Happy Anniversary ‘Sugar & Spice’ ~ Life as the front end of the pantomime horse: Twenty four months on

Well, what a ride!

Two years ago today, we clicked  ‘publish‘ on our Amazon KDP account.

200,000 downloads and 175,000 + sales later and here we are!

And those totals are just for Sugar & Spice. I haven’t tallied up the sales for the other books, but it’s fair to say we are within kissing distance of a QUARTER OF A MILLION SALES.

Let me repeat that: 250,000 people have downloaded our books.

That would fill Old Trafford 3.3 times over.

They call OT The Theatre of Dreams.

It is certainly a place where you can live out your fantasies and leave life behind for an hour and a half. I know. I’ve done it many times. What I didn’t ever dare dream about, was that, one day, people would want to read what I had written. That the inner-bowels of my imagination, spilled out onto the page like a gutted pumpkin, would interest anyone.

Twenty four months ago (that is 730 days, 17531.6 hours) Mark Williams and I had a dream.

We dreamt that if the agents daren’t take on our book, that the public might give it a chance. They might read it. Hell, they might even enjoy it!

I just came across some old emails. One of them, was a rejection from our now hard-working agent. She loved the book, but daren’t take it on. Then the ebook revolution started and publishing changed forever. The gatekeepers realised (well, some of them) that they didn’t hold the only key anymore. Hey, newsflash! The readers will decide! Look at Twilight and Fifty Shades. (I’ll just dump this rather heavy case right here shall I?)

Have a look at this:

I made up a name. A name that no-one else had, that would only link to us on the search engines. It is no secret that the name was a combination of my fave character from Ab Fab and the surname of someone I worked with that I rather liked.

I made this cover myself. No-one had ever heard of us.

I spent 3 days working out the HTML coding for formatting the book. I took a tutorial on how to work out KDP. I started a blog. I did interviews for other blogs. I joined a million sites, set up a facebook account, I tweeted, I actually started to think that one person might want to read what I/we had written. Then…

NOTHING HAPPENED.

What??? Are you insane? We have just published a book that was over ten years in the making. Our blood, guts and glory are woven into every word that has spilled out onto that page. What do you mean you don’t want to read it?

Me and this shy, long-haired, latte-guzzling bloke that I met on the net have something to say, you WILL listen! 😉

And listen you did – eventually.

After some meagre and frankly embarrassing sales figures for the first 4-5 months, Sugar & Spice took off and we have never looked back. We hit the number two spot on Amazon UK and I THINK, we were even number one for a brief hour, losing out on the top spot to Gordon Ferris and his Hanging Shed. We were the first indies to ever hit that spot and we stayed in the Top 100 for over three months until Amazon mysteriously ‘lost’ our book for almost four weeks. Who knows how long it might have stayed there? Anyway, despite that minor blip, Sugar & Spice has been in the Top 100 of its category ever since and we still sell 100s of copies a month. It reached number two in the Waterstones chart and is still at number 5 in Police Procedurals on Kobo. It has since been translated and published in France as Paraphilia.

We owe a lot to that book. We owe a lot to each other, Mark and I.

Speaking of my partner in crime (literally), I found this today. This was one of the first email exchanges between Mark and myself after he had reviewed Equilibrium (now called Dark Halo and STILL not finished!) on youwriteon and we began talking. How polite we were to each other back then! 😉

Hi Mark,

Nice to have a bit of information to put to the name!

Many thanks for the link to your blog, I will be reading regularly from now on and will take your advice on writing my own.

I have always been a tad wary of venturing into the social vamp scene as I was unsure of how much of Equilibrium to put ‘out there’ so to speak. I am mindful of the fact that I could end up with people already having read most of it before I actually finish it! But hey, if you say it sits well with agents etc to have a following, then it sounds like a good idea to me.

Personally, I am not a writer of any description. I am a 37 year old H&S Manager and have had no formal training other than a writing course that I bought off the internet some years ago, hence my speedy acceptance of your kind offer to review my work!

I am learning all the time (mostly from YWO) and am trying to apply everything that I am learning to what I have written so far, so I hope you understand when you find a plethora of mistakes later on in the book!

As I explained before, I am well aware of the fact that my writing needs a lot of ‘fine tuning’ but I hope eventually to have something in a publishable state. I have been at this book for so long now (I started it almost 10 years ago! And have not touched it for long periods of time, sometimes years) that I decided this year was the year to blow the dust off and finally finish it and move on to something else hopefully. I didn’t have a great deal of time to write before and only ever spent an hour or so here and there on it, but recently, now that I have finished studying/training for work etc I am spending a lot more time on it and receiving positive reviews on YWO is giving me the impetus I need to move it on to a conclusion (I think I may be able to use the angel angle somewhere there too).

So, please be patient with my writing and please do not hesitate to point out where I go wrong, I will take everything on board as I am just so grateful for your giving up your time to help me.

I intend to read your chapters tonight on YWO and will submit a free will review later too, if it helps!

Can’t wait to hear what you think and if you continue to enjoy it. I have some reservations about the whole Diary of murders (this will make sense as you read on) and I am not sure how else to weave them into the plot, so please feel free to comment on that too.

Hope to hear from you soon and thanks again.

S

—–Original Message—–

From: Mark

To: sjg1973@aol.com

Sent: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 12:58

Subject: Re: Equilibrium

Many thanks, Sarah.

As per previous email, I’ve managed to successfully download Equilibrium, and can’t wait to read it. It makes a welcome change to be reviewing something from choice rather than as an assignment!

A little about myself, to put any commentary in context.

I’m a self-employed tutor / freelance writer with a past record in TV, theatre and journalism and now working on becoming a novelist myself, hence my finding your work on youwriteon.

So a professional writer of sorts, but NOT a novelists’ agent or publisher (I have to jump through the same hoops as you to get that far!).

I’ve just started a new writers’ blog and shall be commending Equilibrium on it. (Obviously as you’ve put your work on youwriteon you’re happy to have it in the public domain.)  Being a new blog (I’ve just moved to this area) it won’t have much of a following initially, but hopefully will soon build up, and increase Equilibrium’s public profile.

If you haven’t got a blog yourself I strongly recommend you do so. They can be enormously useful in promoting your work and yourself, with a literally millions worldwide as your potential audience. I would imagine that linking to writers circles and especially chat-groups centred around vampire-style stories would prove enormously beneficial in the long-term. (Demonstrating an on-line following for your work is a sure-fire way to get an agent’s interest!)

Always bear in mind that publishers and agents receive literally hundreds of submissions every week, which is why it is imperative to have a final product as near perfect as it can be, to get someone to give it a second glance and forward it to the next review stage.

As I think I said in my initial review, the reading public’s interest in this genre is beginning to wane, with angels apparently the up and coming theme, but don’t let that worry you. I think Equilibrium, if say published two years down the line (a realistic timescale given you are only two-thirds through), will be ideally placed to capture the hearts and minds of the mid-teen Twilight readership who will by then be late-teen / early twenty-somethings looking for more mature storylines.

Anyway, I shall not distract you from your writing any longer.

I’ll get back to you as and when I can and let you know my thoughts

Best wishes,

Mark

Well, what a long way we have come since then! We have now published 5 full-length novels, 2 anthologies, 2 (s0on to be 3) kids shorts and 9 novella/shorts (although some under a different name) and we are  hard at our second Rose Red Rhyme and book 3 of the Rose Red series, as well as many other projects. As you saw earlier, Mark isn’t one for working on one thing at once! 😉

So where do we go from here? Well, the honest answer is, we don’t know. Not for sure. We have a million and one projects bubbling along and one day, hey, we might even finish Book One of the Dark Halo series. That’ll be a day to celebrate when that finally hits the virtual shelves. I originally started that one in 1992! But for now, we will just keep doing what we do. Bringing readers reasonably-priced, quality stories, because our readers deserve the best. Let’s face it, without you, we wouldn’t be having this conversation…

Here’s to the next twenty four months and whatever they might bring!

Saffi

Announcement: Print versions of our books now available direct from Amazon

Ever since we started on this crazy journey two years ago (yes, Sugar & Spice is two years old this week!) we have been inundated with requests for our books in paper back version as believe it or not, not everyone has an e-reader! 😉

Well, we listened to your requests and today, I am thrilled to announce that the first of our titles can be ordered, in print, direct from Amazon!

Rose Red 1 – Snow White comes in large (airport-sized) glossy paperback format and can be delivered to your door, anywhere in the world within 48 hours! (Amazon Prime membership ONLY. Normal delivery between 2 & 5 days).

Looks good huh?

A real book direct to your door

Just imagine this on your coffee table!

So there you go! What better stocking-filler or cool addition to your library is there? 😉

Buy Snow White from Amazon UK

Buy Snow White from Amazon.com

Sugar & Spice will be available soon, followed by Rapunzel and Anca’s Story.

Saffina Desforges – Because readers (whatever they read on or with) deserve the best! 😉

Saffina Desforges releases ROSE RED RHYMES : Book One ‘Ring-A-Ring O’Roses’ (a dark crime thriller short perfect for Halloween)

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since the release of our second book in the Rose Red crime thriller series, Rapunzel and we couldn’t be more pleased with the start it has made.

Within a week of its release on Amazon UK, it hit the Top 20 in its category and the top 5o in another.

On Wednesday, it even knocked our own title off the number one spot on Amazon UK in the Crime, Thrillers & Mystery Series category!

We had more sales in two weeks with this book than we had in the first three months of our first book back in November 2010! So, thank you. Thank you to our loyal readers and to the new readers joining us.

*Update as of 26/10/2012 – you wonderful readers have given us a 1-2-3 on the Amazon UK best-seller list!

 

Rapunzel will shortly be available on all other platforms: iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Kobo and many other ebook retail outlets. It will also be available to buy in paperback format direct from Amazon before Christmas, as will all other Saffina Desforges full-length titles. Make sure you come back soon for more information!

We hope to continue to offer you quality books at affordable prices…because our readers deserve the best.

And to celebrate that fact, and with a little nod to my personal favourite time of the year, we are pleased to introduce the first of our new short story crime thriller series Rose Red Rhymes.

Ring-a-ring o’roses is a Rose Red crime thriller series related short story and the perfect way to keep up with Red and her team whilst awaiting the next book in the series!

Here’s the blurb:

From SAFFINA DESFORGES, international best-selling author of Sugar & Spice, Anca’s Story and the Rose Red crime thriller series based on traditional fairy tales (Snow White, Rapunzel), comes ROSE RED RHYMES, a collection of crime thriller short stories featuring the Rose Red cast, based on traditional nursery rhymes.

But be warned. These are not for children!

ROSE RED RHYMES 1:  Ring-A-Ring O’Roses

When a rare family day out for Detective Chief Inspector Cass Red Rose and her barrister partner Philippa Crichton-Ward QC is cut short by a murder on Blackheath, Red’s team are faced with the possibility of gang warfare and race riots among London’s troubled youths unless they can sort things. Fast.

With the Super wanting results yesterday, the pressure is on to find the killer. But DCs Barry Taylor and Jez Harris have other things on their mind. As usual. And when the pathologist examining the victim starts pointing out anomalies it’s clear a simple murder case is about to open up new mysteries.

As if Red didn’t have enough problems, the Huntsman is back in town and meeting with the mysterious Queenie. And the kids want to go trick-or-treating. Even the busiest of detectives have to make time for Halloween!

~

 Look out for more Rose Red Rhymes coming soon!

 The Night Before Christmas will be available for the holidays.

The links:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Amazon. fr

Amazon.de

It will shortly be released on all other platforms.

Have a happy Halloween and make sure you lock those doors! 😉

Look out for the next book in the Rose Red Rhymes series: The Night before Christmas due for release mid-December.

Happy reading! 😉

Saffi

Playing with the boys

Well, what a week Andy Gray and Richard Keys have had over at Sky.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/jan/25/andy-gray-sacked-sky

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/01/27/richard-keys-quits-and-blames-dark-forces-at-sky-for-forcing-him-and-andy-gray-out-115875-22878360/

Allegations of sexism and ‘inappropriate behaviour’ coupled with comments made about a female football official have brought their relationship with Sky to an abrupt end.

In Book One of our new Crime-thriller series, Snow White, the protagonist is DCI Cass White.

Promoted following the untimely murder of her superior, Bill Andrews, by The Huntsman (part of an underground, criminal cartel trying to get their hands on a priceless ruby apple with a huge diamond core and killing everyone who gets in their way in the process), Cass seeks to avenge his death by catching him and locking him up for life. She expects the support and loyalty of her team to help her do this; they have other ideas.

She is a woman in a position of authority in a man’s world and not all of them like it. Hey, Cass, get used to it!

Snow White deals with the obstacles that women face today when working in male dominated professions and follows the prejudice she encounters relating to her personal life too.

Snow White is a work of fiction, but just how real is this problem? How many of you girls out there have suffered similar issues? How many of the men have and would you dare admit it? How many of you are guilty of it?

We all like a laugh and a joke, at work and socially, but with new legislation such as The Equality Act 2010 and people being protected from unfair discrimination relating to disability, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs etc, how far is too far and is it taking away people’s rights to an opinion and our freedom of speech?

  • Buy ROSE RED CRIME THRILLER BOXED SET FROM AMAZON

  • Buy Sugar & Spice from Amazon

  • Buy the French edition of Sugar & Spice (Paraphilia)

  • Buy Snow White from Amazon

  • Buy Snow White in PRINT from Amazon

  • Buy Rapunzel from Amazon

  • Buy London’s Burning from Amazon

  • Buy Ring A-Ring O’Roses from Amazon

  • Buy The Night Before Christmas from Amazon

  • Buy Anca’s Story from Amazon

  • Buy Anca’s Story in PRINT from Amazon

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Buy ‘Awakenings’ – Book ONE of INDIGO KIDS from Amazon

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