I have posted elsewhere about my decision to publish my latest novel Cry Baby as a Kindle e-book, rather than with a ‘traditional’ publisher. I stated there that my main reason for doing so was to reach more readers, because to me that’s what this job is all about. I had no idea how achievable that aim was, but it was always my intention to write a ‘thank you’ post when a significant milestone had passed.
One such milestone was reached on Thursday, May 1, when Cry Baby broke into the top 1,000 books on Kindle. I very nearly started typing my post at that point, but all the signs were that the book had the momentum to go a little further.
Three days later, on Sunday May 4 (Star Wars day!), Cry Baby entered the 100 bestselling books on Kindle. Another huge milestone. And it’s still climbing. Tonight (Wednesday) the book is in the thirties overall, and in the top ten in three key categories: Crime Fiction, Suspense, and Thrillers. I find I’m pinching myself as I type that, because to me it seems so hard to believe. I have unarguably achieved all my hopes for this book. The readers are coming in droves.
And so, at the risk of sounding like an Oscar acceptance speech, it’s time to thank the people who helped get me to this position.
First of all, there is my esteemed agent, Oli Munson. For those of you wondering exactly what an agent’s role might be in self-publishing, I refer you to my post on the A.M. Heath website, entitled Blurred Lines. Oli’s enthusiasm for this project has been unstinting, and his experience of the publishing business invaluable in deciding our strategy. I am certain I couldn’t have done this without him. To give an example, on the day after the book entered the top 1,000, Oli called me to discuss tactics. He phoned me from New York. At seven in the morning, their time. That’s the kind of agent you want.
One of the greatest selling points of any book, paper or electronic, is its jacket design. A cover can make or break a book. I am fortunate in that my wife, Lisa, is a graphic designer, and I believe that her artwork for Cry Baby has made a massive difference in attracting the attention of potential buyers. The image she created is haunting, and fully captures the essence of the novel’s theme. For this, amongst innumerable other reasons, Lisa has my undying love and gratitude.
There is also a huge and growing list of people who have provided incredible encouragement and support. These include family members, friends, colleagues, and of course all the amazing folks on Twitter. I’m not going to name names, because the danger is too great that I’ll mistakenly leave someone out, but you all know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
My first three novels were published by Pan Macmillan, and although the partnership has unfortunately not extended to Cry Baby, I still owe them much. The reviews and media attention those books garnered, together with the close following they helped to build, have undoubtedly helped in the success of this latest book.
Finally, and most importantly, there are the readers. To anyone who has sacrificed their time to read my book and to allow me to tell my story to them, I offer my most sincere appreciation. The writer creates, but it requires a reader to breathe life into that creation. You, the readers, give us purpose. Thank you.