Not even three months since my debut was launched on the world and I can’t believe how much has changed. How little has changed. How much I’ve learned. How much I have still to learn...
I remember last Christmas attending my agent’s festive drinks party and being so ridiculously nervous. I knew there would be lots of experienced novelists there and though I had clinched a deal by then– my novel sold in several languages – it hadn’t been published. I hadn’t been through the editing process with a real, live publisher. I hadn’t experienced the thrill of holding that first paperback in my hands.
And now that I have experienced all of those things? Well – it’s every bit as exciting as I had hoped, that’s for sure. But it feels more like a job now. The delicious job I have always longed to do.
I understand a bit more now about what’s expected of me. How the editing process works….The difference between a development edit and a final copy edit. I have a better idea of how long things take.
I am less nervous. Less at sea. I enjoy swapping notes with other authors, feeling that little bit less green about it all. I no longer have to face the embarrassment of telling people just how many years I spent trying to be a novelist...which always felt that little bit ridiculous until I got my happy ending. But I learn now that the worrying never quite goes away. That once published, you tend to exchange the worry over whether you’ll get published….to the worry over marketing and how well your book will sell.
I’ve learned too what it feels like to check Amazon first thing every morning for ranking…and reviews. That incredible thrill when there’s another 5-star. The disappointment when there isn't.
But I’ve learned also, thank goodness, that whatever else is going on – marketing; cover discussions blah blah – once I sit down to write or edit, nothing has actually changed at all. And my apologies to those of you who are thinking - easy to say once you have the deal, Teresa! I don't mean to sound smug or unfeeling over the sting of rejection. Trust me - I had my share! I am just trying to be honest here.
And that is the joy and the relief and the wonderful paradox of it all. For I realise now, above all else, that it is the writing that defines me rather than the publication. I would have kept on writing….deal or no deal. It’s who I am.
So if that is who you are too and you’re still waiting for “the call”….just remember that you are a writer already - aspiring or otherwise - and keep going. Perhaps have a trawl back through some of my old blogs which share tips….and also serve to remind that it wasn’t that long ago that I was ‘aspiring’ rather than ‘published’ too.
To be honest, it simply feels strange. A lot’s changed since I started this blog. I feel blessed - of course I do. And yet at the same time nothing has changed at all. For at the end of the day as I wait to launch into editing this second book….it’s still me and the page. True - I have guidance now and a deal, not to mention some income, all of which is great. My editor will have ideas. Some very, very good ideas. And some I may not agree with and may even cause panic. But once the discussions are over and the work begins, it will essentially be down to me.
Sitting here in my office on my tod. Just me and the page.
The way it has always been.
And the way, thankfully, that I like it…