With the end of a year comes the inevitable urge to look back over what has happened, and look forward to what may be to come.
This time last year what was I doing? Well, I was giving myself a kick up the bum, telling myself that I really must knuckle down in January and get on with my new book. I was worried, though, that I wouldn’t be able to do such a good job as I had with Invisible, which had sold so much better than I had ever dared imagine. How could I possibly repeat that success? And was I really capable of writing another book – what if my first book was the pinnacle of what I was capable of?
Still, I told myself to put the fear aside and get on with it. The result was Flowers For The Dead. Most of the year was devoted to honing it, fretting about it, losing myself in it. When it finally went on sale in September all I could do was wait to see what people made of it, and hope for the best…
Just prior to that, at the end of August I nervously started contacting book bloggers. Having never entered this world before, I honestly didn’t know what sort of reception to expect. But, thanks to joining Facebook’s Book Connectors, run by Anne Cater, I have been welcomed by the blogging community with open arms. What a friendly, hard-working, honest, professional bunch they are. I’m truly grateful to them for everything they have said about Flowers For The Dead, and for their tireless posts and tweets and retweets about not just myself but innumerable authors.
In fact, the reception that everyone has given Flowers For The Dead has been overwhelming. The Sunday Mirror was the first to review it, picking my novel over Lee Child’s latest offering, to make it their Choice Read of the Week. What they wrote about it was glowing.
“A chillingly drawn serial killer…will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed…original, gripping, and writing with a deep psychological impact…” the reviewer wrote. Wow!
The very next day, Flowers For The Dead went on general publication – and instantly hit Number 20 on all three Amazon lists it appeared on: Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction, and Crime, Thriller & Mystery Series. It was also Number 3 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases chart.
It was thrilling enough that my new book had became a chart topper on its very first day of release, but then something else incredible happened… Invisible re-entered the charts too!
As the weeks passed, Flowers For The Dead went from strength to strength. It didn’t leave the bestsellers chart, and more reviews started coming in. Readers loved it!
Support grew on my Facebook page, too, and I’d just like to take a moment to say how fabulous my followers are on there. They are so enthusiastic, passionate and supportive – I love them! So when December hit, I wanted to do something extra special for them there, as well as here and on Twitter. I ran a competition to win a character named after them in my next book. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if anyone would enter – oh my goodness, did they! Everyone was so dedicated, and we all had a lot of fun. The winners are: Jill Young, Ursula Clarke, and Alison Daughtry-Drew.
As the year came to a close, I felt like 2015 really couldn’t get any better. I was wrong. Those lovely book bloggers, who had read my novel and written such gorgeous things about it that they’d made me burst into tears, started publishing their Best Books of 2015 lists…and Flowers For The Dead featured on many. Woo-hoo!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, to Beady Jan’s Books, Being Anne, Portobello Books, Postcard Reviews, and The Haphazardous Hippo for making my book one of YOUR books of the year. It’s a massive honour. Thank you also, to every single blogger who has taken the time and effort to review, host a Q&A with me, or share teaser lines of my books, etc. Every single thing you do is so appreciated.
Amazon then chose Flowers For The Dead as one of their 12 Books of Christmas. The result? It whizzed up Amazon’s Kindle Chart, hitting number 24 – my book, the 24th most popular Kindle book on the entire Amazon UK site?! It didn’t seem possible! And yet there it was, in black and white. What’s more, it sat at Number 3 on the bestsellers’ list for Murder, and Number 4 for both the Psychological Fiction, and Crime, Thrillers & Mystery Series charts. Amazing!
The year couldn’t have ended on a bigger high for me. I’m a little dazzled by the whole thing, like someone who has looked at the sun for too long. It’s not just that my novel’s success has exceeded all my hopes, it’s that I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way. From reviewers to readers, the support I’ve received is incredible and helps to push me on.
So what about my hopes and dreams for 2016? Well, I’m giving myself a kick up the bum, telling myself that I really must knuckle down in January and get on with my new book. I’m worried, though, that I won’t be able to do such a good job as I had with Invisible and Flowers For The Dead. Sound familiar…?
Whatever 2016 holds, I can’t wait to find out. And may each and every one of us enjoy a happy and prosperous new year. Have a good one, everyone!