New York Times  Bestselling Author

Do UK Readers Love the Amish Country?

First things first: I sent The Good Father to my editor and agent last night. Yeah! There’s no better feeling than typing The End. Now I wait for the revision letter and get ready for NEXT WEEK’S publication of The Midwife’s Confession! Wow, that crept up on me fast. I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. Remember, you can read an excerpt on my website. And of course you can also preorder it! Judging from the early reviews, I am 99.9 percent sure you’re going to love it. I’ll be doing another online booksigning as I did for The Lies We Told last year, (because I’ve almost forgotten how absolutely insane it made me to sign all those bookplates! Worth every twinge of the writer’s cramp, though…)

Now what do I mean by my subject heading? The last couple of years, my books have been warmly welcomed by readers in the United Kingdom and it’s been so much fun for me to reach a new audience and to hear from those readers by email and on Facebook. But, as you may know, I’ve e-published my older books myself–those books that are no longer available in print. Since I am in control of those books, I get to see a daily report of how they’re selling (unlike the sales of the e-books published through my publisher, which are only reported to me twice a year). Kindle sales reports are broken down into US sales and UK sales, and I’m finding the different tastes between the two markets fascinating. . . even if I can’t say I understand it. Here’s what I mean:

In the US, Secret Lives is by far the most popular of my five available titles. The Escape Artist is second, followed by Brass Ring, Fire and Rain and last, Reflection. The fact that Secret Lives is first doesn’t surprise me. It was the first book I published as an e-book, so it’s had the longest word-of-mouth promotion. And–forgive my immodesty here–it’s a really good story.

In the UK, however, Reflection, is by far the number one seller (and I have to tell you, my UK readers are going to town with their Kindles!). Secret Lives is second, with the other three books neck and neck for 3rd, 4th and 5th place.  I would love to understand the dynamic here. Why would a relatively quiet book set in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country be such a big seller in the United Kingdom? Don’t get me wrong–I’m delighted! But I’m also curious.

Putting my old books up as e-books has been such a treat, and I’m not just talking about the extra income. I’ve gained so many new readers through these books and have heard from long-time Chamberlain readers who’ve been trying to track them down unsuccessfully for years. I’m going to experiment sometime in the next few months with making Secret Lives available again in print, as soon as I have the time to learn how to do so through CreateSpace. I’ve heard from many of you who want to read the older books but still love your hard copies, so I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, what’s your best guess as to the UK vs US popularity of Secret Lives and Reflection?

11 Comments

  1. Margo on April 20, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Congratulations Diane! So happy for you that you’ve finished THE GOOD FATHER.
    Time for you to get ready for R & R at the beach!
    I can only imagine that maybe the UK is fascinated with reading about a completely different locale…the PA Dutch Country is a very different setting for them…I also think the title REFLECTION draws them in…and of course, ‘word of mouth’…such a unique storyline.
    The novel SECRET LIVES fascinates more in the U.S. because of it’s very unusual locale…mainly the ‘cave’…
    Diane, even tho you’ve finished THE GOOD FATHER and are waiting for any revisions that are needed, doesn’t it seem strange when you’ve finished and there’s nothing else in the works?…does it make you feel restful or antsy to get started on another?…I hope its a feeling of relief and all you want to do is relax. (-O:

  2. Diane Chamberlain on April 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Margo, I had to laugh over “nothing else in the works.” Here’s what I have to do right now, in addition to mucking out my office:
    -read Kiss River to see if I have to change anything before it’s reissued
    -read the scans of Private Relations and Lovers and Strangers to prep them for becoming e-books (this goes on the back burner, I’m afraid. too much else to do)
    -in addition to keeping up with my own blog and FB, write guest blogs and promotional materials for The Midwife’s release on TUESDAY!
    -get ready for my North Carolina tour
    -think of an idea for the next book and start working on the proposal–ACK!
    -create an international page for my website
    and a few other odds and ends! We go to the beach next week, but I’ll be dragging all my work with me. Not complaining–I love watching the dolphins as I write!

  3. Margo on April 21, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I should have known better, Diane! LOL! Of course you have more ‘in the works’!!
    I’m the same way when I complete a painting…there’s another idea in the back of my mind just itching to get down on paper.
    Is it too early to ask…do you really have an idea for another book?…I don’t know how you do it…the current WIP, revisions, blogs and facebook, book signings…and to think about another book…I would think it would get a little confusing working with your current WIP, and thinking of new characters for an entirely new book.

  4. Joann on April 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I have read all of your books. Some I like more than others. But “The Midwife’s Confession” is hands down the best book you have ever written! I’m not just blowing smoke at you. It is so tightly written, so clear, so full of wonderful characters and the ending blew me away. I had no inkling. Maybe I’m not as bright as some of your other readers but I always choose not to try and figure something out. I prefer to let the story wash over me with movies too. And boy did it take me for a ride. I love the way you ended this book. I’ll be waiting for the next one 🙂

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Thank you, Joann. I know you’re a “discerning reader” so that really means a lot to me!

  5. Emma on April 22, 2011 at 12:14 am

    I’m from the UK and although I can’t answer your question as to why Reflection is more popular than Secret Lives here, I can tell you that after discovering and downloading The Lost Daughter (kindles are probably the best invention ever), I will be reading every other book you’ve written! This book took me back to my naive and innocent teenage years – I did some stupid things for love back then too so I could relate to Ceecee!

    Please don’t ever stop writing 🙂

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      Emma, thanks for letting me know you enjoyed The Lost Daughter! Soon, I hope to have a page on my website for UK and AU readers to help you all know when books will be published (and if they have different titles. ugh).

  6. Margo on April 22, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Joann, where did you find a copy of MIDWIFE’S CONFESSION?…our stores will not have it till next Tues…you are so lucky to have it already!…I can hardly wait for it!

  7. Diane Chamberlain on April 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Margo, she had an Advance Reading Copy. You remind me next year and I’ll be sure you get one too!

  8. Emma on April 23, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Hi Diane, like the other Emma from the UK in this thread (strange but pure coincidence), I discovered your books after downloading The Lost Daughter onto my Kindle and was hooked by the 1st chapter. I just this morning finished Secret Lives which has touched me immensely, hence the googling of you and Shenandoah Valley just to see if it existed! 🙂 I felt like i was actually in Lynch Hollow! Like you, I have been an avid reader since i was very young and have read many great stories, and yours are topping my best-read list. I am excited to find an author that has written such amazing, real, emotional stories and is still doing so. You can tell that you truly love what you do. Have you ever been approached to turn one of your books into a film i wonder? (not that they should its just that as an avid film, as well as book, fan i can alomost visualise some of the stories on screen)
    Keep ’em coming, us Brits love them! Ok enough gushing now, its not in our nature 🙂 I’m off to download Reflection and many more. All the best. Emma, London, UK

  9. Diane Chamberlain on April 23, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Welcome, second Emma! I love your comment, because Secret Lives touched ME deeply, so it’s nice to know others react the same way. Of course by now you know there is a Shenandoah Valley and there are caverns there that inspired the story (Luray Caverns), but there is no Lynch Hollow.

    Some of my books have come close to being optioned for film, but none has ever gone all the way. I wish!

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