Thursday the 10th January 2019. An insignificant little day in itself. Christmas has been and gone, the New Year has been welcomed in and everyone considers doing Dry January until they realise how miserable the weather is and reach for the nearest bottle of wine.
To me, however, this date marked the official start of my life as a published author when The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker was finally launched into the world. (It also happened to be my husband’s birthday but it got somewhat overshadowed this year. I’ll make it up to him…)
With a splendid blog tour organised by the efficient and helpful Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources, the day was set to be busy. In fact, I hardly left the sofa until the afternoon in my desperate attempts to keep up with social media and general messages of goodwill.
Being a weekday, I organised a launch party on the Saturday at the Stoke Ash White Horse – my welcoming and ever-supportive local pub. Despite my initial reluctance to hold such an event (after all, you can hardly sign a Kindle) it quickly became apparent I was either more popular than I’d anticipated or there were just a lot of nosy buggers out there because the number of people messaging to say they were coming was phenomenal. So much so, that by early January I stopped publicising the event, worried we would exceed capacity for the room. In the end, over one hundred people turned up to wish me luck and celebrate my book. It was truly one of the best nights of my life.
As part of the evening, I talked about my writing journey, accidentally embarrassed my husband and gave shout outs to the lovely people who had supported me over the years. It was attended by several authors, who had books for sale (Heidi Swain, Kate Hardy, Carol Cooper, Linda Taylor) and I held a raffle for Dementia UK – as this was a theme in the novel. We raised over £250 pounds and it was so popular we had to do a mad dash for more raffle tickets in the the middle of the evening. I cannot thank people enough for coming, or for their generous and unexpected gifts. (Champagne anyone?)
Nearly two weeks after publication and the book has an astounding 70 reviews on Amazon – all currently 4 and 5 stars – but you can bet your granny’s thermal drawers a 1 star will appear because the book didn’t download to someone’s Kindle or maybe just because my story is not their glass of champers. This is also fine – there is every reason to embrace your 1 stars.
Each time I read a new review I feel emotional. Someone has taken the time to write about the things that they enjoyed about my book. Some people quote lines that made them laugh, others talk about the poignant handling of the dementia storyline. All of them move me to tears. (Possibly too much champagne.)
So as the heady excitement dies down and the champagne wears off (it’s okay – I still have plenty left) my head is down and I’m focused on the structural edits for Book 2. I have a January 30th deadline and it’s going to be tight. However, the socialising never stops and on Saturday 9th February I can be found with some pretty special RNA ladies talking all things romance at The Diss Publishing House – our adorable local independent bookstore.
In the meantime, wrap up warm, stay safe and enjoy snuggling up with a good book xxx