The last month has been both exciting and surreal for my writing partner Louise Voss and me. Catch Your Death was No.1 on Amazon.co.uk for a month; Killing Cupid reached No.2, helping us achieve the double whammy twice; we sold 42,000 ebooks in June. We were on live TV and radio, written about in the national press, blogged about worldwide. I have written previously on FutureBook about our climb to the top, but the month got more and more surreal as it went on.
A few days after Catch Your Death hit No.1 we thought we had better try to find ourselves an agent, and very quickly chose Sam Copeland at RCW. Within days he pushed out submissions of Catch Your Death and Killing Cupid to all of the major publishers in the UK. (Contrary to what has been widely reported, Catch Your Death had never previously been submitted to any publishers.)
I'd been here before, numerous times, mostly back in the 90s when I had an agent who tried to sell three of my novels. And Louise had also been here, with more success, though she had since resigned herself to never being published again. We certainly didn't feel that getting accepted was guaranteed. Our sales on Kindle didn't matter at this moment: it was all about whether anyone liked the books.
A few days of nail-chewing tension followed… and then, to our delight, we received a pre-emptive offer from HarperCollins. The offer was for four books. The advance was six figures. The editor, Kate Bradley, and the team at HC were excited and enthusiastic. We said yes.
We are doing something that, as far as we know, has never been done before: the books will remain online as e-books, republished by HarperCollins, continuing to sell as we await the release of the paperbacks.
We never could have dreamt that we would sell so many copies or that we would occupy the No.1 spot for an hour, let alone a full month. Partly, we have been lucky: we arrived just after the first wave of indie success, following in the wake of Saffina Desforges and Stephen Leather's self-published books. The rules were being written, invented, torn up, reinvented...including by Louise and me. We rode that second wave.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Amazon’s self-publishing platform has changed our lives. Until last year, we had given up on the dream of being published writers. But when the Kindle came along, we sensed an opportunity. We published the books with no idea of what lay ahead but put an incredible amount of work into making sure the books, the covers and blurbs were great, and many hours into promoting them. We have certainly had some luck along the way, but we also had a clear strategy and pursued it.
Being an indie writer is great – I recommend it to anyone with a book in their drawer – and Louise is about to self-publish her four solo novels. We will always feel part of that world. But we want our novels to appear as real books, not least because, right now, most people read on paper. We want our books to reach the widest audience possible. I want my mum to be able to read our books! And there are great advantages to having the backing of a big publisher and an enthusiastic editor. We are incredibly excited about the deal. It’s the biggest cliché in the book, but after a decade and half of trying to find a publisher, my dream has finally come true.
Recent blog posts
- Dreams of interoperability
- The Story behind The Story by Bobette Buster
- Pottermore's winning digital strategy
- Tools done changing?
- Publishing is Booming But it's Still Gloom on the High Street
- Authors and book rights – some more truths
- “TOC was a great ride…”
- Bright lights, big web
- Augmenting the cloud
- Are you measuring your metrics?
- I have a strong feeling that
1 week 3 days ago
- Paid-For Showrooming Is Madness
2 weeks 2 days ago
2 weeks 5 days ago
- You are asking the wrong
3 weeks 17 hours ago
3 weeks 1 day ago
- Frameworks and Lotteries
3 weeks 3 days ago
- Eisler's point has been misunderstood
3 weeks 3 days ago
- Publish and be damned?
3 weeks 3 days ago
- Great post, Chris! But you're
5 weeks 1 day ago
- Numbers Game
5 weeks 3 days ago