One Week After
What a week it’s been.
A week ago, I was getting ready in the Hoxton Holborn for my book launch. Where unbeknownst to me (I genuinely thought no-one would come, because I’m that much of a worrier) around 150-200 of my favourite people in the world piled into a long rectangular room to drink Prosecco, chat, cackle and watch me try to deliver a speech with some lols in it. Aka, literally the highlight of my current 27 years on this little planet, because I know that night will never happen again. Who knows, I might have another book launch one day, but I’ll never have “my first book launch” ever again. It was so special and I keep replaying bits in my head but I’m still not sure it actually happened. Everyone was on fine form. I felt proud to know them all.
The first thing I’ve learned, since this all began, is to promote a book is hard. There’s a hustle to it. Lucky for me, I do have the most amazing team of people pitching away. Four pages in the Sunday Times Magazine. Double page spread in The Metro. Stylist magazine. BBC. RTE radio. But it takes time. It takes serious dedication from the people who want the book to do well. I see the hard work from my publisher and agent, and I see my own mind constantly ticking over. Constantly thinking about it. I want people to read it. Of course you’re going to live and breathe your own book. If something goes even slightly wrong, I feel things so deeply and personally because hey, it’s my thing that I tried so hard to make.
When I was tiny, I used to think books grew on trees.
Long long days of recording the audio book. Days to record videos for Amazon and Audible and Penguin. Photo shoots. Newsletters. Writing articles. Pitching articles. Talks. Preparing workshops. Recording. Editing podcast episodes. Scheduling. Posting. Repeat.
As well as that, figuring out when I should stop incessantly Tweeting and Instagramming pictures of my book. Deep down, I know where the line is, but I won’t be stopping yet.
I’ve learned a lot from seeing everyone else around me in action, too. I feel lucky to have the behind-the-scenes of it all.
On Tuesday I spent the entire day at the BBC doing various different radio interviews. Some were SO FUN, dancing to Ariana Grande with Preeya Kalidas (who I’ve adored ever since the Bend It Like Beckham film came out) and some were a bit iffy: trying to paint me as some sort of idiotic social media obsessed vacuous Millennial. Sigh.
The second thing is…exhaustion. Nothing too dramatic, just a moment of breathing out and thinking OH GOD IT’S DONE. It’s….done and now I guess I just carry on with my life as normal even though this huge thing this has happened because it is a huge thing when you do something so important to you. Whether or not it is important to the outside world or anyone else, there’s a private moment of relief and release and calm and….
The third is….being protective over it. It’s not technically “mine” anymore because it’s out in the world for others to do as they wish. Multiple copies exist to be read, dog-earred, shared or used as coffee mats. It’s a thing to be bought and consumed. But I’m obviously attached to it, and I love it, and I’m proud of it. So when I went into a bookshop to secretly try and find it and the woman scratched her head when I mentioned the book name and wasn’t sure if they had it in yet, it does hurt a bit. Because it’s like someone’s offending a member of your family. But really: it’s only you that cares that much. They have so many books to tend to. You quickly realise yours isn’t the most important.
The main thing though, is the excitement you feel from the people reading it. The idea that strangers are reading it and imagining things in different ways. I’ve already received emails, messages and DMs from people who’ve read it – and the messages have made me cry. No response has been the same. All a different interesting takeaway. And…they read it. And they took the time to message me. That is the best feeling in the world.
Also, the idea that the people closest to you are learning something new about you. The idea of my best mate tucked up in bed reading it and not knowing some of the messy bits. The secrets I’ve held, big or small, are now out there and I like that. It feels right. I’ve learned that writing is the most natural thing to me. When I’m not doing it, I feel lost and strange and tetchy. I need to write.
Which brings me onto the last point…I’ve missed blogging. I’ve missed writing random things. I’ve missed that feeling of a good day’s writing. Since the day I handed in the book, I’ve felt a little empty and I think it’s because I need to always be writing. I miss writing.
I’m so proud of this book. It is everything I wanted it to be. It is what it is and I wouldn’t change it. I hope it feels alive to you, because when I hold it in my hand I can really feel something. So many of my emotions, to me, are still running through it.
I feel sad that it’s over. That the moment has passed and that I’ve had to say goodbye to the act of writing it.
I hope this is the beginning.
I hope you enjoy it.
I loved writing it, so much.
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