Saturday, September 03, 2011

Getting real

I was rather surprised last week to see Apocalypse Cow (avert your eyes now if shameless name dropping makes you feel queasy), which won Terry Pratchett's first novel prize, available for pre-order on, and also listed on and The publication date for the trade paperback and eBook is May 10 next year, so it is still a long way away, and I can only imagine the most hardcore of forward-planners (step forward my wife Nats, who keeps asking me about my five-year plan when I don’t even have a five-minute plan) will place orders now. 

Having said that, I have crept up the sales charts to a stupendous 297,699, which means that at least a few pre-orders have been place, although I don’t think David Nicholls, Dr Pierre Dukan and Kathryn Stockett need worry unduly about being knocked off their perch at the top just yet.

Not that I'm complaining. Seeing it up there for sale brings home the reality, which I have been struggling to accept. I don’t know if this is a first-author thing, or if it is because I am a miserable Scot who usually expects the worst possible outcome from every scenario, but I keep expecting the rug to be pulled out from under my feet, upending me onto my bony behind.

I’ve been like this the whole way through. When I submitted the novel to the Pratchett Prize, I did so at Nats’ insistence, as I was convinced it would never win. On the day the shortlist was to be announced, I wasn’t even thinking about it. When the initial elation of getting the email saying I had made the six-author shortlist faded, I then began waiting for another mail saying a mistake had been made. When that didn’t come, I convinced myself it would never win. When it did win, along with David Logan’s Half Sick of Shadows, I once again waited for the inevitable admission an error had been made. Then I kept expecting Transworld to change their minds, and pull the novel. And so on.

I think I have now just about accepted I am going to be a published author, but that isn’t going to stop me worrying. I can now turn my fruitless fretting to the fear of bad reviews and people not liking the book.

It just goes to show you can take the boy out of Glasgow, but you can’t take Glasgow out of the boy.

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