Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The Eve of Publication


Tomorrow is the day. My début novel will be released and I will finally be able to prove to the world that I am not an unemployable waster.

Well, actually, I am, but at least I managed to write a book at the same time.

Publication day has long been a date to focus on; a distant point up to which I can maintain the excitement of Being A Writer without reality kicking in. After tomorrow, will the excitement falter in the face of smirky questions about how many copies I've sold? (Erm... I'm not sure ... I, erm... haven't had any sales figures yet.) Will my Amazon ranking obsession intensify as it plummets into the millions? (Millions? That's an idea - maybe I could tell people it means the number of sales!)

As Becky said when her book came out last month, publication day is no huge explosion. Because, well, what can possibly happen? Crowds of paparazzi at the door? Broadsheets festooned with glowing reviews? Bouquets arriving from secret admirers?

The launch of a book is not so much a sudden event as a process. Like... er... death. Thinking about it, that might not be the ideal comparison, so let's move on... Instead of a fixed date with people queueing up at midnight outside bookshops, the average publication trickles gradually into the world. My book already exists – not just in the sense that it wormed into my imagination ten years ago, or that it took up thousands of hours of writing, re-writing, editing and honing – I mean that now it exists in a physical, aesthetically pleasing form. My author copies are just across the room from me as I type.

When other writers receive their author copies, they stroke them, kiss them, put them under the pillow, even compare the experience to holding their baby for the first time. I don't feel like that at all. I took a quick look at my books and thought “phew, they look great,” then I went about other things. My feelings have constituted quiet satisfaction rather than raucous celebration.

But that quiet satisfaction has been a boost to my confidence. My book looks beautiful, and at last I feel I can really be proud of it.

It looks like a normal book by a proper author. It's no longer a figment of my imagination, but a product. A lump of paper to be sold for cold hard cash. Perhaps for some writers that would be a depressing thought, but for me it's liberating. I can now talk about it at a distance – it's a tangible article that I can promote without feeling self-indulgent, because other people have put such a huge amount of care into editing it, designing it and above all believing in it.

Now it's over to the readers, and whether or not they like it almost feels like none of my business. I'm glad to let my book go and make its own way in the world.
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19 comments:

Anne Brooke said...

Now ordered from Amazon, my dear - so hopefully that'll galvanise them into admitting they have it in stock!

:))

Axxx

murtts said...

Caroline,

congratulations! I will try to read your book inspite my pretty pore english.

Murat

Jane Smith said...

Caroline, congratulations on the publication of your novel: I am impressed by your calm approach, and hope the book sells incredibly well for you.

I've just read your publisher's "Submissions" page and am not sure whether they're being very brave here, or bitter and twisted: no matter which one it is, though, I felt a surge of regret and admiration reading it and hope that their passion translates into strong action for the books they hold the rights to. I'd put money on that being the case!

Meanwhile, you (and your friends here) might like to have a look at my "Trios" series over at How Publishing Really Works, and consider taking part: I'd love to have the chance to support your books and this blog. Here's a link:

http://howpublishingreallyworks.blogspot.com/2009/02/trios-stories-from-publishings-front.html

Apologies for the blatant plug, and congratulations again. Your book looks gorgeous.

Geraldine Ryan said...

The cover looks beautiful, Caro! You MUST celebrate the day, loudly, not quietly, cos there are so many ups and downs in this game that when the good times roll we have to make the most of them. If you don't you'll regret you never did when one of the bad times rolls up.

Julie P said...

Excellent, Caroline. Well done - what an achievement! The book looks great and I will be buying one soon and I'm looking forward to reading it. I can't even begin to imagine holding a book I've written in my sweaty palms! (I haven't written one for starters!) You've just got to write the next one, and the next one and the next one .........now!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Caro, huge congratulations - for your wonderful (beautiful) book's publication and for your very wise response to it. Though as Geri says, do enjoy this time, 'cos it's special. And because it marks the completion of a great deal of work and tenacity and creativity.
Susiex

Olivia Ryan said...

Congratulations, Caroline. And I do agree with all you say about publication day. Unfortunately I think the days when authors were feted with launch parties and bouquets have gone for ever - but it's still worth celebrating with your family and friends. Whether your book sells in millions (I hope so!)or only a couple of hundred, you are now a published novelist and that's an achievement to be proud of!

Phillipa said...

It IS a day to celebrate. Congratulations Caroline.

Samantha Tonge said...

Caroline, i am so excited for you. I love the last paragraph of your blog - it's a mixture of sadness and excitement i find, letting go of a piece of work, moving on to new settings and characters. Good on you for letting them go into the published world!

Enjoy the ride,you deserve it!

Nice to see you here, Jane.

Chicklit Addict said...

I say enjoy every minute of it!
Cover looks fab and I wish you every success
x

Poppy said...

Way to go, Caro!!

Lovely post!

poppyxx

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

I'd be jigging a dance of excitement if I were to hold a published book of mine in my hands! But, I understand your quiet reflection because perhaps somehow, you dare to believe the dream has come true but can't quite bring yourself to fully embrace the reality just yet! I think you might just do your own dance in an unguarded moment when you least expect it. Well done and hug the success to yourself. You deserve it.

Gillian McDade said...

Happy Publication Day, Caroline! May you sell lots of copies!

Enjoy it! :)

Caroline R said...

Thanks everyone! Tomorrow morning I'll probably jump up and suddenly go YAY!

Thanks for the info about your Trios series, Jane - I'll have a proper look at that. You are right that the publishers are really passionate about their titles - it never ceases to amaze me how much they love my book and are prepared to put so much energy into backing it.

Gosh, only five hours and twenty one minutes left of being a "budding writer"!

CarolineG said...

Ooh, it looks just lovely and I can't wait to read it. I think that 'proper book by a proper author' feeling is really common, Caro. Have a brill P-Day!

Deb said...

Well done, Caroline. Order placed, so that's another one for the Amazon ratings! xxx

Rosy T said...

Congratulations, Caro! Mine is on order, too... and your Amazon ranking looked extremely healthy when I checked!

Caroline R said...

Thank you!

KAREN said...

What a fantastic acheivement, I'm really looking forward to reading it :o)