Three bits of book news
The first bit may seem rather geeky, but is seriously important and significant.
As you probably know, The Sewing Machine is available as ebook, and as paperback. It has more recently become available as audiobook, available to Audible subscribers, and is now also on CD. It's available in Large Print in libraries in all of these formats.
That's the Large Print edition beside the normal book in the photo above.
It is for sale as ebook in English in the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, India, Italy, France, Germany and Spain, amongst other countries.
The first bit of news is an answer to the question of "What's next?"
I posted about this yesterday on FB and Twitter and many people thought I was about to tell you that it's going to be a film or a TV series. It's not (yet), but we are open to discussions if anyone would like to chat about this...
When I signed my contract with Unbound, I had no expectation of the book being more than an ebook, but before publication day I was told that all the Digital List books would also be paperback. I expect you can remember my delight at this news. The Digital List books operate on what I, as a layperson, call Short Run Printing. I'm sure there is posh technical name for this, but it effectively means that Unbound can ask Clays, the printers, to print as few as 20 books, or as many as 500 (or more) at a time.
This is A GOOD THING. It means that the risk is reduced, the books don't lie about in a warehouse, and yet it can still be available to bookshops from the wholesaler.
In practice, what this has meant is that bookshops such as the magnificent Golden Hare Books and Blackwell's in Edinburgh have been able to get books whenever they want and it's also available in some branches of Waterstones off the shelf, or within 24 hours. I was told recently that someone went into a little independent bookshop in Peebles to order it, and the shop already had three copies in stock!
So my news is about an exciting development.
Normally, only the Unbound books that are funded at a higher level for hardback, and which have a bigger initial marketing machine (also known as Not Just Me), get nationwide distribution. Even then, the print runs are relatively small at first, because hardbacks are expensive to make and all publishers (not just Unbound) want to turn their stock around quite quickly.
Unbound have a new distributor.
The distributor sat down with Unbound a couple of months ago and looked at "the list" and where The Sewing Machine fits on it.
They looked at sales data (more about that in a minute).
They looked at Goodreads ratings (almost 4,000).
They looked at amazon reviews (about 900 altogether on UK, US, CA and AUS).
And they made a HUGE decision.
At the end of this year, The Sewing Machine is going to be featured on the Main List.
Now I am fully aware that this is very geeky, and to the reader browsing on amazon or in a bookshop, it makes not a jot of difference. But in the grand scheme of things, it's very significant. It means a BIG print run.
It means promotion by the distributor to book buyers such as Waterstones and WH Smith and every other bookstore, at trade shows.
Although it's a debut novel, it already has a solid track record of being loved by readers and talked about, so there is a word-of-mouth reader excitement about it.
At the moment the date for release (because it counts as a new release) is 7th February 2019.
I have suggested that there could be promotion around the Great British Sewing Bee which returns to our TV screens in the Spring.
That's the first bit of news. I did tell you it was geeky.
The second thing is that we now have an approximate date for the German edition.
The Sewing Machine (not sure if it will have the same title, sometimes publishers change them for different territories) will be published by Random House (BIG name) in Germany in March. It's part of a special imprint where they choose twelve books a year, release one title a month and activate their significant publicity machine to support and promote each one.
I have no idea if they would like me to travel to Germany for the launch, but I have downloaded the DuoLingo language app onto my phone and am learning how to say "This is my book, I hope you like it".
The third thing is that I am happy to announce that The Sewing Machine has now sold eighty thousand copies.
This seems an appropriate time to say Thank You to you, and to every other person who has bought it and read it.
If you are one of the people who have reviewed it as well, have a second Thank You from me. Reviews are what makes the book "visible" in amazon algorithms, and they are what makes it appear in the "you might like this" section at the bottom of your screen.
Publishers can't buy that as advertising space; those recommendations are generated by readers.
And now, I'm going to have a nice cup of tea and smile for the rest of the day.