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On becoming an author, naked, with a hide like a rhino, and ears like a bat-eared fox

On Saturday, I launched my first book, The Empathy Code. It's now Monday afternoon, and I think my face has finally stopped aching. All the smiling, all the hugging. Who knew that writing a book could elicit such excitement and happiness? Not me! The whole experience, once I got over my nerves, was profoundly moving and exhilarating.

Of course, now people will start to read it. Strange how you do and don't think about that when you're writing. Every step along the journey from the idea, to first draft, to assessment, to editing to designing and publicizing, brings its own challenges. It's hard to look beyond the next handhold when you're hanging onto the wall, trying to maintain three points of contact. Maybe that's good. Thinking about writing and publishing in its entirety is enough to stop an expedition in its tracks. Knowing your friends and strangers are reading the contents of your head is free-fall material. So you don't think about that - until now - post launch. What's that like?

Well, okay. Good even. You can't be responsible for people's reactions. You try your best not to write complete rubbish, to produce something engaging and polished, and the rest is up to the world. Go world!

Meanwhile, I'm doing what acclaimed author, Mandy Hager, said when she launched our books: standing around naked and developing a hide like a rhino. Not pretty. I'd add to that, being open and curious enough to hear what people like and what they don't. To learn.

So, launching your first book is to become a strange sort of authorial homunculus. Naked, with a hide like a rhino and the ears of a bat-eared fox. Just as well we don't get out much.

Thanks to everyone who came to the launch, bought the book and offered their encouragement. Don't even ask what you all look like!

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