In the days leading up to publication, I could provide a fascinating case study on the ebb and flow of human emotions. My feelings career around like a malfunctioning dodgem ride at a funfair, veering from one extreme to another, from side to side, from fast to slow, jolting my confused brain at every turn.
One moment I love my book, with its brand-new, unopened feel, its evocative cover, my name in big letters. My story, which somebody who knows about publishing books - proper novels - has chosen to support! That continues to surprise and delight me, every time I think about it.
The next moment, though, I’m worrying the cover’s not going to stand out enough, my readers won’t like the story, it’s too dark, too unlikely, too everything.
I’m looking forward to the launch parties at my local bookshop in Marlow, and then later in London. How wonderful that friends, and book clubs, and family, and acquaintances are going to come and help me celebrate my second novel. It will be marvellous! But then again, what if nobody comes, no-one buys the book? What if I get a lukewarm reception? What if my book languishes in the corner, only to be returned to my publisher (don’t we just hate the practice of sale or return?)?
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone among the author community in feeling like this. Resilience is an important quality to have as an author, whether you’re new or have had long experience. Highs and lows are part of the deal. We all have to handle rejection, bad reviews, lacklustre sales and news of eyewateringly wonderful deals for other authors, with dignity and the skin of an elephant. Nobody with any sense should start writing fiction thinking they’re going to be rich and successful the first time, or the second, or at all. That way, deep disappointment and depression lurk.
On the other hand – I have written a book!! And a publisher has printed it!! And it will be in bookshops!! and libraries - and by the way, in the British Library - how cool is that?? How many will go into shops, I don’t yet know, and how many will be read in printed or electronic form I have no idea. But wow – I’ve done it!
I’m hanging on to that, and hoping you’ll all LOVE The Truth Waits, my second novel, available to pre-order now on Amazon, published on November 1st and available in good bookshops, hopefully nationwide. Bring it on!