First Impressions : The post(book)natal author

Despite the unreliability of my writing hormones post(book)partum, you’re going to get my first impressions of being newly delivered of a shiny book baby.

After years of gestation; months of antebooknatal tests (i.e. proofs – sorry, enough); loads of online interviews and a couple of bladder-pressing stints on radio… The Day arrived.

Inviting people to my book launch had felt like such a huge conceit, but it’s quite staggering how many seem to want to come to these things. With the bizarre This-is-Your-Life type gathering of lovely people, it feels a bit like a wedding – until it dawns on you that, apart from a brief publisher intro, you’ll be doing ALL the speeches. And, at

Waterstones Piccadilly, surrounded by photos of illustrious previous launchers…

The next morning – feeling a bit sick after attempting to finish off the lighthouse cupcakes on the train home – my phone hand goes into cramp as I attempt to keep on top of waves of social media. This must be what it’s like to be famous, I’m thinking… until my human offspring bring me back down to earth. One informs me that Amazon has decided products related to my new novel include Tart Cherry Extract Capsules, and Deep, an Erotic Military Romance. The other boy has unbelievably managed to enter the barbed tangle of, and found a quick-off-the-mark 1-star detractor complaining about my female protagonist’s lack of selfie-worthy interest in her appearance.

I was going to go swimming, get on with the day, but this new book baby wants constant care; even after a quick bath, I come back to 23 Twitter notifications screaming for attention. Oh, and of course I feel the need to check the book’s development, compared with other new-borns… in the Amazon Sales Ranks. Uh, I soon had post(book)natal depression – meaning a squashed tip to my Amazon-tapping index finger.

In the end I reasoned that, since most of the book was conceived in bed, it was fitting to have a postbookpartum pyjama day to celebrate. After years of abortive efforts (see My Potholed Path to Publication), I finally have what I want, as long as I keep my expectations realistic. Much as I’d like my book to grow up to be a bestseller, it will be nurtured by an energetic independent rather than one of the Eton-type moneyed big five. We’ll give it all the best chances we can of course – but I also need to get on with giving it a sibling!

The (new and shiny) Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is available from