This is the question I am most often asked.
It’s usually followed with ‘How much money do you make?’ or ‘Well if J.K. Rowling can do it…’
We’ll concentrate on the feeling of publication or I could embarrass myself by admitting that the income I usually quote is actually in pence not pounds and the only similarity between J. K. and me (and everybody else) is that we like the Weasleys.
My first book ‘Elen’s Island’ came out on World Book Day last year. I was surrounded by congratulations cards, presents, balloons, tear-filled tissues and copies of my book. I’ll repeat that… copies of MY BOOK.
It’s a strange feeling. Somewhere between elation and joy, disbelief and hysteria, fear that someone is playing a terrible joke on you and will snatch those copies away. Dread that readers will think it is the most terrible book ever to have been written in the history of ever and will trash it, literally, and all over the unforgiving internet.
Thankfully happiness is the larger part and the stages the book has been through by the time it comes to publication mean that it is the best it can be. HUGE thanks go to editors like Janet Thomas of Firefly Press for pointing out tactfully where bits were a bit pants, or in her words – could perhaps be phrased a bit more successfully, or something equally as kind.
I’ve had the MOST FABULOUS year promoting the book and working with young people to create their own stories and pictures and as I read it to the children at a local library on World Book Day this year I realised that the excitement might ebb a bit now and then but it is always there. I wanted to share this feeling with you.
Also the fear of being found to be an imposter is always there and though I don’t really want to share this bit with you, I thought I’d mention it.
Anyway, instead of boring you with my own words (yet again) I thought I’d ask two fantastically brilliant writer friends of mine what they felt about having their books published and here’s what they said:
Anna McKerrow is the author of the brilliant Crow Moon series for Young Adults.
Her first book Crow Moon was released by Quercus Books to huge acclaim and fans have been eagerly awaiting the sequel. Luckily for us it was released yesterday! Red Witch is now available to buy and I, for one, am extremely excited. I asked Anna how she felt in her run up to the launch …
“I’m very overtired and overexcited and will no doubt be overwrought later at the launch party because it’s a bit like getting married only ALL the focus is on you and you don’t even have to share it with anyone else.
Embarrassingly, I cried at the CROW MOON launch; I’ll try not to do that again. But I’m definitely NOT over the sheer joy of being allowed to write books and get paid for it, and then know that young people (and grownups!) have enjoyed it.
There really is nothing better.”
Sharon Marie Jones is the author of the eagerly anticipated ‘Grace-Ella’ series for ages 7-9, which will be published by Firefly Press later this year..
‘It feels surreal! Having an actual book with my name on it in the hands of actual readers … WOW! It’s like I’m floating on a pink fluffy cloud … then suddenly a ferocious gust of wind blows me right off to land with a thud back on the ground, as good old self-doubt strikes. OMG! A book by little old me sitting alongside all the wonderful children’s books out there right now? Really? That’s insane! So I guess I’m just a jumbled up bag of excitement and nerves – terrified and thrilled. And generally feeling a bit sick.
What I’m most looking forward to is (hopefully) seeing a child (preferably children) reading my book. I’ve been a teacher for years and always delight in seeing a child completely lost in a book. To think that that could be my book, my words … well that would be magical.
It’s easy to forget about what I’ve actually achieved and to let self-doubt and panic about future writing projects swallow up the initial excitement. Some days I have to actually stop, take a deep breath and say to myself, ‘I have written a book that is actually going to be published.’ This was nothing more than a dream gathering cobwebs in the deep recesses of my mind for years. It is now a reality and that feels flipping fabulous!!’
So there you have it. From the horse’s mouth. Or from three writer’s mouths anyway…
It feels fabulous and scary and brilliant and eek and wonderful and a bit excitable to the point of sicky and we all want to do it again and again. The hard work is worth it and there is nothing quite as magical as being a published author.
And hey, if J.K. can do it…