The other day I posted that I had sold my hundredth copy of GHOST IN THE MACHINE – turns out I’d done so an hour or so earlier as I’d missed out my first German sale at the end of May (Amazon’s tracking is done by week or month with the same overlap problems I have to expend so much effort on during my day job).  

I used to analyse my sales daily which is total mental behaviour, so I now look at it on a Sunday morning which is when the Amazon weekly reports come off.  The interesting thing is that 96% of my sales are through Amazon, with a staggering 20% of the total coming through the US – there’s obviously a reasonable market for Tartan Noir in the US (I could make a joke about the differences in pronunciation of Noir, i.e. Ne-war vs Noyre, but I won’t).  Interestingly, something has really booted my sales up the arse in the last week – I’ve had some great reviews, I fiddled my categories, I fiddled my tags, I’m regularly in the top 7k sales, I’m regularly in the top 40 on Hard-boiled Crime Fiction, I’m almost at 2,000 followers on Twitter, I launched my Facebook page, but who knows – and I sold more last week than I did in the entirety of May (I went long days during my mental daily tracking without a single sale).

In the spirit of transparency, here is my sales by “channel” (e.g. UK Amazon, US Amazon, etc) – note that I’ve not yet burrowed through the Smashwords premium catalogue yet so I’m not listed on iBooks, Barnes & Noble etc:

Sales by Channel

I don’t want this to seem like I’m blowing my own trumpet because I’m not.  I’m trying to thank those who have bought and enjoyed (or not) a copy of GHOST IN THE MACHINE.  Doing it this way, I’m very unlikely to be able to do this for the money so having a modicum of success is the thing that keeps me going.  When I was writing to get a publishing deal, that was a motivation/pressure, but now it’s much purer – I’m writing for the enjoyment of it and for the people who are buying my books.



I keep getting asked about when the sequel – DEVIL IN THE DETAIL – is out.  I’m currently working hard on it (though I’ve had a stinking cold for the last few days and I’ve ended up taking on management of another three teams at work) during my commute or travel.  When I published GHOST I set myself a target of publishing DEVIL by “late summer”, which is likely to mean October…  ; )  There’s a hell of a lot of work is required before then – I have roughly 50,000 words to write, another 17,000 to edit (which will eat into the 50k), some forensic research to do, and I somehow agreed to include a Big Issue seller called “Whammy” into the mix.  After that, there will be a hardcore start-to-finish edit plus another readthrough.  THEN, it goes to my two editors, while I collapse into a heap / plot the next one.  There is then a fortnight or so of me reworking it based on their comments.  Finally, there is a proof read (which I stupidly rushed for GHOST).  That’s a hell of a lot of work but I’m heartened by the fact that the plot I have got is much more solid than GHOST which was a hell of unpicking three times over.


The future

I’m still thinking through what comes after DEVIL.  One thing I will probably do is write a short story / novella called ALL IN A NAME which will be set after DEVIL and will likely be given away free or very cheap to help publicise DEVIL (the plot for it will be set up in DEVIL).  I’ll probably write it in the editing gap.  One thing I need to decide is what book three will be – DYED IN THE WOOL or BEAST IN THE SHADOW.  DYED flows from GHOST and DEVIL but I’m struggling with the plot a bit (though to be fair to myself I haven’t tried anything) whereas BEAST has a load of great ideas already forming but there’s something in it that I want to get some distance from.  I’ve got months to make a decision.

Thanks for reading this blog and for reading my books!

— Ed

2 Responses

  1. Just finished reading ‘Ghost’, after you asked to follow me on Twitter! Very clever, that, but how did you know I liked crime stories. I have read my way through most of the Scandinavian authors and had just finished reading all the Stuart MacBride books, so I was in a very receptive mood to try another Scottish author. So I have to tell you that I enjoyed your first book very much indeed and hope it’s not too long before the new one is finished. From now on you will be on my list of authors whose books I will buy, sight unseen. Thank you Ed, I’m sure success will be yours and the day job will become a thing of history. Wendy Metcalfe.

    1. Thank for the lovely words and the glowing review. I don’t get big-headed about positive reviews but seeing people enjoy my work make it easier to delve into the dank, dark recesses of the sequel. And that’s a lucky accident – serendipity if you will – that’s found you on twitter.

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