Only three weeks to go!
It has been half-term this last week and not only were my parents-in-law visiting but also my husband had a week off work. Naively I thought this would mean that I would be able to sneak plenty of time away at my desk to blog and tweet and write and promote my book and organise my life. Instead, we went to the zoo, we went shopping and out for dinner, we went to the optician/dentist/vet (various appointments throughout the week), and wrote angry letters to the council and MP (just don’t go there!). And to top it all, last night I spent the whole evening ironing whilst the rest of the family watched The Blues Brothers.
Thankfully, I believe everything is still on target for Publication Day (18 March). I have reviewed and corrected my proof copy of In the Shade of the Mulberry Tree and I have prepared the Kindle version (other ebook versions are next on my list). All I need to do now is the marketing and publicity.
Self-promotion does not come naturally to me. I wonder if it does for any writer, in all reality, for some of the love of the art of writing is because you are lost in your own make-believe world. Squirrelling oneself away, armed with only a keyboard and screen (or pen and paper) the writer spends their time in their own company, and those of their own creation. I love reading Joanne Harris‘ tweets. She writes in her shed, and every day the shed is a different place or scene. Often I think I’d like to live in her world! A novelist inhabits a world of their own imagination. For me, I wallow in my own history and the stories of my family’s life in Zambia. It is quite a selfish art!
But in order to publish, and subsequently to sell, the writer has to emerge from this cocoon and become a butterfly: bright, colourful, flamboyant. They have to fly around, talking to everyone they meet about their book, their writing, how wonderful it all is. I have organised a book launch party, but it has involved several sleepless nights and mild panic attacks as I hope and pray that my friends will come. It would be so embarrassing to be sat on my own with a glass of flat champagne and a box of unsold books behind me!
Thankfully I have some wonderful friends, some of whom have gone through this before. They have offered publicity suggestions – the local paper, magazines, the library, the school. But most of all they smile when I mention my book and encourage and don’t laugh at my feeble attempts at promotion. For now, that is what I need.
Maybe, one day, I will become a fully-fledged butterfly.