25 years of rejection then 1,000,000 sales: Surprise success for Black Country author
It's a remarkable tale of rags to riches for one Black Country author who has sold her one millionth novel just under a year of publishing her first crime thriller.
Angela Marsons, from Brierley Hill, released three books in her crime series this year and has already topped Amazon charts around the world.
Her debut novel Silent Scream has gone on to sell over 600,000 copies and was the number one Amazon bestseller in the UK for more than a month.
It also reached the top 5 in the US and has secured rights deals in ten countries, from Germany to Lithuania.
Her follow-up novels, Evil Games and Lost Girls both hit the Amazon UK top ten also.
The 47-year-old has now given up her job of 19 years as a Security Guard at Merry Hill Shopping Centre to focus fully on her writing, and labels it as a 'dream come true'.
"I had been trying numerous publishers for 25 years but constantly got rejected. They would always say 'we like it...but not enough' and it just felt like I would never get there," she said.
"It was only last September that I was approached by a commissioning editor at a digital publisher, Bookouture – and they asked would I be interested in publishing with them.
"It was a lifeline for me.
"To have gone on to achieve the success I have in such a short time is unbelievable. Everyday I have to pinch myself to see if its real - it is a dream come true," she added.
Angela's books all have a Black Country setting, and feature the formidable, no-nonsense lead character, Detective Kim Stone.
Silent Scream is set in a children's home, which Angela explained was in Rowley Regis.
She said: "I have always set my stories in the local area due to being a local girl.
"As a youngster I would pass the Brickhouse children's home and I used to think about what used to happen in there - it always stuck with me, so I included that in my novel.
"I never write about a set group of people or anyone particular I know, all my characters are make believe."
The massive eBook success of the Kim Stone books has now led to a major print deal for Angela's first three novels with brand new publisher Bonnier Publishing Fiction. The series will soon be able to reach a whole new audience through bookstores and supermarkets in the UK and worldwide.
As for the financial benefits of becoming an international bestseller almost overnight, Angela says it is still sinking in.
"The dream for me was always to write for a living, and I just feel so privileged to do that now. Every time I get a royalty payment, I have to pinch myself – it seems like lottery money to me," she said.
As for what is next for Detective Kim Stone, Angela says that she's full of ideas for the next books – and certainly won't be killing her off any time soon.
She said: "I started writing because I felt like I had a story to tell. "Kim Stone was the character for me who just wouldn't go away, and I feel like I'm just at the start of her journey – there's still plenty more to be revealed about her past as well as the next cases."
But it is the feedback from readers that Angela has found most rewarding – with over 6,000 5-star reviews to date.
"I love to hear what people have to say and how they feel about the characters or Kim Stone.
"Looking on my website and Facebook pages at the responses brings me so much joy.
"Sometimes I still feel like I have to get up for work in the morning and iron my clothes, but now I can do what I love the most which is writing.
"When I was younger I always had a pen in my hand."
Her advice for other aspiring authors is simple: "I know it's a cliché, but never give up. There's always a chance that your luck will turn – and my rollercoaster ride is testament to that."
Angela's books can be purchased via Amazon and on Kindle now.
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