Just spotted this lovely review of “Would Like to Meet” by book blogger, Jody. You can read it by clicking here.
Obviously, there are more reviews coming on on Goodreads and Amazon all the time at the moment, so it’s hard to keep up, but here’s one from the book blog, “I Read Books”. You can access it by clicking here.
Clue: don’t do as I’ve done. Twice.
When I finished my last book, Diary of an Unsmug Married, it had no sooner gone to print than I remembered loads of people I’d meant to thank for their help while I was writing it.
By then it was too late to add any names, so I vowed to be far more organised about remembering who to thank in my next book.
Famous last words. I never learn.
I started as I intended to go on – by keeping a list of everyone who helped me with research, ideas or just with life in general – but, as soon as Would Like to Meet went to the printer, I realised I’d forgotten to update my “thank-you” list after completing my final edit. Probably because I was so overwhelmed with relief at being able to see the finish line at last, but that’s NO excuse for such monumental dingbattery.
Anyway, what all this means is that I’ve again missed out several very important people from the acknowledgements of Would Like to Meet, so I’m going to try to make up for my latest cock-up here.
(I know being thanked on my website isn’t half as good as having your name in an actual book, but I hope it does at least show how grateful I really am to the people who weren’t mentioned in the book itself.)
So, my sincere thanks are also due (in no particular order) to:
- Jo Marino and her team at Way to Blue for their creative thinking, helpful emails in the middle of the night and at weekends, and for generally being so encouraging and supportive of both me and my books.
- Helena Sheffield and Phoebe Morgan from Avon Books for their great ideas and enthusiasm.
- Julia Kitt, fabulous hairdresser and equally-wonderful friend, for listening to me ranting about my neighbours, my book, and anything else I can think of, every time she cuts my hair. Also for never losing her temper when I say, “I need a fringe”, followed “WHY did you let me have a fringe? I need to grow it back – right now.” She also provides a seemingly-neverending supply of sympathy and encouragement – albeit more in relation to my writing than my fringe-related indecision.
- And last, but by no means least, the lovely Niamh Hilditch, not just for putting up with my almost-constant moaning about the trials of writing Would Like to Meet, but also for her brilliant suggestion about changing the order of the tagline.
Thank you all, so much. (And I’m REALLY sorry I’m so forgetful. I blame either the menopause or pre-senile dementia. Or maybe both.)
After I opened yesterday’s mystery parcel containing a hatbox, fedora and a copy of my book, I realised that other people had been receiving them too, and were posting photos of themselves wearing the hat and holding the book on social media. As I’m the author of the book, I felt I should join in straight away – until I looked in the mirror, that is.
At that point, I realised I hadn’t brushed my hair for days, I had tons of mascara under my eyes but none whatsoever on my eyelashes, and I was still wearing my dressing gown. At 4pm.
Modelling the fedora for a photograph would have to wait until the following day, to allow me time to rebuild myself – or to polish a you-know-what (which might be a more accurate way to describe the magnitude of the task ahead).
The whole process took so long, I only finished the you-know-what polishing exercise a couple of hours ago, so here’s the photo my husband took as soon as I had. (I’ve got a HUGE head, so that’s why the fedora doesn’t hide as much of my face as it ideally should have done.)
I had a very special ‘special delivery’ earlier today: a present from my publisher, Avon Books and their PR agency, Way to Blue.
It was a big brown cardboard box, which opened to reveal a gorgeous hatbox in duck-egg green (or blue if you’re colourblind like my husband).
I opened the hatbox next (the whole thing was becoming a bit like Pass the Parcel by now, except every turn was mine, and there weren’t any fights for chairs). Inside, I found a copy of my new book, Would Like to Meet, together with an enigmatic note and a fedora.
Why the fedora? Well, that’d be telling, wouldn’t it? (No spoilers here.)
Just thought I’d let you know that there’s a free sample of my new book on Amazon at the moment, which you can access by clicking here.
I can’t believe P-Day’s almost here, because this damned book seems to have taken forever to write, although the time’s gone scarily fast at the same time. (Is that even possible?)
The big day is June 30th, though I’m more likely to spend it lying on the sofa in a sleep-deprived, panic-stricken stupor, than living it up and celebrating in style. Like the main character in my new book, I don’t much like drawing attention to myself…which seems an ironic thing to say on your own website, doesn’t it?
The title is Would Like to Meet, and if you’re curious about the cover, join me and Avon Books on Twitter on May 1st from 7pm, where all will be revealed.
You can find me @Mid_WifeCrisis and Avon at @AvonBooksUK. Hope to see you there!
Or, rather, back to the real world after a three-month hiatus working on various edits of my new book. (So much for my promise to blog about the process regularly. I clearly lied.)
Just to update you, here’s what’s been happening since I last posted about writing, which I think was just after I’d submitted the manuscript to my editor after making what’s known as a “developmental” edit. That’s basically where you flesh out characters and scenes more fully, and generally improve the book so that it doesn’t lie flat and dead on the page with nothing truly coming alive.
In my case, this developmental edit was combined with a structural edit, which is where scenes get moved around, cut or extended etc – in other words, fairly big changes are made, and the author often gets outfaced by the scale of the work involved and loses the plot at this stage. I know I do, and my concentration’s not helped by my neighbours’ obsession with knocking down walls at every opportunity – when they’re not hamering the shit out of things for no apparent reason, that is.
Since then, the hammering and wall demolition has lessened a bit (though I bet I’m tempting fate by saying that), and I’ve been able to concentrate on completing a line edit with the help of my editor at Avon Books. That kind of edit focuses on the smaller detail, and is followed by a copy-edit, where the manuscript gets checked for clumsy grammar, spelling errors and factual inaccuracies.
Once both those edits have been completed, the book goes off to production to be typeset and, when it comes back to the author after that, it’s the first time the 100,000 words you’ve been wrestling with for months finally morph into something resembling a real book. That’s always a real buzz, and I’m thrilled with the font that’s been chosen for the titles and chapter headings.
Finally, the typeset proof is proofread – both by the author and a professional proofreader – to pick up any remaining errors, spacing problems etc, and that’s the part I finished dealing with last week.
Now I’m working with my editor on things like the blurb that goes onto the cover, while also waiting for the cover itself to be revealed to me – cue massive excitement, combined with a degree of trepidation.
Covers are worth a whole post on their own, so let’s just say here that it’s super-stressy when you’re waiting to see what your book – the fruit of all those cancelled social events and all that grumpy, batshit-crazy pacing around the house at 3am – will look like when it finally hits the shelves.
That’ll be happening on June 30th, in case you’re wondering…
After a manic period of panic-stricken, all-night writing sessions, I now look exactly like a corpse. However, I don’t care. I’ve finally delivered the manuscript of my new book to my editor at HarperCollins, and now I’m planning to sleep for a week.
After that, once I’ve found out what my editor thinks of the manuscript – which is the nerve-wracking part – then I’ll be starting what’s known as a structural edit. This is the first part of the editing process and could easily take several months, as it can involve making major changes like deleting scenes and/or writing new ones; moving chapters around; improving the characterisation of existing characters, or getting rid of those who aren’t earning their keep.
After that, the next stage is what’s called a line edit. That’s when I’ll be focusing on the finer detail, and once I’ve finished that, then the manuscript will be proofread and any last-minute minor changes will be made.
Meanwhile, the team at HarperCollins will also be working on the cover design and what the back cover “blurb” is to say, and then they’ll be sending out advance copies of the book to reviewers. (That’s another very nerve-wracking time.)
Eventually, the finished manuscript will be sent to the printers to be turned into a proper book. When that happened to my last novel, I was lucky enough to be invited to watch the process happen at Clays of Bungay, and I had a wonderful time and learned a lot.
The names of authors whose books Clays have printed are sign-written on the walls in their reception area, and read like a “Who’s Who” of famous writers. I couldn’t believe an unknown like me was keeping such illustrious company!
As you can probably tell, I found the whole experience incredibly exciting, and if you’d like to know more about what printing a book involves, I’ve written about it here and here. (There are lots of photos and some videos, too.)
My new book is due to be published in the Spring of 2016, and I’ll keep you up to date with what’s happening to the manuscript between now and then.