Like most people, I always assumed writing the book would be the hard bit. Luckily for me, it wasn’t, it was the fun bit, the rewarding, glow in your cheeks, spring in your step, smiling for no reason bit. The Flabberwocky took eight months to write, then change, then write some more, edit, and eventually complete. Compared to some authors, that’s pretty quick. Tolstoy took three years to write War and Peace, though admittedly, that is one massive door stop of a book.
The problem is, as soon as you stop writing it, there is this avalanche of things to do before it is published. Formatting, has there ever been a duller word in the English language than ‘Formatting?’. Preparing the initial draft sprung plenty of surprise choices, like what kind of quotes should you use, double, single, or those little sixty six and ninety nine ones. Which variation of the word T-shirt should I choose? T-Shirt? Tee-Shirt? or Tee Shirt? All are apparently valid, but I began to wish he’d worn a jumper instead.
Working on the illustrations is the best part of the pre-release schedule, but you’re relying on someone else’s creativity (the brilliant Rowena in my case) rather than your own. What you really want to be doing is writing again, but instead you’re caught up with details and liaising with agencies. Thankfully there is a small spike of excitement when you receive your first proof copy through the post. Unfortunately it’s not enough to numb the stress of heading to retail. There are plenty of sour moments. Discovering Waterstones and Foyles have miss spelt the most fundamental detail of your new publication, its title! Finding out that Amazon require you to apply weeks in advance to add a description to their listing. Realising that because you chose the glossy paper and the thick fabric covering on your hardback that you’ll be better off if you don’t sell any of them at all! Is it any wonder that the magic of creating my first book has started to ebb a little.
PUB-BULL-GUM ; VERB : Depressive state caused by book publishing.
There is one week to go before Flabberwocky is officially launched on the 20th of January 2014, and while there are bound to be more hiccups along the way, the countdown is thankfully nearly at an end. I like to think of myself as a proud parent, sending my first born off to school on his first day, hoping he won’t come home too battered and bruised. Or, have his head flushed down the toilet by the bigger authors, the ones with all those amazing reviews and thousands of followers. As long as he downloads properly on kindle, i’d like to think he has as good a chance as anyone at making a lasting impression. That said, i’m prepared for the worst, and if he returns with his teeth kicked in by Terry Pratchett, hobbling through the kitchen door thanks to that massive wedgie dished out by Neil Gaiman, I’ll be there. Holding my arms out wide, hugging him, loving him, then throwing him down the cellar so I can start on the next book! Can’t wait.