Some girls dream about what their wedding day will be like, but for me, the dream has always been the book launch. And last week, it happened! What I thought I’d do for you here is tell you what things were like behind the scenes, and how it feels to be a newly published author!
Well, at the risk of defusing the tension far too quickly in this blog post, being a newly published author feels very similar to being a nearly published author. Except now, when people ask me what I’ve written, I can actually point them in the direction of book stores!!! Having my book finally out on the shelves is just amazing. To go from being a Waterstones bookseller to seeing my book on the Buy One Get One Half Price tables is a dream come true.
Last Monday (three days before my launch party) I went to see my bookseller pal Teresa at her branch of Waterstones on the Kings Road, London. And I got to do the signing thing!
After which I had to go and find somewhere to get my eyebrows tamed. Ladies and gents, but mostly ladies, if there is one thing I hate doing its plucking my eyebrows. I just let them get as unruly as I can take before I go and have them threaded or waxed. Which is how I found myself in Peter Jones in Sloane Square, getting tutted at by a lady with some fine string, who proceeded to moan at me for how red the areas around my eyebrows were getting during the treatment. Like that’s even my fault?! When I asked for a mirror afterwards so that I could put some correcting make up on, she barked “no make up for five hours after treatment!” so I promptly went to hide in the toilets whilst I applied considerable amount of concealer on the upper half of my face.
Flash forward to the day of the party…
I spent most of the morning in bed trying to sleep so that I’d have enough energy for staying up late (those who are unaware of my health drama, please check out the tab on POTS), but I just couldn’t rest. I was far too nervous/excited, and I was getting far too many tweet alerts celebrating my book birthday. After lunch I decided to paint my nails whilst watching a countdown of the best ever Disney songs on Sky. This was a very good decision on my part and I didn’t regret it.
When I finally got to Waterstones Piccadilly, at about 5pm, my first thoughts were with the cake. The cake had been ordered from Choccywoccydoodahs months before, and I was desperate to know 1) if it had arrived at Piccadilly safely, and 2) WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE. Seriously, they don’t tell you these things. You order the cake, and you kinda know what to expect, but then you just have to wait it out until party day before you even get to see it. Well, fortunately, I was not disappointed:
Look at it. LOOK AT IT. It is quite possibly the most amazing cake IN THE WORLD!!! It’s made out of chocolate sponge with white truffle cream filling, and decorated entirely with chocolate. Yes, that’s right: ENTIRELY WITH CHOCOLATE. The fantastic guys at Choccywoccydoodahs had replicated the cover art (designed by Kate Grove, illustrated by John Riordan) perfectly, and made me a solid chocolate Othergirl. Right now, as I type, the chocolate book is being mounted and sealed in a moisture proof box frame, so that I can keep it forever. FOREVER.
Next up, let’s talk about my publishers, and how fabulous they looked:
How to tell if your publishers like you: THEY DRESS UP IN SPANDEX FOR YOUR LAUNCH PARTY.
Charlie had only flown in from the Bologna book fair that day, and looked amazing as an Incredible, whilst Chloe was doing her bit for genderswap by representing as a lady-Thor. And yes, that’s me in a cape. A FRIGGING SHINY CAPE. It was rented from Angels and had tiny tear in the back, but I’m hoping nobody noticed…
Being surrounded by every single person you care about in the word, all together in one room, is totally overwhelming. I’m not sure that there are many moments in life when you get to experience that, but let me tell you, its wonderful. I had almost all my extended family in the room, plus friends from school, friends from university, friends from Waterstones, and even some of the friends I’ve met whilst working copious hours in Edgware Starbucks! Plus there were bloggers, other booksellers, writers and librarians there to wish me well. It was amazing. If you were there, then thank your for being there, it meant a lot. If I know you and you weren’t there, well then trust me, I wish you were (but Waterstones Piccadilly had a cap on the numbers).
My signiture changed dramatically over the course of the evening. I’ve been told to try and perfect a special signiture just for signing books, but I really haven’t figured that out yet. So some people got legible versions of my name, whilst others got the letter ‘N’ followed by an intelligable squiggle. But between my hands shaking and struggling to remember how to spell people’s names, I did the best I could!
Finally, let’s talk about how standing up and signing signitures and generally being in a state of stressed-excitement for a few solid hours was probably the worst thing I could possibly do for my health. My resting heart rate sits at about 110 at the best of times, and that plus my high blood pressure and my POTS diagnosis is why I can’t do exercise at the moment, so basically I was running on endorphins and adrenaline for a good portion of the night. When I finally managed to sit down at about 9pm, it transpired that standing up again was not something that was going to happen easily. I felt terrible, and had all the signs of extreme fatigue. Put it this way, for someone with POTS just the process of going from sitting to standing puts 3x the amount of strain on the heart than for a normal person. So by the end of the party I wasn’t just tired, but quite unwell. I couldn’t stand without seeing stars, and as my Mum was to find out soon after, I became incredible irritable whenever I had to move somewhere. I crashed out that night (a Thursday) and didn’t really get out of bed until after midday on the Saturday.
But it was was worth it. Every moment of discomfort and palpitations was completely and utterly worth it to be able to celebrate Othergirl with everyone.
So there we are. My book is out, you can buy it in shops or on the online retailer of your choice. I hope you like it, and if its not for you, oh well! There are plenty of other books in the sea, and I hope that you liked this blog post at least?
Much love and high fives,