Today my third historical novel, ‘A Divided Inheritance’ is out. For me, this is the culmination of eighteen months of research and writing and so deserves to be celebrated.
Trouble is – often it is only the writer who is so keenly aware of this date – the date that has been anticipated so eagerly for months or years. So here are my tips for a great day when your book is launched, whether or not someone sends you flowers or a big ‘Congratulations’ card.
1. Be your own biggest fan. You of all people, should love your book! Go on, put that five star review on Goodreads (with a suitable note of course saying you are the author.)
2. If you work at a desk, clear your desk, even if you are already working on something else. It gives a sense of something ending and something new beginning. Make your desk look like you’d like it to look all the time. Flowers? Nice new lamp? Go on. If you don’t work at a desk, clear something else. (No, not the dreaded email backlog, that’s not very celebratory!)
3. You’ve achieved something, so you deserve a reward. Writing a book is a big achievement so allow yourself a big reward. At the very least you deserve a day off! That is why I am scheduling this post! Get away from the desk, get some fresh air, even if another writing deadline is looming. Retail therapy or coffee with friends can work. Dinner at a nice restaurant? That day out you promised yourself?
4. If your book is stocked by your local bookshop, go and look at your book on the shelf. Isn’t it great! Don’t be tempted to see all those other books and slump at the competition – instead, think what excellent company you are in – and yes, if you must, surreptitiously turn yours face out, or put it near the front of the shop!
5. If it’s a virtual book, treat yourself to someone else’s book that was launched at the same time. They will appreciate it, and you might discover a great new writer. Writers love readers!
6. Forget sales. Today is about art and meaning. An idea which was until now only in your head, will soon be in the heads of a lot of other people. It’s an idea only you could have brought into the world. Nobody else. Only you. Good job!
‘the aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means’
7. Feed your imagination. If you don’t you might not write another book, so today is a good day to let that imagination of yours roam wild and free. For a historical novelist, museums, galleries and old houses provide food for thought.
8. Mail at least one person to thank them. Often others have invested in your book with help or advice, and it’s good to acknowledge their input especially on the day it comes out. Your family might need some TLC too. ( Tip – You might need to remind them today is launch day.)
9. Give away at least one copy so you know that someone who will enjoy it is reading it. Donate one to your local library or the hospital. There is nothing that makes the whole process feel more real than to see it in someone else’s hands.
10. Wish your own book Good Luck. Find a quiet space and give it the send off it deserves – toast it in champagne, shout out its name, give it a hug and kiss – or whatever feels right.
And here is my book, doesn’t it look splendid? Big thanks to the publishers, Macmillan, and especially to Jenny Geras and Natasha Harding my editors.