Getting your ACTUAL BOOK!: Three weeks to go until publication and you find yourself sitting on your first ever author panel at, I my case, your first ever crime writing festival… A hundred or more faces looking up at you and four more established, more experienced, more talented, more confident authors on the dais with you. There’s water on the table for your dry mouth. Top tip – make sure you pee beforehand.
My first panel was titled ‘Tick Tock: Ramping up the tension’. To my left sat the Chair of the Crime Writers Association and three other well-known authors. The panel chair was very kind to me, but I still felt a fraud. Their books were on sale in the festival bookshop; mine wasn’t out yet. A bit awkward in the book signing room after.
That night I had to speed back to London for an Indie Booksellers Drinks at Penguin, before catching the late train back to Bristol for more Crimefest. Great time with the booksellers, lovely people, but I was a little distracted when my Penguin chaperone handed me a genuine, literally hot-off-the-press, bona fide copy of MY BOOK!
On the train that night I texted the above photo to my wife. Moments like this make the world stand still.
The next day my publisher unpacked a whole boxful in the festival bookshop, three weeks before it was due to be published. Not many authors meet the very first person to buy their book, but I did. Thank you Emily!
My second panel the following day was a ‘Debut Authors Panel’ – something I could speak about at last.