It’s been a month since my YA book, Dark Ride, launched. And it’s almost a year since this story started, when the best email of my life pinged into my inbox. It was from my publisher, Piccadilly Press, and I can still remember that it began with,’ I am delighted to be able to make you an offer as follows....’
Books are always being compared to babies so forgive me for doing it again. But let’s face it, there are parallels.
I remember being shocked at how bloomin’ long pregnancy was the first time round, for a start. It seemed an eternity after that thin blue line that something HAPPENED. It’s a bit like that with 'hatching' a book too. There are all the rounds of edits and proofs to check, a cover to approve and a launch party to arrange. The whole thing seems to take forever.
And then, just as with pregnancy, time suddenly speeds up and everything happens at a dizzying pace. Okay, so you don't have the hideous business of childbirth to contemplate. But it's pretty scary when you suddenly have total strangers reading and judging your pride and joy..
Before you know it, you’re standing in a bookshop with your family and friends and you realise the whole thing wasn’t just a dream. It’s a wonderful, magical feeling. There have been some other brilliant moments too in the past month...
1. The first time I held– and smelled – the actual book.
2. Friends’ children running up breathlessly in the playground after school to tell me they’d loved it.
3. Seeing the daughter of my son’s football coach sitting on the grass, head down and utterly still as she read my book.
4. Getting some good reviews online.
5. Doing a school event and hearing that the children worked for two solid hours enthusiastically on their own stories afterwards.
There have been down times too. Like, the strange anticlimactic feeling when the first excitement fades. Or when everyone asks you how the book is selling... and you don’t know the answer [frightened to ask in case the news is discouraging]. Then there’s people you barely know asking for a free copy ['absolutely...and maybe you can do your job for free in return']. Not to mention Amazon rankings and the world of paranoia they induce...
But the good bits far, far outweigh the bad and every rejection letter and moment of doubt suddenly becomes worthwhile.
I had many moments in the past of thinking that getting a novel published was an impossible dream. I’m so glad I forcded myself to keep going. If you’re having a tough time right now on the treadmill of looking for an agent or publisher, remember...
...it really could happen to you too.