Ghost Tree launches at local haunts



For most authors these days, getting a place anywhere close to number one million in the Amazon rankings is cause for breaking out the champagne.

There are so very many books out there, all jostling for the attention of potential readers, that most of them never see the light of day – day, of course, meaning within the top 100 of the bestsellers rank within the genre.

It is with great delight that I find the Kindle edition of The Ghost Tree at no 156 in the Books > Fiction >Horror > Fantasy list (even though it’s not a fantasy) – a place that I never expected to be sitting in.

Now I know there will be hundreds of thousands of authors laughing into their glowing Amazon reports at my delight over a small ranking, but this is a milestone for me. I am also aware that Amazon listings are fickle and the book could drop to 999,999 in the same section within the blink of an eye. It is, however, really inspiring to see the book so close to the top 100 on any list and the paperback has not even been published yet.

I am launching The Ghost Tree at the Ewart Library, Dumfries, on Thursday night and I find that a more terrifying prospect than facing the Mackie poltergeist in the dark without a crucifix.

In the current economic climate, libraries are under a lot of pressure to look useful and busy while councillors sit at committee meetings deciding how and when they will close them. I am therefore really dedicated to helping them, even if that means facing the public in an event starring me.

I am the kind of person who loves the camera, provided I am the one looking through the viewfinder.

My second event will take place at Waterstones book shop in Dumfries on Saturday, 3 October. The local bookstores are also taking a pounding from their mighty online counterparts and I like to think that my presence, no matter how insignificant, will go a small way towards supporting them.

Thanks to everyone who has bought my book and to those very special people who have taken time to write a review. You are all wonderful.

From self to shelf


I have just signed a traditional publishing contract for my next book with Urbane Publications Ltd.
The Ghost Tree, the sequel to The Sleeping Warrior, is due off stone in October.
I put a lot of thought and effort into self-publishing The Sleeping Warrior but it’s taken me a year to realise that I have neither the marketing skills, the time, the budget nor the experience in the publishing world to get my book out into the public domain with any great success.
Irrespective of gathering thousands of online friends on the big social media sites, it is notoriously difficult for the majority of new writers to get noticed as an individual inside Amazon’s crowded halls. Even more impossible is the opportunity of securing a traditional publishing contract, even for good writers with excellent stories to tell. Despite some very successful self-published authors commandeering the top spots on Amazon’s best-seller list, there is still a fair amount of snobbery and stigma attached to self-publishing that is not going away any time soon.
I feel very fortunate by managing to catch the eye of a few publishers for The Ghost Tree but decided to go with Urbane.
I met the publishing director, Matthew Smith, on Twitter. He kindly agreed to run an interview about his publishing house for my Ivy Moon Press blog and I was immediately struck by his passionate and professional approach to publishing.
Unless you sell millions of books for them, publishing houses do have a reputation for putting sales before the author. Urbane conducts its business the other way round and that’s what I like about them.
Matthew’s worked in the industry for a long time and uses this experience to sell his authors. He’s also very active on social media, knows the market and all its quirks and and, more importantly, gets Urbane titles on the shelves.
I hope that this will be a very long and productive relationship between us.