Top Five Surprising Things You May Not Know About Being a Writer by Niamh Greene

1) Seeing your book on a shelf is amazing….but it’s also terrifying.

When I got my first publishing deal I was over the moon that someone else – someone with expertise and knowledge about writing – thought my efforts were good enough to be put into print. However, naive as this will sound, I didn’t really stop to think that people – complete strangers – would now read what I’d written. When I saw my book in a store for the first time I was ecstatic……..until the fear descended. What if everyone hated it? Five years later I’m still gripped by this strange combination of elation and terror every time a new book of mine hits the shelves.


2) You can get nine amazing reviews, but you’ll probably only remember the tenth – horrendous – one.

I really admire writers who can be blasé about reviews. The trick, I think, is to try to take all reviews, good and bad, with a big pinch of salt. Of course, like most things, this is easier said than done!


3) Doing book publicity can be nerve-wracking……but also great fun.

I’ve found that the key to staying sane on live TV or radio is to block out the viewers / listeners and talk to the interviewer as I would a friend. The second I remember that the public is out there is the second I start to worry that there’s spinach wedged in my teeth / or that I sound like an idiot.  Actually, I quite enjoy when PR time comes around once a year as it gives me the chance to get out and talk to real people – as opposed to the fictional ones I’ve been creating in my head!

PS But getting photographed is always, always painful. This does not change, at least not for me.


4) The writing life isn’t glamorous……at least mine isn’t!

I spend most days in sweat pants at my desk, checking my word count obsessively and trying not to get sucked into Twitter. There are very few long, boozy lunches with publishers and agents (unfortunately!).


5) Your mother was right – always try to do your best.

I always strive to produce the best possible story for my readers. At the end of the day, the writing is the most important thing.


Niamh’s fifth novel, A Message to Your Heart, is out in June, published by Penguin.

To check out all the latest news about her writing, visit her at

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