The official release date was 1st October 2008. I forgot – I thought it was the 2nd. Today. Happy double-digit birthday, my first book baby.
This year has been one of big shifts and transitions. I talk about a few of them in the last episode of my podcast and I’ve sorta-kinda avoided thinking too much about this particular anniversary as it crept closer because it’s forever linked to dad’s motor neurone disease diagnosis just two days after the launch. The memory of October 2008 lingers like a flash before an explosion, before we realised just how bad the blast was going to be. The tinnitus still rings in my ears now. At the time I was also struggling with turning thirty. Oh, how a decade has changed me.
And yet it hasn’t.
The stress of leaving my twenties was in part due to my belief that I hadn’t ‘made’ it as a writer by that point and, honestly, I leave my thirties with some of that feeling still in tow. But I’m meeting the clickover to forty with much more equanimity. The deaths of family and friends these past ten years have reminded me that it all goes so fast.
I’m not sure if I’m excited about my forties – that’s not quite the right word. Not yet, anyway. Curious, intrigued, hopeful: they’re better adjectives.
At the bottom of it all, at least as far as my writing/publishing work is concerned, is Surprise! And as much as the self/indie publishing world has come along, and technology has improved, I think the children’s picture book market has remained very much hard copy-centric. And things change. In September 2008 I announced that I’d found a book distributor; last month, it closed down. I haven’t found another one (yet).
After a decade in this game, I can see why people give it up.
“Books die, you know,” said a cheerful industry-insider to me on the phone a few weeks ago.
As a reader, I think he’s wrong.
As a writer, I want him to be wrong.
As a publisher, I think he’s got a point.
But let’s leave those thoughts for another day. This is a time for cake, kindness and to celebrate having brought something into the world with love.