Self-publishing star Rachel Abbot signs print book deal but keeps ebook rights

Self-publishing suspense thriller star Rachel Abbott has signed up with traditional publisher Headline for a print book deal on her next two titles but is keeping her self-publishing status by publishing the ebooks herself through Kindle Direct Publishing.

Abbott is reckoned to have sold a total of nearly three million books since 2011 when she published her debut novel, Only The Innocent, which became a smash hit on Kindle.

In 2015, Amazon revealed that Rachel Abbott was the top-selling UK Kindle indie author over the first five years since the company opened its Kindle UK store. Only The Innocent was rejected by several literary agencies before Abbott decided to self-publish.

She had previously owned a technology company before she sold the business and looked set for retiement.

At the time, she said, “Since the day I published my first book to Kindle, my feet haven’t touched the ground. In 2010, I had retired and I thought the future was going to be one of relaxation, except that I wanted to write a book for my own pleasure. One day I decided to publish it to see what might happen, and that decision was life-changing.”

Abbott’s books have been an inspiration in the wave of psychological suspense thrillers, particularly from women authors, over the past few years.

She has now published six further suspense novels which have all become best-sellers:

  • Only the Innocent
  • The Back Road
  • Sleep Tight
  • Stranger Child
  • Nowhere Child (novella)
  • Kill Me Again
  • The Sixth Window

The ebooks have all been self-published in the UK through KDP and are available on Kindle Unlimited while the first two, Only The Innocent and The Back Road, were picked up by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint in the US. The paperback print editions of each book have been produced by Rachel Abbott’s Black Dot Publishing.

Most of the books feature Chief Inspector Tom Douglas but the first book in the Headline deal, And So It Begins, features new character Sergeant Stephanie King and will be released as a print hardback in 2019. However, Abbott says she will be continuing to write books featuring Tom Douglas as well.

The print books will actually come under Headline’s Wildfire imprint which was only set up last year by publishing director Alex Clarke. One of its first fiction titles is the psychological suspense novel Close To You, which is a debut book by Amanda Reynolds published earlier this year.

The Rachel Abbott deal shows the strength and weaknesses of traditional publishing in that it’s a long time to wait for a book to come out but it will open up a massive new market for the author as print distribution is a mainstay of the business for a company like Headline, which is part of the massive Hachette group.

The rise of the indies over first five years of Kindle UK store