Friday, 22 July 2011

Do You Remember The First Time? - Karen Ball

Signs you are getting old:
  • It’s not as easy to put on a pair of tights as it once was.
  • People ask you for advice and listen carefully, as if you actually know what you’re talking about.
  • When a younger author friend opens her box of advance copies for the first time in her career you think, Aw, bless! I remember that.
Yesterday, my lovely colleague, Lil Chase, took receipt of the advance copies of her debut novel, Boys For Beginners. There was much excitement, let me tell you! This event only happens once in a lifetime and I’m glad we caught the moment for posterity.

Lil’s book is being published in August by Quercus Publishing. There’s a lovely story behind this novel, as it’s based on a story Lil first wrote when she was eleven years old. She still has the original copy of her ‘book’! Like many of us, I suspect, Lil knew she wanted to be an author from a young age.

When I opened a box of my first ever advance copies, I was all alone in my little flat, with no one to show them to. I think I pushed the box under the piano and went to work. If I had my time again, I’d run out into the street, waving the books above my head and accosting strangers. I’d also have asked my publisher how I could help to promote the books and I may even have invested in some of the button badges Joanna Kenrick has been championing. But hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially when it comes to a writing career.
Do you remember the first time you opened a box of advance copies? What was it like? Is there anything you’d have done differently around that time? Or are you still waiting for this moment in your life - what would you do around your fantasy opening of a very special box?
One last thought for us all to share: NOTHING beats the sight of a grown man reading a book embellished with foil lettering, aimed at 8-12 year-old girls.

The world would be a better place if everyone stopped what they were doing to read a book like Lil’s.
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The Time Sculptor's Secret said...

I'm waiting with bated breath for that moment Karen, and when it comes, I won't push the box under the piano! I'll take out every last book and line them up, all along the piano. Then take a picture of them. Then post it on my novel blog! Now, back to reality :-) Jane G

karen said...

Great title - Time Sculptor's Secret!

Penny Dolan said...

Congratulations to Lil Sharpe - it is a special moment. But, imo, even more special is when you catch sight of a child sitting and reading your book intently. Hope it happens for you & Lil!

hilary said...

Congratulations to Lil Sharpe!

I remember putting one of my books on bookshelf and marvelling that from a distance, and then even quite close up, it looked very like a real book.

What I wish is, that I hadn't given then all away.I'd love to see some of them again. Do put one or even two aside for yourself.

Sue Barrow said...

Love the 'Boys for Beginners' cover! Hope it does really well. When the advance copies of my first book arrived I remember the first thing I did was read it from cover to cover to check for typos!

Leila said...

Oh how nice to see these pictures - Lil is the person I work with for my WP books. Many congratulations to her once again!

karen said...

You couldn't ask for a better editor, Leila!

Anonymous said...

Hi, i was wondering when you would be announcing the winner of the comp, leah x

Miriam Halahmy said...

This is such a lovely post - I feel I really shared the experience. The first time I opened the box of advance copies my kids were in their teens and we all stood round and they took photos. It was a great moment.
(Publication of my novel, Secret Territory, for adults.)

Stroppy Author said...

How lucky for Lil you were there to share and record it!
Lovely story, thank you.

Helen Moss said...

Congratulations! This looks like a great book and I love the story that it is based on a story the author wrote at age 11. What a great inspiration for schoolgirl writers everywhere (I know, I was one!) I am still revelling in the thrill of opening my advance copies of the Adventure Island books this summer - I keep lining them up on the my desk and gazing at the loveliness of their covers!