A letter to Independent Booksellers from Costa Award Winner Nathan Filer

February 11, 2014


Dear Bookseller,

Nathan Filer, Shock of the Fall, Costa, Costa Book Awards, HarperCollins Independent Thinking, Independent Thinking, Independent bookshops, Independent booksellers, Letter to IndependentsI’m so happy to have this chance to write to you and to share a few thoughts about The Shock of the Fall, and its journey into your hands.

I know that my novel is one of hundreds of titles that arrive with you, all boxed up and looking for shelf space. In the past year I’ve come to learn something obvious: selling books is a business. There is a product and profit margins and marketing strategies and a whole lot of other stuff that I know precious little about, that you will be expert in. It is a business, and yet I believe there is something uniquely special about the business of books.

Twelve years ago I was training to be a mental health nurse when the beginnings of a story came to me. Though even that seems to overstate it. What came to me were a few opening words (long since discarded) and a vague sense of a character who might have uttered them. I called this character Matthew Homes: Matthew because this was the name my parents nearly gave me, before a last second swerve to Nathan, and Homes because I was reading the author A.M. Homes at the time. Over the next ten years I would grow to know Matthew Homes as well as I have ever known anyone; we were reticent at first, a bit on and off, but eight years in, I was spending my every waking thought with him – I knew his hopes and fears and failures. I knew the strengths in him that he couldn’t see. I knew his family and friends.

Then he arrived with you, all boxed up.

Writing my novel was the biggest journey I have ever made, and it’s now the greatest pleasure to walk into a bookshop and to see it on a shelf. Not in isolation, but beside so many other works, each with the potential to amaze and confound, to transform or frustrate or bore. Selling books is uniquely special because books are uniquely special.

I am hugely grateful for your support in bringing The Shock of the Fall to readers. Thank you for giving Matthew his space on the shelf.

With all best wishes,
Nathan Filer

Shock of the Fall, Nathan Filer, Costa Book Awards, Independent Thinking, HarperCollins Independent Thinking, Independent Bookshops, Independent booksellers

The Shock of The Fall

Nathan Filer


Out Now

£7.99, PB

The Borough Press

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