One year published, 750,000 sales – what’s it really been like?

 

Exactly a year ago was a dream-come-true- kind of day. I remember snapping awake, brushing the sleep out of my eyes, instantly my stomach swirling with excitement and nerves. It was publication day for my debut novel The Sister which was already receiving rave reviews and flying up the charts. I had a fabulous publisher and a contract to write two more novels. My lifelong ambition was realised as I smiled for the camera and held my paperback tightly in my hand like the precious gift it was. It stands to reason I lived happily ever after, right?

Yes. But it took a while.

Initially it was the cause of much excitement to type my name into Amazon and see my book spring onto my screen but still I didn’t feel like a writer. I was so thankful to have a deal but part of me thought it must be a mistake, it couldn’t possibly last. I clung on to my old job title when introducing myself to new people, feeling like a fraud somehow. The picture-perfect vision in my head of novelists lounging in a field of sunflowers, shielded from the blistering sun under a parasol, jotting down a few words when inspiration hit, partaking in cream teas when it didn’t, was not how it was at all. Working as an author has proved to be many things; sometimes exhilarating and satisfying, sometimes, if I’m being honest, isolating and lonely, and always, always extremely hard work. It’s far more involved than I first thought. The time invested in promoting my books both here and internationally (my titles have now been sold for translation to fifteen territories), interviews, social media, blogging, events, replying to reader emails (often the highlight of my day), mentoring female writers (which I offer free through The WoMentoring Project), and of course, juggling writing new stories whilst taking the previous book through the editing process

After The Sister I was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 and then came publication of The Gift. With both my first two books reaching No. 1 in the UK and abroad came a shift in my thinking. Although I still felt like an impostor, afraid it would all disappear in an instant, no longer did I mutter when someone asked what I did for a living. I admitted to being a writer albeit before looking at my shoes and hurriedly changing the subject. Yet, I didn’t quite feel like an author but it was progress of sorts.

It’s been a whirlwind year and often chaotic and I’ve learned a big lesson in time management, in finding that all important balance between work/family life.

The Sister was nominated for a CWA Dagger Award and amazingly after 12 months it is still sitting comfortably in the top 100 in psychological fiction, as is The Gift and now it has been joined by The Surrogate, my forthcoming novel, which is currently available to pre order and will be released in September. I’m so excited about this book, my best so far I think, already it’s made the Top 10 in psychological thrillers and the Top 50 in the overall UK chart.

Last week my publishers told me I had achieved 750,000 English language sales (more if you take into account sales in other territories) and the thought of three quarters of a million people reading my books caused another shift in my thinking. At a barbecue last weekend someone asked what I did for a living and for the first time ever I said ‘I’m an author,’ and I didn’t even look at my shoes.

Finally, an author. I’m living my dream and with a head full of stories there is honestly nothing else I’d rather be doing. Every day I think how lucky I am – I’m so grateful for this opportunity.

 

 

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11 thoughts on “One year published, 750,000 sales – what’s it really been like?

  1. Thats such a really lovely blog. My debut is out this month and I have no idea what to expect. I follow it on Amazon of course but what does that mean when the book isn’t even out there? Is it noteworthy or not? Where do these rankings come from? I loved The Sister and The Gift (i’m one of those 750k readers) and look forward to The Surrogate. Many congratulations and #keepwriting!

    • Thanks Maddie. What an exciting time for you and also perhaps a little daunting. The ranking are based on sales and can go up or down quite quickly. I try not to check often – it can turn into a bit of an obsession! Wishing you masses of luck x

  2. Amazing! Well done you. Also I have read The Sister and LOVED it. I’m fan girling a bit now that I’ve realised you are the author of the book and I’ve stumbled across your blog!

  3. Congratulations, Louise! That’s such a great accomplishment. I can understand your reluctance to claim the title of author. I think I have a little anxiety over it, but honestly, I’m more excited about that title than any job I’ve held before. But I understand the feeling of wondering if you’re worthy or not. You’re funny though, because I think you’re long past worthy of that title.
    So much of what you write about your journey resonates with me, and we have some shared experiences, but you’re certainly ahead of me in the book publishing realm, I’ve started out with literary magazines but I’m working my way toward finishing a book. So it’s fun to watch your journey and take notes of what to expect — although the amazing success you’ve achieved already may be more than an author can “expect.”
    I can’t hardly believe that the publication date of “The Sister” was only a year ago, and your third book is coming out shortly. Wonderful work. Congratulations again!!

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