I was thrilled this weekend to see a dream coming true before my eyes. I welcomed Sarah Hilary to the spotlight earlier this year with her debut novel Someone Else’s Skin. It’s a cracking crime read. When I heard Sarah talk on the radio, I realised we’d had similar journeys, time-wise, close to ten years of hard work and I think this was also her 4th novel and the first to be published, but she managed to get her agent first (she deserved to as she worked so hard) and look what a difference that has made! She has TV interest and she made it onto the Richard and Judy list! I was so excited for her I took this photo in Bangor!
It was through this list I first read R J Ellory’s Quiet Belief in Angels, he was also a guest here and has gone on to have a highly successful career. People in the industry often knock this list because of its impact, claiming some people only buy a few titles a year and often it’s the ones on this list. But having read a few of them, they are usually good reads and their place on the list well deserved. They get a lot of submissions so it’s some feat to make it onto here! So it deserves a whoop and a dance, right?
Having been sat underneath signs of Richard and Judy for the past few weeks signing in WHSmith stores, and dreaming of making that list, this felt wonderful to see Sarah there. A HUGE well done and well deserved.
As a small publisher, about three or four years ago, Bridge House wanted to put at title forward for this list only to find we needed to prove we had the funds available (I think £20K at the time) should the book make it onto the list. I don’t know if it’s still the same, although I did read about publishers having to contribute a huge amount to the steep marketing costs for front of house promotion and being prepared to offer the book at 65% discount. But that is how the industry is. I get it because all big publishers have to pay huge amounts to fast track books to front of house anyway and the honour of being on this list does make a massive difference to sales. Only thing I will say, if it’s still the same, is the smaller presses can’t compete, which is a shame. That said, with the huge number of titles submitted and books chosen entirely on merit, then they have earned their place there — and rightly so.
Sarah has done amazingly well and well done to her. Hats off to her all the way. Someone crack open the champers!
And you never know, maybe it’ll be YOU next and I will dance with you too!
Dream BIG always!