With the kind of timing that only athletes and comedians are blessed with, two more indie writers have managed to wriggle free from the “tsunami of crap“.
Mark Edwards & Louise Voss, who I have spoken about before on this blog, have signed a six-figure, four book deal with HarperCollins UK.
But it wasn’t just an eagle-eyed editor and agent that spotted their potential in the endless morass of horrid self-published work that is blotting out the sun and condemning all superior literature to wither on the vine, last month 42,000 readers (most of them British) somehow found their books too.
It seems that some books are easier to find than others. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that it happens to be the well-written stories with engaging characters that are combined with a professional approach and clever marketing.
That’s enough snark. Today is a happy day.
I would like to offer hearty congratulations to Mark and Louise on their stunning deal. I know Mark a little through Kindle Boards, and I know how hard they have both worked to get to this point.
They have an amazing story. They only self-published for the first time in February, but this is no overnight success, there has been fifteen years of heartbreak to get to this point. They are both a living testament to the virtues of determination, perseverance, and self-belief.
But rather than hearing it from me, you must go and read this superb post from Mark Williams (different Mark, different writing duo, or as he calls himself, the back end of the Saffina Desforges pantomime horse).
This post quotes extensively from Mark Edwards’ guest post in April of this year, just after they self-published the first of their two books. It’s an amazing insight into his state of mind at the beginning of his self-publishing journey, and is packed with information on his 15 year struggle before that.
Go read it, now. Don’t get distracted by Mark Williams’ excellent blog – you can bookmark it for later – come back when you’re done, I’ve more to tell you.
Next, you need to read Mark Edwards’ post from today (and bookmark his blog too, it’s excellent). It has all the details of the deal. Most importantly, it describes his motivation for taking it.
Some indies will be running the numbers and wondering if they could have made more on their own. But, as Mark says, it’s not all about money. E-books have captured maybe 10% of the market in the UK. Mark and Louise are smart enough to know that a print deal at this stage of their career could massively expand their readership.
I hope we don’t get the same kind of true blue carping from indie ideologues that accompanied Amanda Hocking’s deal with St. Martin’s Press and Barry Eisler’s deal with Amazon. That would miss the point altogether.
Anyone that has interacted with Mark knows that seeing his books in print, in a real bookstore, something his mum could point to and say “that’s my son”, has been a long cherished dream of his.
And now that dream is going to come true. All because he self-published.
There are many paths to the top of this mountain. Mark and Louise found theirs. You must find your own.
Cheryl Shireman is another indie writer who I have featured on this blog, who has had great success with self-publishing, selling thousands of books. She had a nice post yesterday on her reaction to this news, and her memories of her own slush pile struggles.
Cheryl will be taking part in a live Facebook chat this evening starting at 9:30pm GMT (1:30pm Pacific, 4:30pm Eastern). Last week’s chat was with Mark Edwards, and he gave out some great marketing tips. I’ve interviewed Cheryl, and I know it will be great to see what she has to say.
The live chat will be here, and even if you miss it, the answers will stay up so you can read the whole thing.
Speaking of the top of the mountain, there is one writer who I think has a chance. I gave my blog over to Tony James Slater yesterday, who wrote a hilarious, bittersweet, and touching guest post. If you haven’t read that yet, read it now.
The original plan was for me to trim down his guest post, then run a competition at the end. For a couple of reasons, that wasn’t possible, not least because I didn’t want to cut any of his post.
So, today, we have a giveaway of Tony’s great book: THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS!
Most travel books are kind of dry. Interesting, sure, but not too many chuckles. Not with this one. I haven’t laughed this much since I read Round Ireland With A Fridge.
Tony has five copies to hand out, and entering couldn’t be easier. Simply send this tweet:
Decapitated crocodile? Midget with a machete? THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS! by @tonygetslost http://amzn.to/kKsMSR pls RT
You have the rest of the weekend to play. The competition closes at 12 noon GMT on Monday (4 am Pacific, 7 am Eastern).
Each time you send the tweet will count as an entry. As always, bonus points will go to anyone who goes above and beyond the call of duty in spreading word about the book or the competition through Facebook posts, blog posts, or getting their followers to retweet the message, or whatever.
Despite his propensity for bloodsport, I know Tony is a big softie, so he might even give out an extra copy to someone who makes a big noise.
I will be lending Tony my patented randomizer to select the winners, which will be announced on Monday. The e-book is available in both mobi and epub formats, so you can read it on pretty much any e-reader, laptop, computer, or smartphone.
What are you waiting for? Get tweeting!
(And don’t forget to come back and tell us in the comments.)