Remember, remember the fifth of November: Guy Fawkes, fireworks and the day I became two people

Ok, so strictly speaking, it was the SIXTH of November – so sue me!

A year ago this weekend, I was preparing to go to a bonfire party  and celebrate the famous Gun Powder plot and Guido Fawkes‘ failed attempt at  blowing up the Houses of Parliament (as is our strange British tradition) with friends and family, armed with fireworks. Ok, nothing out of the ordinary there eh?

Dead right. Another ordinary Bonfire night weekend.

What I did the next day however, changed my life.

You all know the story, so I won’t bore you with the details, but 12 months ago this weekend, we released ‘Sugar & Spice‘.

It’s fair to say that the first three months of it being live on Amazon were about as exciting as a dud Catherine Wheel, a wet sparkler or a rocket with no fuse (you get the picture , right?), but what happened after that, lit a fire up under our asses!

We went on to hit the #2 spot on the UK Amazon Kindle Paid chart 3 times and spent just under 200 days in the top 100, selling almost 75,000 copies in the space of 5 months. To this day, we’ll never know what would have happened if we hadn’t made the mistake of messing with categories and therefore the unfathomable algorithms of ‘Zon (a nod to Shea there) and if KDP hadn’t stuck our book in the invisible e-wilderness for two days, but hey, we live and learn.

I have done radio and newspaper interviews; locally and nationally, spoken to reporters from Sunday magazines, had photo shoots, worked with the local college, given hundreds of blog interviews, answered questions, written guest posts and spent 99% of my life glued to a computer.

We have created a web-site, six blogs,  three twitter accounts, four Facebook pages and joined hundreds, yes, hundreds of writer/author/readers groups online.

We have re-written ‘Sugar & Spice‘ for the American market, published the first of the Rose Red crime seriesSnow White‘ and are working on the second, ‘Rapunzel‘. We have started a young adult boarding school project called ‘St. Mallory’s Forever’, begun work on the first book in a chick-lit mystery series ‘The ChinaTown Mysteries‘, resurrected the first book of the dark urban fantasy series, ‘Equilibrium: First blood‘ and completed half of that, and have sketched out books 3, 4 and 5 of Rose Red. Oh, and we turned down representation from two of the biggest literary agencies in New York.

When we weren’t doing that or sleeping, we founded a Digital press for the 21st Century to help other authors and writers from across the pond to get their books noticed called MWiDP (markwiliamsinternationaldigitalpublishing). In the first month of it going live, we now have 65 titles live on Amazon from 30 odd authors.

Within the next few weeks before Christmas, we will be launching our new digital bookstore, MWiebooks (more on that soon), releasing the first anthology of short stories under the ‘Saffina Desforges presents…’ banner and publishing the second in the Rose Red series.

2012 will see the launch of many other projects (and books!) but most notably, SDTW2R.

Saffina Desforges teaches the world 2 read is a fabulous concept. Mark will be explaining more about that in the coming months.

So, as you can see, it’s been a busy year.

As is stands today, 12 months after dipping our virginal toes in the shark-infested waters of ‘indie publishing’ we can state this:

  • It’s been hard
  • It isn’t easy
  • You’d be mad to attempt it
  • We need a brain transplant – each
  • Our lives have changed forever
  • We’ve loved every minute of it!
We can also tell you this:
  • Sugar & Spice has sold over 100,000 copies and is STILL in the top 400 books on Amazon UK and #3 in Waterstones and selling thousands a month
  • Snow White has only been out 10 weeks and is also selling thousands (and is currently number 9 in Waterstones)
  • We did it all without an agent
  • We can’t believe any of the above has actually happened!
It’s been the most exciting year of my life (and the greatest and hardest in some respects, personally) and I cannot believe what we have achieved in such a short space of time. Who knows what the next twelve months will bring? One thing is for sure though, life will never be the same again! 😉
Happy Bonfire night/fireworks night/Guy Fawkes night/Friday/Weekend/birthday/Bar mitzvah/anniversary whatever day, stay safe and remember, remember: Guy Fawkes may not have succeeded in his plot, but there were still fireworks!
Light that fuse… 😉
Leave a comment


  1. This is a great story and I am so pleased to hear of your success. I’ve emailed you on a dsaffina email address. So are you going to use a different name for the children’s series? I had this problem and chose to separate the children’s stuff from the thriller stuff. Any thoughts? If you get a chance to respond to the email, that would be great too.

  2. Categories? Is it bad to use categories?

  1. The power of ‘Zon and the case of the missing best-seller: Amazon add ‘career destruct’ option for indie authors « Sapphicscribe's musings over darkness and light
  2. Saffina Desforges presents… « Saffina Desforges

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