It's a Book

The book launch is tomorrow.

The launch for my book.

My book over there, with pages and a spine and a cover and words inside. My published book.

I am a published author, and I have a book, and it will be launched. Tomorrow.

I've tried saying it in a few different ways, but I still don't believe it. I've had a year since I was first offered the publishing contract for James Munkers: Super Freak to prepare for this moment, and now the moment has arrived and I'm not ready.

Now, I know I haven't updated this for a while, so let me do a quick rundown of the last couple of months.

I believe I left you, in late February, with all the copyediting done and the cover being finalised. Apart from a few emails that I had to reply to, there wasn't a lot I could do to further my book except keep up with the Facebook page and the blog (fail), and try to get some other work done - try to keep myself busy.

Then suddenly I was turning 30 and house sitting and moving house and there were times when I forgot about the book thing until, last week, in the midst of all the moving, it crashed down on me again.

First there was the news that James was "in print" - at the printers, being printed, almost a real book. No physical evidence of it yet, though, so at that point just something to get excited and agitated about.

Then the book trailer was finalised. It was a superb slice of awesome done by Mark & Tom, some local graphic designers who also did the front cover. I ran round and round our half-boxed-up house giggling when that came through. It was so exciting - a finished James Munkers product, and it looked so cool! I had created a work that had inspired another piece of work that looked cool! Did this mean that I was cool? I didn't feel it - I just felt ill from all the running around in circles.

That same day, I got a call from my sister, Lauren. I had arranged to have some boxes of the book delivered to her, because she's planning on holding a "launcheon" for me in Melbourne where she lives in a few weeks, and she was calling to say they'd arrived. Fifty copies of James Munkers: Super Freak she had in her house. Fifty, and I hadn't even touched one. I felt it was fairly appropriate that Lauren got to see them first out of anyone, because the book's dedicated to her, but knowing they were out there and not having even one ramped up the frustration levels a bit.

Anyway, Lauren (sweetheart that she is) immediately express-posted a copy down to me. Took two days. If you think I was a pleasure to live with during those two days, you have no imagination.

My husband can confirm this. I was agitated with everything, including him. He was distracting me with foolish, unimportant things like moving house when, clearly, what I was supposed to be doing was rocking back and forth on the floor, watching the trailer on a loop and popping every piece of bubble wrap in the house. In fact, I was on the point of winding a whole roll of packing tape round and round his head when the parcel arrived.

And the parcel had a book in it.

That floored me. I just stood there, looking at it. My story, the people I'd created, the last seven years of my life - they had been condensed into a small, rectangular object. I couldn't fathom it.

Also, the rectangular object looked good. It looked like a book - like other books, with pages and a barcode on the back and everything. It looked like the thousands of books I used to sell at the bookshop.

And this evoked a new, horrifying thought: people were going to buy it.

I know that's kind of what you're supposed to want people to do, as an author, but jeepers! Anyone could walk into a book store and, without even asking me first, buy my book. And read it. And judge it. This was unacceptable.

There wasn't a lot I could do at that point, though. With hundreds of copies printed and the launch getting closer - very close now - it seemed a little late to back out.

So here I am, almost paralysed with fear, worrying about people turning up, and people not turning up, and people laughing, and people not laughing, and where's my top, and the boots I want to wear are packed up in a box that's sitting under three other boxes, and it doesn't matter because no one's going to buy it anyway and, oh crap burger, what if people buy it?

Like that.

Two Days Later...

I launched my book last night.

That was a really good night.

I was ridiculously nervous at first. I got to the book shop early, had to run immediately to the ladies, then stood around shaking and sweating and gasping until Lauren dragged me outside for some fresh air. And while we were out there, a friend showed up and started chatting to us. Then another, and another, until we were a raucous party blocking up the pavement. At that point I was more worried about obstructing the good citizens of Hobart than speaking at a launch, so we moved the party back inside.

There we found even more friends, and they all seemed delighted to be there, and then a rumour started going around that there weren't going to be enough copies for everyone so there was a mad dash to the counter to gather up this prized commodity. Then there was a mad dash over to me to get them signed. It was bizarre, but very pleasing.

Before I knew it, I was sitting in front of a crowd of happy, encouraging faces with a microphone in my hand. I'd been panicking earlier because I didn't have any notes on what I was going to say. What if I forgot the entire English language? Was it going to be a total disaster? Had people brought rotten tomatoes to sling at me?

In the end, it was easy. I just sat up there and talked about James. People listened. People laughed. People asked questions, and were interested and encouraging. Easy. Fun.

After that, Peter, the events manager at Fullers, provided me with a desk, a pen and a glass of white wine, and people started lining up, for heaven's sake, to get my autograph (which changed several times throughout the course of the evening). Some people bought multiple copies, some of them to be posted off to other countries. There were even some kids there - my target audience - whom I didn't know. They had just come along because they thought it sounded like something they'd be into. How cool is that?

We didn't run out of books, but it was a pleasingly close call.

The whole event was thoroughly enjoyable, and a little surreal. It was like my friends and family, and a few delightful others, had agreed to be in a performance where I was playing a celebrity. It wasn't real, but everyone was getting into the spirit of the thing.

Even if it wasn't real, I wouldn't mind. It's the best performance I've ever been involved in.