Although it’s not the most original analogy in the world, I’ve been thinking about how publishing a book is like having a kid. All the anxiety beforehand, all the planning and preparation and daydreaming and wondering what it will really be like. You stock up on diapers and cute little outfits, read all the books about feeding and sleeping. You make lists of all the things to do to get the word out about your book and do your best to work down it. Then the baby is born, or the book is published – and there it is! It’s really happening! It’s nothing like you thought! (In the case of the baby, it is way harder than you ever dreamt. With the book, it is actually easier and nicer – phew.) But either way, you start to catalog the firsts. First poop; first time you see the book in an actual book store. First smile; first email from stranger saying they really liked it. First head-lifting; first published review. First word-like gurgle; first reading and signing. And so on.
My daughter is almost three now, and the firsts just keep coming. Some joyous: first time on the big girl swing. Some mortifying: first actual screaming-throwing-oneself-upon-the-floor tantrum in a public place due to not being allowed to buy a coveted toy. Promise Not to Tell is almost one month old and although the depth and variety isn’t there (I just don’t see my book ever telling me, unbidden, that it loves me), there are more and more firsts. This past week, it was first time on an official bestseller list. And our family celebrated this occasion with another first: Zella’s first hot fudge sundae.