Just a week to go until Wintering comes out in the UK, which means I haven't managed to send a newsletter in two months. This is absolutely not supposed to be the purpose of having a newsletter. Anyone with any marketing nous will tell you that I should have been spamming you all into submission on a daily basis for the last decade until you gave in and pre-ordered my book. Or most likely, unsubscribed. But this is a friendly place, and I think we can all do without that kind of unpleasantness.
In actual fact, I've been dividing my time between fretting, worrying and tinkering with things that don't matter. Publishing a book is an odd experience. You spend a year or more working on your text, and then you wait for an interminable period for it to come out. And in the meantime, you obsess. At first, this obsession runs in the background of your mental processing, but gradually it takes over, until it's occupying your whole mind. By the time your book is ready to launch, you are essentially a book-Gollum, flickering between entrancement, desperation, and snarling defensiveness. This is Book Brain.
Despite making a huge effort to get my books published in the first place, I don't think I'll ever feel entirely comfortable with the idea that people read them. It's such a strange concept to get your head around - all those quiet, intent hours spent pouring out words in private, and then, suddenly, they're out in the open. I realise that nobody forces me to do it, and that I don't have to write such personal material, either. But who says I have to be consistent? Or, indeed, rational. Book Brain is an adaptation I've developed to deal with these contradictions: Buy my book! But don't read it! But tell all your friends it's amazing! Seems fine to me.
Book Brain is a hard taskmaster. It wakes me up at 2am to wonder if I took enough care to fact-check my assertions about the hibernation of dormice, and it led me to drop everything yesterday afternoon to engage in a bizarre book photography session because the light was good in the kitchen. I can't seem to hold a meaningful thought in my head, but maybe that's what I need. Book Brain keeps me occupied while the grown-up - i.e. my brilliant publishing team - make sensible decisions on my behalf. Ones that encourage people to read the book, and let it speak for itself.
Anyway, as I said on Instagram last week, there's still time to pre-order, and it really helps (you could even get your copy a little early - some of the indie stores have them out on the shelves already). I might pop by to say hello next week, when it's all over.
See you then,
P.S. You can reply to this email just like a normal one (and I love it when you do!); share it by simply forwarding it on; read my previous letters; or subscribe to my future letters here.