Leigh Russell, author of the Geraldine Steel crime fiction series, completed a successful tour of the North this weekend. Promoting her latest novel Death Bed, Russell’s tour covered many key areas of Northern England, taking in Manchester, Liverpool, Preston, Wakefield, Warrington, York, Harrogate and Leeds.

Published in May 2012, Death Bed has already sold nearly 10,000 copies, adding to Russell’s success as an exceptional voice in the psychological thriller genre. The book takes protagonist Geraldine Steel to London, on the hunt for a killer known as ‘The Dentist’ with a penchant for removing victims’ teeth, and topically tackles police attitudes towards racism. Leigh is well known in the police force for her extensive and in-depth research methods, taking her everywhere from inspecting corpses with forensic investigators, to giving workshops on Crime fiction to prisoners.

Russell’s tour focused around a series of signings at major Waterstones branches, where she signed 400 books for eager crime fiction enthusiasts over the week. She was interviewed for BBC Radio Manchester and the Manchester Evening News, and following this success, plans to tour Wales later this year are in the pipeline. Russell’s hands on attitude with fans has garnered a huge and loyal following, with more than 100 signings under her belt over the last year demonstrating that authors increasingly need to engage directly with consumers and develop good relationships with Bookshops to build their profile. Her first three novels, Cut Short, Road Closed and Dead End have sold over 30,000 copies, with sales remaining consistent long after publication due to interest generated by Russell’s numerous signings.

"I’m passionate about supporting bookshops, and I also really enjoy meeting readers," Says Russell, "So spending a few hours in a bookshop is a perfect way for me to spend time. The North Tour was typical of my events, giving each store a significant boost in sales during my visit. But the benefits go beyond what happens on the day. Not only do these events generate sales at the time, but the opportunity to meet a favourite author offers customers an experience they can’t enjoy online. This helps to create a buzz about bookshops, causing increasing numbers of readers to feel excited about the physical stores. Events persuade existing customers to return, and attract new customers into the stores. Fans who have discovered my books online and come into a bookshop to meet me, usually buy a book to have it signed in the store. Of course it’s equally a thrill for me to meet fans of my books, so everyone wins. I’m delighted that all the many stores I have signed in so far have invited me to return, and hope to visit them all again when I can."

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