5, 4, 3, 2, 1…Blast Off!

Countdown Memes

Sticky point: What if I hate my book cover? 

This may be the aspect that authors worry about the most, which is totally understandable! Most authors aren’t also professional artists and designers so it’s best if you assume most of the work will be done without your consultation. There’ll be a whole team on it. You will be looking for the best visual representation of your story, the cover team will be looking for something that will sell your book to bookstores and then to readers. You need your book to sell.

Smoothing tactics:

  • Ask right at the beginning — as soon as you get your deal — if you can have some input/ consultation on the cover. But only if you want it. It’s totally fine to leave that side of things to your publisher and probably so much easier.
  • Keep an open mind. As before, don’t go with your first reaction to anything you are sent, let your thoughts percolate first. It’s amazing what you can get used to and even grow to love!
  • If you really don’t like something, then analyse your reasons for it. Get your agent involved and make sure you can explain why it is a problem for you and make reasoned suggestions.
  • Enjoy it. I bet it turns out to be a total stunner.

Sticky point: What should I actually be DOING now? 

There is quite a long stretch of time after your book is signed off to print, but before anyone will read it. Expect to feel a bit lost. In terms of publicity you and your publisher will make plans, these vary from publisher to publisher but expect them to help you launch the book and to get events and articles. But a lot of their work will be behind the scenes and will not involve you. I filled some of my time making lovely elaborate pre-order gifts and planning a campaign for that. I don’t regret this, as I enjoyed it and with your debut especially, I think you should spin out the joy where you can. It’s normal to feel really anxious at this stage. This is a huge thing you’ve achieved and waiting for the reaction to it can be really tough. 

Smoothing tactics: 

  • Write. It’s the one thing you have full control of. So much better if you get a head start on book two.
  • If you can’t write (Join the club), research or consume brilliant stories wherever you can and fill the cup for your next project.
  • Support other authors. Now is the time to be aware of other books coming out at a similar time, twitter is brilliant for this. You may join a debut group but it’s not essential. Look for twitter chats like #ukmgchat and #ukteenchat and just be yourself. 
  • Share the fun stuff e.g. unboxing your first copy. Record little videos to share if you feel comfortable, the bookish online community love a success story.
  • Relax in your own way. Think of things unrelated to books, be mindful of how you are feeling and decompress if you need to. It can be a stressful time.
  • Launch your book for your family in friends in the way that makes you comfortable. From a masquerade ball, to a small zoom party…do it your way.
  • Share positive reviews – yours and other people’s. 

You really did it. 

It was very difficult. 

You have so much to be proud of. When that finished book arrives, stare at it a lot and bottle that moment. Sleep with it under your pillow, carry it around like a little teacup dog. It was all worth it! 

Lindsay’s first book The Secret Deep came out in the UK in 2018 and the next, Darwin’s Dragons, is to be published in early 2021. She writes YA, MG and has adult and younger fiction works in progress. She reads in all genres and loves to edit, she is an experienced mentor plus a critique partner of published authors.

Lindsay came late to writing, self-taught, after a career teaching which is now part time. She is a slush-pile (talent pool!) conqueror who came from nowhere and had no contacts and – although it took a while – had the first ever book she wrote published by the excellent Chicken House.

An experienced teacher, Lindsay’s workshop style is upbeat, constructive and focuses on the practical. She is sensitive to those at different stages of their writing journeys and the courage it takes to share work. Her workshops have a positive supportive atmosphere, intended to empower writers. All questions are welcome.

Lindsay is also a Spark Mentor and runs our 6 week MG WriteMaster course.