My paperback has been out for a week, but the hardback edition of The Maid’s Room was published five months ago. Here’s what being published has taught me so far. . .
- The first bad review hurts – but your back gets broader.
- A five-star review is fabulous, a one-star review can be amusing, but oh god, a three-star review. . . I prefer extreme reactions.
- Being published is not going to imbue you with the confidence you imagine when you’re still struggling to get representation – there’s a new list of things to worry about.
- You know all that gushing gratitude towards literary agents in authors’ acknowledgements, well, I concur. Your agent is your guardian angel, the font of truth, the person who puts their arm around you when you’re wobbling.
- Before your first book is published, it’s a good idea to have written the first draft of your second book. I’m not sure I would have had the head space to write book 2 with all the debut fanfare.
- There are some blooming lovely writers out there.
- Don’t compare yourself to other writers. Not everyone gets a London Underground poster.
- The editor is right 99.9 per cent of the time.
- Your mood is inextricably linked with your Amazon ranking, even though you’ll be unable to make any sense of the algorithms at all.
- The first draft never gets any easier – no matter how many times you’ve faced the blank page.
- A complete stranger saying they’ve connected with your book? Nothing beats it; it’s the most exquisite gift of all.
- Spotting your book in a bookshop is exciting, but instantly you’ll be overcome with a desperate yearning for someone to buy it.
- Seeing your book in a library will make you want to dance in the aisle.
- You’ll think little old you can’t possibly stand up in front of a room full of people and make a speech or give a talk, but you’ll surprise yourself.
- Publishers sometimes send you books to read – it’s like opening a birthday present.
- Want to feel good? Get off social media and write.