It’s happened. It’s finally happened. The first book launch.  Not to me, to someone I know- and I couldn’t be happier.

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Why?  Because it means it can happen:  you can get your work out there; it can be seen by the right people; it can get published and make its way into the world.  If… if what?  What’s the secret?

I have been to the book launches of established authors who talk honestly and openly about the time and effort that has gone into their books- but a part of me always thinks, Yes… but there’s something you’re not telling us- there has to be! You’re A Published Author!

This launch, for Fir for Luck by Barbara Henderson, was different: it was for someone I know who went from Not Being A Published Author to being A Published Author. And I was able to catch glimpses of the transformation as it happened, through the author’s blog and the good fortune of working alongside her.

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And the secret of her success? The magic ingredients that gave her her publishing wings? Time. Effort. Patience. Perseverance.  This novel did not drop into Barbara’s lap. She did not have a spare half hour one day 18 months ago and jot down an Amazon bestseller.  Barbara was writing for years before this story came to fruition, something that is easy to forget; it becomes all too convenient to call someone ‘an overnight success’ and to leave the years spent developing their talent unacknowledged.  But, like me, she had weeks so full of rejections it was tempting to just chuck the lot in and call it a day. Like her, I had letters of, if not publication, then at least of encouragement, that I held onto as proof something was going to come of it all.  At times we both shared a victory over a morning coffee before heading off to teach classes for the day.

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Seeing Barbara sitting up there, surrounded by copies of her work, reading her story to the eager crowd of over a hundred, and running out of copies to sell, both in Waterstone’s and on Amazon, I didn’t wonder how she did it.  I know how she did it: I was too busy telling myself to get going, to find the time, to enter the competitions, to put the hours in.

Fir for Luck may not be my victory, but it is an indisputable affirmation that such victories do happen for those who do the work, and believe in the value of what they’re doing.

Isn’t that right, Janet?

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