Sunday, 3 October 2010

Friends, who among you has never bought a copy of her own book from Amazon?

Come on, you've all done it at least once. Don't make me feel like a pariah here.

A couple of weeks ago - over a year since first receiving the good news that my words were to appear in print (IN PRINT) in a book that people could BUY - in a book shop - my words finally were printed, and the book that they were in came out, and a copy of it was brought to my door by the postman.

Well, I say one copy. It would be more accurate to say 'a dozen copies', since that's how many author-copies I insisted on the publisher sending. (Thanks, Stu). Because it's never too early to start buying Christmas presents, right?!!

No. I am not going to start giving people a copy of my own book for Christmas presents. What am I, David Hasselhoff? No, the idea was to send them out to anybody who has supported me in the long and torturous road to getting published. Its a road that's taken in a lot of perseverance, a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, lots of blank glassy stares and going red in the face from frustration, and many many tears. The nature of 'help' my long-suffering pals and boyfriend have given me is wide-ranging. It encompasses not complaining too loudly when I take up the entire kitchen table with my notebooks and bits of paper; it includes silently bringing cups of tea when I'm in the midst of a midden. It includes friendly chats and afternoons spent companion-writing around a friend's house. It includes not laughing at things I've written, even the attempts that were very rubbish. On the part of the long-suffering boyfriend, support has included not only putting up with long periods of black, moody silence, lots of shouting and stomping around the house, wiping my face on the cat and crying, but also building me a desk and long-term lending me a laptop to work on.

So there were plenty of people to thank, and I wanted to send each one of them a copy. But guess what? Nobody wanted to be given one. Readers, the support of my nearest and dearest was so extensive that they wouldn't hear of being gifted with a copy of the book; they all insisted on buying one. To this very day, I still have a dozen copies of Even More Tonto Short Stories on my coffee table at home.

The book is also available on Amazon. So I had all these copies on my table, and then allegedly according to the Internet, you could buy it off Amazon. I almost couldn't quite believe it. I wanted to check that it worked. And so, one day (and I am pretty embarrassed to admit it), I bought a copy of my own book.

Unconvinced that there was a book publicly available with my words in it, I clicked "buy", and remained mildly cynical until the day when the postman came to the door with it in his hands. (Friends, don't try this it at home. It probably technically counts as 'shilling'.) Thinking that the whole thing might be a product of my fevered imagination (apparently a necessary trait for authors), I tore the cardboard wrapping off with shaking fingers: and there it was underneath, a thirteenth copy of Even More Tonto Short Stories, to go with the other dozen I still have sitting on the table in my living room....

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