The waiting is the hardest part
Wildflower was named after a Tom Petty song
which I think is just perfect for her and Paddy, but it is another Petty song
that’s haunting me right now.
The first question I get from people I haven’t seen for a while is ‘so when is the book coming out?’
If I had my way the answer would be tomorrow.
Unfortunately, the answer is still – next year.
Getting a book published involves large amounts of agonising waiting. There’s the wait after you pop your baby in the post and send it to various publishers. Did they get it? (that is normally answered by the first rejection letter) Did they read it? (also answered by the rejection letters) Do they think it’s a stupid idea? – I was lucky in this respect. A lot of people warned me not to expect to hear anything back from the publishers, not even a rejection. But those I did send material to all got back to me in some form or another and gave me reasons and helpful advice (none of which, thankfully, was ‘it’s a stupid idea’).
If you are fortunate enough to find someone willing to take a punt on you (thank you David Bateman Publishing!) then there is even more waiting in store.
It’s a hard wait too, because you have adrenalin coursing through you. You’ve run hysterically around the office, squealing and waving your arms in the air like Kermit the frog. You’ve told all your family and friends. Your dream has come true, you are going to be an author – and you want it to happen now, now, now!!!
However – while your book may be the center of your universe, at this stage it is only on the periphery of your publisher’s. As one of my publishers politely told me on our first meeting “I have about seven books in different stages of development on the go at the moment. The one closest to being published is the one I love the most. When yours gets to that stage, you’ll be hearing from me every day”.
While that gave me a bit of a reality check and stopped me freaking out over long periods of silence, it didn’t make the waiting any easier.
The first really nerve-wracking wait was the wait to iron out the contract – as far as my paranoid brain was concerned until my signature and the publisher’s signature were on that piece of paper there was every chance they could change their minds.
After everything was signed and sealed it wasn’t so bad. There were still things I could do – arrange photographs, send them in. Then it was back to waiting.
Patience is a virtue I struggle to posses however – so about a month ago I dropped the publishers an email (trying not to sound too needy) just to get an idea of where everything was at.
They were kind and humoured me – giving me late June – early July as my next milestone. That’s when editing will start in earnest. They’ll go through the book decide if they want any changes made and whether they want me to add anything. I’m a little bit nervous about that, but also intrigued as to how the whole process works. Then we start thinking about things like the cover and hopefully by Novemberish there should be an actual, physical book to hold.
It takes about nine months to get a book out into the wild (not counting the time it takes to write it) – and then you have to think about the best time to release it.
This bit I found kind of fascinating because it’s something I’d never really thought of. Christmas is the time that jumps immediately to mind, but for a newcomer into the market it’s not actually that practical. Yes there are more people out there buying books, but there are also more books out there. At Christmas time you are competing with cook books and All Black biographies – even a relatively well-known writer risks getting buried.
Other than that – the next biggest book-selling days are Mothers Day and Fathers Day. Not exactly days I would have thought of, but it kind of makes sense. You don’t really buy books for Easter or New Year, everyone’s birthdays are on different days and books are often the perfect gift for Mum or Dad.
So we are aiming for Mothers Day next year – which means this time next year you could be holding a copy of Which Way is Starboard Again? (or whatever the book ends up being called) in your hot little hands. The aim is to have the book in shops by March and get promoting after that – so I apologise if I am insufferable for few months round about then.
But for now, it’s back to waiting. I’m not complaining – this has already been an amazing ride. I still can’t believe it is actually happening – but I do wish it would happen a little faster!