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The Eve of Publication
bibliomaniac
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Powell's Books Powell's Books
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Tomorrow is the day. My début novel will be released and I will finally be able to prove to the world that I am not an unemployable waster.

Well, actually, I am, but at least I managed to write a book at the same time.
Publication day has long been a date to focus on; a distant point up to which I can maintain the excitement of Being A Writer without reality kicking in. After tomorrow, will the excitement falter in the face of smirky questions about how many copies I've sold? (Erm... I'm not sure ... I, erm... haven't had any sales figures yet.) Will my Amazon ranking obsession intensify as it plummets into the millions? (Millions? That's an idea - maybe I could tell people it means the number of sales!)
As Rebecca Connell said when her book came out last month, publication day is no huge explosion. Because, well, what can possibly happen? Crowds of paparazzi at the door? Broadsheets festooned with glowing reviews? Bouquets arriving from secret admirers?
The launch of a book is not so much a sudden event as a process. Like... er... death. Thinking about it, that might not be the ideal comparison, so let's move on... Instead of a fixed date with people queueing up at midnight outside bookshops, the average publication trickles gradually into the world. My book already exists – not just in the sense that it wormed into my imagination ten years ago, or that it took up thousands of hours of writing, re-writing, editing and honing – I mean that now it exists in a physical, aesthetically pleasing form. My author copies are just across the room from me as I type.

When other writers receive their author copies, they stroke them, kiss them, put them under the pillow, even compare the experience to holding their baby for the first time. I don't feel like that at all. I took a quick look at my books and thought “phew, they look great,” then I went about other things. My feelings have constituted quiet satisfaction rather than raucous celebration.
But that quiet satisfaction has been a boost to my confidence. My book looks beautiful, and at last I feel I can really be proud of it.
It looks like a normal book by a proper author. It's no longer a figment of my imagination, but a product. A lump of paper to be sold for cold hard cash. Perhaps for some writers that would be a depressing thought, but for me it's liberating. I can now talk about it at a distance – it's a tangible article that I can promote without feeling self-indulgent, because other people have put such a huge amount of care into editing it, designing it and above all believing in it.
Now it's over to the readers, and whether or not they like it almost feels like none of my business. I'm glad to let my book go and make its own way in the world.

Comments
4 Comment count
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Congratulations.

I am happy for you.Good luck.

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Congratulations!

Boy, Caroline, does this sound familiar. All the longing, the waiting and the evenual relief that you haven't been wasting time. Actually, only the first two parts are familiar to me. I'm still waiting on an agent, etc.

But I think I'm going to save your post and just link to it if that day ever comes for me.

I don't know how I'll possibly be able to say it any better than you did.

I'm thrilled for you and for "Kill-Grief." Best of luck!

Chris R.

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You MIGHT

find yourself looking at the Amazon rankings and then you might find yourself tempted to promote the book, but that's normal. :) I hope.

Congratulations - many, many congratulations. It's funny how the moment, once you reach it after working toward it gradually, is not the blast of fireworks straight at your chest the way you thought it would be. It's still something, though. Especially if you force yourself to sit down, think about where you were in the process last year, what you hoped would happen, and where you are now.

Make yourself be as excited as possible, because you earned it.

And then - onto the next one!

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Thank you

Thanks for the lovely comments - I am going to enjoy tomorrow and mark it with a few fun things and plenty of chocolate because you're right, it is such an important occasion. Especially when I think back to all those submissions and rejections, and how far I've come since then!