I began writing my first book, No Escape, for all the wrong reasons. I’d read that Lee Child wrote his first JackReacher novel, Killing Floor, to generate income after having been made redundant. On leaving a job in France (and being out of work) I thought, if he can do it so can I. However, at the time I didn’t realise that there are only a handful of agents who hold the key to authors making a living from traditional publishing – a big advance.
I’ve now learnt that only with a six figure advance under your belt, will your publisher be motivated to recoup the money they’ve shelled out and actively market your book. Otherwise, it’ll languish on a shelf at the rear of your local bookstore – if you’re lucky – and be remaindered. Even worse, after endless rejection letters I realised that most agents want to market the author rather than his/her work. As I haven't been in the Special Services, and I’m not an ex-cop, I came to understand that I’m not a marketable commodity as a thriller writer. To be blunt, my life isn’t thrilling enough for an agent to want my book.
My heart sank as I realised my manuscript would never get published and it was out of that despair I discovered something important. I’d become a writer. I no longer wanted to be published to make money. Rather, my central character, Josh Ryder, had become so real for me that I wanted others to get to know him as I had; to understand why Josh became an outsider who puts his life on the line to help others; to share with me his successes, heartaches and sorrows.
Then I read David Gaughran’s great book Let's GetDigital, and realised that with e-publishing authors can connect directly with their readers without an agent and a publishing contract.