Friday 7 February 2020

Onwards, Upwards, Sideways with David Mark @davidmarkwriter #BloodMoney #NicholasRoe #CrimeFiction

Former crime journalist turned bestselling novelist DAVID MARK is taking the plunge into self-publishing.  
In this excruciatingly honest account of his ten years as a writer, he urges/begs readers to follow him on this exciting/terrifying journey.

Hello. I’m David Mark. Sorry. Whatever I did, I was probably trying to be funny.

There is a small, verging on infinitesimal chance that you have heard of me before. I’m the chap who went from ‘next big thing’ to ‘yesterday’s darling’ without ever experiencing very much of the in-between.

For those unfamiliar with me, I can only say ‘hi’ and ‘you’re looking fabulous’, and ‘where the fu*k have you been?’.

Anyway, in 2011, my novel DARK WINTER was something of a hit. It did well at home and abroad and the critics said lovely things.
Publishers took me out for boozy dinners and crime festivals paid me to come and talk entertaining bollocks about how it felt to achieve my ambitions.
Val McDermid said I was ‘exciting’, which came as something of a shock.

A decade on, I’ve written another ten books. I’ve been in the running for awards, written for Radio 4, had a book adapted for the stage and come damn close to getting an adaptation of my DS McAvoy series onto TV.

I’ve met my literary heroes, offended far fewer of them than I would have expected, seen the world and managed to spaff quite a lot of money up the wall.

In DS Aector McAvoy, I’ve somehow created a character that readers genuinely adore. I take no credit for him. He just walked into my head one day and set about paying for my life. I’ll be forever grateful.

So, February 2020. After eight books in the McAvoy series, my publishers have decided not to continue. I could act bitter and hard-done-by and post pictures of the glossy brochure they once printed outlining their detailed and wildly ambitious plans to turn me into a book-a-year household name, but that might smack of sour grapes, and that would never do. But suffice to say, it was all a bit of a kick in the knackers.

I suppose it’s impossible to argue with spreadsheets and accountants, but there are reasons why certain books didn’t make Tesco and Amazon the money these mercantile bohemoths were expecting.

If you put a book by a relative unknown up against a heavily discounted release by an A-lister, chances are that customers will take the safe bet.
Unfortunately, the lesser-known author, who didn’t shift all their copies, ends up with a big black mark next to their name, rendering them largely toxic next time the salespeople for the big publishing houses try to persuade the supermarkets to put their next book on the shelves. As such, the mid-lister’s star loses whatever shine it briefly had, and publishers decide to give their money to the next debut author who hasn’t yet had their ‘brand’ tarnished.

It’s a depressing story. Many mid-list talents are rebranding themselves under an untarnished name. I would be better off pitching my new manuscripts to publishing houses under a pseudonym than I would as somebody who once wrote a bestseller and who has a dedicated following of readers.
I could go on. I won’t, but I could.

Anyway, I’m not as bitter as all of this has made me sound. In truth, I am delighted to still have a career as an author. I am what I set out to be, and that’s no little thing.

Thanks to those lovely people at publishers Severn House, my standalone thrillers still reach readers and reviewers, and industry bibles like Publishers Weekly and Kirkus get to tell me I’m terrific, which is always good to hear.

But - and like Kim Kardashian, this is a big but - I remain damnably poor. I was a journalist, you see.
For 15 years I exposed secrets, winkled out lies, and buggered off at lunchtime to go get drunk in Hull’s Old Town.
I quit all that when I became a published novelist, and in my absence, journalism – and local newspapers – have ceased to be. So, there’s no job to go back to. Which means I have to make this whole ‘being good at telling stories’ thing, work. It has to pay the rent, and purchase nappies, and keep me at my optimum 15st 9lbs fighting weight.

Which is what leads me to a momentous decision. I am, as of this very moment, self-publishing my work through Kindle Direct Publishing. I am selling myself to Amazon. I’m cutting out a lot of the middle men, and putting my work directly into the hands of readers. And I’m doing this because, on balance, I can’t make more of a hash of it than the so-called experts.

Which leads me to you fine people.
The sort of chaps and chapesses who go thoroughly mental at the idea of a new Peter James and can tell me which minor character from the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan books took an acid blast to the eyes in Book 11.
Proper, passionate, lovers of crime fiction.
And so, with some pomp and a little circumstance, I give you BLOOD MONEY.

It’s a thriller, set on a remote spur of the Western Highlands, and features a much-loved/much-hated dup from the McAvoy novels.   It’s a story of human trafficking, undercover cops, and the consequences of making a deal with a flesh-and-blood devil. It’s dark and grimy and filled with the putrid poetry that readers have come to expect from my deeply disturbed mind. 
And it’s yours for 2.99, which is depressing, now I come to type it out.

A fortnight from now, I’ll also be releasing the first in a trilogy.
Look out for more info on STILL WATERS in the days ahead.

Suffice to say, lots of publishers said lovely things about it, but I’m giving myself the best possible chance to make some money out of the damn thing, and releasing it myself. I don’t want to be rich – I’ve proven that I can’t handle that. But it would be nice to tell the bailiffs that better times are ahead.

Anyway, thanks for listening.

This was like therapy for me.

For more info, sign up to my mailing list at or, if you’re rich, give me some money and I’ll ditch all pretence at pride and simply write poems praising you.

And if you‘re worried about McAvoy, rest assured, he will be back. I fall asleep each night listening to missives from him and Trish Pharaoh, telling me what they’re up to.
It explains the nightmares, at least.


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