My newest Novel, book three in the Changeling Series: Chains of Gaia was officially ‘launched’ on the 12th. This is known in writing circles usually as either ‘Publication day’ (pub-day ..means something different to us boozy brits) or as a ‘Book Birthday’.
Book Birthday’s are always a bit exciting for authors. We’ve slaved away at the story in private for god-knows how long. It’s been through countless different drafts, endless different edits. It’s been scrutinised by our literary agent, it’s been plucked over by our publishing house, preened by our editors, but even so, up until this point it’s always secret and safe and still ‘ours’.
When Book Birthday arrives, everything changes. That’s when we release the story off into the world, giving it to Amazon and bookstores, and Kindle clouds and the world in general. It’s not just ‘ours’ anymore. It’s out there in the wide world, naked and afraid and fending for itself like a bird kicked out of the nest. The release date is always a mixture of ‘proud-parent’ and ‘aprehensive worry’.
So yes, it’s a bit of a big moment. And so traditionally, with a book-birthday, there’s usually a LOT for the writer to do on the day.
Normally there’s a run up of teasers and promos and other hype to whip up interest. My publishers are normally tweeting and blogging and securing features for me in things like Amazon sales, Bookbub, advertising here there and everywhere and promos. I myself will usually also be dancing around every form of social media I operate in, spinning a hundred plates and making my presence felt on Insta, facebook, twitter, etc. My agent will be checking ARC and beta readers, eagerly awaiting initial reviews and I will be trying desperately to answer promptly the eight million direct messages i get about the book or the launch day.
It’s fun, hectic, busy and usually a bit of an exhausting and chaotic whirlwind, with maybe, just maybe, an oppurtunity later on to celebrate with loved ones (the tradition in my household has previously been to have a bottle of chilled fizz-pops to mark the occasion, and the cork saved and dated)
This time around however, with the release and Book Birthday of Chains of Gaia, things were a little different for me.
If you dont already follow me on other social media, you might not already be aware that I spent my book birthday in hospital, where i’ve been for over a week following a rather grim accident that left me rather smashed to bits.
To cut a long story short, (so as not to bore you if you ARE already aware of recent events) as a brief recap, what happened was this: I came off my mountain bike at high speed flying down a very steep hill, unable to turn out of a bend fast enough, and threw myself over a set of iron safety railings. I’m sure it was balletic, maybe even impressive, to witness, but the end result is that I ended up impaled like a vampire, shish-kabobed through my torso on said railings. I also broke my right hip and punctured my right lung. (hat trick!) In short, and to use traditionaly British understatement I was a ‘bit of a mess’, and were it not for the amazingly calm and collected actions of the bystanders on the scene, who stemmed my bleeding, kept pressure on, and called for aid, it’s fairly likely that would have been my last ever bike ride, or indeed my last ever anything.
BUT, (spoiler alert) I didnt die. (internet high-fives all round) and after a few days in the High Dependency Unit, having my lung drained and reinflated (ewwwww) and having operations and procedures to mend my broken hip, to put new stuffing in me and sow back together the hole in my side left by the railing, I am now well and truly out of the woods and off the ‘might-die-any-second-now list’. All is well, and I am slowly on the mend. (phew!) and besides, i’m going to have a kick-ass scar that i’m already making up elaborate stories about fending off wild shark attacks. silver lining!
The point of telling you all this being, I spent my Book Birthday in hospital (ironically waiting to be released that day, same as my novel).
This meant that all the above hoo-hah usually accompanying launch date went out of the window. While I was able to maintain some kind of a sporadic online presence on social media to some degree, it was still surreal to be getting notifications from readers in Australia to say the books had arrived on their kindles (they get them first due to timelines) while I sat in pressure socks and hospital PJ’s slurping NHS jelly from a plastic spoon. There wasnt really much more I could do.
What I did find both suprising and awesome, was the way freinds and fellow writers rallied around, some of them posting teasers or announcments about my books on my behalf, others even going to the lengths of creating their own promo videos for my book. All things which I’d normally do myself but wasnt able to. It’s all rather humbling and sweet, and it’s a definite sign that when it comes to writing, authors, readers and bloggers genuinely DO support one another. It’s a wonderful and caring community and I’m proud to have made such firm freinds in it.
My freinds and family have been a godsend while i’ve been in hospital, both those loved ones who spent every waking moment physically there with me, holding my hand and enduring my constant complaining about the bad food and morphine induced gibbering, and also those online buddies, who went out of their way to keep me entertained and from going completely stir-crazy while laid-up, either with daily videos of their outdoor adventures so I wouldnt feel so cooped up, or their long rambling chats about nonsense long into the night. You all know who you are, and you’re all awesome people.
My point is, in this long and rambling blog post, that as book birthdays go, this one was fairly ‘unique’ and i’m sure i will remember it for a long time to come!
I’m back home now, laid up on crutches and with strict instructions not to do any cartwheels for a while, and already I’m seeing such trememdous support for Chains of Gaia.
The first two reviews are in, and you can read them at the below links if you like, or on Amazon. I’m happy that so far, Chains seems to have found a good home amongst my Erlking readers.
Another lovely thing when books are born, is that people all over the world tend to send you photos of your book in their world. ‘Bookstagramming’ as we call it in the business. Here’s a selection of those i’ve seen so far for Chains. They’re all epic!
if you havent picked up book three yet, as always, the link is below for you. otherwise, happy reading and i’ll see you online. back soon with a new Author-talk interview for you. watch this space.