Welcome one and all to another wonderful Wednesday here on Swirl and Thread!!
Today I am joined by author Adrian White. Although UK born, Adrian has lived and worked in Ireland for over 25 years, so we’ve kind of adopted him as one of our own!!
Adrian has written a fantastically honest post about his own journey as an author of three novels entitled ‘So, Your Book Didn’t Sell? Get Over It!’
‘I’m not a mainstream writer and probably never will be.’
Read on for more….
So, Your Book Didn’t Sell? Get Over It!
by Adrian White
Most writers can only dream of one day having their work published. Commercial success is a secondary wish, an unattainable fantasy beyond an already impossible dream. But, having gone through the publishing process with three books and two different publishers, I really wish my books sold more than they do.
I want to be mainstream. I want to be Big in Japan. I want to be Big Everywhere.
The problem is, I’m not a mainstream writer and probably never will be.
I worked for many years as a bookseller and one of the key things I learned is that some books just don’t sell. Some great books don’t sell. As a bookseller, you try your best for a book but, if the sales aren’t coming, you shrug your shoulders philosophically and move on. I’ve seen it happen so many times to books I love, to books I want the world to read. So often, in fact, that it has become a thing, a fact, a truism: some books don’t sell. Get over it! Easy to say for another author’s work, but when it’s your own book that doesn’t set the world on fire – well, that just plain sucks.
My first novel, An Accident Waiting to Happen, did sell well in Ireland but, as an English writer with a novel set in Manchester, I needed the book to take off in the UK and I watched in vain as it sank without trace. My mum did her best but there were only a limited number of eighty year-old grannies willing to do a favour for a friend. My second novel, Where the Rain Gets In, was even less successful. I can see how it was a hard sell: the story of a professional young woman who self-harms and is forced to come to terms with how her past is ruining her present. And my third novel, Dancing to the End of Love, has a most unsympathetic character who is determined to make every woman he meets pay for the hurt done to him in a previous relationship.
Not exactly mainstream.
But here’s the thing: I’m never going to change. I am what I am, as God said to Moses and as Gloria Gaynor sang to the world – though I’m not sure they were talking about the same thing. I’m so proud to have written about Katy in Where the Rain Gets In I was never going to be free of Robert in Dancing to the End of Love until I was done with him in my book. The book I’m writing now: even worse!
I work a lot with other writers through The Inkwell Group and at Writing.ie, and I’m full of good advice that I never actually listen to myself. It’s a case of ‘Do as I say, not as I do’. Structure? Fuhgeddaboudit! Planning? I’m a nightmare! Easily recognisable genre? What genre? My process seems to go like this: a character or a situation occurs to me and I follow as it plays out in my head and onto the page. I try to write to the mantra of ‘Is this remarkable?’ I have good days and bad days and days when I write nothing at all. As I say, this is me and I’m writing the books I choose to write.
The most success I enjoyed as a writer was when I took back the rights to my first two novels and self-published them as ebooks. After a trickle of a start, Where the Rain Gets In took off, only to be surpassed in sales and longevity by An Accident Waiting to Happen. The bulk of the sales were through Amazon.co.uk and it felt good to be vindicated in the UK market. At one point, the only books above me in the Top 10 of Literary Fiction were editions of Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby – worthy competitors, I think you’ll agree. How or why my books sold in this way, at that particular time, and why it didn’t last forever – believe me, I was hoping it would – remains a mystery to me. A mystery I dearly wish I could replicate.
If there were a magic formula, publishers would use it again and again. Writers would use it. Some writers appear to write to a successful formula but, if you try copying, for example, Lee Child, you’ll soon learn that he has his own secret ingredients that belong to him and him alone.
So yes, my next book will be a disaster when it comes to sales. Marketing departments will look upon it and despair. But it’s mine; I am what I am, I write what I write, and I’m never going to change.
It’s the start of a stormy, passionate affair when internationally successful singer Siobhan McGovern turns up at the launch of Robert Lanaghan’s latest book in Dublin. Though they both love the written word – and each other – they find they come from very different worlds: Robert lives a solitary, quiet life and Siobhan is in the media spotlight every day. And after their daughter Ciara is born, it becomes clear that their relationship is over.
Bitter with the way things have turned out, Robert accepts a substantial financial settlement from Siobhan but also signs an agreement never to see his daughter again. He thinks, in the circumstances, it will be best for everyone.
But after travelling aimlessly around Europe, spending the money as he goes, his life begins to spiral out of control as he struggles to come to terms with what he has done. Can Robert overcome the disappointments of his past to build a better future?
Purchase Link ~ Dancing to The End of Love
Adrian White is an English writer who has lived in Ireland for over twenty-five years. His first novel, An Accident Waiting to Happen, was published in print by Penguin Books – as was his second novel, Where the Rain Gets In. Both are now available again in print and in digital.
Dancing to the End of Love is published by Black & White Publishing.
Adrian worked for Eason’s for over a decade, becoming the Head of Buying and Marketing for books. He subsequently worked for Dubray Books as Head of Business Development.
And you can read more about Adrian here ~ Website.
Twitter ~ @lynskeybooks