It is the night before the launch of The Tickle Monster and I am full of… flu! Yes, the illness that seemed to be striking down everyone but me, has finally sunk its achey, sniffly claws into me – primarily my chest and head. Normally I would laugh in the face of such an ill-timed (excuse the pun) virus but even a hint of a chuckle sends me into thick spasms of uncontrollable coughing and wheezing. So as I sit here in my bed typing away on my laptop, feeling more subdued than I ought to be feeling at this pivotal moment in The Monster Books journey, I can’t help but feel that this book, this longtime dream of mine, has been the silver – actually, golden – lining after the most difficult year of my life.
Working on The Tickle Monster has been a salvation of sorts and even though it has been eight years in the making, the right time to complete it was now. Had I forced myself to finish the book any earlier than this year, I really don’t think that it would have been published with the purity and passion that has gone into it on this second attempt. There is no fear attached to the creation of this book this time around – it was written and illustrated with enjoyment, love and affection. It was written because it needed to be read.
The first one hundred books are sat in neat little piles on my dining room table this evening. Everytime I walk past them and catch a glimpse of their shiny, brand new covers under the protective paper wrapped loosely around them, I can’t help but think that they are like little puppies – all sat there waiting to go to new homes. Although I very much admire their ‘never been read’ exterior, I cannot wait to one day find a copy with dog-eared corners and marked pages; the evidence of a much loved book that has been read and enjoyed, over and over again.
We have put in a massive PR effort over the last few weeks trying to get The Tickle Monster into as much of the public eye as possible and so far our Facebook page has reached over 1000 people and our Twitter has surpassed 130 followers. Small numbers at first glance, but big numbers when you consider how far and how fast we have come in such a short space of time. It’s been difficult for me personally ‘selling’ the book, as a huge part of that has been about selling myself as a bona fide writer of children’s picture books. It hasn’t been an easy transition for me – Facebooking, Twittering and blogging – but it is one that I am getting used to and learning to enjoy.
Someone asked me what has been the biggest highlight of this journey so far and I would say receiving The Tickle Monster book prototype. Actually seeing a creation that came from my imagination printed on beautiful gloss pages that would rival any other popular picture books out there was the best feeling ever. (Closely followed by an interview on local radio station, Wycombe Sound, to promote the book!)
Anyway, my coughing fits are getting the better of me so I think I will wrap this blog post up now. But not before saying a big thanks to all those involved in making The Tickle Monster happen. You are amazing!
Here’s to the first 100 books – may they are find happy homes!