It’s fair to say that my second novel Pandora’s Pitbull has presented me with some dilemmas. It’s never sold all that well and reviews often seem to be polarised. I’m still hopeful it could do better and the latest instalment of its rehabilitation started today.
I’m a big fan of dystopian TV like The Walking Dead, and films like 28 Days Later, Zombieland and World War Z and the influences of these are in the story. The idea itself came from a scene in my first novel In Many Ways. Originally, I considered calling the book Dawn of the Ned because of this, but the pun is a bit too parochial and might imply a spoof or comedy – a la Shaun of the Dead. Although it does have some black humour in it, it’s not really that kind of book, so I used a line from the novel to create the title. Even now, I’m not sure it works – that author’s self-doubt kicking in again.
The first cover was stark (sorry!) and aggressive. I thought this would be eye-catching and help it stand out. However, after a while, and some repeated feedback, I decided that it needed to be toned down and we re-designed the cover. I was much happier with this reworking. It still shows the eponymous dog but, it also has a photograph from an electron microscope of a virus in the background, and the graphics were much improved. It made little or no difference to sales as far as I can tell!
Reviews have been mixed! One kind person said it was “Funny and ferocious a very enjoyable read.” Another less favourable review from Australia said “IT IS AWFUL! Even as a Kindle 99cent special it is AWFUL! Have I mentioned IT IS AWFUL?!!!” Overall, though, it’s had fifteen five star reviews versus five one star reviews (and one of those is a diatribe about the cover and pitbulls by someone in the US who didn’t buy it or read it). If three times as many people love it as hate it, it’s got to be worth keeping on trying with it.
The latest initiative is to add this map to the book. I think for most readers, it will prove a useful aid to tracking the movements of the various characters across the UK (even the fictional bits!) and I’m hoping it’s a wee bit of added value folks will appreciate. I don’t expect it to kick start a sales avalanche but if it’s appreciated by a few and helps people make sense of what’s going on, then I’ll be happy with that.
If you have read it, and haven’t posted a review yet, please consider doing so. It might help get it noticed. Thanks.