After the workshop at Howsham Mill, one the schools involved asked if they could read Alfie Slider vs the Shape Shifter as their class reader in September and write me some reviews. I offered the same to our local school, year 3/4, and they also agreed. So I looked into getting the manuscript printed up, and discovered a few sites that would print as few as one copy of a paperback. I ordered 5 copies from epubli, uploaded the manuscript and waited.

They arrived yesterday. It was an emotional moment, seeing my name on the cover of a book; something I’ve wanted since childhood, seeing the title of my book, on a front cover. Yes, I ordered the print run, and yes, it’s a plain cover but still, there was something really special about holding a physical copy of the book in my hand.

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It has a weight to it. It feels the right thickness; not too fat to intimidate reluctant readers, but enough to show that’s it’s a ‘proper’ book. It’s a physical thing, for the first time all that hard work, all the joy, the stress, the tears, were a real object. It made it all feel worthwhile, somehow.

So, one copy has gone to my most loyal ‘beta reader’, Joseph, who never fails to ask me when the second book is coming out. Three copies are going to schools to be read and reviewed. That last copy? That one is going to be my companion over the summer holidays. I’m going to highlight it, scribble all over it and make sure that this story is the very best that it can be.

Why?

Because I’m about to sign a publishing contract.