And suddenly there’s just a week to go before my book baby hits the shops. The past few weeks have mainly seen me sniffing out PR opportunities like a truffle pig, trying to book in-the-flesh author events in. I’ve got the most amazing blog tour booked (see dates here) but Covid has made planning any kind of in-person gigs pretty difficult. However, I’ve been lucky enough with timing to get some events booked for the autumn, with some wonderful bookshops who really couldn’t have been more enthusiastic – and to top it all, positive reviews coming in that are making me slightly less nervous about the whole thing. At this point, it’s hugely comforting to know that people are enjoying it already, especially as I accepted the amazing Helen Lederer’s offer to come and do an ‘in conversation’ with me at my launch party. A perk of being involved with the CWIP Prize, but slightly terrifying given I’m now standing up in front of 60 people with an bona fide professional comedian who is bound to be funnier than me. Not I’m worried about any of it – honestly… it’s only when I think about it really hard that my stomach lurches at the idea that I made everyone I know buy this book.
But let’s not dwell on that – I’m all about the positive this week! Even if I am also going to be 47 years old (yes, folks, it’s my birthday next week too), I get to have a party bigger than my wedding, sign books, wear a neon pink maxi dress with flying horses on it (true story) and generally feel like a superstar. It feels like an incredible privilege at this point, one that I appreciate enormously. I really, really feel for authors who’ve had to do this during the past 18 months with nowhere open and nothing happening. What a bitter pill to swallow after all that hard work getting to this point. I am very, very lucky.
Publishing a book is hard work. Even in ‘normal’ times, I don’t think anyone appreciates how hard it is to get your name out there as a debut author. I’ve basically become a door-to-door salesman to everyone I meet, which for me, is a bit out of bounds. Although I’m not shy about coming forward, especially when I started, I was cringing every time I told anyone I had a book coming out – you see it in their eyes, I would think, they’ve already decided it’s crap before you’ve even finished the sentence. I have discovered though, that generally, people are very happy for me, rather than eye rolling at the very idea. I still can’t help thinking, though, if only I was a minor celebrity, I would be taken more seriously. Top tip, kids: if you’re thinking you might like to publish a novel in future, my advice would be to get on the telly before you write it – be a news presenter or bit part on Corrie – because it will be a darn sight easier to promote yourself (and get other people to do it for you) if you’ve already done a stint on Strictly or won a BAFTA for best undead zombie in Game of Thrones.
Next week is THE most bonkers of my whole life. Monday is my birthday. Tuesday the e-book is out. Thursday my son starts senior school and the paperback is released. Friday is the launch party. Saturday is my son’s birthday party, with the follow up actual birthday on Monday. Talk about art reflecting life – TTSS is all about the balance between family life and career, and it couldn’t be more apt. And just like my heroine, Vicky, I’m fighting a losing battle with the two things I love the most… I’m sitting here writing this, knowing full well I should be labelling shirts and moulding gum shields for my only-born. God knows how conflicted I’ll feel this time next week! But I wouldn’t change it for the world. So many people have been in touch to say ‘enjoy it’… and I truly am. Deep breaths… and ready, set… GO.