So, it’s almost time. Within a week or so, I will be able to hold a copy of my new book in my hands. My book. The book that I wrote. I can’t quite imagine how it will feel. I think I’ll feel excited. I think I’ll feel proud. I think I’ll feel a sense of satisfaction about reaching, not exactly the end, but the culmination of a long journey.
So, why do I want to write about the highs and lows? After all, everyone I’ve spoken to recently has said, ‘Oh you must be so excited,’ or ‘Wow, that’s amazing. What an achievement!’ And there certainly are plenty of highs associated with bringing a book out. Yet, on the other side of the coin, there are plenty of lows and I’m aware that I am going to have to try my best to manage them.
I think one of the first highs had to be that moment (which I wrote about in a previous blog) when Matador, the publisher, agreed to publish my book. That felt like the first hurdle had been overcome. I began to imagine how it might feel to be a published author and, honestly, I had very little sense of the emotions I would experience. It all felt too far off. And then I was too busy to think about it! When I first began writing seriously, with a view to becoming an author, I’m not sure I believed it would ever happen. So, now, at this stage, I can look back and feel really proud that I made it.
During the spring and summer, various tasks which have contributed to the making of a book have been completed and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Therefore, next time, I’ll have much more information about what to expect. And one of the things I’ll expect is the sense of despondency that stems from wondering if I’m doing the right thing, from wondering if I’ll manage to sell my books and from wondering if I have a cohesive enough product that others will believe in as much as I do.
As the summer began to merge into autumn, I had that wonderful moment when Jill Calder, the illustrator, sent me her final cover design. It wasn’t a surprise, of course, because she’d consulted me and adapted the various elements according to my preferences, but it was still essentially her interpretation of the detail I’d given her about the story. And I felt it was perfect. I knew I’d be pleased and proud to present my book with a design which sang from the cover, with characters which represented those in the story so fully, I felt even I knew those characters better than I had before. Bravo Jill!
It seemed as if the book was reaching fruition and the excitement was mounting. Soon, I’d be able to hand Jill her complementary copies. My thoughts turned to stepping up the marketing and promotion. How would I do this? I’m not a salesperson. I don’t possess the sort of charm that brilliant salespeople use to persuade people to buy. I began using social media a little more, though tentatively. I didn’t want to seem pushy. Was I using the right words? Or was I putting people off? I continued writing my blog, attempting a once weekly (ish) post and asking for feedback. Paranoia began to set in when I wondered if the limited responses reflected writing which people simply didn’t want to read.
At the end of last week, another thrilling moment came when I received the proofs of my E-Book. Soon, my book would be available to buy for use in digital format. It was also another of those, wow, this is really happening moments. Nevertheless, the reactive low followed the high. What if the E-Book flops? Moreover, what if the paperback doesn’t sell? What if no one likes it?
When I have the paperbacks, I’ll be able to begin exchanging them for real money. I’ll look forward to receiving positive comments of the cover and the overall look of the book. I’ll ask for feedback on the story. Did you enjoy it? Did you feel engaged with the main character? Would you be so kind as to post a review for me?
After Christmas, the publisher will be doing some PR work, including sending off copies for review. How will that go and how will I handle unfavourable reviews? Should I just not look?!
Overall, how will the entire process affect me? I have certainly had a moderate amount of sleep disruption already. I’m sure you’re familiar with that annoying little habit the human brain has of, bang in the middle of a deep sleep, deciding that 1am is exactly the right time to send out a startling reminder that you have completely lost your mind, you are a complete and utter fool and what on earth were you thinking of?
I am tentatively looking forward to taking my book to places where literary people hang out, such as libraries and beautiful bookshops, and to telling those very people about my story and offering to sign a copy for them if only they’ll think about handing over their hard-earned cash. (Okay, so I might end up giving copies away for free and sneaking them into public places just so that people will pick them up and read them!) I know it is going to be, at times, rewarding and, at times, wearing, but will I cope with the slog of promotion and the tedium of talking about my experience, my book and my writing journey? Surely people won’t want to hear about any of that! Will they?
Who knows, but in the meantime. . . forgive me if I am being delusional, I have a wonderful new book coming out. It’s called Oranges and Lemons, just in case you didn’t already know! It's available to buy, direct from www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/
I hope you enjoy it!