Monday 3 May 2010


Here's another myth / misconception about being published: Publication Day. Well, no, the day isn't a myth. But that idea that it's all glittery is.

Today, for example, is the Publication Day for Wasted. Do you hear any trumpets? Did I receive flowers and champagne? Am I either relaxing in splendid luxury or tearing round the country signing books for my adoring fans? Both of them.

No. (Well, I don't think so, but I am writing this in advance and you never know...)

I am spending the morning presenting prizes at the Pushkin Awards - a creative writing competition for Scottish and Russian schools. I was one of the judges, and I was incredibly impressed by the standard of entries. Then I'm hopping on a train to London at lunch-time, in order to be there on Tuesday morning to make tea for the persons from Pickfords who will be moving our furniture into our new London flat. (The persons from Pickfords are a little like the person from Porlock: they stop writers from writing.)

But on the train I must be writing, because the last few weeks have been shockingly useless for that. Not only have we been up to our eyes in Pickfords people (having moved house four weeks ago, as Stage One), but I've been evicted from my study by my daughter who has been staying with us, which is obviously lovely, but the new Edinburgh flat doesn't have enough rooms for all four of us so I have had to work at the kitchen table, which rather often seems to have tomato pips on it. Plus, there've been eleventymillion workmen of all sorts trying to fix problems.

What is my point and why the title about glittery things? My first point is that there are moments in a writer's life which should have trumpets and glitter but don't. And there are moments of pleasure which come when you least expect them. Like any life, really?

My moments of pleasure in the last couple of weeks have come from the quite exceptional response to Wasted from all those who have made a public comment about it, including on Amazon (unless something negative has gone up since I last looked!) I have never had such reactions before and I am beginning to dare to hope that this might be a word of mouth success. My publishers say there's a real buzz and they are daring to be excited too. A happy state for an author, let me tell you. Our careers are very fragile and we really need our publishers to believe in us and our books. One day, probably soon, I will blog in more detail about the fragility of author-publisher relationships.

Wasted is the sort of book which cannot really be marketed or thrust at its very savvy target marget. It's a book which stands or falls by one thing: reader reaction. You can't have publishers going round saying a book is brilliant and expect clever people to believe it. But when readers of all sorts and all ages start to talk and recommend a book, that's where the power lies.

Vanessa Robertson, the owner of the Edinburgh Bookshop and The Children's Bookshop, said on Twitter that if Wasted didn't win awards and sell in quantities, there was no justice. That's a lovely thought. Thing is - and this is my second point - in writing as in life, justice is often a scarce commodity.

After all, if there was any justice, I'd be drinking champagne and being pampered today. Not on a train trying to get some writing done before welcoming Mr Pickford for the fourth time in a month...

You know it yourselves: books that should sell and do well often don't. And vice-versa. Many of you are good enough to be published, and yet you haven't been - yet, and I'm trying to help you.

If you want to know more about Wasted and follow its progress while seeing some of the behind-the-scenes facts, do hop over to the Wasted blog, where we are discussing everything from quantum physics and philosophy, to risk, luck and cats.

Now, I have a big request for you. Pretty please. If you read Wasted, and if you like it, would you tell people about it? I will be so grateful for anything you can do, however small. I really need this book to work, and there is more riding on this than you can imagine. Wasted is a risky book; it could have bombed; it still could. I put myself on the line to write the book I believed in with as much faith as I could find, and now I'm asking for help.

Your help.

Because if this book does well, the champagne's on me.

Not literally.

Off to buy biscuits for Mr Pickford.


Pen said...

Congrats on Publication Day!!

It's a cruel world when there's no bubbly or pampering on such an auspicious day. You deserve it.

Hope it's a good day none-the-less.

Queenie said...

Yes, and yes, despite the atrocious pun in your blog post title. Hope today has something celebratory in it, if only a nice glass of wine tonight in London.

Diandra said...


Even if there's no champagne, we're still here to worship and adore you.

Ebony McKenna. said...

Happy Publication Day Nicola,
Wasted arrived in my mail box today, so I'm a happy reader down here :-)

catdownunder said...

Purrblication day? Purrfectly wonderful.
You-have-nothing-to-worry-about. Spike tells me everything is fine. He is relaxed enough about it to be taking a long overdue nap while you move house.

Mary Hoffman said...

Happy publication day, Nicola! Do I dare to hope that a compromise has been reached in London or were those Pickfords remarks ones you made earlier?

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I didn't get the post title until I hit the end. And now I'm sitting here nodding furiously in agreement. I wish all success upon you and your new book. It's glittery business and let's hope that it is sold, over and over again. May it sell a million!

Sally Zigmond said...

I'm currently part way through Wasted. I think it could be the book sensation of the year. It's not just a great story on many levels (I want to buy the band's CD right now!)it makes you think. And books that make you think without giving you a headache are always winners--because people talk about them.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

Happy Publication day.

I've heard so many good things about Wasted and am looking forward to reading too.

Hope you have fun.

Martina Boone said...

Happy PubDay! Buy yourself some champagne tonight, celebrate, and keep the faith. Good things will come because you are alraedy doing things to promote it. Even mega-hits build slowly.

iffath said...

Congratulations, Nicola! Happy publication day :) x

Anonymous said...

Happy Publication Day Nicola!

Congratulations :) Plus I hope your second move is smoother than the first!

Marshall Buckley said...

You do know we're going to hold you to that champagne promise, right?
This could get very expensive for you considering how good Wasted is - it's not Exactly much of a chore to talk about it n glowing terms.

Anonymous said...

Wha'? 'Tis not available on Amazon US? This is an outrage and calls for interference on the highest order.

Happy Launch Day, dear Nicola. I wish I could be there to toss choccies and margaritas at you. Mwah!

Nicola Morgan said...

Pen, Queenie, Diandra, Ebony, Cat, Mary, and all the rest of you (sorry, on train and scrolling up and down is tricky!) thank you so much!

Mary - Pickfords have been saints throughout: it's the banks, builders and other professionals who have been less so... FIngers crossed for tomorrow but the question is whether the money will go through before Pickfords arrive....

sally - thanks so much - and the idea of the band's CD is a great one!!

Marshall - that's a lovely thing to say (you old softie!) - and your review on Amazon (I think twas you) will help a lot. And if this book actually does do well, I WILL have a party of some sort and something more exciting than fizzy water will have to be in evidence. And you will be invited.

Lynn - it's not published in the US. I can tell you some reasons for that but it will be off-blog! If you can find an interested US publisher, please let me know. (Book Deporsitory delviers free world-wide, tho)

Must go - battery running out and charging socket not working.

Thanks again, everyone - you are very good to me. And I'm honestly not exaggerating when I say I need you.

Poet Ntwadumela said...

Congrats on pub day...and once again I enjoy posting on your blog.

Jayne said...

Congratulations on publication day! I guess there are a lot of non-published folk that have a starry-eyed idea of these sort of milestones, and yet my practical head tells me, well, to be practical! I hope you allowed yourself a moment of celebration within your busy day - you deserve it.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Happy Happy PD. And happy moves to London, and lots of other happies.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Awe, happy Pub Day! Any way to order a glass of champagne on a train?

Mary Hoffman said...

Was not dissing Pickfords - glad someone was behaving well to you! - just wondering if the reference to them meant the move was going ahead.

It's awfully inconvenient going round with my fingers crossed all the time! (Especially when opening tins of cat food.)

Clare said...

Virtual trumpets, glitter, flowers and champagne to you - when Vanessa's justice comes your way you can transmute them into the real thing!
Really hope the next prize-giving you attend has you on the receiving end.

JaneF said...

Can't wait to read 'Wasted' - have already talked about it to some of your 'target market' and they can't wait either. I'm sure it will be a big success!

Laura S. said...

Happy Publication Day! I'm looking forward to reading your book!!!

Harry Markov said...

Happy Publication Day!!

AND I have Wasted on my wishlist and am eager to read it, even though I do not read outside Speculative Fiction.

Arnold said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I

would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have

enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


coffeeaddict said...

Congratulations on publication day Nicola! I have read the wasted blog with interest and I can't wait top read the book. I wish you every success, and you never know, it might make a great movie!

Flowerpot said...

Happy Publication Day despite the Pickfords Lot. Will raise a glass to you and Wasted tonight.

David John Griffin said...

A belated happy publishing day, Nicola! Not even fireworks; not fair for you...


Catherine Hughes said...

Hi everybody! Nicola is having trouble with her mobile broadband but has asked me to let you know that she really appreciates all the comments and that she is reading them, but is struggling to get sufficient signal to allow a reply.

She'll be home on Friday, so please bear with her.

Also, I don't know how many of you have now popped over to follow the new 'Wasted' blog (I' ll be going to look in a second!) but we're collecting stories of chance and snap decisions over there (you can see the story of how I met my husband - very freaky!) and would absolutely love to hear any similar tales that you might have.

And, finally, if anyone has any questions about the 'Wasted' blog and blog tour etc, feel free to email me if it helps! My address is on the 'Wasted' blog as well as on my own blogs.

Meanwhile, I hope many of you have been able to get a copy of 'Wasted' (Amazon was running pretty low last I looked) and are enjoying it as much as I did. If you should see any reviews anywhere, or if you are planning one of your own, please do let me know so that we can link to them.


Cat x

DJ Kirkby said...

I'm waiting for my copy to arrive and will review it once it gets to the top of my TBR pile.

Elizabeth West said...

If I can get to it, I will be happy to read it (I'm in the US). I like YA books.



Got Another Rejection The Other Day But Still Trying!

Glynis Peters said...

I hope the cork pops for you soon, congratulations on your publication day!

DT said...

Well done Nicola! I'd settle for even a non-glittery publication day any day over another day or rewrites and submissions!