In 2005 I was commissioned to write a book. After nearly five years’ work I submitted the manuscript to the publisher in January 2010. It amounted to 34 chapters spread over 450 pages and totalling more than 350,000 words – not so much a book, more a breeze block. Having handed it over for the edit-to-end-all-edits – an unpleasant experience, akin to how a cow must feel when her calf is wrenched from her udder to be turned into veal escalope – I had an unsettling realisation: I am quite mad. My lower back was in spasm, my eyesight ruined, my typing finger permanently trembled, my teeth had fallen out, I had a prostate the size of a football, my house was falling down and my finances lay in ruins. And all for what? There is no guarantee the thing will ever be printed, let alone sell a single copy. So, I am in a good position to give this advice to wannabe authors: DON’T DO IT!