Mark Edwards is the author of psychological thrillers, each of which concerns ordinary people who encounter terrifying events, and police procedurals with Louise Voss. Edwards lives in Wolverhampton, England.
Mark Edwards has, on occasion, compared his career to a rollercoaster: a ride with a long, slow, uneventful build up, followed by a dizzying and frankly scary series of plummets, ascents and loop-the-loops.
Mark spent his twenties writing novels and submitting the first three chapters of each one to agents and publishers. If he hadn’t attracted a few nibbles from interested agents he might have given up. But after writing three novels he finally signed with an agent, and looked forward to the book deal he had always dreamt of.
It didn’t happen. His agent couldn’t sell that novel, or the next one, or even the one after that. Then, in 1999, the BBC decided to make a documentary about aspiring writers, thinking it would make good TV. He still didn’t get a book deal, but received an email from another aspiring writer called Louise Voss who was in the same situation.
Louise and Mark became email buddies; they didn’t meet until two years later. In 2002, on a night out, they came up with the idea for a co-written novel: a thriller written from the points of view of a stalker and his victim. Mark was convinced they would find a publisher, especially as the book was optioned by the BBC before they’d finished it. But it didn’t happen. They all said that it wasn’t quite enough of a thriller or enough of a black comedy. It is a novel that’s hard to categorise. And then the TV option led nowhere.
A few years later, Mark and Louise decided to have another go and wrote a more straightforward thriller called Catch Your Death. Again, they met with rejection and were back at square one. No agent. No deal.
So, in 2006, Mark gave up, with nothing to show for all the hours in front of a screen except a pile of yellowing manuscripts.
This is the point where the rollercoaster trundles up to the first ascent. In 2010, Mark was given a Kindle. Around the same time, he read about some writers in America who were having success self-publishing. Some of them had even gone on to get traditional book deals. Louise wasn’t immediately keen on the idea, but Mark persuaded her and they self-published Killing Cupid in February 2011.
As Louise predicted, on day one they sold two copies: one to Mark’s boss, another to his mother-in-law. But he spent the next few months working like a man possessed, doing everything he could think of to promote it while readying Catch Your Death for publication.
Within a few months, Killing Cupid was selling respectably. They released Catch Your Death, and suddenly, the rollercoaster shot into action. Sales of both Killing Cupid and Catch Your Death took off.
Soon after, Mark and Louise signed with an agent and inked a four-book deal with HarperCollins, who planned to release Catch Your Death in paperback, but without a marketing budget. Despite its—and subsequent books’—presence in some stores, sales were disappointing.
So Mark decided to self-publish a solo book he had written years earlier, The Magpies. Following its tremendous success, Thomas & Mercer, Amazon’s crime fiction publishing company, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Because She Loves Me, his first book with Thomas & Mercer, was also a bestseller. T&M are also now publishing Mark’s books with Louise, and he is finally a full-time writer.
Today Mark is doing what he loves, writing books, reaching lots of readers and making a living. He says: “I’ve had some luck along the way but believe that if you have the talent and determination, it’s possible to be successful. I wish my ride had been smoother, less like a fairground ride, but then it wouldn’t have been half as much fun, would it?”