28th August 2020
A frenzy of computer-based activity, uploading the final version of the novel to Amazon and creating a new home page on my website to promote it. The last minute quote for the cover has been inserted. Yet another last minute edit made (I have been calling Jack Scout in Silverdale Jack's Snout for twenty-five years and no-one has corrected me!) and we've done it!
This is all very hush hush. No-one knows yet, because launch day insn't for another four days, but I want to see it up there, buy it myself and know that everything is working properly before I announce it to the world. (Well, perhaps not the world, but least my mailing list and Facebook followers and sharers.) I have discovered that I need my publisher's permission to edit my author page! It' s a bank holiday weekend and everyone has left the office. I won't be able to do anything about this until Tuesday, which is publication day. Deep breaths. Get a grip. This is unfortunate, but not the end of the world. This is an experiment. It will be what it will be. More deep breaths.
In a few weeks, I have learned to be a publisher, a publicist and a website designer. I have done a lot myself, but I have also had a lot of help. Without the support of some very patient people, I would not be sharing this with you now. My old school friend, Gayle, has proof read three novels for me over the last few weeks! Her enthusiasm has been a tonic in some very dark moments. My husband, Simon, has spent a good proportion of his holiday working on my website and newsletters. He has created a beautiful home page and he has taught me how to upload this blog, and though there are dark circles beneath his eyes and his shoulders sink as I embark on another request ("Could you just make it do this?") he hasn't packed a suitcase yet. (But I suspect he is looking forward to getting back to the office.) My brother, having suggested this adventure in the first place, and offering to design the cover, is now working on the The Treehouse cover. (The last in the Tarnside trilogy of thrillers is coming out at the end of September). He also has his own work to do and has probably had a bellyful of my projects, but he still answers the phone when I call. Liz Nuttall, who opened the bookshop in Ulverston all those years ago and went on to establish the wonderful Handstand Press, committed a generous quote for the cover at very short notice. And Russell Holden of Pixel Tweaks, who formatted the manuscript, remained cheerful and helpful in response to lots of last minute alterations. Good people, who all wish me well. It has been, for the most part, a lovely project.
Tomorrow I am having a rest from publishing and meeting cast and crew down on the sands of the bay for the making of the film that will accompany my play Bones for Radio 4 as part of the BBC Contains Strong Language festival at the end of September.
Which gives me one day to plan the launch for the novel. How do you launch a virtual novel in lockdown? There's a challenge, but I have a few ideas...