Friday, February 26, 2010

Double trouble (in a good way) for Kiwi crime on the latest local bestseller list!

After Paddy Richardson made the New Zealand bestseller list last week, there is even better news for local crime fiction this week, with TWO locally-written, locally-set, crime/thriller novels making this week's NZ Adult Fiction bestseller list.

Richardson's HUNTING BLIND has remained on the list, which is great to see (this week the psychological thriller is at #5), and is joined by Paul Cleave's BLOOD MEN, which debuts at #3. This is great news, in terms of the recognition of our locally-written crime and thriller fiction. Several of the most recent New Zealand crime/thriller books of the past year or so have made the local bestseller list, so perhaps local readers are finally (slowly) beginning to embrace our own crime and thriller fiction writing a little more than in the past.

In terms of Paul Cleave's BLOOD MEN, making #3 on this latest list is particularly impressive, as the book was only released on 19 February, and the current list is for sales to the week ending 20 February. So he technically only had two days of sales, to make this week's list.

Perhaps his high placing is based on some pre-sales, because I have heard anecdotally that some major bookstores haven't been that prompt to stock BLOOD MEN (and still didn't have stock earlier this week), which is a real shame. Given the quality of the book, some good media coverage, and several great reviews in major media publications, it would be nice to see some more support from New Zealand bookstores. While avid crime fiction fans may know what books are due to come out, and request them, and some readers may look for a particular book based on a review or article - I would think many book sales will be tied to browsing readers just 'coming across' a book, liking the look of it, and purchasing it. Therefore the attitude and efforts of bookstores and their staff can be just as important as good reviews or media coverage.

It will be interesting to see whether either or both books can hold (or improve) their places on the local bestseller list in the coming weeks, or even (fingers crossed), have one of them hit the #1 spot. We had one NZ crime/thriller novel hit the #1 spot in 2009 (Lindy Kelly's BOLD BLOOD - which was well stocked and publicised in bookstores), and it would be great to have another do so this early in 2010.

Congratulations to Richardson and Cleave on their success. Long may it continue.

How important do you think bestseller lists are? What part do reviews and articles play in your book choices? What about bookstore browsing? Thoughts and comments welcome.

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