Meeting my book for the first time

by M.J. Hearle

My book arrived on Friday.

That sentence seems almost too small to convey the momentousness of such an occasion, hence I’ve left it up there on a line all by itself. Looks pretty, doesn’t it? I could stare at it all day. Not because I’m egotistical (though I am) but because I need to remind myself that this is really happening. Is there really a box sitting at home with twelve advance copies of my novel buried beneath a few inches of foam packaging chips? I had my girlfriend take a picture just in case I was hallucinating.

Proof that I'm not hallucinating

You can see that, can’t you, Welcome Reader? I’m reminded of that Christian Bale movie The Machinist when an empty photograph reveals the character he’s been chasing exists solely in his mind. Hopefully, the above picture doesn’t show a bare kitchen bench top otherwise I might be in trouble.

So far, Winter’s Shadow has existed as a Word file, a pdf, a jpeg of the cover but it wasn’t until friday when I held the actual physical copy of the book in my hands that the reality of the situation began to sink in. On June 1st you will be able to walk into a bookstore and buy a novel with my name on it (well my initials on it, so close enough).

Even after all the drafts, all the discussions with my agent and publishers about the title, the cover, the back blurb, the release date – in my heart I still believed any moment the rug was going to be pulled out from underneath me. That’d I’d be denounced as the impostor I feared myself to be. I’m not an author. I’m just a guy who thought he could write a book (nobody told me I couldn’t), somehow cobbled together ninety thousand words and sent it off to an agent.

Over the next few weeks leading up to the launch date I’m going to recount my journey to publication in more detail, but for now, please allow me this brief moment to rest on my laurels (or ‘laurel’ as this is my sole achievement so far). More often than not, writing is a hard slog through vast swamps of self-doubt and insecurity where it’s easy to become mired. Keep faith and hold strong. I can attest that the journey is more than worth it.

M. J.

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