BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Friday, September 20, 2013

Don't Despair, A Guest Post by Steve McHugh

Steve McHugh is another author from the Online Writers Group at Kelley Armstrong's message board. He wrote and self-published two UF mystery books, part of his Hellquin Chronicles series, and I had the pleasure of proofreading the second one, "Born of Hatred". Then, something happened - Steve received an offer from 47North, one of Amazon's publishing divisions. He signed with them and the books have been edited again and have been re-released. As part of his celebration, he's doing a blog tour and is here today with a guest post.

Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the results of which is now available to purchase.

He was born in a small village called Mexbrough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Find Steve Online:



I published my first book, Crimes Against Magic on 30th April 2012. I sold 28 copies worldwide.

To say I was over the moon was an understatement. 28 whole copies in a day was bigger than I’d ever dreamed. The following day I sold about 12 copies and while I was a bit disheartened, I knew that there was always going to be a drop. In May 2012, I sold 100 copies of Crimes Against Magic worldwide.

To be honest, by that point I’d hoped to have sold a lot more, I’d been doing blog posts all May and promoting the hell out of the books. It had good reviews and for the most part people who read it seemed to like it. But I figured 100 copies is better than 0 copies, so I continued working on book 2 in the hope that when it was published people would see that I wasn’t just going to put out 1 book and run away.

In June I sold something like 400 copies worldwide, most of those in the latter 2 weeks of the month. That was better. I figured my hard work was doing well; I was in the top 100 for various genres and felt renewed energy for this whole writing gig. It was never going to be enough to live on, but damn it I was happy.

Then something weird happened. It kept selling. In July I sold nearly 2000 books and Aug was the same, by September I’d dropped back to about 1200, but reviews started coming in and people appeared to be genuinely engaged with the story and characters. I was getting paid to write on a regular basis. That right there was all I ever wanted.

I published my second book, Born of Hatred on 14th December 2012 and sold 11000 copies of both books in 2 months.  Between April 2012 and Feb 2013, I sold 22,000 books.

Now, I’m not telling you all this to brag, I’m not really a very braggy person. I’m telling you this because self-publishing is a way to do well in writing. If you have a story that you’ve been trying to get an agent or publisher of, there are precisely zero reasons not to get it published yourself.

Now I know some of you will be thinking, “but if I self-publish I won’t get any publishers coming after me.” And while yeah, some people will label you a self-published writer, in the same way they say dog poo, or you’ll use the word indie and they’ll roll their eyes. These people are to be ignored.

In Feb this year 47North contacted me and offered me a 3 book deal. Re-publishing the first 2 books in my Urban Fantasy Series, Hellequin Chronicles (Crimes Against Magic and Born of Hatred), in Sept this year and then publishing book 3, With Silent Screams in Feb 2014. So, just because you self-publish that doesn’t mean you can’t also traditionally publish or that no publisher will come after you. In fact if you show that you’re professional; that includes getting a good cover and good editing, and if that equals sales, they’re more likely to be interested. You’re already a proven commodity after all.

So, if you’ve just published yourself and it’s not going anywhere, take heart that if your book is good and professional and you’re working hard, you can still turn that around. And if you’ve got a book that you won’t self-published because of stigma or because you’ve got your heart set on always being traditionally published, maybe it’s time to think if you’d be better off making money than it sitting on a USB stick while you get rejection letters. 


The Books - Click on the covers to go to the Amazon book page.

Blurb from Amazon ~

September 17, 2013
Book 1 in the Hellequin Chronicles.

How do you keep the people you care about safe from enemies you can’t remember?

Ten years ago, Nate Garrett awoke on a cold warehouse floor with no memory of his past—a gun, a sword, and a piece of paper with his name on it the only clues to his identity. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his magical abilities to become a successful thief for hire.
But those who stole his memories aren’t done with him yet: when they cause a job to go bad and threaten a sixteen-year-old girl, Nate swears to protect her. With his enemies closing in and everyone he cares about now a target for their wrath, he must choose between the comfortable life he’s built for himself and his elusive past.

As the barrier holding his memories captive begins to crumble, Nate moves between modern-day London and fifteenth-century France, forced to confront his forgotten life in the hope of stopping an enemy he can’t remember.

Blurb from Amazon ~

September 17, 2013

There are some things even a centuries-old sorcerer hesitates to challenge…

When Nathan Garret’s friend seeks his help investigating a bloody serial killer, the pattern of horrific crimes leads to a creature of pure malevolence, born of hatred and dark magic. Even with all his powers, Nate fears he may be overmatched. But when evil targets those he cares about and he is confronted by dire threats both old and new, Nate must reveal a secret from his recently remembered past to remind his enemies why they should fear him once more.

Born of Hatred, set in modern London with historical flashbacks to America’s Old West, continues the dark urban fantasy of Crimes Against Magic, the acclaimed first book in the gritty and action-packed Hellequin Chronicles.


  1. Thanks for sharing your story and I have added these titles to my wishlist!

  2. Interesting guest post and those books look good. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. The books are very interesting, although I've got to say I'm hugely biased about this fact. :-)

  3. Great post Steve and thanks for posting it Bea. There's a couple of self pubbed authors that have been picked up by Orbit recently.

    I think that the way its going now, and with people watching thier money these days, that publishers are looking more for a record behind the people before signing. So it might be an industrial change coming soon.

    1. I think more and more people will get picked up this way. It's a quick and easy way for publishers to gauge whether someone is professional and capable of sales.

  4. Great post! It's always good to see when someone has success, especially when it's someone you know :) and it's really interesting to see how the sales figures changed and increased.

    1. Yeah, sales are a weird thing. They increased several weeks after I finished promo stuff. I think things can take a while to filter through. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  5. Thanks, Bea for allowing me to borrow your blog for the day. And thanks to everyone who took the time to read and/or comment on it.


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