – ‘I’m buying it for a friend’. No such problem as you brandish A Brief History of Time (6%).
The book is fully funded, and available to the masses in the new year. Do please sign up now if you want to get your hands on an advance copy. Having never written a book before, it’s a strange moment when you are told to ‘put your pens down, now’, and it disappears to proof-readers, designers and libel lawyers – an awful lot of real people do make appearances.
As I wrote THREE IN A BED I was always conscious that it should make you want to turn the pages and keep going. The press has had a bad press recently, a lot of it deserved, but it has always been a rich source of entertainment. My novel does feel like two hours of peak time TV drama, but without the grim grey backdrop of serial killers, autopsies and police cells. This really is a bit of a romp, though as Mark Austin kindly points out, a little closer to State of Play than Drop the Dead Donkey.
I’m sure you're wondering who scored top on the Hawking Index. Lee Child? Jeffrey Archer? No, it’s Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, about an orphan’s relationship with art. Go figure.