A little less than five years has passed since Creme de la Crime took a chance on me and published the first Richard Nottingham book, The Broken Token. Someone believe in my writing enough to put an entire novel in print and get it out there. It’s impossible to describe how it felt at the launch in May 2010. Proud doesn’t come close. My only regret was that my parents weren’t alive to see it.
Now, in little less than a month I have another new book out, and there have been a fair few in between. Since I was given that first opportunity, I grasped it hard, and I’m immensely grateful that people what to publish and to read what I write.
I write every day. Every single day of the year. It’s what I do. I’m many things, as we all are, but writer is very close to the top, if not right at the peak. I love to write. It’s a pleasure. It’s an honour. I still do a fair bit of writing about music, my avocation, but the focus is on the novels.
Overnight success is rarely that. Writing is a craft to be mastered, and that takes time. We never master it, not really. We just keep trying. I know I am. I attempt new things. Some work, some don’t. And I keep trying to gain readers, one by one, and hang on to those who like my work.
Bit by bit, I try to move ahead. I’ll never be a bestseller. I’ll never win the Nobel Prize for Literature (my hope when I was in my teen and foolish). I’ve found what I do and it took long enough. But the movement is there and in the last 12 months it seems to have been a giant stride, first with Gods of Gold, then with Dark Briggate Blues. Lovely reviews, press coverage, plenty of people at the launches and events I’ve done. That’s incredibly heartening.
Both books are up for the CWA Historical Dagger. I may win, I may not – there are plenty of betters writers out there. Dark Briggate Blues is up for a Regional Read.
I’m lucky, I have publishers who believe in me. I’m not lost somewhere in the mid-list of some publishing giant. I can phone the publishers I deal with and talk to them. They do all they can to push the books with excellent publicists. I’m proud of everything I’ve put out. I’ve made many wonderful friends and had their support and had the chance to know and befriend writers who’ve influenced me. That’s pretty amazing to me.
But today, today felt like a quantum leap. I had to go into Waterstones in Leeds – the local branch of a national chain where I held the launch for Dark Briggate Blues and recently did a signing. My books weren’t on the shelf. No, the manager told me, and showed me. One is displayed on a table. And then he showed me something else. My books have their own table in the crime section, because they’re selling so well. Only two of them at present, because the third they stock is currently sold out. And they’ll be getting in the hardback of Two Bronze Pennies when it’s published.
I was amazed. In fact, I walked out without taking a picture of it. A few steps before I realised my stupidity and walked back in. Success isn’t a fortune in money. This is what it looks like. And thank you all.