Tuesday 29 March 2011

Tony Black interview: Truth Lies Bleeding

Truth Lies Bleeding by Tony Black

Amazon UK, Amazon US

Tony Black is an award-winning journalist who has written for most of the UK's national newspapers. He is the author of Paying for It, Gutted, Loss and Long Time Dead.

Can you sum up your book in no more than 25 words?

An Edinburgh-set police thriller exploring the murder of a young mother and the disappearance of her baby daughter.

How much difference does an editor make?

To a new author an editor makes all the difference; an editor can make an unpublishable novel publishable. I have been spared many blushes by excellent editors. As my writing has progressed I've needed an editor less, but another person's perspective can be very useful to any author. I'd never publish in any format without professional editing.

How much difference does a good cover make?

All the difference -- it's a cliche that you shouldn't judge the book by the cover, but everybody does. It's an artform; for too long major publishers have relied on tried and tested shots from Getty images -- the eBook packagers are pushing the boat out, however, and we're seeing some real creativity in these covers. 

What's the best piece of craft advice you've been given? 

Exclamation marks are like laughing at your own jokes!

What's the best piece of business advice you've been given?

Don't leave the publicity to your publisher -- do all you can yourself.

What's your favourite part of the writing process?

The actual writing; I don't get much out of planning, or plotting, or editing ... I like the aspect of carving out the words. Making the sentences come together and sing.

What aspects of marketing your books do you enjoy? 

The actual events. Meeting the public is always rewarding because how else are you going to really know what people think? Writing is a lonely profession and it's one of the few opportunities writers actually have to meet the people buying their product.

What are you reading now?

I've just finished a book but next on my list is Ray Banks' California.

What's your view on eBook pricing?

There is some overpricing, but maybe that's balanced out by underpricing. These things always find their own level though so we're probably going to see them meet in the middle in future.

Do you read outside of the crime genre?

I do, very regularly. I am a big fan of William McIlvanney's work and I regularly read his novels. The Kiln and Weekend are works of genius; nobody has the ability to dissect society like McIlvanney -- he sees beyond all the lazy axioms people live their lives by and exposes the rotten crap beneath.

Truth Lies Bleeding by Tony Black

Amazon UK, Amazon US


  1. Hi Al, Tony,

    Great questions and answers.

    I agree people do judge a book by it's cover too. I have many times and many times the covers are a fair representation of the books. But things are changing for me, I seldom browse through bookstores anymore. I'm on amazon a lot and often buy books based on recommendations by people I trust. I just realized I don't look at ebook covers that have been recommended, I just click on 'buy now'. If it's a paper book I do consider the cover.

    Al, I did notice the covers of your books pictured on your blog, which I think look great. It's only ebooks that have been recommended that I don't check. The covers are important to me when I'm looking through Kindle books.

    Sorry, I'm on a roll here, but you've brought up very interesting points. I'm only familiar with the pricing for Kindle, and I agree for most people the cost averages out. Between Kindle offering a 100 free books daily and .99 cent promotions for some great books, some by established authors, I can't complain.

    Great article, thanks.

  2. Truth Lies Bleeding has just become the next book I'm going to read.

  3. Right about the tried and tested Getty Images angle on book covers. A combination of that and the prevailing trend in covers (a lonely tree...tinted blue...) means that sometimes this happens.

    Must be a little disconcerting to be in a bookshop and see another book with 'your' book's cover.

    I love good cover art even on an electronic book - in the same way I appreciate good album art even though I only see it on an ipod screen these days.

  4. The Rap Sheet used to do a regular thing about 'lookey likey' book covers.

  5. Glad you like the covers, Susie. They were done by the guy who designed my very first book jacket.

    Pricing has always been a contentious issue, even before ebooks were prevalent. I'm sure it'll continue for a long time to come.