I always imagined the celebration of my first novel with fanfare. It would be at a book store or some small intimate gathering space, and the people I love would spend it with me. There would be flowers and champagne and a congratulations cake. I’d do a small reading. I’ve always found it odd when an author reads from the middle of the book, so I would read from the beginning. After all, I spent the most time perfecting those opening pages for agents. My agent would be there to cheer me on. There would be other people from the literary community. Maybe there would be a small stack of my book. I’ve dreamt of this moment more times than I have, perhaps any other day.
When I decided to remove myself and this novel from the traditional publication route, I gave up a lot. I said goodbye to a book release party. I said goodbye to knowing the exact date and pushing preorders. I said goodbye to a book tour. Unfortunately, this pandemic has prevented even some of those mitigations.
I haven’t lived a very “traditional” life and so in this regard I’m both sad and unsurprised by it. I never had a lot of the traditional events in life and I never really let it bother me much because I knew I’d have moments that were so rare, it would make up for the ones I missed. This was supposed to be one of those moments.
There are a lot of reasons I chose to move forward with this book. Sometimes I don’t think I did it for the right reasons, and other times I’m confident I wouldn’t have it any other way. A writer friend of mine once wrote this blog where he talked about his fear of pursuing an agent. The fear of rejection prevented him from trying. He didn’t want his stories to die on a computer. Instead, he wanted them to live in the minds of readers. There was something about this that I have carried with me. When someone asks my publication route, I find myself getting defensive about my choice. Immediately I think of this blog, and I remind myself that there is no wrong choice to make. I had to decide if I wanted this story to die on my computer. That my choice is a valid one, even if it’s not what I always imagined.
I’m sitting in my apartment alone. My new book is sitting in the ether, waiting for the vast publication machine to update its system and offer my new novel for sale to prospective readers. There is no fanfare. There are no loved ones around. I find myself both incredibly happy and proud about the over 1,000 hours I have personally invested into this novel and incredibly sad that the process won’t be anything I dreamt about for the last twenty-five years. Dreams shift, and sometimes I get lost in the change. I’ve never been very comfortable in the middle of change. I prefer stability, and I seek comfort in that sureness.
It might sound silly, but I was hoping today, on a New Book Release Tuesday, my book would come out. One last tiny shred of the original dream. But the proof got lost in the mail, and I didn’t get it approved in time. It’s okay. I’m a bit sadder than I thought I would be. However, I know watching the first sale populate on my account will feel amazing. That someone in the void wants to read my words so much, they buy it from a store. It’s an incredible thought. I don’t want this story to die on my computer. I would rather it lived in the minds of my readers, even non-traditionally. I have spent the last seven years working on this story. I started writing him in August 2014 (a date I recently double-checked). I’ve written thousands of pages before ever writing a single word of this novel. Hundreds of thousands of words under my belt couldn’t prepare me for this mix of emotions I’m feeling. I have championed friends through this process several times over. None of this should be a surprise. Yet, somehow it is.
When all is said and done, the date won’t matter so much. In my heart, I know this. I was just secretly still holding out for a different experience. I hope you’ll check it out when the paperback releases (hopefully) tomorrow.
Until Next time,