The Thinking Tank, my first novel has been published. I am a published author. Job done, you say. Job not done. Job only just beginning. Why have I called this Life’s Crappy Stuff? Because it’s what we all have to wade through to get to where we want to be. And it is precisely this crappy stuff that helps us to keep our writing real.
When writers give an account of how they got from the concept of their novel through to publication they rarely go backwards. So why have I decided to do it this way? One reason is that lots of would-be writers, by the time they are googling about getting published, that’s really all they want to know…so that way you guys can skip the rest of my blog and just read the bit that may or may not be relevant to where you are in your writer’s journey.
The very quick answer to your question so you can go and order a latte as you ponder it, is that – like so many things in life – I was in the right place at the right time with the right person in my life. Before you dismiss this as a cop out, let me explain. Sometimes something can be right under your nose but you just don’t recognise it. It took a reiki course to teach me this very important lesson. A wonderful and inspiring mentor called Lisa Whitehead http://www.getalife-uk.co.uk/ said we should open our eyes to the opportunities the universe is offering. Crap, you might say (I probably did at the time). The next day I went off to work and, instead of deleting a random email from a PR company requesting submissions from journalists, I responded. A month later I was in a first class stateroom on the Queen Mary, covering the voyage from Southampton to New York – the journey of a lifetime just because I listened to what I had been told, and to what the universe was saying.
So, listen, engage and be open to opportunities. Network amongst those you know, create contacts with those you don’t.
My publisher will be laughing as she reads this. Jo Parfitt at Summertime Publishing http://www.joparfitt.com/tag/summertime-publishing/ is my world’s leading expert on networking. She was right under my nose and I was right under hers. Our lives kept intercepting and overlapping and we recognised one another in so many ways but then finally the universe put us both in the right place at the right time. The Lime Tree Cafe in Dubai to be precise: http://www.thelimetreecafe.com/ . We met as the friends we already were but this time we realised my novel was a good match for her new fiction imprint. We met as friends – I came away with a publisher and she came away having acquired another author for her list.
So what does it feel like to be published – out there with your first novel, about to be launching and signing? As I write I am expecting the first delivery of the paperback version of my book. The book is already out there on Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Thinking-Tank-ebook/dp/B005HXCYJA/ref=sr_1_12?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1314870859&sr=1-12. Already members of my family and friends have been reading what I have written. And I feel naked. Naked and full of self doubt and insecure. Now that’s not what you expect is it? That’s not what I expected anyway. This morning I should be feeling excited, full of hope and pride and bouncing around with my chihuahuas, singing ‘I am a published author, na na na nah na.’ But I am not. What I am is scared…