I’m the only Founder who didn’t leave. It was certainly my plan, but when my publisher pushed back my pub date, I found myself introducing myself to a whole new class and sticking around for another year. I got to be the crusty older deb, the one who smoked cigarettes in the bathroom and threw around publishing wisdom like I knew what I was talking about.
I find it hard to believe another deb year has come to a close. I find it even harder to believe that this will be my final post and that it’s time for me to hang up the tiara. I suspect I may be one of those debs that is dragged from the dance floor kicking and screaming. One of those “you can have my tiara when you pry it from my cold dead (white gloved, of course) hand” types.
I dreamed about what it would be like to be published long before I even finished my first book, but I hadn’t imagined the friendships. The debs I’ve known, past, present, and future, have been some of the most amazing women and writers I’ve ever met. I’m humbled to be in their group. I can’t imagine what it would have been like without them over the past two years. I find celebrations are always better when shared and disappointments are easier to surmount when surrounded by others to help you up and over. To my fellow debs- my most sincere thanks.
As I prepare to leave the dance floor, I thought I would share the publishing wisdom I’ve gathered so far (in no particular order):
- Publishing is a business. Although it may be personal for you as the writer, for the others it’s just business. Your pub date may be moved, your cover changed, your titled tweaked, your photo left off the book, a blurb dropped and none of it is a part of a master plan to ruin your life.
- Some people who you were sure would support you and your book will not and others who you never expected to care will move mountains to help you.
- A surprising number of people will suggest that you go on Oprah as if this idea never occurred to you.
- Holding your book for the first time is just about one of the best things you will ever experience. Seeing it on a real live bookshelf- in public!- is even better. Getting letters from people who read your book and liked it enough to write you to tell you so (and aren’t related to you) is even better than the first two.
- Despite the fact that you tell yourself that bad reviews are a part of the business and you can’t please everyone- it is still easy to obsess over them. You will consider driving to some far flung state to sit down and talk face to face with Person X who clearly didn’t get your book or otherwise would never had said such awful things. You may also consider writing them back and saying “Oh yeah? Well you dress funny.” I encourage you to bury these feelings. This is how authors can turn to stalkers.
- There will be a deep seated fear that you are forgetting to do something- a magical something- that if you do it will thrust your book onto the national stage and to the top of the NYT list. The truth is there is always more you could be doing- but the most important thing is writing.
- Writing is a solo activity, but publishing is a community. Surround yourself with positive people who are there to help build you up and not tell you why this was an absurd dream from the start.
As for the future, I’m in the midst of gearing up for my second book What Would Emma Do? to hit the shelves in January. I’m working on the next book and thinking of what will come after that. If you miss me you can always check in to my blog. I would love to see some of the readers here over there from time to time; I’ve grown attached to all of you.
You can take the deb out of the dance, but you can’t take the dance out of the deb. I may be leaving, but I’ll still be dancing.