Finally it arrived. I was even sunny and welcoming to the man from the delivery company that had failed to deliver my precious parcel the day before. It’s here I screamed at the top of my voice – to no one in particular, although the guy next door did give me a withering look.
You know when there is a moment that you have been waiting for forever – like going to your first disco or wearing your first high heels – or shaving for the first time (not you ladies, of course)? Well this was one of those moments. And I suppose I should have expected it not to live up to the up-there-in-lights billing that I had given it in my head because these things never do. But then I never learn. I ripped open the parcel and grabbed out the precious contents – my novel. In print. With my name on it. With my work inside. Oh bliss.
Yes – it was my name, it was my work and the cover was absolutely perfect – exactly as I wanted it. So why was I so upset? It was the paper (or stock, as they call it in the trade). Flimsy and almost see-through, my weighty tome was light-weighty and I actually did cry.
What I should have done is made a call to my publisher, who would have told me there and then that these were review copies and that the actual book, which hasn’t yet arrived, would have a lovely raft of cream pages which will ping when you flip them and not fan like paper from the office copier. This would have been the grown-up thing to do.
Instead I flung myself around for a bit, feeling and being wretched until finally my husband, arriving home hot and travel-worn, asked me what Summertime has said. My blank looks were enough.
The moral here is to do with the self-doubt thing again. You see, I knew what I should have received – the other Summertime books on my desk were testament to the style – but my feeble alter ego – the one that is naked and scared and suddenly more vulnerable than ever before- had decided I must be unworthy of this nice, pingy paper and that was jolly well that.
The lovely Jo Parfitt (www.joparfitt.com) at Summertime replied to my bleating email instantly. That particular moment of despair has passed – I feel sure there will be more to come. Never think the fat lady has sung. She always has some humming to do way after you think the curtain has called.