Publishing a novel - Charles Harris at the launch of The Breaking of Liam Glass at West End Lane Books
At the launch of The Breaking of Liam Glass


It’s not often that a writer gets to blow his own trumpet, but it’s the second anniversary of the publication of The Breaking of Liam Glass and much to celebrate and be grateful for.

My debut satirical novel came out at the end of June 2017 after a tortuous gestation.

I started writing it in 2010 – a topical novel about fake news, knife crime and political chaos.

People told me, in no uncertain terms, that I was making a mistake in writing a topical novel. One agent said, “In seven years time, no-one will be talking about fake news…”

The joys of publishing a novel

In 2013, when the manuscript was finished, three publishers fought a mini-bidding-war over it. But the publisher who won turned out to live in a fantasy world, which sadly didn’t involve getting round to actually publishing the novel.

After another three years, I managed to get the rights back. Still bruised from the experience, I was planning to self-publish in 2017 when Mark Turner of Marble City asked to read it.

He got back to me within days, saying it was the best manuscript he’d read for eighteen months.

The joys of really publishing a novel

When The Breaking of Liam Glass finally came out in June of that year, it shot straight to #1 on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” for satire and has since been in and out of Amazon’s best-seller lists in the US and the UK.

Liam has also been twice short-listed for literary prizes – The Wishing Shelf Book Award for fiction and The Eyelands International Book Awards.

Few novels manage to both sell well and get award-nominated.

Reviews have also been excellent from the start – almost all four and five stars on and (averaging 4.3 and 4.6 respectively).

Hot potatoes

Though the newspapers have been less sure. A few have picked it up and said very nice things. But (despite in some cases saying they were keen to cover it) the rest suddenly dropped it like a hot potato.

Maybe I was naive. After all, the novel is not very nice about certain kinds of journalists. I expected criticism. But I’ve never had that kind of censorship before and it has been startling.

But luckily enough readers have found the book nevertheless.

And here we are, two years later. The book is still selling. I feel like a proud and slightly anxious father, watching his offspring make his way in the world. Liam has grown up. And there is not much more I can do for him.

Aside from writing the next ones.

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The Breaking of Liam Glass

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Researching Liam Glass – Into the Mirror and Beyond…