The #selfprintedsplash weekend* continues with a very special guest appearance today by self-publishing superstar Mel Sherratt who after a truly stellar rise through the Amazon bestseller ranks – well, really it wasn’t exactly a rise, more like she burst onto them at the top and then stayed there! – secured a deal with Thomas & Mercer, an imprint of Amazon Publishing, and was one of the first Amazon Publishing authors to see her paperback books not just for sale online but in brick-and-mortar bookstores too. I’ve “known” Mel now for a few years (we’ve never met in real life but I feel like I know her!) and have watched in awe as she grabbed her self-publishing opportunity with both hands and went for success – and [whispers] seeing as she’s a one-woman Self-Printed sales team, you could infer that Self-Printed helped her along the way. *smug*
So, over to you, Mel!
“Back in the good old days, I tried twelve years to get a traditional publishing deal before I took the plunge and self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing. During that time I must have written off well over a million words. I went through two agents (and have now found a fabulous third one.) I was constantly being told that my books in The Estate Series were cross genre – a mix of women’s fiction and crime thriller. They were, I agree, but there was no market for these kinds of books so no publisher could ‘slot’ me into a niche anywhere.
I changed tack and wrote a police procedural called TAUNTING THE DEAD. It’s actually part psychological thriller too as I like to get inside the head of good and bad characters. This was turned down too – mostly then for being too much like Martina Cole and Lynda la Plante. Granted I’m a gritty writer and not everyone likes my style but I had some ‘positive’ rejections, a lot of near misses and even one or two books going to acquisition meetings but falling at the final hurdle.
Had I not become friends with author Talli Roland, who told me in the summer of 2011 to try self-publishing on Kindle, I might not be working for myself as a full time author. It was meeting people like Talli who helped me to get where I am today.
It’s also thanks to Catherine that I am able to do this too – because she gave me a virtual helping hand, firstly in the shape of this fantastic blog and then with her book, Self-Printed. By sharing her journey, offering hints and tips along the way, telling us of her ups and downs, very honestly, she gave hope to lots of other writers as well as guidance, all in a quirky style that I loved reading. Without realising, she gave her time generously to help other authors.
I self-published TAUNTING THE DEAD in late December 2011 and it has since sold over 100,000 copies.
Now I have five books out in my own name, plus a box set and a diary on The Estate. For my publisher, I have one ready for publication in February 2015, and am writing the next for publication in summer 2015. These two books follow on from TAUNTING THE DEAD as I am making that into a series now too. Plus I will be self-publishing book four and five of THE ESTATE Series next year.
My writing journey was very much a labour of love. After writing five books during those twelve years of heartache, near misses, rejection, giving up and starting again, people often think I was an overnight success, for want of a better phrase. I admit my journey to publication was a long one but I just felt compelled to write. I still do and until I don’t, I am grateful to anyone who has read and enjoyed a book of mine, or indeed anyone who has helped me along the way.
So if you had told me three years ago that I would get to do all this:
- Be working on my tenth book
- Land myself not one but two two-book deals with a publisher
- Appear on panels at London Book Fair, Crimefest, Stoke Hot Air Literary Festival and Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival (the largest crime festival in the world)
- Be quoted by the Mail on Sunday – ‘Sherratt is a unique voice in detective fiction.’
- Appear in numerous newspapers, radio shows and magazines
- Have more than 1500 4 & 5 star reviews across my books (that’s 84% of my reviews)
- Have book sales totalling nearly 300,000 and have even met a few authors who have self-published MILLIONS of books
- Recently be long listed for The Crime Writer’s Association Dagger in the Library Award!
Well, you know what I would say?
There was a LOT of hard work to get to where I am but it’s mostly been enjoyable. There are days when my messages through social media go mental when I get some good news to share. There are days when I could literally pinch myself. There are days when I think ‘did I really do all that?’
Like any job, it has its ups and downs. There are days when I am in tears when someone rips in to me with a one star review. There are days that I have so much self-doubt that I can’t write at all. But I keep at it because I know I can get through it.
I’ve appeared on Catherine’s blog a few times during these three years but we have never met in person. Every time she has been coming over to London, I would be there the day before or the day after. One time we were even there on the same day but didn’t know until afterwards – the person I was meeting was the one she had just left! I recommend her book everywhere I go, not because I know her, but because it’s really good. So I’m not writing this post because she is someone I know. She is a friend, so be it a virtual one, but I read her blog first and then from this found the book.
— CatherineRyanHoward (@cathryanhoward) October 25, 2014
Now I’m proud to endorse Self-Printed for her.
Mel Sherratt self-published her first novel, a crime thriller called TAUNTING THE DEAD, in December 2011. It went on to be a Kindle #1 bestseller and a 2012 top ten bestselling KDP ebook on Amazon.co.uk. She has since released three psychological thrillers in a series, THE ESTATE, with WRITTEN IN THE SCARS coming soon – also with Thomas & Mercer, an imprint of Amazon Publishing, WATCHING OVER YOU, a dark psychological thriller. FOLLOW THE LEADER, the follow-on from TAUNTING THE DEAD will be published in February, 2015. Find Mel’s books on Amazon here.
Don’t forget that there’s an eBookPartnership conversion and distribution package worth $299/£225 up for grabs that’ll take all the headaches out of self-publishing your e-book while keeping all the profits intact. Find out how to enter for your chance to win here. (Closes midnight GMT on Monday 27th October.)
*Technically it’s a Friday, a Saturday and a Monday but let’s just go with it, okay?