So, I’m extremely pleased – if not to say insufferably smug – to announce that The Heroes made the Sunday Times bestseller list last week for hardcover fiction, in 3rd place with some 4,100 copies sold, well above Clive Cussler and just behind Scandinavian wunderkind Jo Nesbo and the ubiquitous James Patterson. This is indeed serious commercial company. My editor tells me I am the first UK genre fantasy author to make the list since the passing of the much-loved David Gemmell (although that obviously means ignoring certain heavily fantastical authors such as JK Rowling, Philip Pullman and Terry Pratchett for various complex and largely spurious reasons).
Now, I must admit, there are some mitigating factors here. Late January is far from boom time in the publishing business, so you need less sales to get high up the list than you might at other times of year. In the weeks before Christmas I wouldn’t have got a sniff of tenth place with those sales. Also, the first week includes presales, so this is partly the result of careful strategy, advertising, and advance discounting, as well of course of a loyal readership keen to get their hands on my latest. But provisional figures for this week have come through now, and they put The Heroes in fifth. That’s not presales, that’s honest to goodness folks in bookshops buying it. And in any case, third is third. I’m a Sunday Times bestseller, and even if my next book is remaindered by the cartload and I end up on skid row, you can never take that away from me!
In any case, it’s a testament to the skills of the folks at my publisher, who have all come together across editorial, publicity, marketing and sales to give the book the best possible chance. And of course a testament to the impeccable taste of you lot, the book buying public. Congratulations also to fellow Gollancz author Ben Aaronovitch, who’s got in on the list at number 8. Quite the performance for a fantasy imprint, huh?
The main body of the tour is now over, and it was a great experience. Not one truly duff event out of the thirteen or so, and believe me, I’ve done some duff events before. The highlight of the daytime signings was probably Waterstones Guildford, with some 50 or 60 people. The best of the evening events the Manchester Deansgate one, where they had upwards of 70. My thanks to all the bookshop staff who promoted and helped out at all the events, though. You can see some photos over on the Gollancz facebook page. Still the Scottish leg to come, with Edinburgh and Glasgow on Thursday. I hope perhaps to see some of you there.