Pre-publication Nerves


Out Next Week!

I have two books out this month – Ask Amy Green: Love and Other Drama-ramas and Sally Go Round the Stars: Rhymes from an Irish Childhood – and as always I’m dreadfully nervous. Will readers like them? Will they pick them up in a bookshop? Will they buy them? Are the covers right? Did I find all the typos? This morning I woke up at 6am, my head already full of my To Do list: finish putting content on my new website (more on that in a second), write Amy 5, think about the short story I have to write for a Walker Books anthology called ‘And Then He Kissed Me’, write articles for the launch of both books, write this blog, and let’s not mention the tax return hanging over my head or the rewrite of Shoestring 2! I also programme the children’s section of a book festival, Mountains to Sea in Dun Laoghaire which starts in, gulp, a week.

My new website is almost ready to go live – on 6th September. Lisa, the designer has done an amazing job. It’s fresh looking and easy to navigate, it has a Facebook feed and all kinds of clever things like a media box (for video clips and photos). I’ve updated all the content and added lots of new content, like exclusive background details to all my books – how the titles were picked, where the idea came from etc. I’ve very proud of it and I can’t wait to share it with you all in September. I will of course be continuing my writing blog, and do please keep reading!

Writers at every stage of their careers are riddled with doubts and insecurities, especially around publication time. I’ve written eleven adult novels now (nine published, two out in the next two years), I’ve written four Amy Green novels, and lots of other children’s books, but I’m still horribly nervous about the reaction to each and every new book.

Seeing your new book on the shelf for the first time is terrifying, yet exhilarating. Not seeing it on the shelves when it’s supposed to be there is of course, far worse! I’m in the very lucky position of having publishers behind me who believe in my work and do all they can to edit, market and promote my books to the very best of their ability. And I try to do my part, writing articles for papers, magazines, blogs and websites, being interviewed by journalists on all kinds of things – yesterday it was on proposing to Ben, my partner, for the Irish Examiner – visiting the bookshops to say hi to the booksellers and to sign stock, doing school events, library events, festivals. Around publication time I generally set aside a full month to work on the publicity side of things. There is no point spending a whole year writing and rewriting a book and then just sitting back and letting it find its own way in the market, I like to get out there and do as much as I can to help it on its way.

I know some unpublished writers look forward to the bookshop visits, the interviews, talking to school children or reading their work to adults, but many don’t. After over fifteen years writing and publishing books, I guess I’m just used to it; but publication month never gets any easier – it’s exciting, joyful, stressful and exhausting. But you have to embrace all the publicity and the marketing for what it is – part of every writer’s job. And I’m very, very grateful that people actually want to read my articles, want to interview me, want me to visit their students. October is Children’s Book Festival month and I’ll be travelling around the country talking to young readers about writing and my books. But in November it’s back to my desk to finish Amy 5. And I’m already looking forward to it. Sometimes I think publication month is there to send us writers scurrying back to our desks with added dedication and vim, ready to type again until our fingers throb.

But in the meantime I’m going to take a deep breath, jump into September head first and embrace all the madness of publication month. And now I can cross ‘write blog’ off my To Do list!

Yours in writing,

Sarah XXX