As it’s Valentine’s Day and I wrote this guest post on crime love duos, I thought you might like to see it. It brought great memories back for me. Please feel free to join in with your favourite crime duos…
Yesterday as I was trying to make sense of the first draft of my new novel so that I could get started on the second, I had my head down at my desk when an email pinged in. I don’t have Twitter on my PC at my desk (although I do bring my phone upstairs with me, well, you know, just in case…) but I do keep my email open, just because (are you catching a theme here?) Sometimes when I’m busy, I can ignore them but then another ping came in moments later and well, I’m only human. Cue me opening an email that led me to a link that I literally couldn’t believe had my name on it. It was the news page of The Bookseller saying that TAUNTING THE DEAD was one of Amazon Kindle top 100 bestselling books of 2012.
Now everyone knows that The Bookseller is the ‘booky bible’ so I was delighted to see my name in there! It felt like winning an award – because self-published novels can’t be entered in many, if any, competitions. It made my day, I can tell you. I read the link and then I read it again. Then my hand covered my mouth while I read it again. Then I burst into tears. There was no one home so I emailed my agent… ‘erm, is this right, am I really in the top 100 bestsellers of 2012?’
Suffice it to say, I was shocked. Apart from the fact that I’d forgotten that Amazon do a top 100 bestsellers of the year list, there were so many great books, traditionally published and self-published during last year, that I hadn’t thought about mine even being on the list. I am thrilled to bits.
If you follow me on Twitter, you will often see me using the hashtag #keepthefaith
So to Catherine Stovall for sending me this link I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Because you made this author very, very happy.
I really have to pinch myself at the moment. I’m a working class woman who nothing out of the ordinary ever happens to. I’ve always had full-time work until being made redundant two years ago and now I’m working for myself, earning my keep, as an author. Not only has this been the best year of my writing life so far, but I’ve had some really great news too. Over the past few months, I’ve been approached by several literary agents. I’ve met with three of them, and actually all three were brilliant and would have been a joy to work with. All three of them got my gritty style, which is important to me as this is what I want to concentrate on long-term. I want to write fast paced novels about ordinary people, with lots of fear, emotion and jeopardy – plus the odd murder or two…
So I’m delighted to say that my new literary agent is Madeleine Milburn of Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency. As most of you know, I’m writing something with a traditional book deal in mind. This will always be a dream of mine – it’s been with me since I was a young girl. Madeleine has a fantastic track record and I am thrilled to be working with her on something new that no one has seen. I’m hoping that between us we’re going to have a very exciting 2013!
I was going to write this post at the weekend but after finishing the edits for FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL, and having a very exciting couple of days in London, I’ve been catching up on things first. But I couldn’t let this time of year go by without marking it in someway. Because one year ago, I pressed the button to upload TAUNTING THE DEAD.
As you can imagine, I was really nervous – would it work? Was I selling myself short by self-publishing? Was I finishing my ‘career’ before it had even started? Would my friends and authors that I know look at me any differently? Luckily the answer to all these questions was no. But it was one hell of a scary moment when I pressed that button to upload on December 8 2011.
So what has happened in the space of that year? Far too much to list but here are some of the highlights:
I’ve sold in excess of 100,000 ebooks.
I’ve been quoted by Ian Rankin in We Love This Book, Desert Island Books – ‘There’s a lot of young crime writers that I’ve just met for the first time. There’s one called Mel Sherratt – and she’s only on ebook at the moment; she’s very interesting.’
TAUNTING THE DEAD went to #1 in police procedurals, #1 in mysteries and #1 in thrillers in the Amazon Kindle charts. Overall, it went to #3 in the top ten, stayed in the top ten for four weeks and the top one hundred for sixteen weeks.
At this moment in time, TAUNTING THE DEAD is still in the top 20 police procedurals on Amazon. And both SOMEWHERE TO HIDE and BEHIND A CLOSED DOOR are in the top 3 thrillers and suspense category.
FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL will be out shortly.
I’ve been featured in the Daily Mirror – and called a Kindle Queen by Tony Parsons. I’ve been featured in Best Magazine and my local newspaper on several occasions.
One of my books, SOMEWHERE TO HIDE is now in paperback.
Tomorrow evening, I’m on a panel, doing my first ever talk in my city at Staffordshire University’s new science building on the Stoke campus.
I now have a monthly column in my local evening newspaper.
I’ve been asked to judge the New Rose (Crime) Short Story – more details next year.
I saw my name in print for the very first time after the delightful Luca Veste asked me to contribute a short story to the charity anthology OFF THE RECORD 2 – AT THE MOVIES
I’ve met Sue Cook and been interviewed for a podcast around successful self-publishing.
I’ve been interviewed on local radio stations.
And I have a secret that I can’t share yet but suffice it to say, it’s very exciting and I’m really looking forward to 2013.
I’m sure there are many more things that I can think of, and people might think this post is self-indulgent but it isn’t. It’s a reminder of what can be achieved, even when you think nothing is ever going to work out in your favour. I tried for twelve years to get a traditional book deal before I started to self-publish and I’m still aiming for it. At the moment, I’m writing a psychological thriller with that in mind.
Has it been hard work? Yes, of course it has, just like setting up any new business would be. Has it been rewarding? Hell, yeah. There are a few negatives too. Despite so many sales, I’m unable to join the Crime Writing Association unless I get a traditional deal. I’ve also tried to introduce myself to the manager at my local branch of Waterstones but to no avail – I didn’t even get a smile! And despite so many sales, I still have a problem thinking that I’m an author in my own right. But apart from those things, in truth, it’s been an absolute blast.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me, all the writers and authors out there who I am now lucky enough to call friends. But most of all, thank you to all the readers who liked TAUNTING THE DEAD enough to take a chance and read THE ESTATE series too.