Writing Magazine

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Baby steps

‘Now I know why authors say that publishing a book is like having a baby; it’s not just the long gestation period, which is often much longer for a book, but it’s because you have no idea what it’s like before you do it,’ writes subscriber Laura Besley.

‘Farhana (Shaikh, editor and director of Dahlia Books) and I thought we had it all planned out. We were going to launch my debut flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, at States of Independence, a local independent book festival in Leicester. I would sit on a panel discussing short fiction with another author and it happened to be the Saturday before Mothering Sunday. Perfect.

‘Then, due to Covid-19, the festival was cancelled, as were all the other launch events and book signing opportunities for the foreseeable future. What now? Five people had pre-ordered my book and my mum had bought ten copies. It was looking like I was going to sell a grand total of fifteen copies. My heart sank.

‘I’d put everything into this book. Through a chorus of voices, I’d written about different aspects of motherhood, in each story hoping to convey a kernel of truth about what that means. Although I was petrified about what people would think (of me) after reading it, I was possibly more worried that no one would read it.

However, it seemed like there was a magic book fairy (or fairies): early feedback from review copies was beyond what I could’ve hoped for; a few people kindly offered to interview me for their blogs or have me write a guest post; the lovely book folk on Twitter posted about receiving or reading copies; friends and other family members bought

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