Yesterday was Saturday and I came home from the university library, where I write most weekends, to find three big parcels. Inside were fifteen early print run copies of my novel, Bay of Fires. They’ve travelled all the way from London to Brisbane. Holding my own novel for the first time is a very satisfying, exciting feeling! Reagan Arthur Books acquired my novel in April 2011 so for almost 18 months I have been talking and dreaming about this novel. It was a long wait but now it is starting to feel real… at last!
These newly printed novels are the Australian and UK edition. I love the beautiful colours. They are so true to the actual colours of the Tasmanian east coast: the orange lichen-covered rocks, the turquoise sea and the white beaches. I sent cover designer Julianna Lee many photos I had taken of the area, as well as some photography which friends had taken (thanks Dana and Tim!), and her gorgeous artwork evokes the distinctive landscape.
In the publishing industry they call these early editions galley orders, or uncorrected proofs, and these are what are sent to book reviewers, magazine and newspaper editors, book shop managers and very thrilled soon-to-be published authors. There are typos in the text, and sometimes these uncorrected proofs contain scenes which might be deleted from the final, polished novel but no one minds!
I still feel weird whenever I peek inside the novel. A first novel is very personal and when I was writing it I didn’t think anyone was going to read it. Now, faced with the very real prospect that my novel will have readers, I do feel a bit anxious… I hope people like it.