The Journey to Publication

Release Day: Coping, Celebrating, & Cheering

Tomorrow my first book will officially have it’s book birthday, and go out into the big old world. It’s a tremendously exciting moment, one I’ve worked toward for years, really since I wrote my first novel back in junior high (yes, really, and no, I don’t think I’ll mention just how long ago that was.) 😉 And while I, like you, might be releasing that first book and there are so many wonderful things about that moment, let’s admit: it can also be pretty darned terrifying, and I don’t think it’s just me feeling that way. 

I *could* go over all the ways it’s terrifying, but that wouldn’t be very nice, would it? Especially if either of us suggest something the other hadn’t thought of yet. 😉 Instead, I wanted to share what I’m doing to celebrate and bring some of the love back to my own book release in hopes that maybe some of those things will work for you, too. 

1) Choice of release date. The first thing I did was plan my book release on my youngest daughter’s birthday, or for another large, personal event. I know, many people (including my husband) have said it was crazy to do so, but I actually did it very intentionally. I have a lot of wonderful and wise friends who have released their books before mine, and I’ve heard about the stress and less-than-wonderful feelings that can sometimes accompany a book release, so I wondered how I might try to avoid some of that. My solution was to try and be busy. It’s my daughter’s second birthday: I HAVE to help her celebrate. I don’t have to stress endlessly about what’s happening (or not happening) to my book. 🙂 I also chose to release my book on a Wednesday, rather than the Tuesday when most traditional houses release their books. And selected October, when I hoped most of my target audience might be have started to settle into routine and be ready for a fun read. 

2) Return the love. Most people look forward to signing their books. For me, I chose to have the proof copy of my first book signed by all the people who have loved and supported me along the journey to first publication. Granted, this page is missing some significant signatures, like my wonderful CP who is miles away, and the amazing Dreamweavers, my group of 2014 Golden Heart sisters. But when I look at those signatures, it reminds me of my family who have believed in me, who have helped me along the way, and it brings some of that love back to a physical copy of my book. It reminds me that my book is made of more than just words and the hard work that went into it – that love is there too. 

3) Remember to Celebrate. Yes, there are a thousand-and-one things I could (and perhaps should) do to promote my work, boos tit out in the world. But amidst that, I also want to take the time to celebrate what I have accomplished with this milestone. See the comment above about planning it on my daughter’s birthday? I’d hoped this would give me further reason to go out and celebrate that day. My daughter and I will both be celebrating a special birthday, and at the very least, I think that deserves a nice lunch out together, don’t you? I think sometimes we’re always looking so far ahead at what we need to do, what we want to accomplish, it’s easy to forget the moment we’re in, to cherish and celebrate that moment. And on release day, after all that it takes to get to that moment, isn’t it worth celebrating it too? I think so. 

4) Borrow some confidence. Feeling kind of shaky about the reception your book will find out in the big ol’ world? Me, too. The world is a big, wonderful place, and there are lots of terrific differences between all of us which contribute to making that world a more interesting place, which means not everyone will love my work, not everyone is my ideal reader, and that’s okay. So on the days when I’m feeling most nervous, my confidence shaken, those are the days to cling to the words of people who ARE excited about your work, who do want to see more. Because inside, I’m pretty sure you (like I) know you’ve got a lot to offer and that this is just the beginning. But when it’s hard to see past the fear, borrow some of that confidence others have in you until your own makes a roaring come-back. 🙂 

5) Write the next book. Yes, I want to celebrate this book heading out into the world. But you know what will help this book and me? Giving that book some siblings to keep it company out there! So, it’s time to work on not just pushing this one book, but also building my career – and that means more than one book! Alas, while I wish I could work on so many different projects at once (and of course, get them all done faster), I have to content myself right now with writing one book at human-speed for now. Which is what I’m doing. And you know what? I’m even more excited about this next book in the series than I was about the first, which makes me more excited to get book one out into the world. After all, readers should find that one first, right? 

So that’s what I’m going to be doing and reminding myself of tomorrow on release day. What about you? Any tips or advice? Need a bit of confidence / a cheer to keep you going? Comment below, and I’m happy to give you one. 🙂 

Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and reading. And remember: there’s always magic in the world if you look hard enough. 


Thematic Centering

As I’ve probably whined about mentioned, I’ve been working on a thorough revision of the beastly book I swore I’d never rewrite again (I call this draft 8 because actually knowing how many drafts it’s been might make my brain explode.) 😉

Anyway, in this current rewrite I’ve been centering all revision based on a clearer and more definite theme / stated purpose.

Nope, I haven’t invested in a soapbox to preach about all the things you can shout at people about. Instead, for this theme, as I considered my revision, I asked myself a series of questions. The last of these, which found the answer I searched for, was:

“What do you want this book to be? What kind of feeling do you want to leave with your reader?”

And I started off all right with the wanting to leave the happy ending, a good feeling, hopeful, etc. THEN I hit what I was really looking for. It was only in reviewing what I wrote that I found the phrase, and highlighted it. I wrote:

“…find just that one person who understands you, who loves you for exactly who you are despite all your flaws, makes the world complete and creates light in the darkness.”

No, it isn’t as neat or pretty as one might wish a theme to be, like “acceptance” (which was what I thought the theme was originally). But instead, this is the phrase that defines what I want out of the entire relationship between my two protagonists, and which defines their romantic journey. For this book more than others, this is what helps center the story.

And, as it turns out: Me.

As I’ve been revising, with much teeth-gnashing and general whines (internal and external), whenever I’ve gotten lost in the tangle of plot-lines, or lost my way in what it was I wanted to change, and what it was I have to change, and where the two intersect, I look at this phrase. And I remember what it means, and how each scene has to reflect this. Accordingly, I also know what I have to write next.

Which made me curious, and I pose the question to you out there: do you write to a theme / guiding principle of the story? Can you draft to that theme, or do you only highlight things once you get to revision? Come on, share. Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and happy writing out there!