THANKS!! And now for the inside story…
After such a barnstorming start to the crowdfunding campaign to my novel 26 Miles to the Moon, I simply have to start with saying thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered, everyone who has helped get me here and everyone who has spread the word. Here’s how it felt for me to be wrapped up in this adventure…
Sunday 12th October – 5 days till launch
F**k! Just how are you gonna pull this off, Andy? Just five days to go until everyone is supposed to see a killer book trailer and a well-put-together page on the BNBS site. All I have right now are uncertain ideas, a few lines, a bunch of basic images and high hopes. Why didn’t I just pay someone to do this? I don’t know what I’m doing. This could be a total disaster.
Monday 13th October
Right, I’ve got a few things together but I’m still not sure about this video idea. It could end up looking like an experimental pop video from the 1980s, with (slightly) less-dodgy hair. The initial voice over is smooth, though, and I do have other ideas but they would be harder to pull off. Shell advises me to do something simple but do it well. I stay up to 1am. Clock’s ticking.
Tuesday 14th October
I’m juggling work, family, cat, my video trailer and the BNBS web page. Plus remembering to eat. Not much time in between, but my page is nearly done and looking ok. However, I have just rattled off the bio and inspiration sections so don’t know how good they are. Trailer is coming together, now I have access to some quality images and video clips. Just need some better images for Jon, Nicki and Summer. I take a look at the image site I just got a 7-day free trial on. A cartoon Jon depressed at work would be nice…omg…here’s a cartoon man…depressed…at work..with a dream bubble depicting an astronaut! Jackpot!! We have a winner ladies and gentleman! Oh, and there’s a good one for Summer, and an evil Nicki one, great.
I just need something like a cat being stolen or something. Fat chance, though. Wait, what’s this? You gotta be kidding me! A photo of a man in a balaclava holding a cat? It’s like someone put these there just for me, knowing I’d be doing this very thing. Which is utter bollocks of course, but at 1:30am it does make you think…
Wednesday 15th October
YouTube! My trailer needs a home and I have just a few hours to master uploading, embed codes and external links via a WordPress plugin. Not that I have a finished trailer yet, but I have a rough one to practice on. Thank goodness for YouTube help videos, although at 2am the enthusiastic instructor is a bit too much for me. Geek.
Thursday 16th October
It’s all going wrong! I only have tonight to finish it as it’s supposed to be going live tomorrow, but everything is going against me. My mouse has decided to go on strike until it is fed new batteries. My internet connection is so slow I’m tempted to see if the cat’s chewed through a cable. And my new voiceover recordings have me sounding like Marlon Brando eating marshmallows. Maybe I should just let Amber do it.
Some new Duracells, patience and the umpteenth recording and I’m almost there. I throw in a few marathon photos so spice it up and have a great idea on one photo to involve my friends. More work, more wrestling with iMovie, which to be fair is behaving well. My page has been tweaked and sent off so it’s just the trailer now. I fiddle with the links on the video to put the finishing touches on.
But will people like it? What if they think it’s poor? Unfunny? Cheap-looking? I’ve been immersed in it for so long I’ve no idea. Still, Shell thinks it’s very good. Plus I have zero time to go in another direction.
I go to upload it and see the progress bar make its little journey to the end with the same speed fingernails grow at.
00:38 I send the email to say I’m done. It’s over. It’s ready. Wow.
What will tomorrow bring?
Friday 17th October
It’s alive! It’s alive! My campaign is up and running with a live site! We have take-off! BNBS have just let me know. And the best bit? “Ps – love the trailer” Wahoo! 1-0. Now to let my friends know. I want those orders and I want them fast. Wonder what they’ll think?
8:04 I have my first derogatory comment from a friend about my voice. Yeah, yeah, that was always gonna happen. Friends, eh?
8:45 Next message: “I’m not sure the meet the author section makes sense… It doesn’t appear to read well.”Arggghh! Wtf? What does he mean? Everyone is about to read it – it has to make sense! What’s the chump on about? I don’t need this hassle. I ask him to explain and read it again, ready to argue. Oh shit. He’s right. It DOES read funny if you take it in one particular way. Crap. How many times did I read and re-write that? Welcome to the world of writing. A quick re-think and an email to BNBS with an alternative version. Within minutes, it’s sorted. I thank Si and inside slap myself for initially berating him.
9:28 Another message, this time from from my best mate. “Apart from your dodgy voice, fabulous trailer. Outstanding work.” Phew. He always tells it how it is with me, so maybe it’s gonna be ok.
11:00 Just to pile on more anxiety for the day, I’ve decided to run the team meeting at work. A sneaky move by me, however, as I get to write a quiz. Hmm…now what topics can I use? 20 questions later on marathons, books, space and grammar, with a QR code to my site thrown in and I now have 15 people all informed.
12:00 Refresh…wait five minutes…refresh…ticking over nicely! Orders, likes and messages are rolling in. If my phone could talk, it would be saying, “Ooh, aren’t you Mr Popular?” as it pings all of the notifications.
17:30 We are now at 34 copies! Thanks in no small part to a friend and ex-colleague who bought a whopping 10 copies. I’m stunned. I message him to thank him and he tells me that I once gave him an opportunity to shine, and he was just returning the favour. I start to well up. Time for a few beers in London…
00:00 The day is ending with a beer buzz and 40 pre-orders clocked up. Friends have been brilliant. Family have been awesome. Even ex-colleagues and friends of friends have pitched in. I don’t think I’ve ever had a day quite like this.
Monday 20th October
I’ve just done an interview with my local newspaper. It felt both strange and scary talking to a stranger tapping away at her keyboard on the other end of the phone knowing that whatever was coming out of my mouth might well make it into print. Let’s hope she gets all the details right and I don’t end up as Andrea Males, 52 from Hatfield.
Thursday 23rd October
Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me! (Well I just had to use one of my favourite quotes.) I’m in my local rag! Always wanted to appear in the Comet, and now I have, right bang in the main section where it’s happening. On, err, page 46. I end the day with 77 pre-orders, well over a quarter of the way there in just one week. Surely it’s in the bag?
Monday 27th October
Oh no. Oh no no no. Zero orders today. It’s run out of steam. It’s derailed. It’s heading for Nowheresville. I’m not gonna reach my target. Who am I kidding, thinking it would be easy having done so well to start? This is a marathon, and I’ve sprinted out of the blocks and puffing already.
Wednesday 29th October
Ok, so maybe the rumours of its demise are premature. The count is ticking up and it’s heading towards 100. I’m ok. Relax, Andy. Not even 2 weeks gone yet.
99…refresh…99…refresh…99…refresh. OH COME ON! Somebody get me to 100! 99…refresh…
So there you have it. For three years I’ve been working on a book that has only occasionally seen the light of day when it ventured out in draft form. Now, the pitch and the first few chapters are there for the world to see. I’ve made my own video and put my voice out on YouTube, my photo in the newspaper and my hopes and dreams into the hands of the public. I have had panic, fear, anxiety, joy, delight, worry, doubts and pride.
So just what will the next 11 weeks bring?