by Anna Bell
This week my fourth paperback novel hits the shops. You'd think I'd be cracking open the bubbles, congratulating myself that my job is finally done now my book baby is out. Whilst I’m sure there will be a bit of that, there will also be a huge amount of nerves and fear, as fourth time round I've realised how much on a knife's edge publishing can be.
On one hand, I've realised that each time a book of mine is published it always feels special. Nothing prepares you for the feeling of pure pride and joy you get when you see your book on sale in a supermarket or bookshop. It makes me feel incredibly lucky to have all my dreams come true, and I feel humbled to have my book nestling up to authors I respect and admire. But as much as there's that proud parent feeling, there's a black cloud of fear that seems to creep over it, too.
When you’re traditionally published, it is lovely having a publisher believe in your book and do all they can to sell it. But the buck ultimately stops with you. If people don't buy it, your publishers will still go on to publish other books, but there's always the potential that this might be your last contract.
Author Louise Walters wrote a really interesting article recently in the Guardian about how she couldn't get her second novel published. Despite her getting large foreign rights deals, and her novel being well received, she's now turning to self-publishing after failing to secure a new deal. It was a brave article as it's the type of rejection that authors don't often talk about. But it's scary reading as an author because you know the same thing could happen to you.
I think my new novel, The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart, is my best yet. I've been thrilled that it sold by pre-empt in Germany and the rights have sold in Norway, too. But despite these positives, I'm still ridiculously nervous as reviews for the book won't appear until Thursday. It's my first standalone novel, with all new characters, and I just hope people love them like I do. What I’d love is for this to be my breakout novel. The one that catapults me into bestseller lists, meaning I don’t have to worry that my dream will come to an end.