• Shanmania in Japan

    21 February 2023

    Although my books have sold in huge numbers around the world (somewhere in the region of 30 million at the last count!!), "Shanmania" (YES! that's a real word!!! OK, it's not, but it SHOULD be!!!) took quite a while to kick in. I didn't really start troubling the charts in the UK until The Saga Of Darren Shan was almost finished, and didn't enjoy a really big hit until Lord Loss. And although Cirque Du Freak hit the New York Times Bestseller chart when the first book came out, it was a bit of a slow burn after that, until word of mouth spread and the later books started selling in the same sort of chat-hitting numbers.


    But in Japan it was an entirely different situation. The first Cirque Du Freak book had a modest enough first print run of 20,000 copies, and it found favour immediately, leading to first print runs of ten times (and more) that number for subsequent books in the series!! And it wasn't long before one of the sequels hit the overall #1 spot on the bestseller chart, outselling every book for adults as well as books for children!! Indeed, in Japan, my core audience was actually 18-30 year old women!!! Children read my books too, but adults latched onto them in massive numbers as well, which was why sales went so crazy so swiftly. Happy times!!!


    The books first came out in hardback, but when they were eventually released in a paperback format, my publishers included a surprise bonus for collectors. The books came with lovely wraparound covers, but if you removed those covers, you found an extra illustration on the book within it -- and if you pieced all twelve of the books togetgher, as a fan has done in this photo, you ended up with a gorgeous massive one-piece picture. That's the kind of ultra-cool bells-and-whistles treatment that really only a bestselling author gets to enjoy! I was so, so lucky to experience all that -- I still sometimes look back on those days and wonder, "Was it really only in fact all a dream????"


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