Love/Hate has taught us that there is a huge appetite for Dublin gangland stories. Across the board and encompassing all facets of society, Love/Hate roared success. My attention was piqued; personally I was well placed to write a Dublin gangland novel. So I interviewed the right people, compiled the raw material, and raced headlong into the project; The Takeover was born on October 2014.
Like watching your child take their first steps into the big bad world, I sent The Takeover to reviewers and held my breath!
The reviews came back and they were strong – very strong.
Now, if you think that’s enough to guarantee success…think again! It is hugely rewarding to be validated by your peers and on some level you feel like a real writer; most days I feel like an impostor and hope that I’m not found out. And nobody writes a book and expects to sell a few copies; we dream of being the next Michael Connelly, Martina Cole or Louise M Phillips, otherwise we wouldn’t write at all. We have our dreams because they’re the fuel we need to keep moving forward.
If your work is strong; this is what I believe are the nuts and bolts of success. Send your work to every crime blogger you can find; post it to every magazine, newspaper and radio show; email every contact you can locate within the media. Never be afraid to ask people to review your work; I was told ‘NO’ by no less than twenty journalists this month – but I’ve only asked them once! (Those being the terms of my restraining order). One of the friendliest DJ’s on radio told me unceremoniously ‘to hit the road’… I thought I was talking to a different person! You see, for every ten ‘Nos‘ there is one ‘Yes’ and sometimes that may be the tipping point you need. Luck is defined as opportunity meets preparation – so always be prepared for that opportunity. Quite frankly, it doesn’t help if you have a great book and only your mates know!
I’m signed with Crimewave Press based in Hong Kong. They are indie publishers who have stepped into an arena with some of the heaviest hitters in the publishing world. In comparative terms Crimewave Press are small however what they do have – in spades- is a work ethic that is second to none; they literally trek across Asia attending book fairs and public relations events. They spit blood and work their asses off for their authors and we reciprocate by doing the same; we’re a lean hungry stable of writers and the body of work speaks for itself.
If you’re serious about this game – be prepared to live and breathe it; when I lay my head down I think of writing and when I wake…yep you guessed it! I’ve read the back stories of some of the biggest names on this planet and they were at one stage, unknown. When Obama released Dreams of my Father he sold a few thousand copies (if even) and his book faded into obscurity – reviews were few and far between and eventually it found it’s way into a bargain basket in his local bookstore…what happened when he became The President…yep…right again. The publishers and critics fell over themselves to praise his ‘masterpiece.’ Where were they before?
Personally I believe success is nothing more than a series of trips and falls; where you land and more importantly, who you land on will define the heights you climb. And more importantly; never be afraid to fall.
(c) Jonathan Dunne