Three months ago my novel TWICE was published. Hooray!
I can't say it's all been plain sailing. In fact, it's been both not quite the way I fantasised and exactly as expected. Which is to say: I'm currently riding high at 498,503 in the Amazon bestseller charts, having peaked at 34,847 during the week before publication. Not that Amazon is necessarily the accurate measure of my book's success. I have no doubt that many indie bookshops of great taste are utterly sold out, after my personal grand tour of introductions in South Wales and East London during the month leading up to my debut. In fact, given the nature of my book and the dirt it dishes on digital tech, I wouldn't be surprised at all to discover shenanigans with my rankings. If you'd care to remedy that, don't feel shy and do click here. For more ethical purchasing in the UK, go here.
This is, of course, just the beginning. I have no doubt that once word gets about, sales will soar. My book is thrilling and different, which is of course why I totted up all those rejections, and why it will take time to find its audience. Originality must find its own path. But when it does: kaboom!
Sales are, of course, nice, but not the only indicator. As per the lessons of this blog, what really matters is writing something you believe in and persisting with it through traditional and novel channels, despite setbacks and temptations to moderate the force of your vision. That's what gives the warm glow, which I bask in today. What else are writers for, except to voice uncomfortable truths, especially in a conforming age? To support my book, I have had to step up and discuss it in ways I could never have imagined, including this blog and making short films around TWICE's themes for my great publisher's YouTube channel. As a wallflower used to hiding behind my keyboard, I've been surprised to see how much I've enjoyed speaking directly about what I believe in via these promos. You can see them here.
My great book, highly positive mindset, and indeed this blog, have won me plenty of kudos and fan mail. The very best thing has been the support of my fellow published, upcoming and soon-to-be published novelists. Thank you all very much indeed – and if you have tales of rejection to share, please send them to me here.
My bold tongue has, inevitably, also invited a tiny subset of sideline kvetchers, paying tribute to my power with puny attempts to knock me off course. Trolls are inevitable when you stick your head above the parapet to take on bullies, award yourself all the prizes, dare to write the truth and revel in shaking off what others might call 'shame'. Such has been the power of this blog that it has roused some predictable and unexpected correspondents, whose fauxpologies or vast foul waves of frankly loopy and, I'm afraid to say, racist fury I would quote in full for your entertainment were I not brought up to have sympathy for those less fortunate. Besides, this has been a difficult mental health year for us all and who knows what goes on behind closed doors. In my experience, demented rage and verbal assault are often prompted by wholly separate causes to the ones we ostensibly lash out over. And if the thick skin, self-belief and other skills I have developed as a result of all my rejections makes me a challenge to those looking for targets, so be it. Do your worst, bros.
But let us not leave on this note. Free and emboldened by my journey, full of compassion for those who try to reject me, I have much new writing up my sleeve. Subscribe to my newsletter below to hear more, or find me on my many other platforms including: susannakleeman.com, twicenovel.com, @susannakleeman. And thanks for all your wonderful support!
Read my rejection odyssey from the start here.
Read other things here.