Monday, March 10, 2008

Blook

I have discovered that the thing about writing a book is that writing it is only the start. You then have to sell it. Selling it involves all sorts of conversations with people who take you far too seriously as you sit there "pitching" your book to them. No one has yet said "You are kidding? Someone is publishing your diary? And they're paying you for it?" Doubtless it will come.

I went down to London for a drinks party with booksellers. There were "real" writers at it. Writers I read. I half expected a siren to go off "Blogger Alert! Blogger Alert!" and metal shutters to ratchet down when I walked in. But the booksellers were so nice. Grown women with their own businesses allowed me to burble at them when I am sure they would rather have been talking to someone they had heard of. It is fatal to listen to yourself. At one point I found myself thinking: "My God this woman talks rubbish. I hope she can write better than she can speak." Which is probably true since I lisp in real life and I do not think I have ever lithped in print. Truth be told I think I am losing my nerve about the whole writing thing. I wrote a book and it disappeared into the ether and in a week or so, I will see something that looks like a book that is not a book but is called a proof. I have to read the proof and make sure there are no mistakes or ambiguities. Apparently it is too late at that stage to change it beyond those two things because it is all so expensive. What if I think it is grammatically correct and unambiguously bad?

Maybe I will feel better once I have seen it in print however good or bad it is. Because at the moment I feel as if the book is all a dream and any minute now I am going to wake up naked in a shower. Then again, I must have written a book because I have this really sick feeling in my stomach that tells me I am about to get sued, ostracised because I have offended so many friends or hideously embarassed when no-one in the entire country buys it apart from my husband's colleagues. One of my conversations at the drinks party involved someone telling me what a harsh marketplace Amazon was. You could not hide anything. If you sold, you sold; if you did not sell, you did not sell. I thought about crawling under the nearest table and hiding behind the linen tablecloth so that I could rock myself to and fro to settle myself again.

32 comments:

CrazyCath said...

Woah Judith! (Now I know your name)
Confidence girl confidence!
It's just like pre-wedding heeby-jeebies. It'll be fine.

It is not easy to get published. As a journalist you must know that. I wouldn't know where to start and have always been a frustrated book or poetry writer. Give yourself some credit. Publisher's wouldn't give you a sniff if they thought it wouldn't sell and it was crap.

Any "friend" who is offended by open and honest writing is not a friend.

Any writer who looks down their nose at you - (and I bet they didn't - true writers will recognise different genres, not one better than the other) - won't last long in the dog-eat-dog world. Your experience is behind you. You must have written some close-to-the-knuckle articles? Draw on that experience.

This is risky because you are sharing YOU. Not just "the journalist opinion".

Good luck. And don't back out! I want to buy it!

Rachel said...

I went on amazon to look at pre-ordering the book and it lists the language as French. Is that really correct?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wife-North-Judith-OReilly/dp/0141033436/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205169807&sr=8-1

I'm sure the book will be great. Your writing style is far more interesting than other bloggers who have been published and who have sold many copies. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

wife in the north said...

hmm French? Maybe they have been influenced by the hope I could be another "La Petite Anglaise"? Maybe they are hoping if it is published in French, there will be more sex in it? (More as opposed to none that is). Maybe it is 'ow you zay? a mistake?

Rachel said...

I expect it is Amazon's mistake rather than on the part of your publisher. Or at least I hope so (as I was rather hoping it would be in a language I can read and understand completely rather than just the odd phrase here and there).

Expatmum said...

I'm sure it will be a rip-roaring success, and any interviews you do (and there will be many) will have you sounding fabulous and confident. The great thing about sales numbers is that they are about a year behind in being reported, so when people ask you how many you've sold, you can always say "Oh, who knows. I won't get the figures for another 6 "months".
You are right that the hardest part begins when you have to start getting "exposure". Very cringe-making in my opinion.

barb said...

When my author copies arrived I burst into tears - it is like giving birth but without the goo.
And crazycath is right. Any issues 'friends' have belong to them.

May I add, re: the lisp . It is no doubt endearing ... I discovered that if I've had too much pleasure with a bottle of red that I write with a stutter.

Trying to write my website for a (fortunately also jolly) friend I wrote wwwwwwww. Didn't find out until the following day.

Tina said...

Wifey, sleep easy & no need to rock. You know we'll all buy it.

Can't wait

Ann in Saskatchewan said...

Well, I for one can't wait for your book to come out. Since I am in Canada there is no knowing when it will appear in our stores so I will have to get a kindly friend to send me a copy. Since you replied to an e-mail from me at one time I can now say, I actually know someone famous!!!

Pam said...

well I'm going to buy one from Amazon - so you'll have at least one sale! I'm sure it'll go like great guns and congrats on getting it written!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Ah buy you are realising what is a mere dream for most of us bloggers. I for one am fairly, insanely jealous!
Congrats, and go forth with confidence!
Pigx

merry weather said...

Jumping through hoops wifey! Have courage. Roll on the day, I'm impatient to read it...

GoneBackSouth said...

I always thought writing a book must be tricky, for the simple reason that it takes so blummin' long, by the time you've finished you've got bored or gone off the idea. It would take an extremely patient and confident person not to have a wobble every now and again.

By the way I get referrals from your site quite a lot - thanks again for listing me :-) I'm really enjoying this blogging lark (and the house has never been such a disgraceful mess).

Sweet Irene said...

Have you not also found a bit of that harsh reality in blogging or did you only have adoring commenters?

By the way, you never do acknowledge people who comment do you? Not that you are obliged to, I was just wondering.

Good luck with the book, I hope it is a big hit, but you are a good writer and I think it will be fine.

Potty Mummy said...

You've got this far Wifey. How many people can say that? Just hold your nerve and you will be absolutely fine.

Norman said...

Bwelieve me, its pre-publishing nerves you have. I get similar panics as an exhibition approaches. Nightmares of my work falling off the wall, the critics slagging me off... no buyers... the gallery changing its mind.
But once the private view is out of the way I can relax.
Once your book is launched, YOU can relax.
If you didn't worry, then you WOULD have something to worry about.... if you get my drift.

Norman said...

"Bwelieve me????"
I really should not be typing at this time of night. Better log off and go to bed.
Is ther such a thing as typographical dyslexia?

softinthehead said...

Do I take it you have mixed feelings? :)

I Beatrice said...

Oh my, I can just about imagine how you must feel! I always suspected that were I to have a book published I'd go into a kind of panic over-drive, rushing around grabbing it off the bookshelves in a desperate attempt to put right all those things I had begun to loathe about it!

I feel that about my blog-novel already - so what would I feel about a book that was actually printed and 'out there'?

I'm sure you have no reason for misgivings though. Yours must have been through the mill a dozen times by now, so there can't be anything left to give you nightmares.

All very good wishes to you anyway. I for one will be out there buying your book as soon as it's available.

Sarah said...

Every now and then, I have a dream where I'm wearing a top that doesn't go past my waist, or I'm completely nakeed. In school, or some public place...
At least you'll have your wellies on.
Don't let your inner critic diminish the sense of achievement for completing your own journey.
Says she, oh, Guru of Guff...

Wadds Tech PR Blog said...

Just gone onto Amazon to pre-order. Search on "wife in the north" brings up Petite Anglaise, your book, and bunch of academic books about wife shopping. Madness. Good luck. It'll be fab. Can't wait to read the review in the Northumberland Gazette. Have you got any readings planned? Barter Books in Alnwick?

Wadds Tech PR Blog said...

er, wife swapping, not shopping.

wife in the north said...

hmmm well wife swapping would make for an interesting blog or two but since I can never find my car keys I think I'm safe enough.

Winchester whisperer said...

Have you read about Petite's angst since she's published?

Jackie Luben said...

Anyone who writes must regard it as a dream come true to achieve publication. You will be fine - your blog is successful not because of what you write, but because of the way you write.

wife in the north said...

Thanks for the support everyone. I said to my publisher at the party. "You know, reading La Petite Anglaise which is so good and which has all the stuff about her affairs and the breakdown of her relationships, I'm just not sure mine is going to compare. I break egg cups. I think I haven't been revealing enough." She shook her head. She said: "Oh you have. You've been really revealing. Really." Which somehow did not make me feel better.

re Winchester Whisperer: I have caught some of her press stuff and think she has handled herself really well.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi I hope your book comes out, and I will buy it, just like I have Petite anglais... yours is about moving up north from London with a family and staying together and her is about moving to a different country, having a baby, splitting up and new lovers, I am sure yours will just be as fascinating.

Swearing Mother said...

DON'T BE SO SILLY!! Your book will be brilliant, it will sell like hot cakes, if people get offended they can sod off and not take themselves so seriously, so don't lose your nerve.

It's. All. Going. To. Be. Fine.

Going over to Amazon now to see if I can pre-order.

mutleythedog said...

I am looking forward to seeing you on Richard and Judy - Dick is a blogging friend of mine and I have already smoothed the way - as we say!!

Iota said...

Wifey, if you are feeling wobbly about the book, then be reassured by this. I typed your name into Amazon.com and it came up with your book, followed by Petite Anglaise, followed by an endless number of versions of "Night of the Living Dead".

So I then tried typing in "Wife in the North", and it came up with your book, then "The Reluctant Communist: My Desertion, Court-Martial, and Forty-Year Imprisonment in North Korea", and then "Blood Vows: Story of a Mafia Wife".

You're in very good company.

petite said...

I'm so sorry we didn't get chance to meet at that party (where I was feeling similarly ill at ease)...

spider said...

Your concerns are common, I have designed hundreds of books over the last 20 years, both covers and text and my experience with authors is they are generally a delicate community, needing much encouragement and care. Trust your publisher they are taking the financial risks and wouldn't if there was any doubt. www.alternativeplot.co.uk

lady thinker said...

I agree with ~Rachel it does list the book as ~French language - it which case it will languish in my basket and not reach the checkout.

If you want to promote your book further you could do what many other authors do - log on to Amazon and write a review and post it then log in again under another pen name and write another review ad infinitum and before you know it huge sales - sorted. 8-)