Wednesday, 11 March 2020
Not humbled, relieved
March already. It feels like I’ve had my head down for a few weeks, I look up, and a few months have gone by. Half a year has passed since A Love of Two Halves, my newest baby, emerged blinking into the autumn light. She’s looking quite healthy, I would say (don’t worry, I’ll abandon the baby metaphor before long), and she will be walking within a year, I hope.
Several readers who don’t know me, or owe me a favour, have said that they ‘absolutely loved’ the book. This is a quite exhilarating and reassuring experience for me, the creator, who had the idea for the book nearly five years ago. Authors often say they are ‘humbled’ to receive such feedback. This is a reaction that always puzzles me. I’m not humbled, I’m proud. I have had thousands of humbling experiences in my life. This isn’t one of them.
So I have had some great reactions, no really bad reviews, and the record on sales has been generally promising if slightly erratic. In the Amazon sales rankings it has featured in the top 100 political fiction list, and top 1,000 romantic fiction, on many days, adding up to a few weeks in total. The Christmas ad campaign was especially profitable.
My dominant emotion is actually one of relief. Writing is my livelihood, you see; the only thing I’ve ever earned a living from. I don’t have an alternative profession, or much in the way of savings. I am aware that this update, and some of my social media posts, may come across as a bit ‘me, me, me / my book, my book, my book’. I know, and I’m sorry, but please bear in mind that it’s more financial insecurity than narcissism that propels this activity. I’m very aware that it’s a privilege to earn a living from a creative way of life.
In other news, I have a speaking gig at the Margate Bookie in July 2020 along with other authors from my publisher Unbound. Three TV scriptwriters have requested copies of A Love of Two Halves, or their agents have. Or their agents’ PA. Still counts. This hardly means that a small-screen adaptation is imminent, but I can honestly say that the premise has piqued the interest of a few in the industry.
I’ve honoured most of the pledges, which have included treating readers to lunch as far apart as Bedfordshire and Leith near Edinburgh, and beta reading a few novels. There are just one or two still to fulfil.
I’m working on a fourth novel, with the working title No Traveller Returns, also set in West Yorkshire. It will be more sombre in tone, but I’m planning a long-running joke, that plays off a serious theme. Hard to explain. You’ll just have to read it. Wait – first, I have to finish writing it. And get it published.
Thank you for your amazing support. I know that many of you have enjoyed A Love of Two Halves, I fear that a couple of you haven’t, but thank you anyway. Thank you all.
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