A NOVELIST who left his job as a primary school teacher to make it as an author is celebrating selling 500 copies of his first book.

Ian Hornett, who spent ten years at Gosbecks Primary School before becoming a supply teacher, released Quarton; The Bridge last year.

Through Amazon and independent shops Red Lion Books and Wivenhoe Bookshop, Mr Hornett has just hit 500 paperback and e-book sales.

Mr Hornett, who lives in Mile End, has had to be creative and step outside his comfort zone to achieve the milestone.

As well as social media promotion, he dropped copies of his book on trains bound for different parts of the country in a special Great Train Giveaway, visits schools to talk about his exploits as an author and has set up his own blog to detail his experiences.

Mr Hornett said: "Not everything I’ve tried has worked in terms of promotion.

"Like all businesses which have a product, the marketing side has to be learnt. It’s not my forte.

"Examples of things that have not worked are doing leaflet drops, giving out pieces of paper with ‘buy my book’ to commuters and putting up posters on my front garden fence offering book signings if people knock on more door to buy my book. Still, you live and learn."

Overall the experience has been extremely positive for Mr Hornett and he says he is "very proud" of what he's achieved so far.

He said: "I get a real buzz out of talking about reading and writing and it’s a privilege to have the chance to inspire future writers. There is a lot of creative talent out there.

"I’ve also been delighted to say that some of the schools have incorporated my book Quarton: The Bridge into their lessons.

"It’s surreal as a teacher to see lesson plans with vocabulary, phrases and events referencing my book."

He has already started work on edition the sequel to Quarton, called Quarton: The Coding, and has several other lighter hearted projects in the pipeline.

Mr Hornett said: "It’s a very tough market out there, thousands and thousands of authors all trying to do the same as me.

"But I won’t give up. I’m having too much fun."

Quarton: The Bridge is available at Amazon, Red Lion Books and Wivenhoe Bookshop now.

Visit ianhornett.com.