The Moment My First Book Was Published: For this entry, I’m going to borrow words from a book I started work on six weeks after The Thin Pink Line was published:
The moment I’d been waiting for forever was finally here.
My book came out.
People who want to be writers live their whole lives waiting for a single moment. For each one, it’s different. Some are waiting for that first call from an editor, the calls that we in publishing love to make the most, those life-changing moments when you get to hand someone their dream by saying: “I want to buy your book.” Some are waiting for that first paycheck, sometimes the amount doesn’t even matter, just so that they have financial validation of themselves as A Writer. And then there are those of us who, for all the excitement of having our books bought by publishers or receiving money, are waiting for what we think will be the grandest moment of all: seeing our books, with our own names on the spine, on the shelves of our local bookstore.
For some of us, that is the dream. We know, if we are smart at all, that the dream is ephemeral and human memory all too often short. We know that as soon as the moment passes, even while it is yet passing, we’ll move past that dream to a new level of wanting: we’ll want the book to be bought, to be read, to be reviewed, to be reviewed well, to sell, to sell well, to sell phenomenally, to sell internationally, to outpace Harry Potter XXII, to outpace England, the United Kingdom, planet Earth, the universe.
And then we want the next contracted book to do even better and earn more money.
That’s the foolish stuff we writers are made of. And, for at least some of us, there’s no point at all in dreaming the dream, if we’re not going to dream it larger than our imaginations, larger than life.
And, if we are smart enough to be smarter than the smart part of us that knows we’ll only want more, better, bigger tomorrow, we do take that first moment in a bookstore with our own book in our hands and we freeze that virgin moment of pure joy in our memories, an investment against future disappointment.
After a lifetime of wanting to be a writer, after months writing the book, months revising the book and months of just plain waiting...
“My book is out! This is my book!”
Then the moment was past, part of my history.
There being no independent bookstores in my immediate vicinity, my moment came in a Borders on the first Tuesday in July, 2003. Which one of us is still standing?