Today’s the day my debut novel is officially out in the world! So many feelings swirling around me.
If you’d like to help the book (and me out), here are some things you can do:
Read it – obviously I’m going to say this, but I want to say why – to me, a book is only real if it exists in the mind of others. It is a conversation between my mind and yours. And each mind does something different to the text. I’m sure a dozen theorists have said this more eloquently than me (or argued otherwise) but I believe it – readers create the book. Something transpires, and is made when readers engage with a text. It’s why I’m a reader just as much as a writer. For this sort of magic.
Review it – given the unique way everyone engages with a book, it can help others to know whether or not they should buy it. If a book is not reviewed, silence surrounds it. Mystery. Sometimes, that’s good – perhaps years from now, a reader will discover a solitary copy of my novel in a library (if we are fortunate to have libraries in the future, and I hope s0 with all my heart) and come to it utterly fresh, and find something good in it. But that’s one, currently fictional person. I’d like it if others could find the book more easily. If you can, leaving reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Bookshop websites, booktube or your personal blog would make a huge difference in allowing the book to be discoverable by others – this goes too for reviews that are critical. Thoughtfulness is important, and real engagement.
Buy it – this is the way I can keep writing – not that my income is supported greatly by writing (as you probably know, most writers make less than minimum wage from their writing, most a lot less) but because it shows future publishers that my next book is worth taking a chance on too. And I get to keep going in this quixotic endeavour. Obviously, buy the book however you can. If it’s cheaper to do it one way than another, if it means you will have a chance to read it, then do it! But supporting indie presses and bookshops is hugely important to the health of literature, so if you can afford to, support your local bookshop. Booksellers the ones who will help you find something unique next time you’re stuck for something to read. They’re the ones that know what’s good and what’s hyped. Some of them are on social media too, sharing and singing out about all sorts of books by authors you might never have heard of. If your local bookshop doesn’t have a copy of Flesh of the Peach, you can order it in, supporting both the bookshop and the book by letting others know of it. Or ask your library to get it in. Or buy it directly from the publisher.
Help me launch it – 25th of April in Edinburgh, Blackwell’s South Bridge. I hope to be at other events (TBA shortly). Come out and tell me you want to read it, have read it and loved it (or didn’t – but please, be kind in person!). Party with me. Books don’t have weddings, real birthdays or give birth. They are out in the world and sometimes vanish after a few months or years. Come out with me and fight the hush.
All of these of course hold true for other books that have just come out. If you don’t fancy reading mine, pick another, and help it out into the world. If you are a reader and you love books, my hope is this – that you will be your own Unsung Letter. So I can keep reading new and wondrous things too.