Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Launch worries

For a week or so now people have been asking me whether I’m excited about Testament’s launch on Thursday. And, though I have been getting excited, I’ve also been worrying. Worrying that the contingent from Canterbury, who are coming up on a small coach, won’t get there early enough to enjoy the party; worrying that people coming from elsewhere will decide not to come after all and there won’t be anybody there at all until after 7 o’clock; worrying that I’ll disappoint people when they ask me to ‘write something for me’ in the copies of the book that they’ve bought; worrying that we won’t be able to find somewhere for people to eat before we go home… and so on.

But then, yesterday, I spoke to the lovely David at Goldsboro books. None of the above worries went away – except that he did say that Sophie, the publicist at Macmillan New Writing has quite a few people coming - but he was so positive about Testament that it was hard not to think that the launch is going to be fun. Goldsboro books are fantastic supporters of MNW, so the front window is full of copies of Testament and David, who has actually read it, says he's been recommending it to people which would explain why it’s already sold well over a hundred copies in pre-orders. I am gobsmacked. And delighted, of course, but gobsmacked is the primary emotion.Over a hundred people who don’t know me have decided that they want to read Testament and have ordered it.
Of course the whole point of writing and publishing novels is to sell them so that people can read them but – prior to publication - it takes the self-belief of an ego-maniac to really believe that people wholly unconnected with you are going to buy what you have written. So, I am immensely encouraged and not a little bit thrilled by these pre-orders. Granted, they're not going to make me rich, but that was never the point.

The other encouraging thing that happened yesterday was that Simon Key told the world, on the Open a Bookshop What Could Possibly Go Wrong blog that he’s coming to the launch. I am significantly chuffed to be having a bookseller coming. OK, I did shamelessly invite him because I really like what they’re trying to do in Wood Green and I love the blog which he and his partner-in-books Tim write but still…

So, L-day minus two. Tomorrow I am working and my parents arrive so today’s the last writing day until next week as various family are staying over on Friday and into the weekend. Today will be interspersed with vacuuming, bed-making, and sorting out Sainsbury’s but I’m hopeful that the current chapter will at least assume some kind of shape before all that happens or in bits between it happening, if you know what I mean.

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