Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Launch Day!

Last night, before I went to bed (after midnight), I checked Amazon, and sure enough, the Kindle version of my book was there. As I type this, the elves in editing and design are putting the finishing touches on the softcover book, and by the end of the day today, I expect to see my book there in paperback as well, having departed the "preorder" platform for the "real book" train.

It's funny. It seems like a normal day. My husband went to work, my daughter went to school and I tried to decide which of the things on my to-do list were most pressing. It's Monday, so I'm getting a slow start, still in my usual uniform of pjs and fuzzy socks, sipping iced tea as the clock creeps toward noon.

But there are flowers on the dining room table, even though it's not my birthday or our wedding anniversary, along with a card my husband and daughter selected for this occasion. The emails necessary for my book to make the trip from the platform to the train pop in as I try to concentrate on blogs and class preparation and pretend that today is a day like any other. Friends pop in on Facebook, making it even more impossible than it usually is to avoid social media in favor of work.

Over the past few weeks, a couple of my friends have asked me what it cost me to publish this book. Because I went through a traditional publisher, the answer is nothing -- in terms of dollars anyway. In terms of sleep, creative energy, frustration and other less measurable components -- well, that's a different story.

I met the agent who sold this book at a conference in 2008 and signed with her two months later. At that time, the first draft of the book was complete -- or nearly so. I don't remember when I started writing the book, but I'd estimate that it took me about a year to finish it -- maybe longer. I was writing part-time then, in the nooks and crannies of days, and I found it depressing to keep track of how long it took me to get from the beginning of the project to its end. So I didn't.

But I can do the math for the known quantities. I signed with Diana in July 2008. She sold the book to Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in January 2012. In the nearly four intervening years, the book traveled to a number of publishers (12, I think) who deemed it not the right fit for them. Too short. Too contemporary. Too edgy. Thanks for trying, better luck elsewhere.

But today, that book comes to life. I have learned so much in the past four years, and I still have so much to learn. I never thought I'd consider self-publishing as a viable option, but I'm finding it more alluring for some of my smaller projects -- projects that are quirky enough to meet with the same fate as my novel when put before traditional publishers.

Having now experienced the book's journey from hopeful manuscript to finished product, I have a much better understanding of what all of those steps in the process mean, how many decisions -- tiny and enormous -- go into creating a finished product, and how many people help along the way. And I have met many wonderful people along the way. Blogging and Facebook (let alone Twitter and Pinterest) were barely on my radar in 2008, and now, I count people I've "met" in those venues as not only resources, but, in some cases, friends and colleagues. I can't even imagine what 2017 will look like.

But that is for the future. Today is for celebrating. So, if you'll excuse me, I have a train to board.

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