We’re chuffed that for the month of May Pippa Wright is here at Novelicious as our author in residence. Each Friday she will be answering a question about her life as a writer.
This week a Novelicious reader asks:
What’s the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to you as an author?
Pippa says: This is a really good question, I liked thinking
about it. The best thing is easy. I was camping in a field after a friend’s
party in Norfolk last summer when my phone buzzed very early on a Sunday
morning. It was my editor saying, ‘Have you seen Unsuitable Men is in the
Kindle top ten?’ I was a bit hungover and extremely confused, and even more so
when I saw that the book was selling for 20p. I was also quite amused to
discover my editor checked the Amazon rankings first thing on a Sunday; that’s
dedication. It turned out that Amazon and Sony had put the book in a promotion
completely unexpectedly, and it was selling like mad. Unsuitable Men stayed in
the Kindle top ten for weeks. At the time I was covering a maternity leave at
HarperCollins and people kept stopping me in the canteen to ask if I was the
same Pippa Wright who was an Amazon bestseller. It was all quite surreal. There
was a lot of luck to it – the promotion was entirely out of my hands and my
publishers’, but also Macmillan had done a really good job on positioning and
marketing the book, and I was very happy to see that pay off for all of us.
I have very conflicting thoughts on selling books
for 20p – I do think it devalues them, and I’m not sure people should expect to
pay so little for a book. You can’t even buy a bar of chocolate for 20p!
the same time, this promotion properly changed my life as an author and gave me
the freedom to write my fourth book full-time, which is a real privilege. So on
a personal level I am very happy and grateful to have been a part of it.
The worst thing is harder. I think it’s not so
much a specific moment, but that fact that I’ve lost the ‘being an author’
daydream. Whenever work got to be awful in the past, I’d imagine escaping off
to this wonderful life as an author, free to work when and where I wanted,
floating round glamorously seeking inspiration in exotic locations. I think I’d
probably seen Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone a few too many times. Now
I’m living the dream, well, it’s still a job. And there are some really boring
parts to it. I miss the teamwork of being in an office more than I expected,
and I really miss having colleagues you see every day. But I think that’s
because being an author is a reality now, not a daydream any more, and anything
real is always a bit great and a bit crap at the same time. Luckily the great
wins out most days.