On Monday an event I had dreamed of for years finally happened: I became a published author!! My novel, The Vanity Game, was released as an e-book by Blasted Heath. Being published is kind of strange – something you’ve kept to yourself for years is now out there and can be interpreted by anyone.
When I sat on my bed in an attic room in Sheffield about seven years ago and wrote out a short scene about a vain film star and his girlfriend, I never thought that it would morph into a fully formed novel and would be up there on Amazon. For years I didn’t even tell anyone I was writing a novel, I was too embarrassed: it was like an unhealthy addiction I was ashamed to admit to having. I thought people would think it was ridiculous of me to think that I could write a novel. I, a serial binge drinker with a boring office job with the government, whose most prominent published work thus far had been a review of a Busted gig in the Sheffield Star (and yes, they were actually quite good), how could I be a real writer? Didn’t you have to do English Lit at Oxford and live in Paris or something?
Well, anyway, I kept going with it. I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I don’t remember the point where I decided to turn that one scene into a novel. The film star became a footballer, but the scene is still the most crucial part of the story.
I still can’t quite believe that my agent and Blasted Heath deemed the book publishable, and it’s hard to imagine that people are out there reading and, hopefully, being entertained by it. It was a total relief to get a five star first review. I can’t think how crushing it must be if your first novel gets panned in early reviews. Whilst an e-book means you don’t get a box of books in the post* and you can’t sign them and give them to all your friends as Christmas presents, seeing the book up there on Amazon is still really, really cool. It’s a shame neither of my parents were alive to see it, though considering the vast amount of sex and drugs in The Vanity Game, perhaps that is a good thing.
*Despite Blasted Heath being an e-publisher, I will actually be getting a box of books next Friday and you can win one over on their website. Just two days left to enter!