I’ve said it many times before, I know, but there’s something unique about having a brand new book out. There’s the obvious excitement and pride. That’s normal. And there’s a real joy in knowing that people will read it. But – and I don’t think this will ever change – there’s also an enormous fear – fear that it’s no good, fear that no one will like it, fear that you’ll be found out as a complete imposter who should be banned from ever writing anything for public consumption ever again. And I know it’s not just me who feels that and I’d argue that that very human fear is what makes good authors; I’m not saying that I’m one, but I do know that it makes me try that extra bit harder. High standards are important.
So when you’re able to see that people really, honestly, enjoyed your book, it’s one hell of a relief. Especially when that book’s a kind of weird picture book for grown ups. And that’s when you allow that joy and pride back in, if only for a few moments.
Last Saturday I was on a panel at the Off The Shelf Festival of Words in Sheffield (more on that very soon) and I read from Beautiful Trees in public for the very first time and the response was incredible. People liked it. And bought it for themselves and for presents, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. As I said, more on that soon.
And a little while ago – just as I was leaving to head to the city centre to do errands I saw that the first review of it’s actually up here on the internet. It’s from Dan Powell, someone whose own work I love (I was delighted to give him a quote for his excellent collection a little while ago) and who’s a great person – and he liked it too. You can read the full review here. Here’s a snippet:
“I leaped from tree to word and back again. And now I can’t wait to explore the final instalment. In the mean-time I will continue to follow the advice of my previous review and keep these books on the coffee table, in the glove-box, or on a shelf in the kitchen, so that I or someone else can return to it in a spare moment and climb once more through the twisting limbs of its narrative and verdant foliage of the illustrations.”
Of course, that makes me very, very happy.
So thank you, all. Not just to those who came along on Saturday, and not just to Dan – but to everyone who’s spent their hard earned money on my words and especially to those who’ve gone out of their way to say nice things about them.