You know that episode in Friends when we catch Rachael practicing her Grammy acceptance speech, Pheebs her Nobel Peace Prize, and Joey accepts a SOAPIE on behalf of somebody else? This feels equally surreal. This is a little bit like my own Oscar speech.
Now, I am realistic. I know I’ve not won any awards, I know that I haven’t been on a best sellers list, and I know that I’m not up there with the guys you normally read (except EL James, I kick her ass, or I would if I could fight my way through all the dollar bills that there are between us) but today is a huge huge day for me.
Today, as I sit here a quivering wreck of exhaustion, you can buy my book in paperback. This is HUGE, and totally makes all the pain and tears of the last few years worthwhile. Even my liver thinks so.
Nearly exactly two years ago I pressed “publish” on my novella Survival of the Ginnest. I’m a bit gutted I don’t have the old blog post, it got lost along the way of rejigging my life in my attempts to become a real life author, but it’s not the end of the world.
I pressed the button, and it told me it would take about 24 hours to come live. I had my release date set, and I pressed it with a shaking mouse, and tried to think of something else.
Less than two hours later somebody messaged me on twitter to tell me they’d downloaded it.
That tweet was probably more life changing then anybody will actually know. I’d been writing a novel for a while, it wasn’t working how I wanted. I was totally new to the entire publishing, book writing industry, wet behind the ears and a mixture of eternally optimistic (it’s ok, once I send this off to publishers I’ll become Sophie Kinsella) and disillusioned (I’m a dick, why am I doing this? Why would anyone read what I had to say?).
Releasing Ginnest – as I now fondly call it – helped put things into perspective. I’m a bit of a NOW NOW NOW person you see, and becoming an author isn’t really a NOW NOW NOW thing. It’s bloody hard, especially as you’re one of a million other people who want to be an author. I did type the next big thing there but as much as I joke about wanting to be an overnight sensation (I’m no Rachael Lucas sadly, which is a shame because she’s amazebogs), I just want to write every day and afford to buy gin.
So what now?
Well I don’t know what to say. My dream has come true hasn’t it? All I wanted was for my books to be taken by a publisher and for people to be able to hold real life copies. That makes it more real doesn’t it? I didn’t expect it to be Dottie. I really really didn’t. She was a project, a task to distract me from my failing second draft. She’s funny and silly, and well, apparently you guys like her, which thrills me more than I ever can say.
As I get further down this blog post, I realise that this isn’t’ really my oscar speech. That was my acknowledgements at the back of Ginnest (HA SO YOU HAVE TO BUY IT TO READ THEM). This is more my brain dump for the most amazing next stage of my life.
The last two years have been little milestones. While my children have been hitting theirs, I’ve been hitting mine. First self-published book, first amazon review, first share on Facebook, first comment on twitter, first book blogger review, first person to say ‘oh my god, I’ve read your book I didn’t know that was you’ – even better when they look after your children!!! That first full novel draft that you think “shit this isn’t as awful as I think” the second and the third. The amazing covers designed by friends, the first time somebody calls you JK Rowling (I know I should hate it, but I totally don’t). Then that time somebody says they want to offer you a publishing deal. When you’re on the way back to the car from the school run and you have to run a little bit because you stupidly were checking your email and see it there, and you cry. The first time somebody sends a picture of themselves holding your book, and the first time I get to hold it myself.
Wow. I’m totally Gwynnie right now – and I hate her so sorry.
So what’s next? Well first you have to buy Ginnest. Obvs. Please. Then you have to leave a review on Amazon and everywhere else if possible please (and thank you). Then if you wanted to take a picture of you reading Dottie, whether it’s on your e-reader, phone, tablet, or a real life book and share it on social media with the hashtag #Dottie – well I would love you forever.
Then, Christmas Spirit and Mothers Ruined will be available in print format too, and the next Dottie which I really need to get back to once all the fuss has died down (i.e I stop wandering around muttering ‘it’s happened, it’s happened’) and then, well I have a MILLION ideas. But I can’t do them without you.
So thank you. As I sit here a big snotty mess – thank you. I couldn’t do it without people actually reading my work.
Oh, and to finish. If you EVER spot somebody reading one of my books on the train, bus, in the park or on holiday. Could you please take a discreet picture and share it with me – because the only thing second to holding it in paperback myself, is seeing a total stranger holding it. Hopefully laughing A LOT (at the story, not at me).
Thank youuuuuu to the academy and good night.
PASS THE BLOOMING GIN.