The Agony and the Ecstacy…

There’s nothing quite like opening that Jiffy bag and seeing the first copy of your new book, hot(ish) off the press.

I Heard My Country Calling
I Heard My Country Calling

The first thing I do is check they’ve spelled my name right. Yes, I’ve pored over proofs obsessively but the second t in Elliott sometimes inexplicably goes AWOL. Jolly good, all t’s present and correct.

The cover is a strong design and says what it needs to, but the weight and feel of a book is important too. Does it feel good to handle and is the paper a decent gsi? What colour is the hard cover beneath the jacket? A nice cream with gold lettering on the spine, good choice.  How has the plate section come out – are the photos hi-res and glossy and are the captions as I recall writing them?  Like many book-browsers, I always turn to the photographs first to give me a flavour of a non-fiction book.

It’s all looking good. And if it looks good to hyper-critical me, then it has a decent chance of being picked up in a bookshop or browsed on Amazon.  I pick a page at random and start reading – always an agonising moment. Will some crass bit of styling or mangled syntax leap out at me?  Not in this para anyway…

So, agony over, and though ecstacy would be pushing it a bit, I do feel relief and – yes – pride. It’s the product of almost three years work. But now the real effort starts – getting readers to buy it.  And I know from experience that potentially there’s plenty more agony ahead…

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