I received news from my publisher, Epigram, today that Sofia and The Utopia Machine has received over a hundred pre-orders! I am pleasantly surprised and also gratified that so many people are interested enough in the book that they have already ordered it. You can, too, if you head over to this link at Epigram Books. The book is going to drop pretty soon, in the next month or so, although I don’t have a date right now yet. Of course, I’m thrilled that there are this many people interested in the book, though a part of me is also worried about what they’ll think of the book when they finally get it! It’s just pre-release authorial jitters, I suppose.

In separate news, here is how the cover looks at present, with a peek at the back cover as well! I am very pleased that the designer, Qinyi, decided to incorporate my suggestion to have Milton the tiger on the back

I’m at the last lap of the publication process and I’m both exhausted and relieved! It almost seems surreal that this book is going to be out in the world for real, and the news that people have already ordered it drives this home for me. I just re-read a favourite essay of mine by Zadie Smith today “That Crafty Feeling”, collected in Changing My Mind, in which she says,

I find it very hard to read my books after they’re published. I’ve never read White Teeth. Five years ago I tried; I got about ten sentences in before I was overwhelmed with nausea.

She speaks frequently of that sensation – nausea, upon reading past work. I’m afraid I kind of feel it too, especially in the revision process. I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to crack open the book when it’s finally in my hands and read it from beginning to end like the way I would any other book. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enjoy it as a book, in that sense. Perhaps the nausea is a the literary equivalent of morning sickness, except something which never goes away. One of the reasons why I like the Zadie Smith essay so much is to know that I’m not the only novelist in the world that feels like this about the book I’ve written.

For friends, especially those overseas, wondering how to get hold of the book when it comes out, I promise I will find some kind of arrangement to get them to you when it’s out. Til then, keep spreading the word – just because I don’t think I can read my book from beginning to end doesn’t mean I don’t want more people to!

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