I was going to call this post, ‘My Second Year as an Author’, but it seems to me that there is so much more to this business than writing stories that this somehow felt more appropriate.
This month marks two years since I received my first book contract from Rainstorm Press. Any of you that have followed the blog for a while may remember that this time last year I shared my first twelve months experience with you: the offer, the editing, cover art, launch, my baby steps into social media, and subsequent signings and events. So, what has this year brought?
As my novel was released in February 2012, most of the events were arranged for the first six months thereafter, meaning this year as a part time author has been a lot quieter – allowing a little more time for family and friends. (A welcome respite as my daughter approached a seminal moment in her life and started secondary school!) Twitter and Facebook have become a part of my everyday life now and I still enjoy chatting to friends new and old. I continue to tap away at my computer in those spare moments, hoping to one day conjure up the next crime fiction bestseller.
In October last year I was invited to attend a meeting at The Marvellous Readers’ Book Club in Northampton. What an exciting honour! It was a very pleasant evening in the company of a lovely group of ladies who’d read my first book and wanted to discuss plotlines, characters, motivations, writing and publishing. Something I could never have begun to imagine a couple of years ago.
In November I attended my first Facebook party to celebrate the launch of Bridge House Publishing’s ‘Crime After Crime’, an anthology of crime shorts which I was lucky enough to have a story in. It was a surreal experience, chatting to people online and being passed virtual glasses of champagne. I made some great new friends, although I have to admit my mouth felt quite dry at the sight of all that virtual bubbly stuff. If there’s ever a ‘next time’ I’ve resolved to buy myself a bottle and sup whilst we chat.
At Christmas I hosted a small book party and signing in Quinns, a local independent bookstore in nearby Market Harborough. The wine flowed all evening and daughter’s homemade mince pies went down a storm. It was great to see so many of my friends and family there, and lovely to meet new faces in the bookstore too.
By the end of last year, I’d completed the sequel to An Unfamiliar Murder and it was decision time. Whilst I’ll always be grateful for Rainstorm Press for publishing my first book, it soon became obvious that any subsequent work would get more coverage at home and benefit from greater distribution by a UK publisher, so in February I plunged myself into the submissions process once more.
In the months that followed, I tried not to keep checking my inbox as I took some time out to care for a very close family member who was suddenly taken ill. Although it felt strange to be away from the keyboard, it was also quite liberating to spend extra time with family and friends during this time.
Finally, in May I was fortunate to sign a contract with Legend Press for book two, and in June they made theirthat they will be releasing ‘A Truth Will Out’ on 1st April 2014. Whilst it would have been lovely to have shared the sequel to An Unfamiliar Murder with readers this year, I know that most publishing houses plan well in advance and work to annual lists. At least with a confirmed release date we have plenty of time to devote to all the background work that needs to be done, prior to release.
In July I attended the International Crime Writers’ Festival at Harrogate. It was wonderful to meet so many of my online friends in person, and also to brush shoulders with some of the famous authors’ whose work I admire like Peter James and Val McDermid.
And the fun continues… This forthcoming week, I have been invited to The Dingley Ladies Book Club summer luncheon! I’m so excited to be invited to another book club and can’t wait to meet everyone.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my past year. I’d like to dedicate this post to all the readers and writers who’ve read and supported my work, and made this past year so special.