How the Kim Stone series gave Angela Marsons a lifeline

Bookouture Author Stories

How the Kim Stone series gave Angela Marsons a lifeline

Angela Marsons

In September 2014, Angela had hit rock bottom. With money tight after being made redundant from her job of nineteen years, and with her disabled partner recovering from major surgery, Angela was turned down for a job in an Amazon warehouse. Forced to sell their belongings and borrow from family members to pay the mortgage, the prospect of losing their home was a very real one. 

To make matters worse, Angela’s dreams of becoming an author were crushed when she parted ways from a top London literary agency. The feedback from publishers on her crime thriller series was always the same: ‘We love it… but not enough’. Some worried about the Black Country setting, others that readers wouldn’t warm to her formidable, no-nonsense lead character, Detective Kim Stone. With her confidence crushed, Angela, who pens all her first drafts by hand, couldn’t even pick up a pencil to write. 

Then in October 2014, Angela received an email from Claire Bord at Bookouture saying she was reading and loving Silent Scream and did she have any more ideas? A week later, Angela signed for the first four books in the Kim Stone series. 

Angela says ‘It was a lifeline for me – I didn’t have any expectations about what I’d sell, I thought maybe five hundred copies, but I just wanted to see what readers thought. I wanted them to enjoy it.’ 

English
French
Dutch
Greek
Korean

Silent Scream has sold over a million copies and the Kim Stone series has gone on to sell nearly four million copies, translated into 28 languages and has hit the top of the bestseller lists across the world. 

‘It is no secret that I tried to break into traditional publishing for many years. I do now believe that everything happens for a reason and that fate was waiting until Bookouture was born.They gave me an opportunity I’d been trying to get for many many years. The dream for me was always to be able to write for a living and Bookouture made that happen for me.  They are the publisher that works well for me, despite how much they’ve grown, there isn’t anyone at Bookouture I can’t email or speak to and it does still feel like a family to me and the fellow Bookouture authors are very supportive.   It’s a very open, transparent and personable approach.  I also love the interaction via social media with the readers of the Kim Stone books. I consistently feel valued as an author and as a person and there is nothing else that any other publisher could give me that I don’t get from Bookouture.’

How digital publishing helped me sell 2 million copies and pay off medical debt

Bookouture Author Stories

How digital publishing helped me sell 2 million copies and pay off medical debt

Lisa Regan

I spent nearly a decade trying to break into traditional publishing. With my first book, I was rejected by over 150 agents and then two dozen publishers. A small publisher picked it up only to close their doors less than a year later. I then had two detective series that failed to thrive. Readers loved the books, but the marketing wasn’t there.

It was Thanksgiving weekend of 2016 when I first heard from Jessie Botterill of Bookouture. I had long been a fan of Bookouture’s authors, especially Angela Marsons, and it was a dream of mine to work with them. I had pitched Jessie a couple of books that she loved but weren’t quite right for the Bookouture list. Instead of simply turning me down and wishing me the best of luck, she continued to correspond with me for several weeks, coaxing and encouraging me until I came up with a series concept that we both loved. She told me to write the first book and proposals for two more and get back to her. I was on fire. It was the first time in all the years I had been clawing my way through the halls of the publishing industry that anyone considered the value of my overall talent instead of a single title. Jessie believed in me.

I wrote Vanishing Girls, the first book in the Detective Josie Quinn series, in three months. When I went to email the first draft to Jessie, I was a bundle of nerves. I was convinced she had forgotten all about me and our flurry of emails or that she had simply moved on and wasn’t interested anymore. I was pleasantly surprised and astounded to find that she not only remembered me but was excited to read the book. A few months later, I had a 3-book contract with Bookouture.

I was over the moon but also, my previous experience in the publishing industry had made me wary. I truly believed that the series would fall short of expectations, sell badly, and that I would be back out in the world on my own with a third failed series. I didn’t set any sales records at first, but Bookouture was patient and they continued to throw lots of marketing behind the series. Their marketing team worked tirelessly to find the best and most effective ways to get my books into the hands of readers. Much to my surprise and delight, readers fell instantly in love with Josie.

Flash forward to 2019: I had a string of USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestsellers; I’d sold over a million copies across the series; I had contracted to write several more books in the series; and I was able to quit my day job and begin writing full-time.

After years of rejections and lackluster book launches, I had finally found a home with Jessie and Bookouture. Not only had I achieved my childhood dream of writing full-time, but I was able to pay off the crippling medical debt my family had accrued from when our daughter struggled with serious health issues in 2016 and 2017.

Flash forward to 2021: I have now sold over 2 million copies across eleven novels in the series.  The 12th book in the series (which you can pre-order here) is out in August. The series has been translated into six different languages and the ebook success has led to a print deal with Grand Central in the US.

We have now been able to purchase our dream home. I get to write for the best readers in the world. I also get to work with a publisher that values and nurtures my abilities, works closely with me to produce the best books I’m capable of writing, and treats me like a member of their family. Bookouture has been there for me through thick and thin, not just professionally, but personally as well. Now, thanks to their vision, I am able to live out my dream.

How Bookouture not only changed my life but is inspiring an entire village in India

Bookouture Author Stories

How Bookouture not only changed my life but is inspiring an entire village in India

Renita D'Silva

Renita D’Silva (right)

I grew up in a small village in India.

We didn’t have proper electricity, running water or even an indoor toilet for most of my early childhood, but we didn’t know any different – everyone in the village was the same with some even worse off. And it was an idyllic childhood in many respects. Running wild among the fields, the neighbourhood dogs and cows for company, and when hungry, picking (stealing) mangoes and guavas from the fruit orchard of the local landlord.

When I was four, missionary nuns started an English Medium School in our village. I was lucky enough to be among the first batch of students, our lessons taking place under the mango trees in the convent compound until the nuns raised enough funds for a school building.

When I learned to read and write in English, I started corresponding with my father who worked in the north of India. And so, his present for me when he visited during his annual vacation that year was the complete set of Andersen and Grimm fairy tales.

They changed my life.

For I discovered the heady magic of stories, how they transported you and how, within the pages of a book you could be anyone, do anything, go anywhere, live a thousand thrilling lives. Scientists spend fortunes and lifetimes trying to discover the secret to time travel – something every reader knows and finds every time they open a book.

The problem was that once I finished reading those books my father gifted me, I wanted more. But there were no books to be found in our village. My mum, after much asking around, discovered a tiny library(two shelves in a musty room) in the neighbouring village. There were a few books but they had most of the pages torn out of them. I hungrily read and reread them, making up my own scenes to account for the missing pages.

I suppose that’s what transformed me from reader to writer – the dearth of books.

When Bookouture said yes to publishing me, they made the dream I hadn’t dared to articulate even to myself, come true.

Bookouture made me an author, creating my own version of the magic that had allowed me to travel widely and live such varied lives without setting foot outside my tiny village in the south of India.

I still cannot believe that somehow I’m doing what I love best when so many people don’t get the chance. I will never run out of books (my greatest fear) and I get to spend my time with stories and among people who create them. It is humbling and overwhelming and I am grateful for the privilege every single day.

Renita and her dad
Renita and her dad

Since becoming an author, I have made sure my village has a library well stocked with books, both mine and that of fellow Bookouture authors. I talked to the children studying at my English Medium school last year during my visit to my childhood home – they sat in ordered lines under the very mango trees where I used to have lessons all those years ago! I told them my story and after, they all declared they wanted to be authors 🙂 Watch out, Bookouture, for a spate of submissions from a certain coastal village in India 🙂

My dad – who gifted me my very first books thus igniting my love of stories – passed away last October, but he did so being very proud, as did my beloved grandmother – she had cuttings about me from local newspapers under her pillow; we found them after.

For people from the small village in India where I grew up, dreams are just fantasies that you create to escape reality, there is no expectation of them ever coming true – but my being published has given hope to everyone in our village and beyond.

Bookouture re-sign contracts with Arnold, Dixon and Kernan

We are THRILLED TO BITS to share the news that we have signed new contracts with Carolyn Arnold, Helena Dixon and Jenna Kernan.

Commissioning Editor Emily Gowers has acquired world rights in three new thrilling Detective Amanda Steele novels from Carolyn Arnold.

Emily says:

‘I am so thrilled to be continuing to work with Carolyn on this incredible series. Amanda is an unstoppable force, and I can’t wait to see her story continue as she digs into the gripping crimes Carolyn has conjured up!’

Carolyn says:

‘Emily has been a pleasure to work with, and she’s always quick to respond to any queries I send her way and goes to bat for me in whatever way she can. It’s incredible having an editor on my side who believes in me, my writing, and Amanda! I so look forward to continuing this relationship with Emily and Bookouture and bringing even more Amanda Steele books to the world!’

Emily Gowers has also  acquired world rights in three new cosy historical mysteries in the Miss Underhay series by Helena Dixon, from Kate Nash of the Kate Nash Literary Agency.

Emily says,

‘It’s a real pinch-me moment, to think that I can continue to work with Helena, who has now sold over 100k copies, on this incredible series. Kitty and Matt can’t seem to keep out of trouble, and I can’t seem to stop loving every moment of it!’

Helena says,

‘I am so excited to continue working with Emily and all the Bookouture team on the Miss Underhay series. I know my readers will be delighted too. I love being in Matt and Kitty’s world and can’t wait to write more mysteries for them to solve.’

Commissioning Editor Ellen Gleeson has acquired World English rights plus audio via Ann Leslie Tuttle at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret, for two standalone psychological thrillers by Jenna Kernan. THE ADOPTION, publishing May 2022, tells the story of a seemingly perfect couple who adopt a baby. But when Dani notices strangers watching her daughter, it’s clear not all is as it seems. The second book will publish in autumn 2022.

Ellen says,

‘When Jenna first sent me her synopsis for THE ADOPTION I was utterly blown away, and simply couldn’t wait to read the book itself! Jenna is the ideal Bookouture author: commercially savvy, brimming with hooky ideas, and a deep understanding of what makes readers tick. THE ADOPTION is going to be just as crazily gripping, twisty and shocking as her Agent Nadine Finch series, and I can’t wait to take Jenna’s publishing to new heights.’

Jenna says,

‘A little less than a year after signing with Bookouture, I’m delighted to again be in the capable hands of their dedicated, innovative team and eager to join forces with my insightful editor, Ellen Gleeson, on two standalone domestic thrillers. I’m confident that Ellen’s advice and vision will help me bring readers two more gripping rollercoaster reads!’

Ann Leslie adds,

‘I am thrilled to see Jenna branch out into writing domestic thrillers. Readers are in for a real treat.’

We would love you to join us on Facebook and Twitter to celebrate this exciting news.