The final pre-publication meeting has been and gone. The news is good. Representing what’s left of the high street Waterstones and WHS have ordered in decent numbers, and of the supermarkets Asda and Sainsbury’s have confirmed orders. Tesco look likely to do the same but have not committed to a figure yet. Supermarkets don’t take many hardbacks, so this is a really impressive achievement by the UK sales team. The book wholesalers have taken a thousand, and these will go out to whichever of the independent booksellers think they can shift a few hardback copies. Finally, the mighty Amazon is considering it for one of their big promotions of the year.
In all, twelve thousand hardbacks have been ordered pre-publication for the UK market.
(This is about as good as it gets, without writing about wizards or bondage.)
Real, actual, printed copies will be coming in in the next couple of days. This is always a special moment, to hold a finished book in your hand after so long.
My publicist has lined up a good spread of reviews and feature coverage around publication, I’ll be visiting bookshops and appearing at literary festivals, and the publishers have promised that they will promote the video trailer my nearest and dearest and I made to showcase the novel. Here’s the link again if you haven’t viewed it yet….
Selling! This is how it works in the modern book world. I love the meetings with sales and marketing executives. They have their own language… FSSU’s, ‘gifting units’ (that’s a cardboard box to you and me), ‘dual face out’, ‘bespoke POS’ and so on, and this level of professional and (frankly) quite hard-nosed skill makes me feel both woolly-minded and apprehensive. (‘Yes, but what if the book isn’t actually, you know, any good?’)
And then at the end, when we have wrapped up the day’s business, someone asks, ‘by the way, how’s the next one coming along?’
Seven pairs of eyes immediately turn to the author. The usual vague feeling of being a grain of sand under a massive inverted pyramid of expertise and expectation sharply intensifies.
‘Oh, really well’, I lie. ‘Flowing like a river’.
Everyone smiles and packs away their electronica before the next meeting. This time next year we’ll be here, talking about the as-yet-unwritten new Rosie Thomas title. I cross my fingers in my pockets and pray. Then I shuffle off for a posh lunch with my beloved agent, after which anything seems possible – even another book.
Here is a preview of the cover design for the Canadian edition. Interesting how diverse the approaches are for the two different markets? We have just agreed a deal for the US market too!