Local writer sells 10,000 copies

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A Stonehaven writer has sold 10,000 copies of his debut science fiction novel Convergent Space.

Convergent Space by John-Paul Cleary hit number 1 in the Space Opera and High Tech Bestseller Lists on Amazon UK and consistently featured in the top five for more than six months. Worldwide sales reached 10,000 in November 2012 and are still going strong.

The book was sold online without using a publisher, initially through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing which helps up and coming writers independently publish their books to a global audience.

John-Paul explains why he went down the independent route, he said: “At first I tried to get Convergent Space published the traditional way. I live a long way from the South East of England where most literary agents are based but I tried to find one to represent me. I sent my book to seven or eight of them and although I received some positive feedback none of them were willing to represent me.

“I just didn’t see how this was going to work. I didn’t think I’d ever get Convergent Space published.

“Then someone told me you can sell ebooks on Amazon without a publisher. Suddenly that wall of agents and publishers separating me from potential readers of my book was broken down. I converted Convergent Space into an ebook, followed the instructions and published it online. I sold a few copies to family and friends then sales really took off. At one point it was selling between 40 and 50 copies a day.”

With the growing popularity of e-readers like Kindle and Kobo, John-Paul believes independent publishing will play a big part in the future. He said: “There are a lot of good writers out there, all with something unique and interesting to say. It’s the agents and publishers that were in short supply. The Internet opens everything up, breaks down all these traditional barriers. Anything is possible. Anyone can publish their book.”

He explains, that despite the online success of the book, he isn’t tempted to sign up with a publisher anytime soon. He said: “I don’t think I would (sign with a publisher). Not right now. One publisher already expressed interest in my work but I didn’t follow it up. Thanks to the rise of independent publishing the tables are turned a little. I’m happy to do it on my own while I can.”

“The only drawback is you can’t get a copy on paper so I don’t get to sign any autographs.”

Convergent Space takes an original slant on the space opera genre where Earth is a faded power in a violent galaxy, blamed for an event that brought disaster to thousands of worlds. John-Paul said: “I wanted to do something different with the space opera genre. Usually Earth either doesn’t feature in this kind of book or plays a central heroic role. The universe I created in Convergent Space isn’t like that. Earth used to be at the centre of galactic politics but now it has fallen from grace and is a bit of an outcast, desperate to regain former glories.”

“The book is all about two plots. The first follows one of Earth’s army of space-faring investigators who’s trying to unravel the story of what happened 200 years ago when Earth got itself into this mess. The other follows the progress of an evil force intent on the cleansing the galaxy.”

“Of course these two plots start to tie in with each other. It’s a very dramatic finale.’

Convergent Space is available on Amazon priced at £1.99 and is also being released on other electronic outlets.

John-Paul Cleary’s second book, a science fiction novella called Eleven Town was released last month priced at £1.53 and is also available online.