I don’t mind admitting that I find that more than a little scary. It’s bad enough putting your darling out to agents and publishers and having them turn it down, even when it’s turned down with rave rejections. (And let’s face it, rejection is the bedrock of every writer’s life experience.) And then the moment comes when someone likes it. It’s as if your little one has won the bonny baby contest, the moment that you know that it isn’t just you who thinks that what you’ve produced is, after all, publishable.
But writers, as everyone who’s ever had to live with one is only too acutely aware, are sensitive souls, insecure to the point of paranoia. We lurch from crisis to crisis, every up followed by a down. Now there’s a new challenge ahead. The public.
Fine, the publisher liked it. The editor liked it. My friends who read the early drafts liked it (or they said they did) and I know without being told that my mum will LOVE the final version, if only because she’s my mum. But what about you, the person browsing the Kindle store for a good holiday read, seduced by the blurb and the cover. Will you like it?
I want you to love it. I want you to settle down on a grey February afternoon or evening, e-reader in your hand and a box of chocs at your elbow like a modern-day version of Jo March from Little Women. I want you to be lost in it, be transported to the sunny climate of the Mediterranean. I yearn for you to agonise with poor jilted Abby, root for her when she has to choose between stable, sensible Edward and idle charmer Rafa. And I'm just desperate for you to tell all your friends how much you liked it and for you - and them - to keep checking to see when the next book is out.
Why? It isn't vanity, or commerce. The reason writers write is not to make money. It’s because they can’t help it and in order to justify their very existence they need someone to tell them that everything was worth it. They - and I, because now I’m one of them - just want to be loved.
I’ve done my bit. And now it’s over to you...
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