Matthew Munson: When your words no longer belong just to you

Matthew's book will be on sale soon

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb you may have heard of; “May you live in interesting times.”

It’s meant in some respects as a curse, but I prefer to think of it as a challenge. I enjoy interesting times, although perhaps not several interesting times all at once.

Right now, my newest book is in the process of being published, which is rather exciting. I’m signed with a publishing house called Inspired Quill, based in Derby – I’ve only ever actually visited the offices once, so I don’t know the area well, except to say that it’s somewhere north of the Watford Gap, and they don’t like being called northerners.

Nodding yes

Planning for a book being published is a rather busy time; there’s so much to think about that, half the time, I’m just nodding and agreeing in (I hope) the right places. Is the front cover ready to be signed off? Have you done the dedication? What about the acknowledgements? Should we include an author photo? Are you okay to do interviews? Should we organise a book signing? How do you want the book to be marketed in the local area? What … well, you get the picture.

Book signing

I’m currently in the process of organising a book signing, for example, with a well-known local establishment, for Saturday, October 14. I’m not naming it just yet, as I just need to iron out a couple of last details with them and I don’t want to get ahead of the game, but it’s a strange time to know that you’re arranging for an event where people will be coming entirely to see you.

What an odd sensation; especially when they’re coming to buy and get signed something you’ve created, and they’ll go away, read it, and decide whether or not they like it.

Sharing your characters

Creating a fiction book entirely from your own fertile and slightly eccentric imagination is an inventive time and then suddenly the book’s published and it no longer entirely belongs to you. It belongs to your readers, who you want to invest in your characters just as much as you have.

If they don’t, then you wonder; “What’s wrong with them?” … both the characters and the readers. And when people come up to you and ask questions about the characters because they genuinely want to know, or ask you questions about the plot because they’ve taken an intense interest in the storyline, that’s amazing – because they want to know. You mean to say you liked the book enough to care about the people in it? Wow. I thought I’d be the only one.

So, when people come to a book signing or an author talk, it’s an incredible pleasure for the writer – well, it certainly is for me – because it shows me that people care and want to read the words that I’ve written. Whether one person or 20 come to the signing in a couple of weeks doesn’t matter; the fact that people support and love words and writing as much as me – more than me, in many cases – is wonderful.