Breaking The Readership Barrier
I have a feeling I need to pull the stops out for the next Bryant & May here in the UK. In the US the series does better and better, but here we lag far behind. This isn’t helped by the fact that WH Smith, the ubiquitous railway station-souk, thinks they’re a mite too clever for their readers, apparently.
I can’t believe it’s true that they’re for the cognoscenti and therefore lack WH Smith-appeal. However, it’s clear that they fall below the blockbuster mark by a long way. I’ll be skipping the Harrogate Crime Festival this year while I try to work out how to create a wider readership.
WH Smith famously likes to promote books about family secrets, passionate affairs, patrician lantern-jawed cops, Jeremy Clarkson’s Big Book Of Fossil Fuels and volumes of loosely-assembled words by the well-known typist Jeffrey Archer. Basically many of their readers have remained unchanged in their tastes since they bought the Victorian melodramas of the 1850s, and many are technically dead.
I have this stupid idea that readers would like something more from a book that ‘She fell to the floor like a limp rag’ (copyright Kate Mosse). I could give up the series and concentrate on a new character, Joe Bloke, who roams America tracking serial killers, or I could change Bryant & May by:
1. Making them 25 years old, and giving them a busty female sidekick.
2. Removing all humour/ subtlety
3. Adding a gunfight every ten pages
4. Describing many delicious meals.
5. Writing. In. Very. Short. Sentences.
6. Offering readers a Galaxy bar and a copy of ‘Which Computer?’ with every purchase
All ideas very gratefully accepted!