Friday, 12 July 2013


Email from my publisher "Geraldine No. 5 on kindle, beating Dan Brown and John Grisham". Now that's something you don't see every day. Since then Road Closed has climbed to No. 3 on kindle.

There's an article about the launch for Cold Sacrifice on the trade website Book2Book

All rather exciting!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Launch Party for Cold Sacrifice

Here are some images from the launch party, with fans converging on Belgravia Books in London from Wigan, Manchester, Northampton, Birmingham, Bristol, Strood, Bedford... you name it!
                                   Fans from Wigan with my lovely publisher
                                             A loyal fan from Strood in Kent
                                             Fan and aspiring author from Barnet
               Fans from Bristol
Fans  Br
Some young fans from London
                         With Lizzie Hayes of Mystery People and Lloyd Paige, reviewer

Book Launch

Lots of photos of the book launch on facebook - 
Fans came to London from all around the UK, from as far afield
 as Wigan, Manchester, Birmingham, Northampton, Bristol, 
Strood, Bedford, London - it was a fabulous evening! 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Book Launch Today!

I was on a panel of crime writers at a literary festival where an audience member asked how we sleep at night, with so many murders playing in our minds. 'Don't you get nightmares?' I replied truthfully that I sleep very well.
Well, last night, I did have a nightmare of sorts. It didn't involved monsters or gushing blood. No, I dreamed I was at my book launch. Lots of people were arriving at a bookstore, nothing like the real venue for the launch party. It had corridors, and different rooms, an easy place to get lost (my usual worry dream.)
Lots of people were arriving. I didn't get lost. There was a fantastic buffet (sorry, only the usual nibbles at the real event tonight.) I was wearing The Dress and it fitted fine.
As I was greeting guests, I was distracted because I couldn't find any copies of my new book. I was due to give a short speech but still hadn't found  my books. 'Here they are' my (in real life lovely) publisher said. He pointed to a table covered with small children's books. 'We decided to bring it out as an easy reader for young children. You must have agreed.'
'No,' I replied, aghast. 'That's not even my name on the cover!'
'We thought it best not to confuse the new series with your other books.'
I picked one up and looked inside. It was number 22 in the series. Scrabbling around we finally found numbers 1-3 wrapped in cellophane. Scanning through the first one, I could think of NOTHING complimentary or even vaguely interesting to say about the book which was aimed at young children learning to read. There were cartoon pictures to colour in. The text was short extracts from my book - unreadable and incomprehensible to the target audience. It made no sense!!! 
I stood up and began my speech, mainly reading from the back of the book: 'You can read this book with mummy. Mummy can read it to you. There's a chart for parents to fill in to show what aspect  of reading your child struggles with so you can work on those specifically.'
As I was talking, people were standing up and leaving.

I'll write about the actual book launch as soon as I have time after the event tonight. It may take a few days, as we're off on tour again tomorrow going to Birmingham and Solihull. But I'm sure the real launch will be nothing like my dream!

Friday, 5 July 2013


For far too long I've been using my blog simply as a platform to post my news. And you have to agree, there has been a lot of news to post. Yet when this blog first started, over five years ago, my intentions were very different. My original plan was to write a kind of diary of my journey to becoming an author. Along the way I became so busy being an author, that I lost my impetus to blog about it. To report on my journey has begun to resemble a list of boasts - CWA Dagger Award shortlist, accolades in journals as diverse as The Times and Star magazine, on both sides of the Atlantic, voted and selected for Best Fiction lists, hitting Number 1 on kindle and iTunes, and regularly appearing bestseller charts on amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith, amazon... yes, I'm boring myself. So my blog petered out, apart from the occasional interviews with other authors, and sporadic  posts about yet another promotion, special offer, or bestseller list. Only this week, COLD SACRIFICE was a 'Buzz Book' on iTunes, ROAD CLOSED reached the Top 10 on kindle, and DEATH BED was selected for the amazon kindle summer promotion, reaching Number 3 in crime and thrillers.

It's time to get back to the original purpose of this blog, and explore issues concerning the world of publishing, from the perspective of an author. I have no 'inside knowledge' beyond what I can gather from my own experience. So here's where I am right now.

My debut, CUT SHORT, came out in 2009 as an A format paperback - small, cheap, with a monochrome cover. By 2011 my first three titles had all become bestsellers, and my publisher 'branded' the series, bringing out all the titles in the series in B format, with lovely colourful shiny matching covers. You can see them all on my website LEIGH RUSSELL  if you want to see how smart they look. The row of covers on the virtual shelf on my kindle isn't quite the same.

Here's my little bookcase at home, like a trophy case, only hidden away upstairs where no one else can see it, with 15 editions of  my books on display plus three bookmarks. If you look carefully on the extreme left, you can see the eye on the proof copy of the first edition of CUT SHORT is looking in the opposite direction to the one on the spine of the sale copy.

When CUT SHORT was first published, a fellow author advised me to ask my publisher to bring it out as an eBook. Wait for my next statement... I wasn't quite sure what he was talking about! I'd heard talk of 'eBooks' but it was all something of a mystery to me then. Six months later, the eBook duly came out. The same process occurred with ROAD CLOSEDBy the time DEAD END was published in 2011, eBooks were firmly on the map. The eBook was available to download on the same day the print book hit the shelves. Meanwhile, sales of eBooks began to overtake the print version. I'll deal with my response to that in another post. DEATH BED was due to be published in 2012. The eBook was released on December 2011, six months ahead of the print book. The same happened withSTOP DEAD, and that pattern seems to be continuing for the time being. I can't say "for the foreseeable future" because things are changing so fast, it's hard to look ahead.

Sales of eBooks are growing. Some statistics cite them as representing 20% of the market in a rapidly growing sector, other sources say they are now at 25% of the market.

In a statement accompanying its fourth quarter and full year results for 2012, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos neatly summed up where he sees the future of book retailing heading–especially for his company. “We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting,” said Bezos. “After 5 years, eBooks is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast – up approximately 70% last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5%.”
(US Publishers Weekly, January 2013)

From the perspective of an author, it makes little difference in terms of income. The standard percentage royalties an author earns from sales of eBooks is higher for an author than on print books, as the publisher's overheads are far lower. Certainly the sales on eBooks are potentially huge compared to those of print books. My own books have sold hugely in eformat compared to the sales of my books in print.

Personally I'm in two minds about eBooks. I'm thrilled to be earning a living from my books, if a modest one. But I still love the look and the feel of physical books.

Oh, and the links here are to the eBooks on kindle... but you can find links to the print books as well on my website: WEBSITE


DEATH BED, one of 100 titles selected for the kindle summer promotion, is currently at Number 3 Death Bed

and COLD SACRIFICE is a Buzz Book on iTunes!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Death Bed

Death Bed has been selected for the kindle Summer promotion - £1.49 for the month of July