Friday, 5 April 2013

'Striker' - a football romance, not a book about football...

When I first started writing my latest novel Striker, there was always that nagging voice at the back of my mind telling me it was a strong possibility that a book set in the world of professional football/soccer was something that may alienate a fair few people. I write women's' fiction, my books are primarily aimed at women, and I'm sure I'm not wrong when I say that, as far as football goes, women do not make up the majority of people who love that sport.

So, for me to write a book about a famous footballer, well, I knew I had my work cut out to try and draw readers in. And yes, it's proving to be just as hard as I thought it would be. I think the fact that the blurb even mentions football means that a lot of people won't even give it a try, because they have no interest in the sport or the people who play it. And that's fair enough. But this book isn't about the sport. And the people who play it, in the world I've created, are slightly more tolerable than some of those that exist in real life.

But a lot of readers may still assume that Striker is going to be all about football, but it isn't. It really isn't.

Striker is, first and foremost, a romance. A steamy, sexy romance that just happens to be set in and around the world of professional football, but it could, in fact, have been set in and around, say, the world of medicine, the world of TV, the world of fashion... I could have set it anywhere, and maybe picking something like the fashion world might have been a better idea; doing that could mean more people would look past the cover because the book would have been set in a world more familiar or more interesting to them. But I picked the world of football because I know enough about the sport, and what goes on behind the scenes, to write a better book. Simple as that.

But I need people to see past the word "football" (or soccer, depending on where you come from). I need people to see past that and realise that this book has very, very little to do with the sport, and everything to do with the relationships between people who just happen to work in or be involved with the sport, and I'm glad to see that a couple of reviews have mentioned that fact. If you're looking for on-the-pitch action then you're going to be extremely disappointed. But, if you're looking for some racy off-pitch action, then there's more than enough within the pages of Striker to keep you happy!

So, have I picked a subject matter that could, potentially, lose me readers purely because it concerns a sport they really have no interest in? Yes. I think it could. And, like I said before, I could have played it safe and turned it into a more familiar romance that set its scenes in more target-audience-friendly territory. But I didn't. A mistake? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe setting the Striker Trilogy in the world of football means that I'm writing these books with a view to minimum exposure, I don't know. I can't really know, so I'm just speculating, assuming

But I do think that the world in which you set a book is extremely important when trying to attract readers. They look at the cover, they, hopefully, read the blurb, and if they're still unsure then they might download the free sample you can obtain from Amazon - the "try before you buy" angle. And I guess I'm relying on that happening with Striker - for people to see beyond the cover, past the mention of football, and to realise that this is most definitely not a book about the sport. Mentions of the game itself are very limited (very limited!), because I concentrate more on the lives of the characters in the story, not the jobs they do.

I've read many a Jilly Cooper book that has been set against worlds I have no interest in - take Polo, for example. I have got zero interest in the sport, or the people who play it, but I loved that book. And it was authors like Jilly Cooper who inspired me to write the kind of books I write. The kind of books I myself love to read.

So, I guess I just have to rely on those people who see past the subject matter, read enough of the free sample to realise that this is not a football book, and hope that those who are looking for something sexy and steamy will give my "Fifty Shades of Football" a chance. 

Remember, Striker is a book set in and around the world of football, it is most definitely not a book about football. And I just wanted to make that clear. To sum it up... well, let's put it this way, it's more Footballers' Wives than Football Focus!

So, after all that, if you're still even mildly interested in checking out a little bit of this book for yourself, you can read the whole of Chapter 1 - which is long enough to give you some kind of idea of what this book is really about -  HERE. And make your own mind up. :)

Striker is available to download HERE from Amazon. Just incase you feel like something sexy and steamy to get you through the weekend... including dressing-room action you really don't get to see on Match of the Day... ;) 

Right, I'm off to do some more work on 'Extra Time', the second book in the Striker Trilogy...  Have a great weekend!


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