(This post was originally published in May 2015)
The day I had dreamed about finally arrived when my debut novel Paris Kiss was launched earlier this year.
But like most long-held ambitions the reality was entirely different from the daydream that had sustained me through writing a first novel, finding an agent, rewriting, and securing a publisher.
I’ve loved every minute of it – and this is what I’ve learned from my author debut so far.
- The book launch goes by in a flash. It was like a wedding without the white dress. More than 140 people turned up at Waterstones, Argyle Street, Glasgow, with drinks afterwards at the atmospheric Sloans Bar. It was a wonderful night but all over too soon.
- Amazon rankings are maddening and baffling. I rue the day another author told me about these and I’ve had to wean myself off compulsively checking the rankings two or three times a day.
- It’s important to do as many author appearances as possible. My first book festival, Glasgow’s Aye Write!, felt like a milestone. I’ve been asked to Edinburgh Reads at the Central Library, to Tidelines, North Ayrshire’s book festival, Glasgow Women’s Library and to book groups and libraries. It’s a great way to meet readers and spread the word.
- Readings become less scary and more fun. I was sick with nerves the first time I read in front of an audience. I’ve since learned to choose lively scenes with dialogue and to keep it short. A bit of context helps place the audience in your imaginary world.
- Get on with book two. It’s a hard to strike a balance between publicising the first novel and moving on to the second, but it’s important to make time for new writing.
With thanks to photographers Brian Stewart and Andrew Watson