2014: A Year in Writing

Posted: December 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

As 2014 grinds to a halt, I’ve been assessing my year in terms of writing successes and goals. Understandably, given the birth of my son, my house move etc etc I haven’t actually written as much fiction as I’d have liked to. Hell, I’ve barely even read a fiction book (let alone reviewed one, as I used to on a weekly basis). But I have managed to keep my hand in with some sportswriting and a few short stories (you can check out my short story publications here).

I have started – but failed to finish (yet!!!) – about three more novels. One of which is – ironically – named ‘The Land of Half-Finished Things’. So if I have one ambition for 2015, it’s to stop procrastinating. Stop wasting time stopping and starting, and getting seduced by the newest idea… And just FINISH what I’m working on…

In terms of my fiction, I’m most happy with the publications of my novellas Hangingstone, Nu-Gen, and by the short stories ‘Deep Clean‘, ‘What you don’t understand about a PPI Holiday is this...’, and ‘I’d rather twist…‘ (some of which were actually written in 2014!)

My major goals in terms of writing were to continue with my trilogy of Manchester United books – which has now happened, given the recent release of Louis van Gaal: Dutch Courage, and summer’s publication of The Pride of all Europe: Manchester United’s Greatest Seasons in the European Cupand to see two of my classic novels – When Elephants Walk Through the Gorbals, and Perfect World released as paperbacks (they were already out as ebooks). And I’ve managed to put a big tick next to all of that.

But in going through my successes and failures, I’ve also been looking through my sales figures. This year I’ve put quite a lot of work into marketing my books and I’m trying to become Social Media savvy… Some books, I’m afraid, I’ve marketed more than others. And therefore I’m unsurprised at how well they’ve sold (and of course, sports books tend to sell easier, and in higher volume than fiction, I find). But some books – again I’m afraid – entered the world and were immediately left to fend for themselves. As usual, I was racing on with the next bright idea and didn’t have the time to look back on old stuff… So I’d like to give a special mention to my novel When Elephants walk through the Gorbals, which, under the radar, has managed to become almost my best-selling title of the year. The Pride of all Europe just pipped it to the post, but it was a close run thing.

Neither sold as well as Fergie’s Finest, of course. That was my best-selling title of 2013, but serendipity had a lot to do with that – the week I delivered my completed manuscript to the publishers, the great man announced his retirement… Meaning hasty revisions but also a timely release which managed to surf the wave of celebrations/ sadness when Fergie hung up his hairdryer. The long tail of Fergie’s retirement continues to help that book to sell well. And interest in Louis van Gaal, whose United side are now really picking up the pace after 6 wins on the trot, means Louis van Gaal: Dutch Courage is already doing well, but its a little too late for that title to trouble my two overwhelming winners in terms of sales for 2014.

Next year? Watch out for an all-new novel… I definitely have one in me!

Here’s the top sellers chart:

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