When the euphoria that greeted Book Guild’s offer to publish Dory’s Avengers had finally calmed a little I took time to gauge the opinion of my partner, the eternally down to earth Andy. To my delight he was very encouraging, and being a printer by trade he was also able to make sense of any technical printing terms used by Book Guild.
Book Guild are happy for prospective authors call in to the office in Brighton and talk to the publishing team face to face. Before I committed to working with Book Guild Andy and I decided that is exactly what we would do, and so we set off on a day trip to the seaside. Oh yes, and a meeting that could change my life.
Our appointment with Carol, the top lady at Book Guild, was at 2.30, and I did become a little agitated as we made our way from London Bridge to Brighton on the slowest train in living history. Mental note to self: consult a train timetable in future! Luckily we arrived in Brighton and found the Book Guild office, located in the very heart of the town opposite the Pavilion Theatre, with time to spare.
Opposite the Book Guild office was a the very thing I needed at that moment: a pub, of course!
Sitting at the bar, sensibly nursing a soft drink rather than the cider I craved, I gazed over the street at the Book Guild office. All around people were going about their daily lives, unaware that in their midst was a very excited author on the verge of making her dream come true. Definitely a goose flesh moment.
The informality of the Book Guild offices put me at my ease straight away. Predominantly open plan, a little untidy, bright, airy, and everywhere books, books, lovely books! They were stacked on every surface, propped up on trolleys, displayed on book cases, all clearly well loved by the Book Guild staff. What book lover could fail to feel at home in this higgledy piggledy book-centric office?
I took to Carol straight away. She clearly loves her work, proudly showing me one Book Guild publication after another, and enthusing about the cover art and printing, individually tailored to suit each book. Naturally Andy was very interested in the printing side of the process. He and Carol discussed the finer points of printing while I daydreamed about holding a beautiful, hard covered first edition of Dory’s Avengers in my hands. At no point during the meeting did Carol try to pull the wool over my eyes. The publication process takes a long time, about a year in all, which took me rather by surprise. Also, it’s not going to be easy to get my work noticed among the thousands of books that are published every year, and often an author’s success owes more to luck than talent. However, there’s always the chance, if Dory’s Avengers is published, that I might be one of the lucky ones. Remain unpublished and I’ll never know.
The meeting with Carol was very positive, and sometimes quite exciting. It’s more than likely that I will have a book signing in the Cambridge branch of Waterstones to coincide with the launch of Dory’s Avengers, and if this goes well then there may be more book signings, perhaps even one in London. At about this point in the meeting I began to wonder when I was going to wake up from this crazy dream. Book signings? Me?
When Andy and I finally emerged from the Book Guild offices on to the sunny streets of Brighton, we were amazed to discover we had been talking to Carol for over an hour. In need of some liquid refreshment we headed to another of Brighton’s lovely pubs, and this time I did treat myself to a cider. More than one actually as Andy and I discussed the meeting we’d just attended. I stood on the threshold of becoming the very thing I’ve wanted to be from the moment I learnt to write: a published author.
Sitting on a packed train back to London, a much faster train than the one on which we’d travelled down to Brighton, the opening lyrics of the Eminem song “Lose Yourself” kept repeating over and over again in my head:
‘Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it? Or just let it slip?’
The next morning I emailed Carol to let her know I would love Book Guild to publish Dory’s Avengers. This was my one opportunity, and there was no way I was going to let it slip.