Friday, 4 June 2010

Va Va Voom*

I can't get started today. This might be because I am suffering from up-late droopiness. Or because said up-lateness was caused by me crafting an email for potential reviewers, telling them how delightful it would be to receive a proof copy of my book. Or because I'm a workshy eejit who never starts work as soon as she reaches her desk.

Anyway, I'm all keyed up. I sent extracts out with that late-night email, so people could get a hint of what an amazing book mine is [cough]. So this marks the first time in a long while that I've pushed that child onto a stage and asked her to perform.

I've been flitting between periods of gloom this week. I've come to the end of an intense period in my new career. I'm suffering the comedown from that, as well as some doubts about whether my life isn't just one long catalogue of Bad Decisions. And I've been editing the book, which - particularly as I haven't read it myself for over a year - means the usual rollercoaster of "It's brilliant!" "It's terrible!" from one moment to the next. It does mean I have a fresh perspective on which extracts will showcase it most effectively. But one of the people I approached last night has already responded, and one of the actually-very-helpful things she said was that a random set of unconnected extracts don't give her a proper idea of the book. She would need to see, just as an agent or publisher would, the first three chapters. She makes a good point. I only thought of the extracts as teasers, to give an idea of my writing style and convince people to request a review copy and see the whole thing properly, but what she said still applies.

The "she" in question is Nicola Morgan, who writes the "Help! I Need a Publisher!" blog, and is an all-round good egg. She wrote a blog post about me and my plight a while back. She responded incredibly quickly to yesterday's email, and in a lot of detail. Sadly she can't write a review, but I understand why.

Anyway. Two people have already said yes, but now instead of getting on and editing the damn thing, I'm watching my inbox. Gah.

I'm only halfway through the edit, and of course the schedule has slipped. The design meeting was cancelled because the illustration wasn't ready yet, and there's no way I'll be getting the review copy off to Lulu this week as planned. I thought I would do a quick edit - just tighten the prose. But in the process I've noticed a couple of weak areas that would benefit from some focused work. And I really really want this book to be good, and it's great to have the perspective of returning to it after a long break, and I want to make the most of it. So I've added a fortnight to the schedule, and I think that works.

Sorry, this post is getting boring now: Feel free to wander off.

The big areas of work are (a) editing the manuscript, (b) getting the cover finished, and (c) setting up a campaign (website, emails, Facebook group etc) to persuade people to buy the book in advance. Maybe I'm going overboard. Maybe I have enough friends and family who would buy copies with minimum encouragement. But what if I don't? Huh? How awful would it be if I had to refund everyone's money because there wasn't enough to fund the print run? And anyway... this is the bit I like. "Look at me!" I shout with glee.

But isn't this what I was trying to get away from? The jostling for attention, followed by disappointment when the only response is a pooch on the pavement licking my hand? Um... no. No, I don't think so. My expectations are low, and they have an end point. Instead of the moving-goalpost aim of more and more people buying my book, all I need is a discrete number. Then the book will be printed, dispatched and that will be that. I'll carry right on with my life. In the corner of my study will be one proud copy of one beautiful book. There won't be boxes and boxes of the damn thing staring at me reproachfully every time I open the cupboard door. Just one. And I will love it.

*When I started this post, I mistyped the title as "Va Va Vom". I need to file that one away for a dynamic post about sick.**



Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say it was lovely meeting you the other night, and your illustrator friend Francis (whose work I envy enormously). Had a fantastic evening, hope you did too.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

It was lovely to meet you too! I'm actually rather sorry we didn't chat more. Francis is an utter sweetheart and a very talented man. I had a great evening, it was just what I needed.