It’s hard to describe how exciting it is to get your hands on your book for the first time. I’m the sort of person who gets ridiculously excited about getting books in the post anyway, so just imagine that times five thousand. In this case, it’s a book that has taken six years in the making, and which I had floating around in my head long before that. It has been a whole year and a half just since I signed the contract with Voyager, as they quite rightfully wanted to give me time to get as much as possible of the second and third books written before book one hit the shelves.
But oh, it’s been a long wait.
I’d seen the cover picture before, but it’s very different to see an actual book which is book-shaped and has pages (soooo many pages, two thirds of a Glenda Larke!) and page numbers and chapter headings and a copyright page and a glossary…
One of the first things I did was flip straight to the maps, because my Mum put so much work into them (she draws so much better than me!) and I then just flipped the pages idly, pretending it was a real book. Then, being me, I did a complete photoshoot for my blog, with my book as a glamorous model. This included shots of the book hanging out with various other books, trying out different peer groups.
I was very excited, okay? This isn’t the first time I’ve held my own book in my hands, but it never, never gets old.
My honey promptly took the book off me and started to read it, which forced me to flit in between bouts of proudness and bouts of ‘omg don’t bend the spine’. Over the next several days, I got to see the book posed in a variety of realistic positions: honey reading on the couch, honey reading under the covers, honey too busy reading to pay attention to what I’m saying (so hard to complain when it’s your book!).
A book doesn’t exist until someone’s reading it. Gradually, as he made his way through it, he got me used to the idea. People were going to read my book!
Then the box of author copies turned up! As you can see, the baby likes boxes. The baby is a super expert at opening boxes. The author happily snapped away as the baby played with the box, right up to the moment that the author discovered the box was filled with that packing material that is incredibly chewable and attractive to baby…
Heh, well yes. At that point, the box and the baby were firmly separated. But now I had more than one copy of my book. That made it far less likely that this was all an elaborate hoax, and far more likely that in fact the book was very close to publication. Further evidence of this is that tpeople elsewhere in the world claim to have advance copies, there have been both formal reviews and informal emails (along the lines of hahaha I have your book) and both my parents have read the book from cover to cover. Yes, including the sex scenes. That’s what they never tell you in writing kindergarten – your parents will read your sex scenes!
Luckily, the baby can’t read yet. She still regards books as things that you chew. My five year old can read, but the lack of pictures means that she is blissfully disinterested. These are the only two people in the world whose reading habits I have some control over, though. Any day now, the book will be thoroughly Out In The Wild, and at that point, anything could happen. I have to come to terms with the fact that, you know, people are going to read it. And have opinions on it. Pages will be turned.
If I wasn’t up to my neck with revisions for Book 2 and finishing the first draft of Book 3, I might even have time to be nervous about it! My little book won’t be alone in the world for much longer. Two siblings are hot on its heels…
Tansy Rayner Roberts is the author of Power & Majesty, Creature Court Book One. Visit the Creature Court website to hear Tansy read aloud from Power & Majesty, or read the first few chapters at the Voyager Online website.
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