Saturday, 10 May 2014

Things They Don't Warn You About

The hard copies of the books have arrived, and two copies have been dutifully signed and posted out to my parents and parents-in-law.  Various friends and friends of friends (and the receptionist at work) have very kindly ordered copies from Amazon, and have expressed a desire to have these signed at some point as well.

This is something for which I was not prepared.  I mean, the concept in and of itself isn’t alien to me.  I’ve only ever had one book signed myself (Space Captain Smith, when they had a book launch for the fourth in the series in the Waterstones in Milton Keynes.  The author, Toby Frost is a lovely chap, and I highly recommend the series!) but still I’m familiar with the general idea.

Writing in the two copies sent out to family was a bizarre experience in the extreme, and of course next Saturday evening, there will be an official launching of the book at Christ The Cornerstone church in Milton Keynes (to which you are warmly invited if you can make it) during which I am going to talk about (or at least answer questions on) the book, and will probably have to sign more copies.  And don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful, weird, surreal experience, and I'm not wholly convinced that I'm not going to wake up and discover it was all a dream, as my Year 3 teacher used to write at the end of all my stories.

Now I’ve done an entire Masters Degree in creative writing, although admittedly the emphasis was more on script writing than novels.  We covered film scripts, radio scripts, stage plays, and theories of writing and creativity.  What we did not cover, and which I now feel was a serious omission, was ‘What you do when you’re published’.  Even a single lecture during which we were given blank books, and could practice writing ‘To X, best wishes, Thomas Jones’ would have been highly useful.  Being told the kind of things you’re expected to say at book launches without sounding dull or unbearably pretentious would definitely have helped.

Perhaps they didn’t have very high expectations for us, and assumed it would be like including a module on ‘How to accept a Nobel Prize’ in an undergraduate physics course.  Putting the cart rather before the horse, and building up our expectations to unrealistic levels, maybe.

But still, it would’ve been handy...

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