Not Everything Works: Winning and Losing Novels
Here’s an honest round-up of my recent hits and misses – a snapshot of where I am at the moment, writing-wise.
‘Bryant & May and the Invisible Code’ won the eDunnit Award, which I was thrilled about. But it hasn’t all been plain sailing lately.
The sad news is that ‘The Casebook of Bryant & May’ won’t become a mass market comic or a series because of slow sales.
There are several reasons for this. PS Publishing didn’t make the book readily available on Amazon, preferring to sell it through their website, and it was not for sale in bookshops. It might be because, as a special edition, they preferred it keep it exclusive, but if you don’t get a mass-market edition you’re pretty much doomed.
Equally, comics have become a difficult market – only superheroes really sell well. Crime fans don’t read comics and comics fans don’t like crime that much, so Keith and I were caught in the middle with our comics/crime crossover. But my job is to try to create as many different ideas as I can in as many different formats, and I’m glad we did it. Oddly, this now means that the Casebook is set to become highly collectable!
My biggest disappointment remains ‘Hellion: The Curse Of Snakes’, my YA novel – mainly because the promised promotions for it never materialised. I thought that despite undergoing a difficult editing process, four covers and a change of title the book survived and worked pretty well, but it failed to reach the right audience. It didn’t help that two Medusa films came out at the same tome and both flopped.
My next novel will be ‘Plastic’, the blackly comic thriller from Solaris, which very nearly never saw the light of day and finally arrives on August 1st. On July 18th Joanne Harris will interview me about the strange genesis of the book at Foyles in Charing Cross Road. After the success of ‘Hell Train’, I’m really looking forward to working with Solaris again.
In December ‘Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart’ arrives. I’m incredibly excited about this one, as it really feels like the series is moving up a gear in terms of both content and release date. The US will finally get back into gear with releasing American editions of the books.
Next year there’ll be my haunted house chiller ‘Nyctophobia’ from Solaris and ‘Bryant & May and the Burning Man’ from Transworld. Hopefully I’l find a buyer for my reworked thriller by then; as it stands, we had a lot of interest in the book but it was generally felt that the format – a police Q&A session – might prove too distancing for some readers.
Meanwhile, my Hammer play ‘The Devil In Darkness’ will soon be available on CD, and there’ll be other surprises in store over the coming months.
I also hope to get some short stories out with a major publishing company at some point, as they’re starting to pile up! Of course, it may simply be that I write too much and should take a few years off…