As far as I’m concerned 2012 is all about believing and that’s why I’m running a series of posts from people who have ‘taken the plunge’ or ‘followed their dreams’ or had a ‘now or never’ moment. I’m hoping these posts MIGHT just inspire you to be a bit brave too…
And today, the lovely Mel Sherratt:
If anyone had told me that I would have self published an ebook, I would have laughed them out of town. If anyone had told me that I’d now be sitting in the top ten Kindle best sellers, I wouldn’t have believed you. For so long, I’ve dreamt of my words being read, people enjoying my story and chatting about my characters and plots, hoping that they touch readers enough to do so. But behind the ‘quick rise up the charts’ was twelve years of set backs, heartache and rejections. Years of always being the bridesmaid as author friends went on to get book deals, and then had book one, book two and book three published. Years of never giving up, but always wondering if I was ever going to be good enough for a publisher to take a chance with. I wrote four books previous to TAUNTING THE DEAD, thousands of words – possibly millions – that will probably never see the light of day.
I class myself as lucky. I’m lucky to have a well respected agent, within a well established and forward thinking agency. She ‘gets’ my work and saw more in me than I was putting into those earlier manuscripts she read. She continued to support me, encourage me, nurture me and stuck by me, even when two of those previous novels were rejected too. I was writing about life on gritty estates and she encouraged me to write a murder whodunnit with the same type of characters but with a police procedural element to it too. For a while I couldn’t write anything as I thought l didn’t have that kind of novel in me. I had two false starts but on the third attempt I just kept on writing.
After TAUNTING THE DEAD went out on submission but wasn’t picked up, l was devastated. I must admit, I went into a bit of a black hole. But with ever changing technology and the rise of the ebook, we decided to self publish TAUNTING THE DEAD. It was an option we took to see if the ebook could generate enough sales to gain other publishers’ interest. My ultimate aim is still to get that two book deal. It’s my dream; it will always be my dream. Self publishing wasn’t an option I took lightly. I did a whole lot of soul searching and hair pulling before I decided to try it out. I was scared when I pressed that upload button. Because then it was up to the readers. Luckily they seem to like it.
So what is making it sell? Is it the price set at 99p? Is it the striking cover (well, I’m biased. I think it’s beautiful). It’s full of sex, violence and murder. It’s set in my home town of Stoke on Trent, in the Midlands, UK. It’s a book of two halves – during the first half we get to know the murder victim and the second we find out who murdered her. It’s part police procedural/part gritty drama. It contains a lot of swearing. Yet I’m told it’s full of humour and compassion, with a very strong sense of place and a feeling of menace in the air.
And what’s next for me? Well, that depends on a whole lot of things. I’ll still continue to strive for that book deal but, one way or another, Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton will be back in book two.
About the author: Ever since she can remember, Mel Sherratt has been a meddler of words. Right from those early childhood scribbles when she won her first competition, she was rarely without a pen in her hand or her nose in a book. Born and raised in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, Mel now uses her beloved city as a backdrop for her crime thriller novels.
A self confessed shoeaholic, Mel also hosts a blog called High Heels and Book Deals. Taunting the Dead is her first novel and she is represented by Curtis Brown Literary Agency.