Publication Day! by Dani Atkins
2016/01/27  |  By:   |  Features  |  

Facebook-BannersPub day. There was a time – not that long ago – when I would have thought that meant a day spent down at the local. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… but Pub Day now means something even more exciting (although there’s still a good chance alcohol will be involved). Publication Day! The day you’ve been waiting for ever since you first typed the words ‘Chapter One’ on that blank screen.

It’s the moment when the door is unlocked and you invite everyone in to see exactly what you’ve been up to for all those months, hunched over your computer screen and eating biscuits (okay, that might just be me).

I was trying to think of other life experiences that have made me feel this vulnerable, exposed and excited all at the same time, and it was hard to come up with a match. It’s Christmas Eve anticipation, wrapped up with Friday the 13th dread. It’s exam results in the envelope you’re too scared to rip open. It’s the excitement of impending childbirth, coupled with a phobia for pain. It’s the moment before the roller coaster begins to dip, when all you can do is hang on and try not to be sick with fear. It’s thrilling and it’s terrifying. And whatever happens next is completely out of your hands.

Our Song is my third book, and I’ll let you in on a little secret… I am still waiting to feel like a ‘proper author’. I keep waiting to know exactly how I’m supposed to behave and act in this new role, because like most people I sort of tumbled into it. It’s a strange job, to be sure, for it has no rules, regulations or guidelines, people just seem make it up as they go along. In fact, basically, that’s the author’s job spec: make stuff up.

In a room full of ‘real authors’, I still feel like an imposter. When I meet an author whose books I have read and loved, I get embarrassingly star struck. I unashamedly celebrity-spot at fancy venues and probably always will.

I have no idea how many books it will take before I am able to act in the way I feel a professional author should. I mean, would a professional person sit with her new book in her hands, caressing the cover like it was a cherished pet? No, of course she wouldn’t. Would she buy up practically every single copy of every newspaper or magazine that mentions her book? It’s little wonder that no one in my home town knows this is what I do for a living – because I’ve snapped up every single edition that mentions me. That’s just not cool, is it?

Another example of unacceptable behaviour would be trawling up and down the aisles in bookshops and supermarkets, seeing who picks up a copy of my books. Even more unacceptable would be to ‘accidentally’ lob copies into passing baskets and trolleys and hope no one notices until they reach the checkout. This is probably why I should stay far away from all retail outlets until I can be trusted not to nudge passing shoppers in the ribs, telling them excitedly, ‘I wrote that’. No ‘proper’ author would do that, would they?

No one appears to believe me, whenever I’m asked what it is I do for a living. No doubt this is because it’s practically impossible for me to say the words ‘I’m an author’ without grinning like an escapee from an asylum. I’m sure they all think that I’m joking… that I’m just making it up. And do you know what… that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I’m an author, and I make stuff up… and it’s the best job in the world.