I remember when I went to my writing group after my agent got the offer from Penguin, and a writer friend asked me if I was happy. He wanted to know if selling the book was as great as I thought it would be, or if it was somehow disappointing. A let-down.
I told him it’s every bit as great as I hoped. It’s a dream come true, and not many people get to see one of those in their life. But I also told him I was already happy before this.
I’m not sure he knew that I wasn’t writing a book or trying to find an agent or trying to get a big five deal because I thought it would make me happy. I think success is great. Realizing some of our dreams along the road of life is wonderful, and I would never diminish that. But what I’m most thankful for in this debut year are the things I had all along: family, friends, my good health, my love of food, good books, long walks. The trees outside my window, the rain on the roof. It doesn’t take a whole lot to make me happy.
That being said, a lot of amazing stuff—and people—have come into my life because I wanted to publish a book. I give thanks for all of them, every day. A few agents said very kind things to me about my work even though they rejected it. And the agent I did end up with has been everything I could have hoped for. Any time I email her in a panic, she knows just the right thing to say. Her advice has been invaluable. And she found an editor for my book who guided me tirelessly toward making it the best it could be. I’m grateful for everyone who has had a hand in the process—my copy editor, the cover designer, my publicist. And they are just a fraction of the people whose hard work behind the scenes is helping me realize this dream.
A debut year comes with a lot of firsts, and a lot of surprising moments. I will never forget the day Rene Denfeld DM’d me on Twitter and offered to blurb my book. Few times in my life have I been that excited—I was literally jumping up and down. And it happened while I was visiting my mother and stepfather, so my mom jumped up and down with me. I’m thankful that I was with them.
Come to think of it, family visits have been lucky for me before. My dad was visiting us here in Michigan when my agent-to-be scheduled a call with me and made an offer of representation, so I got to share that moment with him, too.
I’m thankful for the flutter in my stomach every time I see on social media that someone is reading the book, and I’m thankful for every review and blurb. And one of the biggest things that has changed for me is that I’m now part of a much bigger writing community. I’m so thankful to have been chosen to be part of this blog, to write all these posts with Kai, Devi, Layne, and Stephanie by my side. I’m thankful for the groups on Facebook and Twitter that I’ve been able to join so I can share this experience and the writing life in general. I never had that on such a grand scale before, and it’s a huge gift to be able to share joys, frustrations and setbacks with other people who can understand.
I’m thankful for you, because you’re reading my words right now. That’s really what it comes down to. If I’m thankful for anything in this debut year, it’s for readers. You are the reason I show up.